He's back, after some illness in his family. And I'm very happy all is well, and here's the next chapter in Dr. Salus' book, The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin. Earlier chapters are here.
The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin
~ by Dr. Peter H. Salus
Chapter 24: The Documents of Freedom
Richard Stallman wrote The GNU Manifesto in 1984. As I
said in Chapter 12, "it marks the true beginning of the GNU Project."
One part of the Manifesto, "Why I must write GNU," has been a
"favorite" of mine for over twenty years. Let me quote it again.
I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a program
I must share it with other people who like it. Software sellers want to
divide the users and conquer them, making each user agree not to share
with others. I refuse to break solidarity with other users in
this way. I cannot in good conscience sign a nondisclosure agreement
or a software license agreement. For years I worked within the
Artificial Intelligence Lab to resist such tendencies and other
inhospitalities, but eventually they had gone too far. I could
not remain in an institution where such things are done for me against
So that I can continue to use computers without dishonor, I have
decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that
I will be able to get along without any software that is not free.
I have resigned from the AI lab to deny MIT any legal excuse to
prevent me from giving GNU away.
The various GNU tools were a success: the FSF's versions of
AWK, the C compiler, Emacs, yacc (-> Bison), etc., were used
widely. With the advent of Linux, "free" software took
But 40 years earlier, Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) had published
Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942; 2nd Ed.,
1944; 3rd Ed., 1950) in which he coined the phrase "creative
destruction." Schumpeter felt that capitalism would not
survive, not because it would be overthrown by a Marxist
proletariat, but because it would be destroyed by its
successes. He believed that capitalism would give rise to a
large intellectual class that subsisted by attacking the
bourgeois system of private property and freedom which were
necessary for the class's existence.
Schumpeter lauded the entrepreneur, who figures out how to
use inventions, who introduces new means of production, and
new forms of organization. It is innovation by the entrepreneur,
he claimed, which leads to "creative destruction" as old
inventories, ideas, technologies, skills become obsolete.
The growth of an IT-driven society has resulted in a world-wide
intellectual class (Brazil, Chile, China, and India are good
examples outside of Europe and North America). Globalization
and outsourcing are obsoleting the fixed industrial plant and
local labor employment practices of 1800-1960.
And FLOSS has become the force that drives the "gales" of
creative destruction today.
Among those who realized that FLOSS was a disruptive technology
were Eric Raymond and "Doc" Searls. While there are many other
authors and books, I will use them as my victims.
In chapter 23 I wrote:
By the end of 1997, Eric Raymond had delivered "The Cathedral
and the Bazaar" at least twice: at Linux Kongress in May and
at the Perl Conference in November. It appeared on First
Monday online in 1998, on paper in Matrix News in three
installments (June, July and August 1998), and in book form in 1999.
In 1994, Linux Journal appeared. Produced by Bob
Young and Phil Hughes, the first two issues were simple
two-color print jobs, but it soon became a multicolor slick.
After the second issue, Hughes was alone. Young went on to
But there was now a serious organ for Linux and for GNU tools.
But let me return to Raymond.
As I have read it for nearly a decade, the point of Raymond's
metaphor is that centralized design (the cathedral -- the
unitary, proprietary, corporate method) is an ineffective,
inflexible method when compared with the efficacy of the open
source process (the bazaar of a multiplicity of vendors).
The bazaar is an open market where all are free to evaluate
the merchandise (software) and decide to use or improve it. The
cathedral refers to closed, proprietary structure (programming
where the software is kept pure of outside influences, developed by
a small team, usually with a hierarchical organization.)
Where proprietary software is concerned, a small team's production
tends to be buggy and frequently does not correspond to the
(potential) customer's expectations, wishes or needs. Open
software is produced in (semi-)public, is exposed to examination
and (frequently) destructive testing by thousands of pairs of
eyes, encourages access, and thereby generally supplies precisely
what is needed.
Freely redistributable software with accessible code means
that a company or an individual with special needs or unique
hardware can adjust, adapt or extend the software to suit those
requirements. With proprietary code, a request can be made, but
if you aren't a valued customer, your needs may remain unfilled.
"Doc" Searls spent years as a high tech marketer and has been
Senior Editor of Linux Journal for a decade. Together
with Chris Locke, Rick Levine, and David Weinberger, he
composed and posted 95 theses on a web site (www.cluetrain.com)
The essays in The Cluetrain Manifesto are important:
but they are repetitious, as are the theses. Nonetheless,
they are worth reading, and the first two theses are of
Pause a moment to consider just how important these are.
How many times have you answered the phone to find someone
you don't know calling you by your first name? And it may
not be what you are usually called. Sales/marketing folk
appear to think that this opens up their campaign. I
hang up on them.
- Markets are conversations.
- Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
In the market place, the agora, Raymond's bazaar, one
engages in conversations -- walking to a specific stall or
shop, greeting the vendor or clerk, discussing and selecting
the merchandise, paying and receiving. Real conversations;
Among many things, The Cluetrain Manifesto suggests
that the strategem that usually accompanies buying and selling
should be replaced by a true attempt at satisfying the needs,
wants and desires of those on both sides of the equation.
Despite their long digressions, the authors occasionally succeed
in making solid, clever points that reveal fundamental flaws in
the structure of traditional businesses. Consider this comment
about business hierarchies: "First they assume--along with Ayn
Rand and poorly socialized adolescents--that the fundamental unit
of life is the individual. This despite the evidence of our senses
that individuals only emerge from groups."
Their Sixth Thesis counsels "The Internet is enabling conversations
among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass
media," then business is warned by the Seventh Thesis: "Hyperlinks
destroy hierarchy." Hierarchies rank people and restrict information
flow because information access is a function of rank. Hyperlinks
democratize information flow, nullifying the main offensive weapon
that hierarchies depend on to remain hierarchies. (This is, of course,
what governments are beginning to discover: the Internet is an
anarchy machine. Information is a destabilizing force.)
Most leaders in Old Economy hierarchies see the Internet as just a
new product distribution channel (effectively, both amazon.com and
eBay are examples of this). They don't realize that the Internet
is a new conversation channel that greatly amplifies the voices in
the marketplace (blogs like Daily Kos and Groklaw are examples of
this). Cluetrain's First Thesis states, "Markets are conversations."
Chapter 4 of The Cluetrain Manifesto, by Searls and Weinberger,
is an excellent exposition of how today's businesses "have to figure
out how to enter this global conversation rather than relying on the
old marketing techniques of public relations, marketing communications,
advertising, and other forms of propaganda. We don't want
messages at all, we want to speak with your business in a
1The "95 theses" were a specific allusion to the
95 Theses which Martin Luther posted (!) on October 31, 1517,
which condemned "greed and worldliness," among other things.
Pope Leo X dismissed him as "a drunken German."
Dr. Salus is the author of "A Quarter Century of UNIX" (which you can obtain here, here, here and here) and several other books, including "HPL: Little Languages and Tools", "Big Book of Ipv6 Addressing Rfcs", "Handbook of Programming Languages (HPL): Imperative Programming Languages", "Casting the Net: From ARPANET to INTERNET and Beyond", and "The Handbook of Programming Languages (HPL): Functional, Concurrent and Logic Programming Languages". There is an interview with him, audio and video,"codebytes: A History of UNIX and UNIX Licences" which was done in 2001 at a USENIX conference. Dr. Salus has served as Executive Director of the USENIX Association.
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