24 May 2002 kholmes   » (Journeyer)

Well...I'm playing with emacs again. Its not the editor I like but its potential that fascinates me. And Lisp, by many opinions I've read online, is the subjectively best programminig language out there. I guess Paul Graham's advocacy did me in. Still looking to order ANSI Common Lisp when I get the money together.

But personally, I'd like an editor with a bit more eyecandy.

In response to this diary thread that I seemed to have picked up on, there is something I've been wanting to say for a while about the what you may say is the "Linus Torvald's philosophy" which I don't really consider a philosophy.

One thing that has always bothered me about getting into technology was how people involved with technology were seen by others. Its not the perception that bothered me-- what concerned me was how much reality there was behind it. The perception is that technologists are the pawns of society while someone else leads the show. As someone who has deep value for my independence and autonomy, this bothers me.

So what do I see when investigate this "Linux" thing? I see a movement of software lead by a large collaborative group of hackers. And it almost seems that this movement has a motive--a real goal.

On further inspection, it turns out there are two barely compatible sides of this community of hackers. One side, the Open Source Movement tries its best to be as accomidating as possible to the needs of society. Success is measured in popularity. The point is to legitimize the "hacker culture" to the popular media.

The other side is called the Free Software Movement. This is a social movement that works toward a goal--an ideal of ethics and freedom with regards to software.

So it should be obvious which side I take seriously. And everytime I hear a programmer say that software is only a tool, I see someone who has accepted their position as a tool of society. Since if their only goal with what they create is to be well used and to amuse themselves, then what other purpose can they serve?

And thats why I don't regard Linus Torvalds as highly as many people do. He tells us to write software to amuse ourselves, not for any more lofty goal. He wrote a popular kernal and has had his face on Forbes magazine. These things don't matter to me. And he even offends me at times when he says to us, more or less, that us technologists should be happy with the way things are. And if any of the many national governments or large corporations do anything we consider unethical or wrong, that leaves us left to making fun of them on slashdot or on internet mailing list. Because thats the fun thing to do. At least thats my interpretation of some of his public comments.

Now, I don't mean any disrespect on Linus Torvalds. But some people are so public that it is very difficult to not have an opinion on them. This is my opinion.

I promise...I won't speak any more on this subject since it is well used up. On other notes, I am still trying to figure out what the various orbital elements mean. I think I might go major in Astronomy rather than CS since it seems to have a lighter course load. Although I consider myself intelligent, it seems I have a difficult time staying on task. Now I just need to find a school....

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