[tor-talk] (maybe OT:) Dispute between RMS and WK on License Change for the GPH

Sean Lynch seanl at literati.org
Mon Nov 25 23:13:49 UTC 2013

On Sat, Nov 23 2013, to_delete wrote:

> Hi,
> This is a bit OT, but it might be of interest here, too.
> I don't know whether you follow the GnuPG mailing lists, but in case you
> missed it: there has been a dispute between Richard Stallman and Werner
> Koch on a license change for the GNU Privacy Handbook (GPH).
>> http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/gnupg/doc/63276?page=last
> I don't know them personally, but usually their wording in the mailing
> lists is much more balanced; however in this case, there's been things
> said that make me very concerned about the future of GnuPG, like
>> Werner:
>> I have always spoken out in favor of the GNU project - maybe now is
>> the time to reconsider.
> Currently it seems that the discussion has stopped without solution (or
> maybe the "solution" to rewrite the documentation from scratch. IMHO not
> a real solution).
> To me, GnuPG is a key infrastructure component (same as Tor and the GNU
> Project) and it makes me concerned, that RMS and WK seem to have a
> personal conflict (as the arguments very quickly rose to a personal level).
> What do you think on that situation? Is there a possibility to bring
> them back to the round table, or otherwise solve the problem?
> I don't want to post this on the GnuPG list, as it could look like
> voting for one side. Maybe, what I want to achieve is that people who
> are in closer contact with RMS/WK know about the issue and talk to them.
> Of course I didn't ask RMS nor WK whether they would accept (or need) a
> third party to mediate.
> Both sides have reasonable arguments for their positions and personally,
> I don't feel authorized enough to vote for one side.

RMS is a war general: great to have around for a fledgling movement
constantly under threat of destruction, but a liability after you've won
the war. Werner is right to consider breaking ties with the FSF, but
whichever way things go, I don't think GnuPG is under threat. And even
if it somehow went away, there are alternative implementations such as
NetPGP that have far less restrictive licenses, not to mention actually
being a LIBRARY instead of a monolithic command line tool.

RMS is an extremist and always has been. If anything, the success of the
free software movement has only hardened his views. I think it's a waste
of time to try to get him to negotiate. I say this even as an avid Emacs

Sean Richard Lynch <seanl at literati.org>

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