[TUHS] Happy birthday, Dennis Ritchie!

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Mon Sep 18 10:12:06 AEST 2017

On Sun, Sep 17, 2017 at 02:43:33PM -0400, Chet Ramey wrote:
> On 9/16/17 9:43 PM, Larry McVoy wrote:
> > I stand by my comment.  I'm friends with the Cygnus folks, they would
> > tend to agree with me I think.
> > 
> > All that stuff you listed, can you list the things that the GNU/FSF
> > people have funded?  Because I think there is close to nothing.  All of
> > that stuff is stuff that came under the GNU umbrella but they didn't do
> > the coding.
> Is that the only criterion? Whether or not someone got paid directly by
> the FSF to do something?  Because there are lots of tools that were
> originally written by people funded by the FSF and then handed off to
> people like me: volunteers who donate our effort.
> > 
> > I give credit to RMS for the GPL, that was cool.  But claiming credit
> > for stuff that GNU/FSF didn't do was not cool.
> Denigrating the work of volunteers who explicitly donated their effort
> and talent to the FSF is not cool.

OK, let's hit the reset button on this one.  I'm happy that the GNU
project exists, I benefit from it every day.  I am explicitly stating
that I appreciate all of the work that people have done as volunteers,
I'm one of them.

What I'm not a fan of is Stallman getting people to put stuff under the
GPL and then acting like he/FSF wrote the code.  He still claims credit
for GCC to this day and the Stallman GCC was *nothing* like a Ken C
compiler, it was junk.  Tiemann at Sun and then Cygnus, did the real work
to make that thing actually be a reasonable program.  Don't believe me?
Go find a pre-Tiemann GCC and try and compile any reasonable program
with it.  As someone else pointed out, emacs wasn't RMS, it was Gosling.
RMS has a track record of starting stuff, hijacking stuff, and claiming
credit.  That is what I don't like.  I like the GNU project just fine,
I'm not a fan of people claiming credit for stuff they didn't do.

I really soured on on RMS when the FSF took my ls -h/du -h code and
"rewrote" it so they would not have to give me credit.  That's pretty
petty.  He did it because he hated me because BitKeeper wasn't open source
enough for him and the kernel was using it.  So he wanted to scrub the
GNU source base of any of my contributions.  So I stopped contributing.

I'll leave you with a story from the Cygnus days, I was friends with
all three founders.  I was having dinner with Gumby and Michael and
we were discussing RMS.  It was RMS this, RMS that.  Gumby's wife is
German and at one point she says "OMG, you mean RMS!".  We say "yeah?"
She says all this time I thought you were saying "Our mess".  We paused,
replayed the conversation, and were sort of stunned that every sentence
made sense with "our mess".

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