Subject: Re: the walls have ears
From: "R. Brock Lynn" <>
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 06:23:17 -0500

Richard Stallman wrote:
>     RMS's theory is that people don't want to think about the issues he
>     brings up, and so they get pissed off when he insists on bringing them
>     up.

Sure, just like when the Catholic Church got pissed at the scientists who kept
unseating teachings of the Church due to scientific evidence. The earth goes
round the sun, the sun goes round the milky way galaxy, all the atoms that make
us up were produced in the core of a star that eventually went supernova... yada
yada, and good ol' Darwin really upset the Church with his ideas that living
matter evolves. Heh. Score one for reason, zero for blind faith.

And we all know where we will end up when the blind lead the blind... right into
a nasty ditch. ;^)

[Now if you are a believer in some kind of religion, I'm not against you holding
whatever belief you want, just let me be, and I'll let you be. And we'll coexist
peacefully. :]

Sometimes the truth is too much for weaklings to handle...

Just like Jack Nicholson said in "A Few Good Men":

(or something of a like manner :)

But basically it just boils down to:

Sometimes, positive change, and new better ideas aren't always accepted
graciously at first by all people. It takes time for the better ideas to "grow"
on people as they gradually ease into this new system. Some people are afraid of
new things, and new ways of doing things. But with a little education, and love,
we (the ones who understand the new ideas, and how they make more sense) can
educate those that are confused or afraid. Then once the people who were once
afraid and confused, are comfortable with the "new system" there's no telling
where the positive progress will stop. :)

If something makes sense, and stands up to reasoned scrutiny, then by darnit, it
just makes reasoned sense.

Read Cicero's "On Moral Duty" some time. Great work, that is.

> Actually I think that is just part of the reason.  There are others.
> I'm sure I do things that rub people the wrong way.

Hey, happens to the best of us. But don't worry, I can see right through a man
with a temper. I probably have a worse one, and one of my best pals of many
years have both of us beat. I have learned to look past a hot temper. :)

> My special
> abilities are in programming and determination, not in dealing with
> people.

Dealing with people can be funkitated, because you might be afraid of criticism,
I've been a loner for many years, but I finally got slammed hard by a japanese
gf (ex-gf now), at my birthday party no doubt, in front of partial friends that
all either sided with her, or were staying out of it, that made me realize how
important friendship really is, and it made me realize that I didn't really have
many of them, as I had no where to turn for moral support. It was like the cave
I was hiding out in finally collapsed in on me, but somehow I dug my way out. I
learned then and there, it was time to start making new friends, and opening my
arse up and communicating with people. I learned two valuable lessons out of it
all: 1) Friendship is the most important thing in life. 2) A stranger is but a
friend waiting to happen.

Cicero even agrees with me on the idea of friendship being the most important
thing in life. (actually he ends up saying many different things are the most
important things in life, but at least friendship made his top ten list, I guess
you could say. :)

> So people probably sometimes have this or that good reason to
> be unhappy with me.

Well, people can choose to be unhappy with your ideas and actions, or yourself.
If someone is unhappy directly about a person, and not his actions, or thoughts,
then phooey. There's something wrong with them. Beauty is in the eye of the
beholder... (or beer holder depending on who you ask... :) but a lump of living
matter is a lump of living matter, who's to say whether or not you can be happy
with it. You really can only say how happy or unhappy you are with what it does.

> However, this alone would not produce the amount
> of anger that we observe.

Uncontrolled Anger, no matter what the ultimate cause, is a reflection on the
person holding the anger that they do not have full reign over their emotions.
One must let reason control emotion. Emotion is good, but reason should be used
to direct that emotion to do good things. To right wrongs, to bring about
justice, harmony with nature, and the like. :)

Let's say there are two stove burners with just enough room to hold your hand
between them without touching them. Now you are blind folded and your hand is
put between them resting on the bottom one. When the mean person who has you in
this situation turns the power on, you start to feel a warm sensation on your
palm. Lets say it gets really hot really fast. WHAM! Your emotional instinct
says to jerk your hand up away from the heat source as soon as possible, but a
thinking man would control this and notice the sensation of heat on the back of
his hand, and move his hand away slowly so as to make a reasoned balance, in
spite of the very intense level of the burning sensation. If he follows
instinct, he will burn himself in two places, if he masters this emotional
reaction, and instead follows reason, he will only get burnt in one place.

> People focus on it because they have some
> other reason to want to criticize me.

Perhaps they are angry that they didn't think of your ideas first? :)

Perhaps you are "rocking their world"? :)

Perhaps you are providing a "rude awakening" that then causes them to have to
turn off the "auto-pilot" of their life, and actually causes them to THINK! Oh
my gosh! This Stallman feller is actually gonna cause me to have to think! Oh
MY! >;^)

Socrates called himself the "gadfly that made the whole horse twitch". Just
don't get within reach of the horses mouth. >;^)

Pretty soon we can have that horse galloping all over the place, doing figure
8's and everything... *evil grin* >;)

And it will benefit the horse too. He'll finally be getting that needed exercise
to keep it's heart in healthy condition!

> When people believe the popular picture of what the "Linux system"
> consists of and where it came from, they will tend to think that I am
> trying to "steal" credit for someone else's work when I point out the
> truth.

Nah. When I first heard the term GNU/Linux I kind of laughed. But I really
didn't realized how much of the complete system comes from the GNU project, and
the many different authors who have contributed. After a few guys on the #debian
channel of IRC system convinced me, basically by telling
me the truth of the matter, I finally saw the light. Linux is only a kernel. It
can't do diddly by itself. You need a shell: bash, you need text utilities,
grep, gawk, etc. etc. etc. An editor, I prefer vim, but there is emacs, and
disregarding all the religious holy wars pro and con, emacs so I've heard is a
very powerful little editor. (some would say big, but then look at nutscrape
excommunicator for comparison :)

I believe in the old adage: "Give credit where credit is due". And my rationale
for this is: "Because it will come back to you... maybe even 10 fold."

The Debian Project Proudly uses the terms "GNU/Linux" and "GNU/HURD". I second
their motions. It helps to bring attention to an organization that transcends
the Debian Project's mission, and that is to educate about the virtues of Free
Software, and even a little more generally the ideal that almost all information
should be free to everyone. By saying GNU in the mixture, we can all help to
bring more attention to the REASON why Linux is so popular. And to help spur
other software projects to follow suit.

Cicero was vain, and I love the man anyway. I don't think you are being overly
vain by insisting on people saying "GNU/Linux". It's just a matter of "getting
the word out". A matter of helping to educate the public about how the idea of
Free Software can benefit them more than proprietary software can. There is a
noble reason for demanding that credit be given. It is not strictly due to
vanity, I can see that. And even so, good works deserve recognition. :)

> These people are angry because they are misinformed about the
> situation:


Let's try to educate them, so that the level of misunderstanding can be
lessened. Understanding is a good thing. It is the holy grail of the concept of
communication. And sometimes understanding happens on an emotional level as well
as a logical level. I think persuasion can only happen when the emotional level
understanding is achieved. Usually you cause a change of heart by laying down
the facts, and by using reason. Then the other person takes all these data and
then processes it in his own way, until he reaches his own conclusion. That
done, he adjusts his emotions to fit the new "paradigm" if you will. You
wouldn't want to whole heartedly root for the losing team now would you? :) But
perhaps you can cause a change of heart strictly by using emotional "language"
if you will. Empathy. And cause a change of heart directly. But this can only
happen of course if the person being communicated with can sense with all his
abilites you are speaking or stand for the truth. If the slightest indication
that you may be trying to con him is felt, all bets are off. But if you really
are speaking the truth as best you understand it, then you can convey this
message powerfully, and emotionally through non-verbal communication. When the
other party sees your empathy and stern dedication, and seriousness they will
wonder, I'd like to see what this dude's reasoning is, because he obviously
believes in it so much that he's just about convinced me, and instilled in my a
sense of honor and respect, just by the way he talks and acts.

> if their picture were accurate, it would justify the anger.

Hmm. Anger is a short term feeling. It should give way to introspection to find
out WHY they feel the anger, what the cause is, and what to do about it, to fix
the situation.

> However, some of them are not rational about it.

Heh, human beings aren't always rational now are we?... :^)

But perhaps we can strive for the ultimate holy grail of rationality...

Hold on to yer butts, I'm fixin' ta inject ya with a vial of the TRUTH...
(=:] (actually the whole of the knowledge of the known universe, extracted from
a piece of "fairy cake" or coffee cake no less, as per detailed in the
"Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams.)

> Other people object to copyleft, because they want to be able to use
> our free code in their proprietary software.

Tough for them. Someone has to make a stand for completely free software. Let
the quality of Free Software be a pressure to encourage others to start doing
their software the same way. It *really* is the best way to do software, for
most software projects for the long haul. Not all, but most. I firmly believe

> Some of them are so
> selfish that they seek to manipulate the situation purely in the hope
> of being allowed to use the code we write.

Cicero has a descriptive word for devious people, and tricksters (people who
twist rules that were written for good reasons, into devices for selfishness,
and personal gain at the societies greater loss).

That word is "dishonorable". That should suffice.

Honor is something that all men, deep down, want to attain.

With enough people stressing honor and dishonor, I think we can curb such
distasteful acts as "loophole exploiters" and their ilk.

> Most often they make
> scrurrilous attacks on the GPL itself

Heh, they'll just have to 'stuff it'. I'm glad the GPL is here, and glad it's
here to stay, as long as there is copyright law, there will be the GPL, and I'll
be a backer of it, as I'm sure minions of GNU/Linuxers and GNU/HURDers will be
as well.

> but they also call me names,
> such as "communist".

I think the "communist witch hunt" days of the past are gone for good. The ol'
trouble makin' dude, McCarthy, was put back in his place by a man of reason in
the US Senate not too long ago. (Can't think of his name, but I remember how
eloquently he put him back into place. It was like poetry in motion. It
basically amounts to: "Sit down and SHUT UP! ... before I come over there and
whack you over the head with a large dose of solid reason." ) And I'm sure if
anyone wants to start rousing up trouble again by demonizing this, that, or the
other for their own personal agendas, I think there are enough men of good
reason to see it for what it is, and put the little SOB's back in their places,
and restore order, and allow freedom to continue unabated. o:^)

> Each of these groups includes some people who don't scruple to
> exaggerate and distort facts about me personally, to make me look bad.
> If you keep your eyes open for it, you'll probably see it going by.

Sure. And it just shows how cowardly, and childish they are. (=:]

Peace Out,
--Brock Lynn

---------------------  PGP key ID: FED76A3D <> 4 / 5 / 1999

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