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Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme

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  • Tzahi Fadida
    ... Don t confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those ideas. His
    Message 1 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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      On Friday 13 April 2007 10:52:19 Shlomi Fish wrote:
      > Are you kidding? Linus had a huge effect. A lot of what he says has been
      > very influential. He's often being quoted. He is a wonderful humourist and
      > has provided a lot of balance to free software by not holding the radical
      > opinions that RMS does. And he projected the project of writing the Linux
      > kernel which is currently the most advanced open-source kernel and the one
      > used by the most popular free software OS.
      >
      > From reading Linus, I think he's both extremely intelligent and extremely
      > wise. RMS, OTOH is very idealistic, very stubborn and completely unable to
      > distiniguish between the two. I often found value in what RMS said, but I
      > believe I usually agree with what Linus or other people like Tim O'Reilly
      > say more.

      Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus
      may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those ideas. His
      influence thus, is more of spreading the word instead of inventing the word,
      which is what RMS did/does. Even now, i hear that for GPLv3 he had more
      reservations than any ideas.

      --
      Regards,
              Tzahi.
      --
      Tzahi Fadida
      Blog: http://tzahi.blogsite.org | Home Site: http://tzahi.webhop.info
      WARNING TO SPAMMERS:  see at
      http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
    • Muli Ben-Yehuda
      ... So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and he s a great
      Message 2 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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        On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:

        > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus
        > may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those
        > ideas.

        So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
        where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
        he's a great implementor.

        > His influence thus, is more of spreading the word instead of
        > inventing the word, which is what RMS did/does. Even now, i hear
        > that for GPLv3 he had more reservations than any ideas.

        Same question.

        Cheers,
        Muli
      • Nadav Har'El
        ... My original point (before Shlomi replied and Tzahi s replied to it) was that while Linus is a gifted engineer (which you split into two kinds of gifts,
        Message 3 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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          On Fri, Apr 13, 2007, Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm] [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
          > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
          >
          > > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge, linus
          > > may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those
          > > ideas.
          >
          > So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
          > where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
          > he's a great implementor.

          My original point (before Shlomi replied and Tzahi's replied to it) was
          that while Linus is a gifted engineer (which you split into two kinds
          of gifts, "design" and "implemtation"), he spent and still spends most of
          his time on engineering, and a minority of his time (although of course not
          zero) "philosophizing" on free software licenses and their social effects,
          on the effects of patents on innovation, on expanding free software's
          philosophy to other areas of intellectual property (text, music, etc.) and
          other areas of life in general, and so on.

          Not spending most of his time philosophizing doesn't say anything bad about
          Linus (some may even say it's a *good* thing!) but I think it can hardly be
          denied.

          On the other hand, there are people in the free software world that *do*
          spend most of their time philosophizing, theorizing, and writing texts - not
          software. This includes Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond (ESR), and a bunch of
          others, many of them not (yet?) famous. There are even groups trying to work
          together on free software philosophy, like the german Okenux, trying (in very
          broad terms, that may do them an injustice) to somehow combine the best ideas
          of marxism and free software.

          I've heard more than once remarks like "Who's that Eric Raymond guy, and
          what did he do - write the measly Fetchmail application?", or "Who's that
          Richard Stallman, and what right does he have to preach to us after he wrote
          a lousy editor 20 years ago". Ignoring the inaccuracy of these "facts" for
          a moment, the important point is that these "philosophers" (or theorisers,
          writers, bloggers, or whatever you want to call them) really wrote less
          free software in the last decade than other people (like Linus). This is
          because they spent most of their time on free software philosophy. It doesn't
          make their ideas any less valid. Sometimes, it makes their ideas even more
          worth listening to because their ideas have been well-researched, well-
          thought out, and well written.

          Of course, not everybody that has a lot of free time and writes something
          is worth listening to. Hitler's book (and again, I hope I'm not invoking
          Godwin's law ;-)) was written while he was in jail, and had a lot of time
          to think on his hatred to Jews and come up with all sorts of insane theories
          and plans. This is why peer review and hind-sight by the next generations is
          important in philosophy, as in any other academic field. Kant (just to use
          an example given by Shlomi) is remembered today not because of some arbitrary
          reason, but because his peers and successors thought that his theories were
          interesting, important, and that we have something to learn from them, even
          if not all of them are considered 100% correct. Just like Newton's is still
          considered important to learn, even though later generations found that in
          many cases, his laws aren't actually correct, and have been ammended by
          relativity, quantum physics, and so on.

          --
          Nadav Har'El | Friday, Apr 13 2007, 26 Nisan 5767
          nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
          Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |Those who beat their swords into
          http://nadav.harel.org.il |plowshares will plow for those who don't.
        • Tzahi Fadida
          ... We are referring here to FOSS philosophy, not to coding (either code design or code implementation). If there are projects of FOSS philosophy i am not
          Message 4 of 18 , Apr 13, 2007
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            On Friday 13 April 2007 21:36:16 Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote:
            > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
            > > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my knowledge,
            > > linus may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not invent those
            > > ideas.
            >
            > So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
            > where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
            > he's a great implementor.

            We are referring here to FOSS philosophy, not to coding (either code design or
            code implementation). If there are projects of FOSS philosophy i am not aware
            off, i will take my comments back. Till then...

            > > His influence thus, is more of spreading the word instead of
            > > inventing the word, which is what RMS did/does. Even now, i hear
            > > that for GPLv3 he had more reservations than any ideas.
            >
            > Same question.

            Same answer.


            --
            Regards,
                    Tzahi.
            --
            Tzahi Fadida
            Blog: http://tzahi.blogsite.org | Home Site: http://tzahi.webhop.info
            WARNING TO SPAMMERS:  see at
            http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
          • Shlomi Fish
            ... [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on ... That may be true. ... Right. ... Well, this is a generalisation, which is not quite accurate.
            Message 5 of 18 , Apr 14, 2007
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              On Friday 13 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
              > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007, Muli Ben-Yehuda wrote about "Re: [Israel.pm]
              [hackers-il] Mission Statement for a New Company based on
              Voluntarism-taken-to-Extreme":
              > > On Fri, Apr 13, 2007 at 11:44:58AM +0300, Tzahi Fadida wrote:
              > > > Don't confuse implementation and design :). To the best of my
              > > > knowledge, linus may have implemented many ideas in FOSS but did not
              > > > invent those ideas.
              > >
              > > So, how many projects have you worked on with Linus? Because from
              > > where I stand, Linus is a far better designer than implementor, and
              > > he's a great implementor.
              >
              > My original point (before Shlomi replied and Tzahi's replied to it) was
              > that while Linus is a gifted engineer (which you split into two kinds
              > of gifts, "design" and "implemtation"), he spent and still spends most of
              > his time on engineering, and a minority of his time (although of course not
              > zero) "philosophizing" on free software licenses and their social effects,
              > on the effects of patents on innovation, on expanding free software's
              > philosophy to other areas of intellectual property (text, music, etc.) and
              > other areas of life in general, and so on.

              That may be true.

              >
              > Not spending most of his time philosophizing doesn't say anything bad about
              > Linus (some may even say it's a *good* thing!) but I think it can hardly be
              > denied.

              Right.

              >
              > On the other hand, there are people in the free software world that *do*
              > spend most of their time philosophizing, theorizing, and writing texts -
              > not software. This includes Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond (ESR), and a
              > bunch of others, many of them not (yet?) famous.

              Well, this is a generalisation, which is not quite accurate. ESR still spends
              a large amount of his time writing code - he recently wrote bogofilter for
              example, and many other things. RMS cannot write code due to strain injury
              (see http://geekz.co.uk/lovesraymond/archive/hacking-for-christ ). However,
              he still spends a large amount of his time doing: working on the GPLv3 and
              other licences (GFDL, etc.), writing essays, travelling and giving
              presentations, etc.

              Consider this quote by Richard P. Feynman from his excellent book "Surely
              you're Joking, Mr. Feynman":

              http://www.pitt.edu/~druzdzel/feynman.html

              <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
              I don't believe I can really do without teaching. The reason is, I have to
              have something so that when I don't have any ideas and I'm not getting
              anywhere I can say to myself, "At least I'm living; at least I'm doing
              something; I am making some contribution" -- it's just psychological.

              When I was at Princeton in the 1940s I could see what happened to those great
              minds at the Institute for Advanced Study, who had been specially selected
              for their tremendous brains and were now given this opportunity to sit in
              this lovely house by the woods there, with no classes to teach, with no
              obligations whatsoever. These poor bastards could now sit and think clearly
              all by themselves, OK? So they don't get any ideas for a while: They have
              every opportunity to do something, and they are not getting any ideas. I
              believe that in a situation like this a kind of guilt or depression worms
              inside of you, and you begin to worry about not getting any ideas. And
              nothing happens. Still no ideas come.

              Nothing happens because there's not enough real activity and challenge: You're
              not in contact with the experimental guys. You don't have to think how to
              answer questions from the students. Nothing!
              >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

              While this quote is a bit wrong-headed - it illustrates a point. As I'm saying
              here - http://xrl.us/vrek - there are several levels of learning:

              * Level 1 - Learning.

              * Level 2 - Experimenting.

              * Level 3 - Teaching.

              * Possible Level 4 - Science or Philosophy. (Possibly included in Level 3)

              Now you need to learn something before you can experiment with it, and you
              need to experiment with something before you can teach it. However, you
              cannot just sit idly on day thinking - this is unproductive.

              I believe I'm now spending a minority of my time coding. Most of
              my "productive" time is spent writing essays, important emails (like this),
              blog entries, etc. But I also get a lot of inspiration and insights from
              learning or experiencing with new technologies, etc. I must if I want to be
              good.

              Nadav, the obscure philosopher you've quoted was wrong. While it is possible
              that my philosophical essays will not be taught in philosophical courses
              soon, it does not mean it is invalid or bad or not innovative. Most B.A.
              Philosophy corriculums don't cover Ayn Rand either, and I found her
              philosophy incredibly original and highly enlightening. And all her books
              were huge best-sellers, and have directly influenced a great deal of
              Americans and other people.

              > There are even groups
              > trying to work together on free software philosophy, like the german
              > Okenux, trying (in very broad terms, that may do them an injustice) to
              > somehow combine the best ideas of marxism and free software.
              >
              > I've heard more than once remarks like "Who's that Eric Raymond guy, and
              > what did he do - write the measly Fetchmail application?", or "Who's that
              > Richard Stallman, and what right does he have to preach to us after he
              > wrote a lousy editor 20 years ago". Ignoring the inaccuracy of these
              > "facts" for a moment, the important point is that these "philosophers" (or
              > theorisers, writers, bloggers, or whatever you want to call them) really
              > wrote less free software in the last decade than other people (like Linus).
              > This is because they spent most of their time on free software philosophy.
              > It doesn't make their ideas any less valid. Sometimes, it makes their ideas
              > even more worth listening to because their ideas have been well-researched,
              > well- thought out, and well written.

              I feel that I've written less code lately, and instead wrote more philosophy.
              That's what I feel I'm better at. However, I still have to write some code
              and be productive in this regard, or else I'll lose my edge.

              >
              > Of course, not everybody that has a lot of free time and writes something
              > is worth listening to. Hitler's book (and again, I hope I'm not invoking
              > Godwin's law ;-))

              No, it does not.

              > was written while he was in jail, and had a lot of time
              > to think on his hatred to Jews and come up with all sorts of insane
              > theories and plans. This is why peer review and hind-sight by the next
              > generations is important in philosophy, as in any other academic field.
              > Kant (just to use an example given by Shlomi) is remembered today not
              > because of some arbitrary reason, but because his peers and successors
              > thought that his theories were interesting, important, and that we have
              > something to learn from them, even if not all of them are considered 100%
              > correct. Just like Newton's is still considered important to learn, even
              > though later generations found that in many cases, his laws aren't actually
              > correct, and have been ammended by relativity, quantum physics, and so on.

              Well, it is important not to take anything for granted. I used to find a lot
              of value in Marx' theory, but then after reading Neo-Tech, and other
              Objectivist writing, and taking the time to digest it, found Marxism to be
              more and more stupid, and can actually prove it.

              As you may well know, there are many ways of explicit or implicit censorship:
              state-governed censorship (Modern day China, the Communism in Eastern
              Europe), abusive laws such as the DMCA, or copyright takedown notices etc.
              All of these prevent the proper growth and expansion of knowledge:

              http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

              Regards,

              Shlomi Fish

              ---------------------------------------------------------------------
              Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
              Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

              If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
              one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
              -- An Israeli Linuxer
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