GNOME: Split from GNU Project?

Dec 14, 2009

Richard Stallman's strong position against proprietary applications is butting heads with some members of the GNOME Foundation. A call to split with Stallman's GNU Project is being considered.

The project behind the GNOME free desktop has since its beginning in 1997 been part of the GNU Project. The project has had the goal since its founding by Stallman in 1983 to create a totally free operating system. However, the strong position taken by the project's vociferous founder may now lead GNOME to consider going its own way. In a posting on GNOME's mailing list, developer Philip Van Hoof recommends to foundation members that a vote be taken on splitting from the GNU Project. The reason is Stallman's stance that proprietary software should not be discussed in the lists and blogs that appear on Planet GNOME

Stallman was responding to GNOME's chief Stormy Peters: "...GNOME is part of the GNU Project, and it ought to support the free software movement. The most minimal support for the free software movement is to refrain from going directly against it; that is, to avoid presenting proprietary software as legitimate." Peters herself doesn't agree with Stallman's position, but is still willing to open it up to foundation members.

Van Hoof questions if Stallman's position is truly representative of GNOME's membership. He writes, "The way I see it is that most members want GNOME to stay out of that philosophic discussion" and wants to confirm this in a vote. He has already found support for his proposal and the rules seem to be clear: ten percent of the members need to agree to the voting.

Stallman had also run into conflict with the Gnome initiator and Novell coworker Miguel de Icaza. He had persistently criticized the work on Mono and the involvement of Microsoft in various projects.

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  • Will GNU project loose anything if GNOME splits?

    If GNOME splits from the GNU project, who will get to keep the GNOME name?

    The source code falls under the GNU GPL, so the GNU Project could simply get other developers to take over its fork of the source code.

    The GNU Project would not loose anything.
  • great post

    Thanks a lot for sharing the article on cash. That's a awesome article. I enjoyed the article a lot while reading. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful article.I want to say very thank you for this great informations. now i understand about it. Thank you !
  • Bruce Perens just called David "Lefty" Schlesinger both a crybaby and a liar!

    Bruce Perens just called out David "Lefty" Schlesinger :

    Perens called Lefty Schlesinger aka 'stonemirror' both a crybaby and a 'confabulator' ie a "liar":

    GNOME ponders its code of conduct

    Posted Dec 17, 2009 18:07 UTC (Thu) by BrucePerens (subscriber, #2510) [Link]

    I ran into Lefty at a community summit out here a while back, and his emotional state was really high. He explained his beef with RMS with a cry in his voice, I kid you not. When I was less than sympathetic, he practically ran out of the room in tears.

    Now, I am no stranger to getting emotional about things. But I’ve learned that it doesn’t generally help me win the argument.

    He really needs to focus on ACCESS, which, IMO, is a sinking ship. RMS isn’t the big problem in front of him.

    GNOME ponders its code of conduct

    Posted Dec 17, 2009 9:25 UTC (Thu) by kragil (subscriber, #34373) [Link]
    Yeah Lefty really does not get the FOSS community.

    It is just a fact that we have two groups, open source people that think open source is superior in many ways and the best development model and then we have free software people that will not use proprietary software for reasons RMS points out.
    Lefty hates free software people although they serve a very important purpose in our community.
    Who else is going to use and improve unfinished buggy and inferior software just because it is their believe that everything else is no option?
    When that software becomes featurefull and usable the OSS people will gladly use it, which is OK, but then don’t attack the free software people for their believe in free software.

    And besides I personally think he really is an unpleasant fella on a crusade and if PGO needs moderation it is his posts (which also include false anti Android propaganda and Access spam)

    GNOME ponders its code of conduct

    Posted Dec 17, 2009 12:06 UTC (Thu) by mjw (subscriber, #16740) [Link]
    He was hurt in the past and then turned into this anti-anti boycott person. Since then Lefty’s communications are precisely what the Gnome CoC says you shouldn’t do. “Be respectful and considerate, Be patient and generous, Assume people mean well, Try to be concise.” But say Respectful the rules, Free Software, FSF, GNU, etc. in front of him and he will explode.

    GNOME ponders its code of conduct

    Posted Dec 17, 2009 1:26 UTC (Thu) by BrucePerens (subscriber, #2510) [Link]
    Isn’t this just about Lefty’s anti-RMS jihad?
  • Icaza, Lefty - MS evangelists

    Icaza and Lefty... Lefty Schlesinger posted poll results and MS enthusiasts won. There's lobby against GPL and FSF at planet gnome and on Icaza blog, Schlesinger runs site.
  • The "Results"

    Planet Gnome has been informed that the little survey faction now has its results (from whoever completed the survey). The results and discussion speak for themselves:
  • Gnome - Good Riddance!

    De Icaza - one the founder of Gnome and its principal ideologue - has always been a mole inside the free software movement. I wouldn't be surprised if I discovered he's under direct orders of Redmond. To paraphrase Steve Ballmer, De Icaza "is a cancer" for FOSS.

    So, if he and his ilk leave GNU, GPL, FOSS, etc., etc., it will be a relief. They will be assuming in public their secret inclinations. I say: Gnome, fork yourself and let us work in peace for the common good.
  • To all Free Software Foundation Haters --- or will be Haters

    To every member in Gnome Project think that Gnome should split from GNU:
    Leave your Job title ... Leave it to another Freedom lover, there are many others around the world are ready to replace your Job in Gnome Project.
    There is absolutely no point ... and it's absolutely ridiculous ... and against FSF mind to present proprietary software as legitimate.
    If FSF didn't exist ... poor people can't know and learn computers. People here in Algeria Africa are strating to switch to GNU - Software Freedom instead of using Pirated Windows (even if you propose a legal MS-Windows with MS-Office ... Ext that cost XXXX$$ will be an illogical idea for the poor man who has to feed his family), I can see the change in my community, now they can buy hardware and install GNU/Linux - FreeBSD without being called Software Criminals.

    Like I said :

    FSF helped advancing the Software, the more people contribute the fast development and better software we get.

    My Congratulations, Thanks and respect to all of you that spent their own free time just to make this happening.

    Free World With Free Software
  • RMS is hero

    RMS has done nothing wrong. He just try to stop propreitary software from taking advantage on GNU project.
    Of course, many peoples wiCqll attack him due to conflict with their interest.
  • This is ridiculous.

    Like someone mentioned earlier, the comments by RMS are rather mild. Plus, he's right This is really getting blown out of proportion. Gnome is part of the GNU Project. If the team votes to split, then split. The GNU Project will survive.
  • Yessir

    A Marmoset -- the voice of reason.
  • coworker ?

    Who is coworker of Miguel ? I see no other people from Novell listed here
  • A disaster for Mono

    Don't believe it will ever happen. This is just another pick at GPL by undermining FSF through Stallman.

    IF it did happen:

    Won't take long until a fork is up'n running. Would be surprised if the majority of Gnome developers don't join the fork. Apart from the notable exemption of Novell and Mono devs naturally.

    A pure Novell Gnome is a complete waste to Microsoft. No buyout. No funds. 80% of the OpenSUSE community gone. Novell will go bust. Fast. And there is no need for 2 versions of Mono I'll guess? Or is it?

    So go ahead and dump GNU.

    Gnome without GNU is a place in Alaska: Nome.
  • Don't point fingers at wrong people

    This is much ado about nothing, and the article is misleading. Peters and de Icaza said nothing advocating splitting from GNU Project in the foundation-list thread in question. The reference to Stallman's and de Icaza's previous dust-up seems to have given the previous poster the misguided notion that they are involved in this. Any split was entirely proposed (unofficially and non-bindingly) by Philip van Hoof in reaction to a perceived attempt by RMS to control the content of pgo. He also said that he would not seek to bring an actual proposal to to the foundation, but would support anyone else who did. Only other person seriously entertaining the option was David "Lefty" Schlesinger. It's a long and convoluted thread that touches on a number of related and unrelated issues, but it shouldn't be that difficult to get the reporting right. Yes, there was debate over purpose of planet gnome over what should be considered "appropriate" content. No, there's no (as of yet) organized move to dissociate GNOME from the GNU project. Linux press is in tabloid mode in this tempest in a tea pot.
  • Stallman actually quite moderate

    Stallman's comments are actually quite mild - he only says it would be preferable not to see adverts on Planet Gnome. He does not suggest a prohibition, or state that they are evil. The (over)reaction to his comments is (yet another) incomprehensible example of hysterical self-harm within the open source community.

    I guess Peters and de Icaza have some deep-seated insecurities about their new proprietary masters.
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