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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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  • 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 1 of 18 , Apr 13 10:44 AM
      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 2 of 18 , Apr 13 1:06 PM
        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 3 of 18 , Apr 13 2:59 PM
          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 4 of 18 , Apr 14 12:29 PM
            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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