Subject: Re: Ethics in programming
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1995/10/25
Message-ID: <>

[Erik Naggum]

|   some of us think eunuchs is _better_ than the (d)ossified crap that is
|   sold to the masses.

[Daniel Finster]

|   I wouldn't know.  I havn't used an MS-DOS system in over 3 years.
|   MS-DOS is hideous, but there are ways in which eunuchs is worse.

you missed the point.  by emphasising "better", I intended to prepare for
the point that was coming up later, about marketing.  we use "better" tools,
not "good" tools.  at the very least, we focus on the better sides, not on
the worst possible aspects.  otherwise, going nuts fast is inevitable.

|   He's still a flake though.  Here's a piece of some mail I got in
|   response to my original post:

really?  we discussing the psychology of RMS, now?  you're taking us on a
field trip of your strongest dislikes, aren't you, Daniel?  what for?

|         I just wanted you to know that you are not at all off-base in
|         your assessment.  Surely, a huge load of weird derelict disciples
|         of Stallman will send you reams of hate mail accusing you of hate
|         crimes and all sorts of lunatic ravings.  Just ignore them.  Most
|         of the flakes are also homeless bums who call themselves ``GNU
|         volunteers''.

I wonder what's wrong with whoever wrote this.  I've seen a lot of people
express the most intense hatred for RMS, with an accompanying deep interest
in vilifying those who work on GNU projects or with him.  frankly, whatever
it is that might be true in what they say, why should anybody listen to
them when _they_ don't want others to listen to someone that _they_ think
is mad?  it doesn't make much sense, does it?

I think I shall never see... someone able to criticize RMS or GNU without
going into patently silly attacks of rampant emotionalism.  just because
one thinks something that someone does is good, deserves applause, and
should be widely recognized, doesn't mean that one is in love with the guy,
is willing to swallow his every utterance, is a "weird derelict disciple"
(nor an ordinary disciple), nor will defend him on every count, but it
does, of course, mean that those who attack him on the basis of irrelevant
feelings or issues should be countered simply because they do not present
the whole truth, only the part of it that they self-servingly want to be
perceived as the whole truth in order to be relieved of the duty to present
actual arguments.  a clear case of "argumentum ad hominem".

_any_ sense of fairness and justice demands that both sides be heard, and
the kind of one-sided prejudice that we see in attacking and judging RMS
can only be to the discredit of the attackers.

I mean, Louis Farrakhan managed to lead this half-million man march, and
although he is the most despicable black man that walks the surface of the
North American land, people _still_ could discuss the purpose of the march
without getting all worked up and getting fanatically myopic about the
issue of his racism, anti-semittism, and sexism.  how?  the man is clearly
sick and sick men who manage to command half a million men is a clear and
present danger to any society.  but it's RMS that needs to be attacked.
pity the small minds that can see no further than their nose.

furthermore, normal people lead normal lives.  those individuals who cross
the prevalent views in society will be branded as mad and shunned by their
contemporaries, but may be hailed as forerunners by a future society and by
those who are less fearful of change and novelty.  being a pioneer in any
field is always a sign of unwillingness to succumb to what currently passes
for "normalcy".  given this, what point is there in ranting and raving with
those silly "he's a basket case" labels?  it can but unite those who _are_
weird derelict disciples.  it can also only nuture any latent or present
paranoia: it is a matter of fact that people _are_ out to get RMS, right?

I think "irrational fear of RMS" should be a recognized phobia.

#<Erik 3023632684>
a good picture may well be worth a thousand words, but on the WWW,
even bad imagemaps cost tens of thousands of words.