Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Opensource revolution: a map for good!

A dozen of free software personalities were gathered today in Marne-la-Vallée, near Paris, for a little mediatized meeting. The meeting took place in a little pub called "Billy Bob's". Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond, Linus Torvalds could be seen there, and there have been rumors about other personalities such as Alan Cox, Vincent-Xavier Jumel, Bruce Perens, the billionaire Mark Shuttleworth or even Andrew Tanenbaum.

The object of the meeting was to make a planning for managed discussions to settle all of the main ideological problems of the free software offer. Of course the first question was to draw a list of these problems. After easy jokes on the choice of VI or EMACS, the hackers (in the good meaning of the term) decided that a short list would be better, and that new items would be added up to this list if the meetings proved successful. They agreed on the following points:

  • Settle for a common communication around the issues of dual license and mixt products [auth: such as MySQL]. The various typical reactions of the GPL defenders should be limited so as not to lessen the progress made by these products that are, all in all, positive for free software.
  • Decide of milestones to generalize binary compatibility between all Linux distributions, FreeBSD and OpenBSD. (To non-technical readers, this means that a program compiled for one of the systems should work on the other.) [auth: I wonder if Andrew Tanenbaum's Minix is in the intended target ^^]
  • Update the Linux Standard Base to recommend the use of APT rather than RPM.
  • Decide of a weapon of embargo against constructors of videocards and other hardware that don't release opensource drivers.
  • Possibly include a Window Manager in the Linux Standard Base recommendation. [auth: this point was very debatted.]
This project, codenamed Opensource Map For Good (OMFG), is great news for all the users of free desktops. Linus Torvalds himself accepted to become the manager of this series of meetings. He said the complete report would be available on Monday. Let's wish them all good luck!