Way, way, way off base again

Story: Linux and FOSS Are Not SelfishTotal Replies: 12
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Jun 13, 2012
3:59 PM EDT
First, Linus Torvalds comments need to be read in context. Second, saying that people are selfish is not an insult. It's part of human nature. Everyone is selfish to a certain extent and most everyone acts to better themselves. Taken in full, Linus Torvalds' comments seem very much on the mark to me. Carla's assault on Linux does not.

I'm really disappointed. Carla has been one of the Linux writers I respect most. This past week she is two for two in terms of putting out clunkers.

Jun 13, 2012
5:08 PM EDT
Totally agreed, Caitlyn. This is a sensationalist, knee-jerk reaction article. It is highly disappointing and appalling to see such an article written by a Linux journalist of such caliber.

I'm sorry Carla, but Linus' logic is sound. It is naive to think that developers work on open source projects for the benefit of mankind as a whole. Most open source developers involved in big projects (like Linux, QT, BTRFS, etc) work for money, and are paid by for-profit companies such as Red Hat, Novell, IBM, Intel, Oracle, etc.

And even barring those who are paid by a benefiting corporation- most hobbyists code in their spare time to make or improve a product they want to use!

In either case, they are working to benefit themselves. Is it selfish? Sure, but that's not a bad thing.

Jun 13, 2012
5:54 PM EDT
The can of worms this article is likely to open up and tip over is likely to take us all deep into LXer TOS doodoo, impacting as it does religion, philosophy, politics and maybe even (to this Libertarian-minded Witch, anyway) magick.

I'll just say that, to a libertarian, 'rational' or 'enlightened' self-interest is a virtue. We try to trade value for value. In the case of FOSS, the return value expected or required often isn't cash, but that doesn't make the transaction any less valid. If you think of it as exemplifying the statement "I pay my own way", it's even plug-compatible with the more community-minded religious attitudes.

Beyond that, I won't comment because LXer is, by its TOS, really not the place for it.

Jun 13, 2012
6:20 PM EDT
Words have meanings, and I even looked up "selfish" for you. Pretending it means something else doesn't change its real meaning.

Jun 13, 2012
6:25 PM EDT
I can't argue with anything in the original Linus article, most of the non-contracted software i've written I wrote purely for myself, releasing some of it to the masses later on was purely an afterthought.

I write software for myself first plus the act of writing software keeps me sane (i think).

Does this make me a bad person? or just human.

Jun 13, 2012
7:00 PM EDT
Quoting:...and I even looked up "selfish" for you.

Which is were I think the issue lies. I didn't read the article using a literal use of the word "selfish", rather trying to understand the points Linus was trying to get across. The way I interpreted it was developers have their own self interest and shared the rusults to benefit others.

I also think the reaction to Carla's article was a bit over the top. "Way, way, way off base again" and "This is a sensationalist, knee-jerk reaction article." are a bit much.

So, I disagree with Carla's interpretation, while at the same time think the reaction could have been a little more civil.

Jun 13, 2012
7:30 PM EDT
Put simply, Linus is human, like everyone of us, and he simply misspoke, and some people misinterpreted what he meant.

Selfish is the wrong word to use, it has bad connotations. He could have said "FOSS developers are driven by self satisfaction,/ motivations, /and ambitions"


Jun 13, 2012
8:34 PM EDT
I agree 100% Fetoosh (see one of the other threads). This is an unfortunate exercise in semantics.

Jun 14, 2012
9:05 AM EDT
Having read the original interview and Carla's take on it, I have to agree with Caitlyn again. Linus has a habit of making sensational statements, but aptly qualifying them by explanation. I think he acquitted himself perfectly well with this latest one.

All FOSS users and developers have personal motive for their actions. I'm a Linux and LinuxMCE user. LinuxMCE scratches my itch for a home automation and integration solution (didn't at first, as the developers tend to be a "hard" bunch,... hardcore coders, head down, RTFM types,... & don't dare disagree with their vision). My goal there is a home that senses my presence, knows what to do when I get home, helps me organize my (and my family's) life (lives), and integrates communication and scheduling and navigation, and also provides the home entertainment. My itch is best scratched by the project, and my interest and future contribution can help shape it toward my vision of what I want (And don't lie,... YOU want it too, you might deny it though). So, Linus's explanation is fitting with the reality.

Linus designed a framework when he started the Linux kernel project. It's flexible, scalable, and can be bent towards the users' and developers' wills... It satisfied their selfishness by giving them their framework, and was altruistic in that it forced them to give back (due to the GPL 2 license). Linux can give everyone a little something. I often thought about M$ with regard to this... They wasted an opportunity to use Linux as their kernel, but build their own proprietary services on top. Instead, they reinvented the wheel (and badly, I might add). If they had built Windows on top of Linux, like Apple built on BSD, they could have contributed and profited at the same time. Essentially, what Linus has described is Game Theory... Linux functions according to Game Theory's principles, M$ acts contrary and everyone loses.

Jun 15, 2012
11:09 AM EDT
Well, we have two threads with two different opinions and I'm on this one. I think Linus is a pragmatic kind of guy instead of a very idealistic one, which fuels his assumption that it is for "selfish" reasons and not for idealistic ones. There's nothing pejorative in his use of the word - just an indication of the direction of where the need to make this software came from. He's very consistent in this way.

Carla, however, has a track record that isn't as consistent. When her buddy Bruce Byfield called FOSS developers "tin hat lunatics" she was very silent. When sexism in FOSS came along she accused all non-female developers to be "sexist" - otherwise there would be more female developers, shouldn't it? So it had to be a vast majority. Then she wanted to hug FOSS developers (yuk!) and now she jumps up the barricades to defend all developers that "were insulted". What is it, Carla? Or is FOSS comprised of non-selfish, female developers and are all others "faux community members". Well, that not only reduces the community considerably, if that is true I even tend to agree with her.

Jun 15, 2012
11:33 AM EDT
Axe meet thy grinder.

Jun 15, 2012
10:47 PM EDT
What it is, the Beez, is you are mental with a sick obsession. You made it personal, you kept it personal, and I think it's about time that the nice LXer editors banned your sorry butt. Ignoring you has not worked, and I am tired of you infesting perfectly good discussions here. You've been ragging on me for over three years because I wrote about sexism in FOSS over three years ago, and you went into a ballistic tirade of denial and insane rantings.Three years you have sustained this loony crusade. Stop it.

Jun 16, 2012
5:55 AM EDT
@tuxchick You seem to suffer from the same paranoid delusions Bruce Byfield once had with Sam Varghese and me. It's simply not true, just look at the statistics. And more disturbing, you seem to want to silence everyone that speaks inconvenient truths about your behavior and work. Because everything I wrote concerning your behavior (it is all about behavior, isn't it, Carla) can easily be verified. I'm not impressed by your threats, because I have a high esteem of the people working at LXer and I would be very disappointed if that trust and esteem would prove to be misplaced. You don't seem to understand (like Bruce ironically enough) that writing an opinion piece is taking a side and when you do take sides, you're bound to have criticism, regardless how much or how little. That's how it is and you'd better be aware of that. For more information, see http://thebeezspeaks.blogspot.nl/2010/01/of-ripples-in-pond.... And frankly, your comment above, like some in the past, are not only unworthy for a serious journalist, they border on "ad hominem" attacks.

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