[Discuss] Free Hardware

Nancy Ouyang nancy.ouyang at gmail.com
Fri Mar 20 11:48:44 UTC 2015

1) Hmph, well I'm kind of an optimistic person, so I'll reach out to rms

2) I respect rms for his contributions to the related but distinct free
software movement that inspires oshw, but i am absolutely going to
criticize him for not doing his research when he is branching out to
another field (albeit one inspired by his work).

i have reached the opposite conclusion form you (wouter). if jane doe off
the street wrote an article in Wired about "free hardware", we could
actually afford to be a bit more gentle and willing to believe the best of
her and reach out to her privately. But when it's a famous / self-confident
person, it's actually more okay to be openly and publicly critical since
they presumably will welcome updating their understanding instead of
withdrawing under criticism -- something along the lines of knowing to not
take personally when "the best way to get an answer on the internet is to
post a wrong one".

Ideally, it'd be tailored to the person, since people interpret things
depending on their own life stories and their various levels of
self-confidence, and there are absolute thresholds, like it's never okay to
send someone death or rape threats, and it's generally bad to criticize a
person's character instead of his actions. But I am 99.999999% sure rms is
not going to end up in tears because some no-name person (me) called him a
crank or a jerk (which, admittedly, is not Best Practices, but sometimes
happens when I feel particularly batpoop angry and aggressive) and
especially not that I told him to show he did his research.

3) Actually, since rms uses the term "we" in the article, maybe we need to
reach out to FSF in addition to Wired. Does OSHWA talk to FSF?

4) p.s. err, wouter & folks, i'd prefer if you stopped using the vague
'some' and just called me out if that's what you intended... personally,
i'm not going to hate you for calling me out, but it's hard to respond to
vaguely directed criticism

narwhaledu.com, educational robots <http://gfycat.com/ExcitableLeanAkitainu>
 [[<(._.)>]] my personal blog <http://www.orangenarwhals.com>,
arvados.org (open source software for provenance, reproducing, and scaling
your analyses)

On Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 6:38 AM, Wouter Tebbens <wouter at freeknowledge.eu>

> On 03/19/2015 06:12 PM, Matt Maier wrote:
> > They're giving him airtime because he's Richard Stallman
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Stallman
> >
> > He started GNU, the concept of copyleft, and the Free Software
> > Foundation.
> Exactly, for those great contributions he merits a little more
> respectful treatment than some give him on this list.
> > He talks a lot about the distinction between free software
> > and open source software, and his argument that free software is a moral
> > imperative. Every now and then people ask him to extend his argument to
> > hardware and this article is interesting because it looks like his
> > perspective has evolved a bit.
> We don't need to exactly agree with RMS's view and way of putting
> things, but it sure does help to keep clear where the open movement
> comes from, and that from an outside perspective, be it free/libre or
> open, we all advocate for commons-based peer produced forms of
> knowledge, in our case of hardware designs. That's our shared vision,
> and even if we can dispute about it, Richard is part of that vision, for
> many many years already.
> Of course the morale/ethics perspective is harder to accept for many,
> and focusing on the pragmatic side of having designs that allow people
> to use, make, modify, distribute and sell is very valuable as well, and
> more easily accepted in general. At the end, maybe it is two sides of
> the same coin.
> But I think it is very valuable that we have people like Richard
> insisting on the ethical side. At the end adoption in part depends on
> people valuing the ethical in combination with the pragmatical. Take
> renewable energy, early adopters mainly cared about a sustainable
> future, even if that would cost them money and time to solve
> impracticalities (that was for ethical reasons mainly). Now it is going
> mainstream and people adopt it (also) for economic reasons (pragmatical).
> >
> > It seems unlikely that he'd reach out to the open source hardware
> > community because he doesn't think open source hardware is really
> > relevant to what he's doing (free software).
> Richard wasn't happy when people rebranded Free Software into Open
> Source Software and has fought about this for years. He will always take
> the opportunity to clarify why he disagrees with the term "open source"
> and why he values "freedom" as defining criterion. For many people new
> to this discussion, that provides insights. For others who already have
> heard it, it may be tiring. But take him for who he is and don't try to
> convince him of adopting the OSHW term, that won't work ;-)
> best,
> Wouter
> >
> > On Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 9:52 AM, Nancy Ouyang <nancy.ouyang at gmail.com
> > <mailto:nancy.ouyang at gmail.com>> wrote:
> >
> >     Why... why is WIRED giving airtime to this rms crank who can't even
> >     be bothered to reach out to the entire open source hardware
> >     community on this list (prior art, please) or mention the hard work
> >     done by OSHWA / Alicia Gibbs / other folks?
> >
> >     --Nancy, semi-seriously, I realize rms is a Big Deal, but really?
> >     Wired is going to promulgate rms on this "free hardware" term when
> >     we've already standardized around open source hardware? I hope at
> >     least this wasn't published in the print magazine, or else I'm going
> >     to start picking a fight with rms and that's going to be a drastic
> >     waste of everyone's time, lol.
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > discuss at lists.oshwa.org
> > http://lists.oshwa.org/listinfo/discuss
> >
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