FSF Violating the GPL?

by Leonard Richardson

Published on segfault.org 05/14/2000

Tempers flared today as online news sources reported a vague rumor that a shady organization known as "The Free Software Foundation" was in violation of the holy GPL.

"I was having trouble finding the bison source on the FSF server," said noted rabble-rouser Frederick Lee. "Clearly, this could mean only one thing: these disgraceful parasites were seeking to get a free ride on the backs of the free software community by failing to distribute their modifications to GPLed software."

When asked if he had looked in the /gnu/bison directory on ftp.gnu.org, Lee said "Uh... yes.", and declined further comment.

"This is an outrage!", said one poster who was evidently outraged. "You can rest assured that I will never buy bison from this company again!"

The poster later admitted that he had no money and had never paid for a piece of software in his life. He also thought that bison was an MP3 player.

This man's reaction was typical: discussion boards across the Internet today raged with anti-FSF slander and questions on avoiding shift-reduce conflicts.

"Free software is about modifying software," said an unrepentant Richard Stallman, sinister president of the FSF. "And what better way to promote the modification of software than to not make your modifications avaliable to others?"

(Full disclosure: We were too lazy to try and get in touch with Richard Stallman, so we just made up that quote to fit the article. We figured we could do that and then slap on a "Full disclosure" note to make it all better, just like those "Microsoft is a partner in MSNBC" full disclosure notes.)

As the saga unfolds, online journalists of all stripes are wrestling with one ponderous question: "How fast can we get this story out?" The cutting of corners this entails may lead of course to some inaccuracies in reporting, but these can always be corrected later or simply ignored altogether.

And what of Lee? "I've been elected president of the newly-formed Copyleft Licensing Vigilance Committee. We find out who's not releasing their modifications and we go throw eggs at their house and stuff. Right now I've got my eye on those Debian bastards."


This document (source) is part of Crummy, the webspace of Leonard Richardson (contact information). It was last modified on Wednesday, January 24 2007, 01:51:23 Nowhere Standard Time and last built on Wednesday, August 27 2014, 10:00:05 Nowhere Standard Time.

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