Does the Heartbleed bug refute Linus’s Law?

The Heartbleed bug made the Washington Post. And that means it’s time for the reminder about things seen versus things unseen that I have to re-issue every couple of years.

Actually, this time around I answered it in advance, in an Ask Me Anything on Slashdot just about exactly a month ago. The following is a lightly edited and somewhat expanded version of that answer.

I actually chuckled when I read rumor that the few anti-open-source advocates still standing were crowing about the Hearbeat bug, because I’ve seen this movie before after every serious security flap in an open-source tool. The script, which includes a bunch of people indignantly exclaiming that many-eyeballs is useless because bug X lurked in a dusty corner for Y months, is so predictable that I can anticipate a lot of the lines.

The mistake being made here is a classic example of Frederic Bastiat’s “things seen versus things unseen”. Critics of Linus’s Law overweight the bug they can see and underweight the high probability that equivalently positioned closed-source security flaws they can’t see are actually far worse, just so far undiscovered.

That’s how it seems to go whenever we get a hint of the defect rate inside closed-source blobs, anyway. As a very pertinent example, in the last couple months I’ve learned some things about the security-defect density in proprietary firmware on residential and small business Internet routers that would absolutely curl your hair. It’s far, far worse than most people understand out there.

Friends don’t let friends run factory firmware. You really do not want to be relying on anything less audited than OpenWRT or one of its kindred (DDWRT, or CeroWRT for the bleeding edge). And yet the next time any security flaw turns up in one of those open-source projects, we’ll see a replay of the movie with yet another round of squawking about open source not working.

Ironically enough this will happen precisely because the open-source process is working … while, elsewhere, bugs that are far worse lurk in closed-source router firmware. Things seen vs. things unseen…

Returning to Heartbleed, one thing conspicuously missing from the downshouting against OpenSSL is any pointer to a closed-source implementation that is known to have a lower defect rate over time. This is for the very good reason that no such empirically-better implementation is known to exist. What is the defect history on proprietary SSL/TLS blobs out there? We don’t know; the vendors aren’t saying. And we can’t even estimate the quality of their code, because we can’t audit it.

The response to the Heartbleed bug illustrates another huge advantage of open source: how rapidly we can push fixes. The repair for my Linux systems was a push-one-button fix less than two days after the bug hit the news. Proprietary-software customers will be lucky to see a fix within two months, and all too many of them will never see a fix patch.

The reason for this is that the business models for closed-source software pretty much require software updates to be an expensive, high-friction process hedged about with fees, approval requirements, and legal restrictions. Not like open-source-land, where we can ship a fix minutes after it’s compiled and tested because nobody is trying to collect rent on it.

Sunlight remains the best disinfectant. Open source is no guarantee of perfect results, but every controlled comparison that has been tried has shown that closed source is generally worse.

Finally and in 2014 perhaps most tellingly…if the source of the code you rely on is closed, how do you know your vendor hasn’t colluded with some spy shop to install a back door?

398 thoughts on “Does the Heartbleed bug refute Linus’s Law?

  1. Open Source is like Democracy — it’s the worst way to build software except for all those others that have been tried.

  2. I’m going to repeat a comment here that I made on G+:

    [Accepting Eric's arguments about visibility and speed of repair, but thinking upon Maxx Daymon's comments about actually seeing these bugs]

    How do we incentivise the “white hats” to do the checking in a timely fashion?

    Do we need an “Underwriters’ Laboratory” for the Internet? An agency whose funding is from, and whose duty is to, those persons/agencies who are most confounded or damaged by problems like this? (I’m thinking of banks, online stores, PayPal, etc.)

  3. In general I agree with this but I would caution against allowing open source advocacy to obscure quality issues. E.g., the way to convince me that OpenSSL has a better defect rate than anyone else is by actually performing the analysis. How’s cryptlib? How’s PolarSSL? There are other open source implementations. Don’t defend OpenSSL on the basis that it’s open source.

    The other issue this highlights: the reputation economy that drives the benefits of open source appears to be affected by the kind of work being done. We have always known that this is the case for UX design. It is possible that this is also the case for security work; see Dan Kaminsky.

    Regardless of whether or not I’m right in the previous paragraph, it is unquestionably important to think about how the open source process failed in this case. I am a sysadmin. When things crash in the middle of the night, I pull my team together and we perform a postmortem. We talk about what went right, what went wrong, and we figure out how to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The same must happen here (and it must be blameless).

    John Boyd would recognize this as an OODA loop.

  4. Linus law as stated is so weaselly. Linus’s law is irrefutable.

    Heartbleed just shows there aren’t enough eye balls.

  5. Not too surprising that these types come out of the woodwork when bugs such as this are found. They’re the type who consider security by obscurity a feature so naturally will also extend that logic to their philosophy. To them it’s better that proprietary crap is exploited quietly rather than have solid open source stuff be audited loudly and fixed quickly. I have to wonder if these people are government contractors. Proprietary software is mighty profitable for them given that they can charge a few thousand and proceed to take a few months to write a 2 line patch.

  6. OpenSSL is written by monkeys

    Heartbleed doesn’t refute Linus’s law — it’s a natural consequence of the fact that the eyeball threshold for OpenSSL is really high.

    It’s also a sterling example of the serious problems with using C for security-critical systems code.

  7. David Taht pushed an update of cerowrt at 9:45PM Monday night, about 6 hours after the news broke. Actually, David managed to get the fix out the door before US-CERT even put up their advisory.

  8. Two things.

    First, the “Underwriters Laboratory” for the internet appears to be a combination of security research firms (here, “Codenomicon”) and security research teams at companies which depend heavily on internet security (here, Google). I think that’s about the best we can hope for from the market, and it seems pretty reasonable.

    Second, any thoughts on Theo de Raadt’s writings about OpenSSL’s explicit circumvention of memory protections? There’s “no one could have foreseen; mistakes happen”, and then there’s “any responsible reviewer would have raised a red flag here”. (But, presumably, did not, because the codebase is so impossibly hairy.)

    And like most security-critical Unix software, it’s written in C. Apart from fixing this particular problem, is there anything that can be done to fix this class of problems? I’ve seen some chatter about memory-safe systems languages and provable correctness; is it possible that we’ll see some attempts to strike at the roots of this sort of problem?

  9. I dare to disagree – GnuTLS have significantly lower bug rate than OpenSSL.

  10. Another argument is that Heartbleed bug was discovered by third party open source audit (white box analysis) rather than by behavior analysis (black box analysis). Something that is possible only with open source development.

    How much longer would this bug remain undetected if it was closed-source proprietary software? IIRC the commit in question was made by one of authors of heartbeat extension, not some attention deficit teenager…

  11. > And like most security-critical Unix software, it’s written in C. Apart from fixing this particular problem, is there anything that can be done to fix this class of problems? I’ve seen some chatter about memory-safe systems languages and provable correctness; is it possible that we’ll see some attempts to strike at the roots of this sort of problem?

    The problem is that memory-safety is not without performance costs, and SSL/TLS handshake is critical wrt. performance.

  12. Does anybody have suggestions on how to get open firmware for a Vonage router? That’s the one sticking point which prevents me from going to completely open firmware – Vonage support.

  13. >I dare to disagree – GnuTLS have significantly lower bug rate than OpenSSL.

    Evidence? I wouldn’t mind at all being wrong about this, but I’d need to see at least summaries of the defect and CVE logs.

  14. Kernel panics get lots of eyeballs. A lesser crash gets some attention.

    A quiet security flaw needs an audit. Trucrypt is being audited. You have to intentionally look for such things. Worse, it is a simple overrun. Any protocol might be vulnerable.

  15. The OpenSSL team was very small and had little financial support.

    This indicates to me that regardless of whether the assertion “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” is true or false Open Source doesn’t provide enough eyeballs even for high visibility critical projects…whether that is OpenSSL or GIMP.

    The GnuTLS, OpenSSL and Apple’s Goto Bug were all found, as near as I can tell, via testing and not via code inspection. All three were open source code. This implies that even when source code is available to eyeballs that security bugs are pretty much found the same way as in closed source: via testing and not code inspection. Therefore security flaws are at the same level of visibility between open and closed source. Defect rates (at least for spectacular, major failures) can be ascertained. In recent history these seem dominated by Open Source components and not closed source ones.

    Looking at the Apple Goto Bug I’d like to think I’d catch that in a code review. But after a while you see what you expect to see and not what’s actually on the screen. The code is otherwise clear and concise. Decent enough code despite the use of goto.

    OpenSSL on the other hand is a freaking rats nest. Sufficiently so to call into question whether the “reputation based economy” is any better at producing code that isn’t wildly embarrassing to the commiter than closed source code.

    I’ve looked at a lot of craptastic open source code that is likely as equally stupid is anything found in any closed source. Some of which I’ve written. For libraries I’ve seen both good and bad from open source and closed source and for some things I’d rather pay for a closed source library than use open source because of the level of documentation, support and quality. If you want the source you can often buy it anyway.

  16. Another argument is that Heartbleed bug was discovered by third party open source audit (white box analysis) rather than by behavior analysis (black box analysis). Something that is possible only with open source development.

    How much longer would this bug remain undetected if it was closed-source proprietary software? IIRC the commit in question was made by one of authors of heartbeat extension, not some attention deficit teenager…

    Ah, I see Neel found it by inspection. Better his eyeballs bleeding than mine. Note that he uncovered CVE-2010-0239 by auditing assembly code in Microsoft’s TCP implementation. I’m not sure that looking at assembler code is THAT more annoying that OpenSSL code…

    As to how much longer would this bug remained undetected as closed source…very little.

    “Codenomicon team found heartbleed bug while improving the SafeGuard feature in Codenomicon’s Defensics security testing tools and reported this bug to the NCSC-FI for vulnerability coordination and reporting to OpenSSL team.”

    A heartbeat with a buffer that returns something seems like something to test for a vulnerability…but I don’t know anything about pen testing or how to write tools for it.

    Also, given that Neel is a Google Security Team auditor I would think that even closed source modules would be available as source for critical components. Simply because Google can afford to pay to see. For large corporations source code access and code escrow is just one risk mitigation technique they can afford.

    So closed vs open isn’t so clear cut. I’ve seen a bit of proprietary code after signing an NDA or my employer paying for source code access. And if they paid for access, probably someone is paid to inspect it to make sure it doesn’t suck.

    The total number of qualified eyeballs between open and closed my not be very different.

  17. @esr – I’m having problems posting a comment (tried 3 times). Don’t know if I’ve fallen into the spam trap or what. (Browser Chromium “Version 31.0.1650.63 Built from source for CentOS release 6.5 (Final) (238485)” [64-bit]; I completely exited and restarted it before the third attempt.)

  18. You all are spoiled, be it Open source or Proprietary. The real bug nests is in-house software, my daily task.

    I’ve met a 4-years old bug, and was threatened to be fired(and my manager too) if it was not corrected within the day. It had bothered an important customer(read : a guy earning a slary more than 4M€ a year).

    I’ve corrected a 9-years old bug that I didn’t know it existed. I was asked to add a standard date verification system, on an important batch, and when comparing old & new result, did notice that the old one was sending paper documents with the following date : 31st of June(and September, also).

    I didn’t do a lot of proprietary software in my life, but hell, it was millions of times better than ordinary in-house crap. Don’t get me wrong : some in-house software is very fine. But average in-house software is really, really full of hidden bugs, simply because of lack of eyeballs.

    Remember : in-house code is likely to manage your bank account. It does mine.

  19. Found here:, in the course of an argument for something like the foundation Eric is working on–
    Dan Kaminsky

    There’s a lot of rigamarole around defense in depth, other languages that OpenSSL could be written in, “provable software”, etc. Everyone, myself included, has some toy that would have fixed this. But you know, word from the Wall Street Journal is that there have been all of $841 in donations to the OpenSSL project to address this matter. We are building the most important technologies for the global economy on shockingly underfunded infrastructure. We are truly living through Code in the Age of Cholera.

  20. @Garrett on 2014-04-11 at 07:06:41

    Does anybody have suggestions on how to get open firmware for a Vonage router? That’s the one sticking point which prevents me from going to completely open firmware – Vonage support.

    Can you put your own router inboard of the Vonage router? I’m seriously thinking about doing that for our AT&T U-verse connection. You can turn off WiFi and NAT on the vendor’s box.

  21. Many eyes may make bugs shallow, but only if those many eyes are looking for the bug. Further to that, only if those many eyes have the skill to comprehend such bugs when they see them.

    So far, this seems like an innocent mis-implementation bug. How many eyeballs actually passed over this small code segment? I’m sure that the eyeballs of every contributor to OpenSSL have not scoured every line of its evolving codebase and monitored changes for side-effects.

    Open Source detractors’ petty ‘gotcha’ mentalities aside, the probabilistic advantage lies with OSS and it’s potential for larger pools of concerned individuals to inspect code and unearth flaws of all kinds. Open & Closed Source programmers (whatever the overlap) are all fallible and vulnerable to logical and structural errors in their thinking and code. Making code available to all and removing potentially inhibitive business incentives (don’t admit failure, avoid PR embarrassment, manage client expectations, control costs etc) should give a greater degree of confidence in the end product. Indeed, the advanced adoption of OSS technology throughout the business ecosystem stands as testament to its value & reputation.

  22. I don’t understand why the spec even allowed for this. Why is this an arbitrary length field? Why is the length specified in two places? Couldn’t a heartbeat function be provided without using any arbitrary data at all (i.e. the equivalent of an empty packet)?

  23. >Found here:, in the course of an argument for something like the foundation Eric is working on — Dan Kaminsky

    Dan Kaminsky has been fully briefed in on what we’re doing.

  24. The relevance of my post above is: These seem like obvious flaws. And in the spec, rather than in an implementation. Even if they couldn’t be fixed, they should have made any code implementing this area a hot spot for people to look for errors. Why didn’t they?

  25. A comment at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7558394 purports to explain this, but I don’t understand why, in this use case, fragmentation wouldn’t already cause the packet to be irretrievably destroyed at the record layer. Nor why the record layer length can’t be used for this purpose (if the record layer length of _any_ packet exceeds the datagram size, then it got fragmented.)

    It’s not clear, either, why any part of the payload should be non-random, or why any of it should be non-discardable for the PMTU-discovery purpose.

  26. The RFC says “The length of a HeartbeatMessage is TLSPlaintext.length for TLS ” – relying on this appears to be in direct contradiction to RFC 5246’s “Client message boundaries are not preserved in the record layer (i.e., multiple client messages of the same ContentType MAY be coalesced into a single TLSPlaintext record, or a single message MAY be fragmented across several records). ” – the Heartbeat extension has no way of identifying when two adjacent HeartbeatMessages have been coalesced [the second message will appear as padding in the first one], or what to do with the second fragment when one has been fragmented.

    It’s possible that this does not happen with DTLS, and that the author did not consider the consequences of generalizing the extension to TLS-over-TCP.

  27. …in the course of an argument for something like the foundation Eric is working on…

    Slow on uptake here – “foundation”?

  28. >Slow on uptake here – “foundation”?

    I and some allies (including some very well known Internet old hands) have been quietly working on an institutional attack on the Internet-infrastructure funding problem. Yes, we want to pay people to look for bugs like Heartbleed before they blow up (among other things). Nobody is doing this in any serious way.

    Several A&D regulars already knew of this. A couple are directly involved.

    The effort is still partway under wraps (and the name will remain secret until public launch) because we want to retain some control of the messaging when we go public. I will not – repeat not – answer further questions in public, but interested parties can contact me privately. Commitments for pre-launch funding would be especially welcome.

    Also, we’re looking for a CFO with experience running a nonprofit.

  29. A serious closed source company, instead of checking the data length and calling memcpy every single time, would have written a function called securememcpy and call that. I mean, this is an SSL library, there must be several places where buffers need to memcpy’ed securely, so the effort should be worth it.

    This my gripe with the bazaar. No PROCEDURES and BEST PRACTICES are defined from day 1. Someone writes some code, others pile on, and maybe later we ‘ll define some procedures and best practices.

    Interesting discussion here in the comments: http://tmrepository.com/fudtracker/cve-2014-0160-is-so-not-a-virus/

  30. >Of course, that’s not a complete picture.

    It’s not a bad start, though. Is GNUTLS permissively licensed or GPLed? (I bet I know the answer…)

  31. My mistake, OpenSSL bug was found via fuzz-testing, not via source audit / linting.

  32. >This my gripe with the bazaar. No PROCEDURES and BEST PRACTICES are defined from day 1.

    But it’s a pretty unusual closed-source shop that does that effectively, too. I know that because I’ve been the best-practices guy at one…

  33. My mistake, OpenSSL bug was found via fuzz-testing, not via source audit / linting.

    Hmmm…I read that someone who said he was on the same Google Security team that he usually does code audits. Then again, internet so who knows.

    The Codenomicon did it via fuzz-testing. Do you have a link that Google did as well? Thanks.

  34. But it’s a pretty unusual closed-source shop that does that effectively, too. I know that because I’ve been the best-practices guy at one…

    Because you were one once somewhere that sucked then it is “unusual” that closed source shops do that well?

  35. > Sunlight remains the best disinfectant.

    Betadine works MUCH better.

    Yeah, I know, but you stepped on one of my pet peeves and it barked.

  36. >Because you were one once somewhere that sucked then it is “unusual” that closed source shops do that well?

    I made it work well, I think. But I know what I had to go through for that, and I’ve heard lots of war stories from people who tried to up the best-practices game at other closed-source shops. It’s hard work, not so much technically as politically, with often only minimal management support. More who try fail then succeed.

  37. The fact that it targets .NET limits its usability, but the TLS implementation that I trust the most is without a doubt miTLS. It certainly hasn’t had nearly as many eyeballs as OpenSSL, but the whole thing is under 5KLOC, the code is quite readable, and its implementation language and formal verification make large classes of bugs impossible. The authors have, on multiple occasions, discovered flaws in TLS itself in the process of trying to prove properties of their implementation.

  38. As regards the best practices thing, at least it’s possible for a closed-source company to have best practices from day 1.

    Bazar open-source software projects ALWAYS start without best practices, because it’s always one guy writing some code and others piling on. Later, if the project gains critical mass, maybe they ‘ll consider enstablishing some best practices.

    I only trust open-source software if it’s written by some corporation like Google or Oracle(Sun). Aka open-source software that does not follow the bazaar model.

    I once did the mistake of trusting a bazzar software (VLC) and it sucked. DVD menus appeared with broken buttons, and it got H.264 multithreading and GPU acceleration very late. Ditched it and never looked back.

    “Sunlight remains the best disinfectant”

    Put a rotting fish under the sun and watch carefully (hint: the bacteria causing the rot don’t go away, they multiply even faster). People who say such things should be forced to re-attend high-school.

  39. > It’s not a bad start, though. Is GNUTLS permissively licensed or GPLed? (I bet I know the answer…)

    “The core library” is LGPLv2.1 according to gnutls.org. I don’t know what parts of the package are not LGPL, however, without digging further.

  40. >Bazar open-source software projects ALWAYS start without best practices, because it’s always one guy writing some code and others piling on.

    That depends on the one guy. My projects stay clean because they start clean. I don’t think I’m exceptional that way.

  41. >Bazar open-source software projects ALWAYS start without best practices, because it’s always one guy writing some code and others piling on. Later, if the project gains critical mass, maybe they ‘ll consider enstablishing some best practices.

    What are the buried assumptions here? Why would you assume individuals writing code because they *want to* would universally employ poor practices?

  42. https://github.com/openssl/openssl/commit/4817504d069b4c5082161b02a22116ad75f822b1

    I actually have sympathy for the dev…it’s such a simple flaw that it could easily pass under your nose. It’s so simple, it’s hard for me to believe there was any malice here…an innocent error.

    However, I did see somewhere that the spec – as poorly written as it may be – did state that the response should be *EXACTLY* the same as the payload. Clearly the possibility that the declared payload length could be greater than the actual payload did not occur to the coder or reviewer.

    I’m sure there’s something magical about closed-source that would have lasered-in on this glaringly obvious defect….

  43. > That depends on the one guy. My projects stay clean because they start clean. I don’t think I’m exceptional that way.

    You’re not, I’ve rejected patches and pull requests before because they weren’t in line with the style or were more complex than necessary and things of that nature. Not sure where people get the idea that anything else is the case except for in cases where the original author was lazy or careless. But that will lead to bad code regardless of what kind of approach you’re taking. I figure that people are reading too far into the connotation that “bazaar” carries and assuming that it means chaotic code management and quality. Which is silly. Granted, a good portion of GNU tools happily reinforce such things.

  44. I think the one issue this bug has brought up is the chain of inheritance inside large amounts of opensource derived internet kit. The openssl project is (I believe) a fairly small, poorly funded team. They do something (SSL/TLS) which is complicated, which few other people understand the details of and for which the spec documents are pretty much written by a handful of guys that include some of the openssl devs (including the German who actually wrote this bug).

    However despite the fact that openssl is a poorly resourced implementation of a very poorly understood protocol, because they made their library freely available under permissive terms with a clearly documented API, numerous other open source projects used their code. And these projects got bound together into other bigger projects and eventually turned in to linux/bsd distributions, firewalls, routers, load balancers, web servers etc., which have been deployed all over the internet by millions of people who want secure communications. All of whom assumed that someone else had gone and verified that the openssl libraries were in fact reliable.

    Unfortunately until the last few days it seems no one has gone back and had a look at whether the code written is any good or not. The same almost certainly applies to a bunch of other areas of internet standards. And this should concern everyone. I suspect this is the point of ESR’s foundation and if it is being done with the people I think it is, then this is a really really good thing and we need a lot more of it and to have people who live off the internet and open source finance it.

    Hopefully this will be a wake up call for an audit and will help as a fund-raiser to do one. If it doesn’t we’ll see other bugs like this again and again

  45. As regards the best practices thing, at least it’s possible for a closed-source company to have best practices from day 1.

    I’m confused how you think closed-source has an advantage on best practices.
    On one hand we have a business that has monetary concerns and will have difficulty justifying the ROI on an intangible like “Code Quality”. On the other we have a code enthusiast with time on his hands.

    Sure the OS code enthusiast may not utilize what most would consider best practice but then that is even more a problem in closed source because of the number of people who are coding “because i get paid to” and doing the bare minimum to get by. On the other hand open source has the advantage that there’s not some manager droid screaming “faster faster” in your ear.

    Another advantage of Open Source is that if you do a shit job, you get more and more blog posts like the previously linked openssl monkeys one calling it out and eventually a fork with better practices as a goal.

    The only advantage i can see of closed source is that if your company can afford to be picky about talent and if your company can actually detect crappy code (and both of these ifs are pushing us pretty close to “fantasy land” here) then maybe they can fire people who write crappy code. Hopefully this doesn’t turn into some bullshit political exercise (woops… there we are into fantasy land again).

  46. I’m a big fan of Bastiat’s essay, but this whole thread seems to be assuming that a person needs to read code to ensure its correctness. That’s a waste of eyeballs, regardless of how many of them there are.

    I propose Donna’s corollary: code that is verified with automated tools (preferably sound and complete ones) needs fewer eyeballs to find bugs.

    A bonus of OSS: if it’s open, you can check whether they’ve actually run said tools. Closed-source needs gated checkins in place.

  47. Maybe there’s room in the market for some subscription-oriented Service X whereby each critical infrastructure component becomes an a la carte option. Serviced X can offer exclusivity to advanced access to security patches that will be pushed into the general OSS stream at a later date D (+30 days?). Payments to individual OSS contributors are made after D. Value proposition can be driven by associated market trust of Service X, hopefully growing over time…which leaves open the door for competitive Services Y & Z et al to eat X’s lunch should they rest on their laurels.

    Private sector FTW

  48. On one hand we have a business that has monetary concerns and will have difficulty justifying the ROI on an intangible like “Code Quality”. On the other we have a code enthusiast with time on his hands.

    The ROI on code quality is very well understood in the software engineering community. Likewise, when large amounts of money are on the line if business critical systems fail the ROI is easily computed.

    I have no idea why you think that code quality is an “intangible” or that folks can’t compute the ROI on it. Businesses spend a lot of money on high availability systems. Maybe not in the most efficient manner but monetary concerns are easily addressed.

    Which is why I said above that source availability is not really a discriminator. If it matters that much a check and a NDA often can allow you to see code.

    Even consumers will pay for high software quality and user experience. Hence the success of Apple despite the higher cost of their products. Good software is their key differentiator that allows them to sell high end hardware.

    On the other hand, the enthusiast is scratching a personal itch and answers to no one else. Code quality can be whatever, it doesn’t matter because they never have to ship. Documentation is very secondary or nonexistent. Testing is optional. If there are bugs they don’t matter unless it impacts them. If users get annoying they can always just abandon the project or just take it private again.

    Higher grade open source generally has a company behind it and they pay for documentation and testing. And they’ll sell support.

    Who do you think pays to develop and refine best practices anyway? Not the individual enthusiast. Corporations and governments.

  49. Another advantage of Open Source is that if you do a shit job, you get more and more blog posts like the previously linked openssl monkeys one calling it out and eventually a fork with better practices as a goal.

    Peer pressure obviously that didn’t work in the first place.

  50. Oh man, don’t wish to be off topic but there was so much wailing and gnashing of teeth going on in that comment thread about *horror!* HOMOPHOBIA, RACISM, SEXISM, REDNECK(ism), GLOBAL WARMING DENIALISM of ESR.
    So many panties in twists.

    Is the new hacker contingent this brainwashed lefty-liberal that they can only point-and-sputter or is Slashdot just not a place for smart hackers anymore?

  51. >Who do you think pays to develop and refine best practices anyway? Not the individual enthusiast. Corporations and governments.

    Much of your comment was wrong. This part was actively funny.

    The best work in language design and implementation, version-control systems, and test tools is being done by those ‘enthusiasts’. Corporations won’t push forward on stuff like this because it doesn’t yield returns that show up in quarterlies.

  52. Many best practices (Agile comes to mind) were either translated or rediscovered from open source…

  53. >Many best practices (Agile comes to mind) were either translated or rediscovered from open source…

    Indeed. For this reason I was invited to the Snowbird conference where the Agile Manifesto was hammered out in 2001; if I hadn’t had a prior commitment I would probably have been one of the signatories.

  54. ESR, lots of great work is done by companies, too, and not just the research arms. For instance, F# was done by MSFT and open-sourced, and the C# compiler and APIs were just open sourced as well.

  55. >> My mistake, OpenSSL bug was found via fuzz-testing, not via source audit / linting.

    > Hmmm…I read that someone who said he was on the same Google Security team that he usually does code audits. Then again, internet so who knows.
    >
    > The Codenomicon did it via fuzz-testing. Do you have a link that Google did as well? Thanks.

    I don’t know how Google Security team discovered this bug. From some source I have read (and have subsequently lost) I have implied that this bug was discovered by code audit… though said source might have been about post-mortem analysis of bug, not about bug discovery…

  56. >Indeed. For this reason I was invited to the Snowbird conference where the Agile Manifesto was hammered out in 2001; if I hadn’t had a prior commitment I would probably have been one of the signatories.

    I detest the Agile Manifesto. You can’t pair 2 programmers together and expect anything other than a food fight.

    When paired together, all you get is a personality war, and the worse coder almost always wins.

  57. kb, Pair Programming has only faint to none connection with Agile Manifesto.

    The connection^2 is that Pair Programming is one of techniques of eXtreme Programming (XP) method, and XP is Agile.

  58. >Pair Programming has only faint to none connection with Agile Manifesto. The connection^2 is that Pair Programming is one of techniques of eXtreme Programming (XP) method, and XP is Agile.

    Oh, right, I confused XP with Agile. I love the custeomer -> programmer link that agile/XP demands, which I follow, but detest the paired programmer aspect of… XP, I guess.

  59. @Nigel
    “On the other hand, the enthusiast is scratching a personal itch and answers to no one else. Code quality can be whatever, it doesn’t matter because they never have to ship. Documentation is very secondary or nonexistent. Testing is optional.”

    So, a concrete example of two projects implementing the same protocol, one proprietary, one OSS. Both “very important” with a long history. The proprietary one is very well funded, the OSS one has a handful of core developers.

    Which would have the better code in your view, and please explain:
    SMB from MS or Samba.

  60. Much of your comment was wrong. This part was actively funny.

    The best work in language design and implementation, version-control systems, and test tools is being done by those ‘enthusiasts’. Corporations won’t push forward on stuff like this because it doesn’t yield returns that show up in quarterlies.

    No. The term software engineering was coined by DOD. The first papers on CM was a thesis funded by the USN. The first SCM tool was developed at Bell Labs and popularized at IBM for 360 development (SCCS). The first DVCS was Teamware developed at Sun as a layer above atop SCCS for distributed OS development (sound familiar?) in the 80s.

    The earliest practices were developed at IBM and many of the basic tenets come from works like Mythical Man Month and corporate practitioners like Brooks.

    The concept of best practices was codified as CMM at CMU and sponsored by DoD. ISO 9001 is an industry developed standard by and for corporate coders not individual enthusiasts.

    The earliest forms of Agile were developed in the 50s at IBM. Even the current forms of Agile were led by industry practitioner looking for a better form of structured development for companies like Chrysler vs traditional software engineering life cycles.

    Even before then concepts of cross functional small teams were used and explored all the way from the 50s at IBM.

    This stupid anti-corporate bias ignores the fact that the need for best practices come directly from the need to develop huge systems and that massive software project failures (and successes) do show up in the quarterlies. When you write off millions for failed development efforts you sure as hell have incentives to improve your practices and spending hundreds of thousands on software tools, training and hygiene provides both a huge ROI and a huge risk if you don’t do so. Enthusiasts that aren’t funded by major corps or governments don’t have that driving need because their projects aren’t as complicated, critical or large as things like the f-35 avionics suite.

    Whose c++ coding standard is the best I’ve seen and can partly replace reading the Meyers books. Should be given it was written in part by Stroustrup.

    I have noticed that you are most pompous and dismissive when you are wrong about something. Ignoring that DoD had poured billions into software engineering is one of those times. Almost everything that open source enthusiasts have built for software development has been built on that foundation and often what they have done is to write an open source equivalent for a proprietary system they can’t afford as an enthusiast.

    And corporations have often funded that as well (like eclipse).

  61. >No. The term software engineering was coined by DOD.

    …and Ada has been such a rousing success in improving best practices, yeah. I said “the best work is being done.” Have you got any positive examples that aren’t ancient history?

    I know why you’re not going to find many, if you’re capable of turning up any at all. The time horizon of corporate planning changed in the 1980s for several reasons, most notably in response to competitive pressure from Japan and elsewhere. The days when quasi-monopolists like AT&T or Xerox could afford to fund the likes of Bell Labs or Xerox PARC that could rock the software-engineering world are long behind us now. Significantly, only the last monopolist left standing – Microsoft – even tries to go it alone any more, and the likes of C# (Hey! Let’s me-to Java!) is pretty weak sauce.

    Nowadays, anybody trying to innovate practices inside corporations has a much steeper hill to climb for a bunch of reasons all of which tie back to stockholder demand for faster returns. Consequence: the Agile guys (a) took a lot of their ideas from open source (they even cited “hackers”) (b) and had to declare a revolt against their management.

    And of course major corporations are now funding tools development by open-source groups. This doesn’t mean the best work is being done in-house; quite the opposite – it’s a confession that they can’t do that any more. You’re arguing with the person who IBM’s innovators pulled in to justify their massive turn to open source, and even if I had had no grasp of the underlying economics before they told me why they did it.

    Even Google, which has vacuumed up a significant fraction of the software talent in the world, knows better than to try to do language development on the Bell Labs model. No, instead they hire Guido to recruit his community. They open-source Go and Dart.

  62. You mean things like LLVM/clang which is funded by Apple? Scala by EPFL? F# from Microsoft? Those sort of recent?

    Frankly language development is somewhat passé anyway.

    Nowadays, anybody trying to innovate practices inside corporations has a much steeper hill to climb for a bunch of reasons all of which tie back to stockholder demand for faster returns

    That’s not true at Apple or Google or Microsoft or many other companies. I see initiatives to promote innovation all the time. Companies sponsor internal maker labs and innovation activities to gain a competitive edge. Or just to keep good staff.

    Consequence: the Agile guys (a) took a lot of their ideas from open source (they even cited “hackers”) (b) and had to declare a revolt against their management.

    Which is why it was funded and implemented at Chrysler pretty much right away? Which is why consultants teaching and certifying scrum masters happened right away?

    Give me a break. Those guys weren’t outsiders or mavericks but well respected within the corporate community. There’s huge money selling corporations the next productivity silver bullet and many of them were the consultants that were hired to do just that.

    When was the last time you attended a scrum? That’s not done nearly as much in open source projects as corporate ones.

  63. >You mean things like LLVM/clang which is funded by Apple?

    You keep citing corporate-funded open-source work as though it’s an argument for your position, when it’s actually a refutation. If it were a viable option to do the work in-house and exclude their competitors from sharing the productivity gains, corporations would do exactly that. Doesn’t happen because it’s now almost impossible to sustain, both economically and culturally.

    >Which is why it was funded and implemented at Chrysler pretty much right away?

    Yes. When corporations put hundreds of millions of dollars behind techniques like that that were developed outside, they know it’s because they can’t produce that kind of disruptive innovation inside.

  64. …and Ada has been such a rousing success in improving best practices, yeah. I said “the best work is being done.” Have you got any positive examples that aren’t ancient history?

    It has. How many studies showing that an Ada program has a lower cost over the entire SDLC than the equivalent C program does it take to convince you of that? What it hasn’t improved is average practices, because the boss wants it done yesterday and hackers are too stubborn and cantankerous to give up their favorite toys.

    The best C and C++ programmers — guys like John Carmack — are just now beginning to talk seriously about introducing formal verification as an essential component of the software development process. Something Ada programmers have been doing for decades.

    Modern C++ and the STL, which have enormous advantages of type and memory safety over C, were heavily influenced by Ada. Stepanov looked to Ada’s generics libraries when drawing inspiration for the STL.

    Significantly, only the last monopolist left standing – Microsoft – even tries to go it alone any more, and the likes of C# (Hey! Let’s me-to Java!) is pretty weak sauce.

    Hey, C# achieved what the Lisp community couldn’t despite decades of trying: it made the lambda construct a common occurrence in enterprise development.

    There’s also the fact that many of the world’s functional programming researchers, and the developers of languages like Haskell, work for Microsoft Research.

    Even Google, which has vacuumed up a significant fraction of the software talent in the world, knows better than to try to do language development on the Bell Labs model. No, instead they hire Guido to recruit his community. They open-source Go and Dart.

    That all depends on what you mean by “the Bell Labs model”. Google hired away many of those Bell Labs guys and built them a sort of “Bell Labs under glass”. Go, for instance, incorporates ideas from Alef, a parallel programming language intended for Plan 9. The peculiar naming conventions for the Go compiler are tells that much of the Bell Labs house style made it over to Google.

    Also, Go and Dart are largely developed in-house with little community input, much like with Android. Google seems to favor the “cathedral with a read-only public repo” model over the bazaar model.

  65. ESR: the refutation was not necessarily about closed source vs. open, but rather that the best work in the areas you mention are not solely done by enthusiasts.

    You also conveniently ignored F# and Haskell and focused on C#. Plus, C# has evolved significantly beyond Java, and its features have inspired similar features in languages like Scala. Async is one example.

  66. >the best work in the areas you mention are not solely done by enthusiasts.

    And that’s still true. None of the languages you or Jeff Read mention has been either as innovative or as successful in field deployment as any one of the top three enthusiast-developed scripting languages considered alone. I’m not saying this casually, language design is one of my specialties.

    Fortunately, the corporations funding open-source work have more clue about this than you or Jeff or Nigel. They’ve got it figured out that they’re good at assembling capital resources but not so much at creativity.

  67. > And that’s still true. None of the languages you or Jeff Read mention has been either as innovative or as successful in field deployment as any one of the top three enthusiast-developed scripting languages considered alone. I’m, not saying this casually, language design is one of my specialties.

    It’s also one of mine. How are you measuring success of field deployment? I hope you’re not just talking about popularity…

  68. >How are you measuring success of field deployment?

    How would you measure it? That’s not intended to be a hostile question – I don’t know of a way other than project counts.

  69. > How would you measure it? That’s not intended to be a hostile question – I don’t know of a way other than project counts.

    Project counts are one measure, but you also have to look at qualitative measures. Haskell is not very widely used, sure, but F# has a lot of extremely successful uses, particularly in the finance community.

    Also, I reject the idea that C# is not innovative. If you count it, then the number of successful projects jumps substantially.

  70. …not to mention, Scala is funded by EFPL and TypeSafe, so can’t be considered an enthusiast language, and is used in very key projects (LinkedIn, Twitter).

    In fact, Twitter replaced their entire Rails implementation with a Scala one. Before that, the “fail whale” was happening constantly.

  71. >Also, I reject the idea that C# is not innovative.

    C# was a boring me-too design, a transparently political anti-Java maneuver that has since had FP bolted on one end because it wasn’t near interesting enough without something like that. I think bolting on FP was an excellent idea, mind you, but even the guy who did it has publicly as much as admitted it was a rescue job.

    I’ll admit to not being familiar with F#, but the fact that it’s closed-source reduces its draw to pretty much zero. I don’t dare rely on or invest in on proprietary languages for infrastructure; they’re too fragile against single-point failures. F#’s customers are people who haven’t learned this lesson yet. I don’t envy them the pain they have coming.

  72. >…not to mention, Scala is funded by EFPL and TypeSafe, so can’t be considered an enthusiast language,

    You and Jeff keep confusing the issue of who funds the work with whether or not the creative lead is coming from within a corporate culture constrained by short-term ROI. That isn’t even as simple as who employs the lead designer – Python (an enormously larger success than any language you’ve named) remains an enthusiast language despite Guido having a desk at Google.

  73. >As I said earlier, F# is not closed-source. It’s been under Apache 2.0 for several years, and the F# software foundation is very active (http://fsharp.org/).

    Correction accepted. I’ll look into it.

  74. > That isn’t even as simple as who employs the lead designer – Python (an enormously larger success than any language you’ve named) remains an enthusiast language despite Guide having a desk at Google.

    Exactly, it’s not simple. So you can’t make generalizations about enthusiasts vs. corporations. I think every successful language designer is extremely passionate about his or her craft, regardless of whether they started out employed by a “corporation”. Why is it necessary to draw this distinction between “enthusiast” and “corporate”?

    (Btw, Guido now works at DropBox, but your point remains)

  75. You act as if corporate funding of work is any different today than before. It isn’t. The difference is that more of it is being done outside the academic world than before.

    Clang/LLVM didn’t start as open source enthusiast developed anyway. Clang was in house and then open sourced. LLVM was from U of I Urbana.

    Corporations fund open source for stuff that isn’t all that much of a competitive advantage or where there is a corporate advantage used to cripple a competitor (like Linux for IBM).

    Languages are better off ubiquitous so you have a larger pool of developers to pull from. Even semi-private ones like ObjC.

    Tools remain a competitive advantage for ecosystems. Which is why the best of breed are still closed source like Xcode and Visual Studio.

    And as I said languages are passé. When I was in college everyone wanted to create the next über language. Today smart folks still work on languages but only those that really like that niche.

    The cool projects I see out of CMU, Georgia Tech and other places are things like swarming quadcopters or ux stuff (with kinect).

    I have no idea where you get the idea that corporations have any greater resistance to innovation today. Whether for new products or new processes.

    They want to avoid being the next blackberry and innovation is the current buzzword as opposed to lean or process improvement or whatever.

    Probably because of apple’s success since 2007 destroying the incumbents like blackberry and Nokia.

  76. >Why is it necessary to draw this distinction between “enthusiast” and “corporate”?

    Because Nigel made a silly claim about practice innovation in software engineering mostly coming from corporations and government rather than the open-source community. I remember when that would have been an accurate claim, but it was a long time ago now.

  77. Because Nigel made a silly claim about practice innovation in software engineering mostly coming from corporations and government rather than the open-source community.

    Bullshit. My comment is clearly seen above:

    “Who do you think pays to develop and refine best practices anyway? Not the individual enthusiast. Corporations and governments.”

    To which you responded:

    “Much of your comment was wrong. This part was actively funny.”

    And then had to backtrack to:

    “And of course major corporations are now funding tools development by open-source groups.”

    and

    “You and Jeff keep confusing the issue of who funds the work ”

    So which part of my statement that you ridiculed above is either wrong or actively funny? Did I say who was leading them? No. Just that companies and governments paid for that work so that whole “companies don’t understand the ROI of good software” meme is just unsupported bullshit.

    And why do you think you can rewrite history when the post history is right above a cut and paste away?

  78. > Because Nigel made a silly claim about practice innovation in software engineering mostly coming from corporations and government rather than the open-source community. I remember when that would have been an accurate claim, but it was a long time ago now.

    As a point of clarification, what counts as “part of the open-source community”? If a project starts out as someone’s hobby, but ends up with corporate backing, does it count? (I’m thinking an emphatic ‘yes’.) What if a project starts out closed-source, but is later open-sourced and starts accepting patches? (Also ‘yes’, I presume.)

    The tricky case seems to be “corporate code with a read-only public repo” where the maintainers generally reject patches from the public, possibly with some closed source APIs bolted on. (Android appears to be heading in this direction. And I think OSX always belonged in this category, with a bunch of proprietary software heaped on top of BSD core.) It’s ‘open-source’, but is it really part of the ‘open source community’?

  79. The ROI on code quality is very well understood in the software engineering community

    Sure but it’s not the software engineering community that you’ve got to convince about code quality. It’s the corporate management community that gave us the term “Return on Investment” in the first place.

    Lets be honest here, if there wasn’t a huge problem with this in Closed source world, people like Robert Martin, Alastair Cockburn and Martin Fowler would have to get day jobs and the Standish Group’s doom and gloom report would be easier to refute.

    I’m not saying that OS world is rosy and neat either (OpenSSL appears to be a good case in point), i’m just saying that the problems that open source have is the same problem that closed source has. Way too many coders who don’t know or don’t care what code quality is.

  80. Just that companies and governments paid for that work so that whole “companies don’t understand the ROI of good software” meme is just unsupported bullshit.

    No, i said that the corporate world, by and large, need to be convinced of the ROI on code quality and the difference between those two terms is entirely the problem.

    To a manager, software that doesn’t break is “good software”. Code quality is all about perfectionist devs just futzing around with their code and making it “better” (and there’s little to no difference they can see that shows that). Until of course something like heartbleed occurs and the house of cards falls down.

    Maybe you’ve just been lucky enough to join workplaces after they’ve had the house of cards fall down once or twice to convince them.

  81. >Who do you think pays to develop and refine best practices anyway? Not the individual enthusiast. Corporations and governments.”

    You’re still wrong.

    Python will stand as one example; nobody paid Guido to innovate, you couldn’t buy a bad design decision from him if you tried, and he’d still be working ion the language if here were living in a garret. Git is another; equally obviously it happened because Linus wanted it to, not because a manager said “Here. You’re going to innovate now. Have a wad of cash.”

    It doesn’t work that way. Corporations are capable of co-opting design leads after the fact, when the technology is already clearly best practice. But, in general, they no longer have a planning horizon long enough to make bets on a bunch of potential Guidos and Linuses in advance and wait for one of their practice innovations to turn up a winner.

    That’s why most of the innovation has to come from the self-motivated and outsiders now. You can wish it were otherwise as hard as you like, but it won’t change reality.

  82. So which part of my statement that you ridiculed above is either wrong or actively funny? Did I say who was leading them? No. Just that companies and governments paid for that work so that whole “companies don’t understand the ROI of good software” meme is just unsupported bullshit.

    Paid for what work? @esr named Python. Guido started working on Python in 1991, decades before he ever worked at Google or Dropbox. and per his own words, did most of that work in his spare time:

    Over six years ago, in December 1989, I was looking for a “hobby” programming project that would keep me occupied during the week around Christmas. My office … would be closed, but I had a home computer, and not much else on my hands. I decided to write an interpreter for the new scripting language I had been thinking about lately: a descendant of ABC that would appeal to Unix/C hackers. I chose Python as a working title for the project, being in a slightly irreverent mood (and a big fan of Monty Python’s Flying Circus).

    What exactly are you smoking?

  83. Pingback: Con muchas miradas, todos los errores saltarán a la vista | Linux-OS.net

  84. You’re still wrong.

    I didn’t think that you would man up and admit you were putting words in my mouth.

    Python will stand as one example; nobody paid Guido to innovate, you couldn’t buy a bad design decision from him if you tried, and he’d still be working ion the language if here were living in a garret.

    Python was developed in the 80s and 90s and is a contemporary of all those ancient history examples I provided that you say are irrelevant.

    Git is another; equally obviously it happened because Linus wanted it to, not because a manager said “Here. You’re going to innovate now. Have a wad of cash.”

    Git happened because of bitkeeper and is an evolution on DVCS that started in the proprietary world. Claiming innovation for stuff that happened in “ancient history” isn’t compelling either.

  85. Sorry to break into the way the current discussion is going, but I had tried to post this earlier and my monitor crapped out just as I was about to click on ‘Post Comment’, so I’ll try it now:

    @esr: If your secretive ‘foundation project’ involves a decently large amount of money, what do you think about setting up some sort of financial reward system for verified reports of OS software bugs? Maybe it would attract more of the needed eyeballs? Maybe it would occupy more 16 year olds more productively that would otherwise be busy executing exploit scripts?

  86. Paid for what work? @esr named Python. Guido started working on Python in 1991, decades before he ever worked at Google or Dropbox. and per his own words, did most of that work in his spare time:

    No. Python was supported and paid for by the Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica (CWI) in the same way that any of my personal projects is supported by my company when I use it for work. He may have started on his own time just like i do on mine and worked on the side but without more hours to devote, and more importantly a good use for, the projects languish. Amoeba and CWI’s funding is part of Python’s genesis.

    Quotes:

    Guido van Rossum: In the early 1980s, I worked as an implementer on a team building a language called ABC at Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica (CWI). I don’t know how well people know ABC’s influence on Python. I try to mention ABC’s influence because I’m indebted to everything I learned during that project and to the people who worked on it.

    Guido van Rossum: In 1986 I moved to a different project at CWI, the Amoeba project. Amoeba was a distributed operating system. By the late 1980s we found we needed a scripting language. I had a large degree of freedom on that project to start my own mini project within the scope of what we were doing. I remembered all my experience and some of my frustration with ABC. I decided to try to design a simple scripting language that possessed some of ABC’s better properties, but without its problems.

    http://www.artima.com/intv/pythonP.html

    People are more able to innovate when they have slack. This is why Google has its 20% time benefit. This is why companies have open IR&D calls. This is why we have government funded research institutions like CWI that permit a “large degree of freedom to start my own mini project” for folks to innovate.

    Guido says elsewhere that no funds were officially allocated for his work on Python but it’s true for my stuff as well. Funds are allocated for the projects I do and how I choose to do them is largely up to me as one of the project leads.

    CWI paid for his salary, used python in their multimedia group and gave him the latitude to pursue python development inside the organization as part of the larger amoeba development.

    This is clear given:

    “This early version of Python was used by a number of people at CWI, mostly, but not exclusively in the Amoeba group during 1990. Key developers besides myself were my officemates, programmers Sjoerd Mullender (Sape’s younger brother) and Jack Jansen (who remained one of the lead developers of the Macintosh port for many years after I left CWI).”

    and

    “On February 20, 1991, I first released Python to the world in the alt.sources newsgroup (as 21 uuencoded parts that had to be joined together and uudecoded to form a compressed tar file). This version was labeled 0.9.0, and released under a license that was an almost verbatim copy of the MIT license used by the X11 project at the time, substituting “Stichting Mathematisch Centrum”, CWI’s parent organization, as the responsible legal entity.”

    http://python-history.blogspot.com/2009/01/personal-history-part-1-cwi.html?m=1

    All of my personal projects are also marked as copyright under my organization and goes through our office of tech transfer before it gets released. Largely because separation between professional and private is difficult when working on things in the same field. Any work I do on nasa worldwind or geospatial stuff or even on Java UIs on my own time is deeply tied to my daily work. Just like for Guido and languages back in the 80s/90s.

    Further research organizations help each other out (sometimes anyway):

    “This culminated in an invitation from Michael McLay for me to spend two months as a guest researcher at NIST, the US National Institute for Standards and Technology, formerly the National Bureau of Standards, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Michael had a number of “customers” at NIST who were interested in using Python for a variety of standards-related projects and the budget for my stay there was motivated by the need to help them improve their Python skills, as well as possibly improving Python for their needs.

    The first Python workshop was held while I was there in November 1994, with NIST programmer Ken Manheimer providing important assistance and encouragement.

    With NIST’s support I also gave a keynote for about 400 people at the Usenix Little Languages conference in Santa Fe, organized by Tom Christiansen, an open-minded Perl advocate who introduced me to Perl creator Larry Wall and Tcl/Tk author John Ousterhout.”

    To claim the python is a success story of an individual enthusiast with no government support requires ignoring where he worked and who helped promote python in those early days.

  87. No, i said that the corporate world, by and large, need to be convinced of the ROI on code quality and the difference between those two terms is entirely the problem.

    To a manager, software that doesn’t break is “good software”. Code quality is all about perfectionist devs just futzing around with their code and making it “better” (and there’s little to no difference they can see that shows that). Until of course something like heartbleed occurs and the house of cards falls down.

    Maybe you’ve just been lucky enough to join workplaces after they’ve had the house of cards fall down once or twice to convince them.

    I certainly have worked for companies that didn’t understand the value of good software just like I’ve worked for companies that didn’t understand the value of “good enough software” (@see Bach).

    With respect to managers pushing the bottom like is “real artists ship”.

    But good companies and good managers have read the same Harvard Business Review case studies I have on the cost of software project disasters. It’s part of both the SwE curriculum as well as the technical management MBA curriculum. At least it was a decade ago.

    That good software practices has a positive ROI is an easy sell. The harder part is the evaluation of the Investment portion.

    Many companies have done the ROI AoA for software. A good many have determined that the best course of action is to outsource their software. Given some IT departments this was the correct move. Others have determined that software is a critical business advantage over their peers and invest heavily in their capabilities.

    Contrast Apple and to a lesser degree Samsung to handset makers that outsourced their OS development to Google. Samsung, based on their internal documents, understands that software remains a huge competitive advantage and invested into alternative OS over Android with their own UI/branding stack.

    From a best of breed perspective I would say that Apple has been driving software development evolution the hardest. UX is a huge component of a successful software product and few do it as well as Apple in terms of melding their design and software teams. Even there Apple fails a lot (maps, mobile me, etc).

    By putting artistry and craftsmanship first while maintaining the mantra that real artists ship they have managed to create products people like using. In comparison to say some products from Microsoft.

  88. What’s being missed in this endless circle of “open source vs. corporate code” argument, which is a bit strange as those are somewhat orthogonal issues, is the *original* argument about whether or not bugs are more {likely, visible, readily fixed} in open source code vs. closed source code.

    More likely: I don’t think there’s an absolute answer there when open/closed and corporate/not are conflated. This really comes down to the quality of work put in, which can be anywhere from poor to excellent whether source code is public or not.

    More visible: This is pretty much in open source’s court by definition.

    More readily fixed: Here’s where it gets interesting. External-API fuzz testing, about the only real testing available to closed source, can give some measure of the existence of bugs… but having access to the source code provides a shortcut from a bug being found to it being fixed.

    I believe that the last point has been part of the driving force behind most corporately funded, open source projects, thanks to the free consulting aspect. Open source provides an opportunity to get, effectively, free consulting work on a component — and the more that same component is reused by other projects, the more free consulting is returned to the original.

    This opportunity for free collaborative work exists no matter who funds the work, or even whether it’s funded at all.

  89. Software quality is a function of the process used to build the software.

    If, as Eric contends, the best practices in software come from the open source camp, there is significant reason to believe that open-source software will be of higher quality than proprietary software.

    But if, as Nigel contends, the best practices in software come from governments and corporations, then proprietary software can regularly equal or exceed open-source software in quality.

    This shouldn’t be hard to quantify: compare defect rates weighted for severity between top-ranked open-source projects and the output of CMMI level 5 software shops.

  90. >If, as Eric contends, the best practices in software come from the open source camp, there is significant reason to believe that open-source software will be of higher quality than proprietary software.

    There is convincing empirical evidence for this. Google for “fuzz papers”. The people who run the Coverity static checker have had some interesting things to say, too, particularly praising the almost ridiculously low measured defect density of the Linux kernel compared to proprietary codebases of comparable size.

    A couple of my projects – notably giflib and GPSD – have achieved defect-incidence rates better than those legend ascribes to the Space Shuttle firmware. While I do not claim these are representative of open source software in general, they illustrate a quality level that is much less common in proprietary code.

    Also relevant is that I have learned to replicate that kind of reliability. It’s not black magic, but it requires an amount of investment in test suites and code-verification machinery that almost no proprietary shop can replicate – the pressure for checklist features and “ship it now!” prohibits that.

  91. Amusing that coverity is a proprietary software tool used and developed for corporate customers before being free to use for open source…partially due to prior funding from DHS in the form of a $1.24M grant to assess open source projects.

    It would be interesting to compare the Solaris, Darwin, Linux and FreeBSD kernels prior to the 2006 DHS funded scans if the data is available.

    I know that Sun used coverity but not if Apple did.

  92. In the late nineties it was something of an amusement among old-time Unix hackers to project Linux source code onto a wall after work, pass around the beers, and have a laugh.

    Linux didn’t graduate from toy status until corporations invested funding and manpower into its development to fulfill corporate interests.

  93. >Linux didn’t graduate from toy status until corporations invested funding and manpower into its development to fulfill corporate interests.

    Er. No. Wrong. This old-time Unix hacker noticed that Linux was functionally superior to the System V Unix he’d been using in 1993. Which is why I wrote CATB – which caused the corporate funding.

  94. I don’t think corporates will fund projects just like that, unless they see that the code is of high quality and potentially useful.

    So the whole myth about corporates promoting open source appears nonsense even to an outsider like me. Corporates promote nothing but their own interests, and only if they see that an open source project is useful to them and is of sufficiently high quality at the outset, will they even bother about it.

    Most of the high quality code in any project is churned out by a small core group of developers who have the know-how. And sometimes the know-how is provided by independent open source developers and sometimes by corporates.

    So I think the ultimate answer is that, high quality code is produced by the talented devleopers, regardless of whether they belong to the open source community or are employed in a corporation.

  95. This discussion reminds me of the contemporary discussion about “real” amateur sports at the olympics.

    CWI funded Guido, and his collegues were a source of inspiration. But I have yet to see any suggestion that the CWI (an Academic institution at the biggest Internet exchange outside the USA at the time) did anything more than pay Guido’s salary. It most certainly did not think about ROI nor did it force design methodologies. Python was Guido’s project, for him to handle as he saw fit.

    The copyright assignment still is standard employment contract stuff at the university. The University of Amsterdam would allow OSS licenses fairly easily at the time. Python is not the only example.

  96. I don’t think corporates will fund projects just like that, unless they see that the code is of high quality and potentially useful.

    So the whole myth about corporates promoting open source appears nonsense even to an outsider like me.

    Sounds like most political logic: “I’m going to assume that the world works this way, therefore your proposal is nonsensical.” For the most obvious counterexample, see the Apache project, which was specifically started by a number of companies to produce a joint commodity Web server and then went on to completely dominate during the initial Web craze and still has a 2/3 market share. Not to mention the large number of tools (Eclipse, the Sun JDK, and OpenOffice, just to name ones I use regularly) that were originally proprietary and then donated by large corporations.

  97. Nb. beside OpenSSL (Apache License 1.0 and 4-clause BSD License) and GnuTLS (LGPLv2.1+) we have also Network Security Services / NSS (MPL 2.0). I wonder how the quality compares to other two, and whether permissive vs copyleft licensing is important factor.

  98. > Maybe it would occupy more 16 year olds more productively that would otherwise be busy executing exploit scripts?

    I’m not a cracker but some involvement with OS code would be interesting and productive. It would look nice on my CV too.

  99. I wonder how the quality compares to other two, and whether permissive vs copyleft licensing is important factor.

    I would guess not. As someone remarked above it has much more to deal with how good the individual devs are than the license used.

  100. CWI funded Guido, and his collegues were a source of inspiration. But I have yet to see any suggestion that the CWI (an Academic institution at the biggest Internet exchange outside the USA at the time) did anything more than pay Guido’s salary. It most certainly did not think about ROI nor did it force design methodologies. Python was Guido’s project, for him to handle as he saw fit.

    Governments don’t compute ROI like companies do. Which is why that whole quarterly driven thing is bogus.

    Did anything more than pay his salary? That’s huge. If RMS had his way we’d be flipping burgers and working on code in our spare time.

    Advances like this is exactly why governments spend money funding academics and research institutions. It gives the country and it’s workforce a competitive advantage…although in pythons case it helped the US a bit more than the Dutch since Guido ended up in the US. First at CNRI who funded further python work and later Google and now Dropbox. I think they’d have preferred he stayed rather than immigrate to the US.

    Companies also aren’t slavishly drive by ROI or quarterly profits as some folks here claim either.

    Tim Cook:

    “When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind,” he said, “I don’t consider the bloody ROI.” He said that the same thing about environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas where Apple is a leader.

    He didn’t stop there, however, as he looked directly at the NCPPR representative and said, “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

  101. For the most obvious counterexample, see the Apache project, which was specifically started by a number of companies to produce a joint commodity Web server

    I’m not sure that your statements about the history of Apache agree with how Apache describes its history.

    From http://httpd.apache.org/ABOUT_APACHE.html

    A small group of these webmasters, contacted via private e-mail, gathered together for the purpose of coordinating their changes (in the form of “patches”). Brian Behlendorf and Cliff Skolnick put together a mailing list, shared information space, and logins for the core developers on a machine in the California Bay Area, with bandwidth donated by HotWired.

    If they were “started by a number of companies” why were they co-ordinating via private e-mail (as opposed to their corporate emails) and describing the bandwidth as “donated” (and by a third party client of Behlendorf and Skolnick at that) seems to suggest that the actual situation was different to what you’re suggesting.

  102. @Nigel
    “Advances like this is exactly why governments spend money funding academics and research institutions.”

    And how did that influence Python code quality?

    Is this just another “True OSS can only be produced by true amateurs”? The “No true Scotsman” argument?

    Guido scratch his own itch on his own project. It was his personal decision to start and develop Python, open source it, and to build a community. CWI had little or nothing to do with it. They would have paid Guido just as much if he had done something completely different.

  103. And how did that influence Python code quality?

    The code quality of python itself wasn’t ESR’s point. His point was that python is an example of innovation in software development by an individual enthusiast not funded by a company or government.

    “Python will stand as one example; nobody paid Guido to innovate, you couldn’t buy a bad design decision from him if you tried, and he’d still be working ion the language if here were living in a garret.”

    The first part of this statement is false. Someone did pay him to innovate. That’s the point of hiring smart people for your research institute.

    He might still be working on python without such support but to claim that support wasn’t there from the very beginning ignores his job, his invitation as a guest researcher at NIST and the support provided to the early python community by NIST and CNRI.

    Python is a clear example of software development tooling/languages from the industry/government and not the wider open source community of individual enthusiasts.

  104. @Nigel
    “The first part of this statement is false. Someone did pay him to innovate. That’s the point of hiring smart people for your research institute. ”

    No, he was not hired to develop Python. And the mission of the CWI is not to innovate (TM) in the sense you use the word. Just like the mathematics department of the UvA is not paid to Innovate (TM).

    Guido seemed to have worked on several thing as part of his work. He started Python because he wanted it. It was not started to Innovate (TM), and no one at the CWI was supporting it because it was Innovative (TM). They used it because it scratched their itch.

    Essentially, the story of Guido is not much different from that of Larry Wal or Linus Torvalds. Who paid them during the gestation of their projects was utterly immaterial to the form and shape of the artifacts.

    In all cases, you could not buy any changes in the code. You could pay for more development, but there was only a way to steer the project by helping these people to do the stuff they really wanted to do, like sending Linus an Alpha station.

    Maybe the problem is that you equate “funding” with “control”?

  105. No Winter, he was hired to be a productive member of a research institution. Part of your duties is indeed to be innovative. That’s the ROI. The name of CWI is the National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science and it is not just like the mathematics department of UVA.

    In any case, the mathematics department of UVA IS paid to innovate in the form of grants. That is the role of every major research university. The Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica generates a large volume of work and if it’s anything like in the US I bet that the CWI collaborates with FNWI on a regular basis and the NWO provides grants to fund research.

    I use innovate in the normal english use of the term. To figure out how to do solve problems or create opportunities in new ways. Wether that is new theory, new algorithms, new languages, new processes or new gadgets is immaterial. In the context of computer science the work of van Rossum is no different to me than the work of Dijkstra…another CWA alum.

    Okay, a little different. I’m not certain that van Rossum is quite as notable a figure but when you get up there it hardly matters. Plus I’m old so Dijkstra was one of the greats along with Knuth when I was in school. There are actually a few times when I sling some code and think “man, Dijkstra would have hated this” because I once read he would have considered that a form of immortality. Fortunately no gotos in my code.

    And if you don’t think that funding is control…you haven’t worked for a research organization, LOL. If CWI wasn’t chartered for both OS and language work then van Rossum likely would have had a different itch to scratch that week around Christmas.

    “My original motivation for creating Python was the perceived need for a higher level language in the Amoeba project.”

    /shrug

    It’s not micromanaged control but it sets the environment for which direction innovation generally takes. Sometimes you get welcome surprises. That’s part and parcel of the research gig.

  106. @Nigel
    Sigh. I do know all of these institutes from personal experience. I have received enough grants from the NWO to know that they are only interested in fundamental research, just as the FNWI is.

    You are mixing up fundamental research (funded by NWO) and applied research (funded by STW).

    But your fundamental point is that real OSS can only be created by a real amateur. Which is a position I do not share.

    But even under your own ideosyncratic definitions there was no paying influence of the employers on the code structure and quality of OSS projects.

  107. But your fundamental point is that real OSS can only be created by a real amateur. Which is a position I do not share.

    No. Real OSS is created by many entities. However, a large portion of OSS is funded by governments and corporations.

    Also many large successful open source projects started as closed source corporate code and then open sourced later. Like how OpenOffice was originally StarOffice.

    Or started as significant academic or government projects. Like apache was a fork of NCSA httpd.

  108. @Nigel
    “Real OSS is created by many entities. However, a large portion of OSS is funded by governments and corporations.”

    Leonardo Da Vinci was funded by rich and powerful “governments and corporations” of his time. So what was the relation between Leonardo’s art and inventions and those who funded him? Was that fundamentally different than the relation between Guido and Python? Did it actually matter who funded Leonardo or Guido?
    (just a well now example. not trying to propose Guido is in the same league as Leonardo)

    Proprietary software has a media image of “Work for Hire” by code mercenaries. OSS has a media image of “Works of Art” by artists.
    (we all know that is the media, there are people delivering good and bad quality code in all branches)

    The reason would be that Guido can take his Python with him when he moves to a new employer. Like Leonardo would take his inventions with him when he changed “employers”. More like an artist. The people who wrote the Windows SMB/CIFS stack cannot change to another employer and continue working on this code. Like work for hire where the coder is “let go” after a job done. And people are wondering what a Pointy-Haired Boss can do to a proprietary software project.

    Back on topic, we know all about the OpenSSL bug because it is OSS. We do not know much about the code behind many of the bugs behind security breaches of proprietary equivalents, if we get to know what horrible bugs there were.

    In the end, with the OpenSSL bug, we can only blame ourselves, because we did not check the code while we knew we should check it. But we can only blame Oracle, Apple, and MS for the bugs in their code, because we are not even allowed to take a look.

  109. Only because Guido has special arrangements regarding Python with his employer, and/or because he works in California. In Murka, the normal order of things is that your employer owns all rights to your intellectual output whether on or off the job. This is illegal in at least one state (California; Massachusetts may be next) but SOP everywhere else.

    Yet another reason to be glad you’re in the Netherlands, and perhaps to wish Guido would have stayed.

    As to Leonardo’s art, the Mona Lisa is a painting of the wife of one of his wealthy patrons. His most famous painting is one whose subject he did not choose. Granted, the money he made creating paintings like that bankrolled some ambitious side projects (flying machine designs and the like).

  110. @Jeff Read
    “In Murka, the normal order of things is that your employer owns all rights to your intellectual output whether on or off the job.”

    We have the job part too. But what you produce on your own time tends to be different.

    I know that both NWO and the University of Amsterdam support OSS and Open Data. NWO is an even stronger supporter than the University. It tends to be mixed in the other universities.

    I think Guido can do better in the States. It is the same reason Linus went to the states. There is precious little flexibility in the employment contracts in Academia in Europe. Outside Academia, there is too little venture capital or online businesses to keep such people in a job.

  111. Sigh. I do know all of these institutes from personal experience. I have received enough grants from the NWO to know that they are only interested in fundamental research, just as the FNWI is.

    I know the difference between basic and applied research (what we used to call 6.1 vs 6.2) as well and also know that universities got both.

    Want to bet FNWI gets STW funding as well?

  112. Belatedly speaking to the original topic….

    It’s not really surprising that “Linus’s Law” doesn’t work very well against security bugs. It works on bugs where the failure is well known but the fix elusive. Security bugs usually have quick fixes once the exploit is known, but until then they are invisible. The many eyeballs are irrelevant because there is no pain to recruit them.

    However, this isn’t a problem because you don’t need Linus’s Law to sell the benefits of open source security software. The key advantage is instead that it’s hard for deliberate back doors to get in (as you note).

    (Although I can think of one devil’s advocate for closed: If a government is really desperate to backdoor an open source project, the best they can do is strongarm a contributor into “accidentally” inserting an exploitable bug — which criminals and other governments might discover and use. OTOH, when backdooring a closed source product, a public key system can be used so that only that government can enter the door. Other entities, even if they have decompiled the code and discovered the backdoor, cannot derive the private key needed. Not even the suborned programmer himself can get in.)

  113. Pingback: Heartbleed Exposes a Problem With Open Source, But It’s Not What You Think | Mobile Apps Now

  114. @Nigel
    “Want to bet FNWI gets STW funding as well?”

    No. But I do know most people at the FNWI (Fac of Sciences, university of Amsterdam) are geared towards publishing papers on fundamental science problems. Applied research seems to be “tolerated”, as long as it does not impede fundamental research.

    This is completely different (almost opposite) in some other Dutch universities, e.g., Delft.

    This is all moot anyway. Management of the CWI had no influence on the course of Python, neither inception, nor code development. Expected ROI of Python development was never a point.

  115. This is all moot anyway. Management of the CWI had no influence on the course of Python, neither inception, nor code development. Expected ROI of Python development was never a point.

    This is like claiming that because CERN never explicitly set out to make the WWW that Tim Berners-Lee didn’t invent it there.

    To say that CWI management had no influence is disingenuous. They empowered van Rossum to be creative in meeting the need for a scripting language for Amoeba just like Tim BL’s boss empowered him to go play on the NeXT for a while.

    Good bosses do that.

    I have no idea why you guys are so tenacious in your endeavors to minimize the vast impact of government and corporate support of open source.

    Actually I do since it directly attacks the mythos of the lone hacker changing the world on his own by making it a collaborative effort between great artists and their evil patrons.

  116. @Nigel
    “They empowered van Rossum to be creative in meeting the need for a scripting language for Amoeba just like Tim BL’s boss empowered him to go play on the NeXT for a while. ”

    I am totally lost here as I have never been able to understand the meaning of “empowering”.

    Do you mean Einstein’s housekeeper “empowered” him do develop general relativity? Or do you mean with “empowering” someone like Marcel Grossmann who explained non-euclidean geometry to him.

  117. I am totally lost here as I have never been able to understand the meaning of “empowering”

    Not empowered:

    I need you to get to D by Friday. You will travel via A, B, C and then D. You are not authorized to deviate from this path.

    Empowered:

    I need you to get to D by Friday. I trust you to figure it out.

    Empowered:

    “large degree of freedom to start my own mini project”

    Empowered:

    “There was a bit of a low, and during that low, my boss Mike Sendal, said at one point, “Well, why don’t you Tim – why don’t you try out this new computer you even called – this new fancy NeXT big block box you’ve got. Why don’t you try out with something to develop something? Why don’t you – you need some program to just to see how good it is as a platform for developing things? Oh, why don’t you do that so that hypertext thing you are talking about? So, OK?” “Sure, Mike.””

    em·pow·er
    em?pou(-?)r/
    verb
    1.
    give (someone) the authority or power to do something.
    “nobody was empowered to sign checks on her behalf”

    Not surprisingly I use the word the way Google definition defines it.

    These organizations gave them the authority and ability to explore scripting languages and hypertext as part of their work.

    Einstein, in contrast, worked at the patent office where presumably he wasn’t allowed or encouraged to spend his time on physics but on completing patent cases. There’s no applicability between his personal research in physics and in adjudicating patents.

  118. @Nigel
    So, “empowered” means “left alone”? Words with opposite meaning seem to be “curtailed”, “hindered”, “inhibited”, “sabotage”? According to your usage (which seems to be general?), empowering seems to mean: “not involved in the work”.

    Which is precisely what Eric seems to say:
    Funding agencies and companies are not involved in the development, management, and maintenance of OSS projects.

  119. In Murka, the normal order of things is that your employer owns all rights to your intellectual output whether on or off the job. This is illegal in at least one state (California; Massachusetts may be next) but SOP everywhere else.

    @Foreigners – The above is bullshit.

    Standard job contracts do contain clauses pertaining to employer ownership of output, but typically during the hours *they are paying you to work for them*….which, y’know, seems rather fucking reasonable to me. Yes, there are contracts (I have seen them) that are worded so loosely that they could be construed to imply total ownership of all output while you are under employment; however, the ensuing lawsuit would inevitably contain the magic word “unconscionable”

    @Foreigners – here’s a clue : when some American uses the term “Murka”, there’s a good chance that it will be in conjunction with some hackneyed lefty derision.

  120. @ESR

    >Python will stand as one example; nobody paid Guido to innovate, you couldn’t buy a bad design decision from him if you tried, and he’d still be working ion the language if here were living in a garret.

    Interesting how you really, really like thinking in economics terms except when it comes to this topic when you suddenly throw it out entirely and don’t accept the possibility of any amount of monetary profit maximization taint the purity of the curiosity based hacker ethic. Er. It does not sound realistic at all.

    I don’t have to tell you people respond to incentives… so what? Either Guido and the like are somehow entirely different from the average guy say the car mechanic in the garage down the street. Or should we just throw out the whole idea of monetary focused economics at least as long as it comes to private people and not corporations, and start thinking that most people would actually like to, and would be greatly motivated to to work on stuff they like just because they like to, would do for free if they were independently wealthy, and money simply plays the role that they need it to live and must often compromise if they don’t have it? It would be a very different world. (For example you could give people welfare and still not get laziness but they would be mostly like “Whatever, I like my job.” Because basically you are saying that if an extra tax was put on Python language development or the other way around, it would get subsidies nothing really would change.)

    Or maybe you think it is not because hackers are so special but because hacker jobs are so especially big fun. But of course, for many, many kinds of jobs there are people who enjoy it immensely. You have much more life experience than me, so you probably met at least a dozen artists or say kindergarten teachers who loved their jobs and would not understand how could anyone enjoy writing half-math-like cryptical commands on a screen, or whichever way they would describe it.

    I give you the benefit of doubt but I just don’t grok it at all.

  121. @winter

    Sorry I can’t make it any clearer than I already have. But what the heck, one last time:

    The case of python is that a scripting language was developed for an organization that created languages in the past, by someone who worked four years for that organization on a language from which concepts were later borrowed and on a mini-project to support the primary line of research. It goes far beyond just “left alone”. Just like the support from NIST to do the first python workshop was more than just “left alone” or “not involved”.

    They hired him to work on a new language straight out of school, they mentored him in language creation, and then gave him the authority to solve problems in ways he thought best on a different project…one that happened to need a scripting language.

    Likewise for www, TimBL wasn’t just left alone but actively encouraged by his boss to take time to explore his concepts during a slow period even if his proposal had never been approved by CERN.

  122. “In Murka, the normal order of things is that your employer owns all rights to your intellectual output whether on or off the job. This is illegal in at least one state (California; Massachusetts may be next) but SOP everywhere else.

    @Foreigners – The above is bullshit.”

    One would hope.

    I actually had to reject a couple job offers in early 2012 because the contracts weren’t just loosely worded; they were *intentionally* worded to construe all software work, at any hour, as work for hire and property of the employer.

    Further, a past employer of mine, where I worked for three years until that point (and worked a further five years later), attempted to get me to sign an amendment to my employment agreement granting this kind of ownership to them. They opted to keep me as an employee rather than push the issue; I shredded the amendment document.

    Ownership assignment of any-hours work, via contract terms, *IS LEGAL* in parts of the U.S. The specifics vary by state (California, notably, does not allow this).

  123. >I don’t have to tell you people respond to incentives… so what? Either Guido and the like are somehow entirely different from the average guy say the car mechanic in the garage down the street.

    There’s a saying in English: “Talent does what it can; genius does what it must.”

    This can be unpacked into the language of economics. Yes, people like Guido respond to incentives. But conventional economic incentives, the kind that can be conveyed with money, have relatively little value or impact for a Guido. What a Guido really wants is less tangible – to have as many “aha!” moments of conceptual breakthrough as he can cram into a lifetime. Once he has enough to cover basics the marginal utility of additional dollars falls off much faster than for most people.

    I know how this works because I’m like this myself. It can be difficult to notice how little I actually care about money because my politics is all about markets. Maybe it would be more obvious if I talked the “art for art’s sake” line, but I avoid that because I think it usually translates into excuse-making by “artists” whose ability to communicate with an audience is stunted.

  124. I don’t get your USA code ownership thing.

    Here is how it works in France : when I work, what I do belongs to whoever pays me(the firm that pays my consulting firm, usually). When I work at home – outside of my job assignment – my code belongs to me(and that’s not much, unfortunately). It sounds fair to me.

    What’s the difference with the USA? The more I’m reading you, the less I understand.

  125. @Todd – I have seen (and either rejected or successfully defeated) such contracts also. Ultimately, if the individual is foolish enough to fail to pay attention to the contracts they sign, then they will be preyed-upon by shysters.

    However, to claim that it is “SOP” in America to define a 40-hour work week as implying total ownership of your life is just wrong. Admittedly, people like us may experience a skewed sample simply because we’re chest deep in fuzzy “intellectual property” territory.

    America is replete with examples of people working ‘day jobs’ to pay the bills, while building businesses/projects in their personal time. To say that it is SOP to thwart this is irritating “blame ‘murka” lefty bullshit.

  126. >Ownership assignment of any-hours work, via contract terms, *IS LEGAL* in parts of the U.S. The specifics vary by state (California, notably, does not allow this).

    It is also relevant that even in states where such terms are not prohibited by law, courts have historically been reluctant to enforce them (and post-employment non-compete clauses as well).

  127. @Nigel
    “The case of python is that a scripting language was developed for an organization that created languages in the past, ”

    I fail to see your point. I must be missing something.

    When some athlete wins gold at the Olympics, it is obvious she needed the money of her sponsors to be able to train and compete. That is nice. But I fail to see the significance of the sponsor’s specific soft-drink or woman’s hygiene brand in this athlete’s exceptional performance.

    Ok. Let’s translate that towards a less politically charged field from history. When we look at the Dome of the cathedral of Florence, who should we credit? Filippo Brunelleschi or the people who paid for it?

    The point here is that we generally assume that this dome could have been build by Brunelleschi using any funds, but no money could have bought a new dome without Brunelleschi. Right or wrong, you will have a hell of a job trying to convince people that the Florentines would have build that dome without Brunelleschi, and that Brunelleschi would not have build something of that scale with different funds.

    Likewise, we may wonder whether the CWI would have created something with the power of Python without Guido or CERN something like the WWW without TBL.

    On the other hand, can we imagine a world were Guido created Python from any other funding or job, or TBL the WWW without the involvement of CERN?

    Depending on the specific example, I can see how specific (groups) of individuals make a difference, like the early Linux developers. And they “tend” to make more of a difference in OSS than in proprietary projects (note the emphasis on tend).

    Not always. OpenOffice was the proprietary product started by Marco Borries. It was later managed to near death by Sun and Oracle. It seems quality has benefited a lot from the recent liberation of the code.

  128. I know how this works because I’m like this myself. It can be difficult to notice how little I actually care about money because my politics is all about markets.

    Sincere question – I’m fully aware of your status and ‘celebrity’ in the OSS world, and have enjoyed your books…but how lucrative has your hacker trajectory become? Care to mention a coarse income bracket? Sheer nosy curiosity, I confess… ;)

  129. >Care to mention a coarse income bracket?

    Hmmmm. Not in public, no. I will say that it’s not a whole lot – think moderately successful writer, most of it is royalty income.

  130. el-slapper:

    In America, technical workers are frequently required to sign, as a condition of employment, a non-compete agreement. Under such an agreement the employee may be barred from working for a competitor after being terminated for a period of time (one year or more). Many also contain clauses stating that all of the employee’s work and intellectual output relating to his profession (e.g., code if he’s a programmer) belongs to the company whether it was done on company time or not.

    And yes, these ARE enforceable in jurisdictions where they’re legal. It hardly matters which way judges tend to rule when the act of litigating the matter itself can bankrupt you. Just a day or two ago, the creator of continuous integration framework Avow-CI took it down because he got a C&D from his former employer and couldn’t afford to defy them.

  131. Winter, you’ve reminded me that NPR has a fair amount of material about the early rock music companies– the musicians are the creators, but without the financial and logistical support (or with companies which made different choices), the evolution of the music would be quite different.

    I’m not saying to assume that creators are replaceable– they aren’t– just that they’re part of a more complex system.

  132. Standard job contracts do contain clauses pertaining to employer ownership of output, but typically during the hours *they are paying you to work for them*….which, y’know, seems rather fucking reasonable to me. Yes, there are contracts (I have seen them) that are worded so loosely that they could be construed to imply total ownership of all output while you are under employment; however, the ensuing lawsuit would inevitably contain the magic word “unconscionable”

    Like most legal things the reality is usually “it depends”. For engineers, scientists, etc who are “employed to invent” typically the contract is much more explicit with pre-invention assignments, etc.

    Even when it isn’t it depends on whether that invention is related to the domain that you have been hired for under the employed to invent doctrine. Few companies will depend on this but generally, if I’m hired to create solutions for X, even if I think up a solution for X in my shower in the morning rather than the office, that solution is owned by my employer.

    And finally, even if that doesn’t apply, the company will generally get “shop rights” to your inventions so that they won’t owe you royalties for using your IP.

    US law, IANAL, YMMV, etc.

  133. Some nice examples:

    Must Ex-Employee Disclose Post-Employment Inventions?
    http://dearrichblog.blogspot.nl/2012/01/must-ex-employee-disclose-post.html
    (spoiler alert: Not likely)

    My Ideas, My Boss’s Property
    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/opinion/my-ideas-my-bosss-property.html
    (spoiler alert: Indeed)

    I do remember this case in the news:
    In 2004 a court in Texas ordered a former Alcatel employee to give his former employer a software algorithm — which existed entirely in his mind.

  134. “Einstein, in contrast, worked at the patent office where presumably he wasn’t allowed or encouraged to spend his time on physics but on completing patent cases. There’s no applicability between his personal research in physics and in adjudicating patents.”

    Actually, some very influential people in Swiss society of his time got Einstein that job specifically so he could support himself while he developed his theories. You can’t do physics if there’s no food on the table.

    To this day, you can’t find out which patents, if any, Einstein actually examined. My theory is that the information might turn out to be embarrassing:

    “A Heavier Than Air Flying Machine” – O. and W. Wright
    IMPOSSIBLE!!! REJECTED!!! – A. Einstein

    “Apparatus For Wireless Telegraphy” – G. Marconi
    CRACKPOT!!! REJECTED!!! – A. Einstein

  135. Ideally, we’d know something about the risk of being sued by an employer for ideas developed while employed, not just how the court cases turned out.

  136. Ok. Let’s translate that towards a less politically charged field from history. When we look at the Dome of the cathedral of Florence, who should we credit? Filippo Brunelleschi or the people who paid for it?

    The point here is that we generally assume that this dome could have been build by Brunelleschi using any funds, but no money could have bought a new dome without Brunelleschi. Right or wrong, you will have a hell of a job trying to convince people that the Florentines would have build that dome without Brunelleschi, and that Brunelleschi would not have build something of that scale with different funds.

    First, the funding of that endeavor was non-trivial task. To simply hand wave it away as “could have been build by Brunelleschi using any funds” ignores what a gargantuan undertaking this was and the fact that the cathedral the dome would sit on had taken a hundred years to build to that point. Remember that the cathedral had started in 1294. Doing the design competition in 1418 for the dome piece is 100 years after the original approval and the Florentines had been investing in this work for over a hundred years. There are only so many opportunities to build such a dome…so limited that it could be, in fact, considered unique. Similar scale, perhaps. Similar importance? Perhaps not.

    Second, there were other architects of the Italian Renaissance that could have built such a dome. Perhaps not immediate contemporaries like Michelozzo or Donatello who helped Brunelleschi or his rival Ghiberti but da Vinci, Michelangelo, Vasari etc were but a few decades from their own primes.

    Almost for certain there would be a dome…not an identical one perhaps but equally impressive. Even if Ghiberti tried and failed and they had to commission Michelangelo or someone else to replace it. Heck, they didn’t finish the facade until 1887. What’s a few decade slip in schedule?

  137. @Nigel,
    “First, the funding of that endeavor was non-trivial task.”

    No, but collecting funds is a completely different job. A job that will have its own stars (the founding father of the Medici was such a star). Simply heaping money on a project is not always effective. For some types of result, you need love (and maybe genius).

    @Nigel
    “Even if Ghiberti tried and failed and they had to commission Michelangelo or someone else to replace it.”

    OK, Michelangelo might have done it (note that all others would have had a look at Brunelleschi’s work to see how to do it).

    That is like saying that Guido was not necessary, Larry could have done it too. Indeed, but that is because they were/are the same kind of people. Still, they are rare enough that the funding agencies could not simply put up an ad and select a hired hand.

  138. Ideas are funny things. While it’s true that we can come up with an employer-related idea while in the shower, it’s equally true that we can come up with private, non-work-related ideas while working. Indeed, it’s difficult to predict when flash of insight is going to hit us!

    And that’s what makes these issues of “owning” ideas so pernicious: it creates animosity between the employer and the employed, and it gives people and organizations that have money the power to persecute the “little guy”, which (as one of the articles Winter linked to points out) favors Big Corporations over individuals. And this is why patents are particularly insidious.

    Now, with regards to Nigel’s example of Guido’s work on Python, being an example of how organizations, and not the “passion of the amateur” being the result of Open Source…I would have to agree with other comments that the situation is a bit complex. The problem I have with the claim that he was doing work for a research organization specifically to create languages ignores a key part of the equation: Guido was there *because* he liked to create languages.

    Would Guido have had a fertile ground for a new language if he weren’t working where he was at the time? It’s hard to say. Linus Torvolds wasn’t designing a revolutionary new kernel when he set out to play with 386 microprocessors; he was having fun, and he inadvertently found fertile ground for something that became more than the toy he intended it to be. I can imagine something similar happening to Python, but given that these kinds of things happen unpredictably, it’s probably just a fluke. (Indeed, it may have been a fluke waiting to happen: if Guido’s original organization weren’t open to Python, he might have stumbled onto another community, somewhere, that was.)

    Would Guido have started Python on his own, had he not been working for the research organization he was with? Almost certainly.

    Can we disentangle work from leisure, to get a clear understanding of whether or not Guido’s research organization was a critical part of creating Python? No, we cannot: ideas do not lend themselves to strict compartmentalization; they bounce against each other, merge, separate, and intermingle in ways we don’t understand. It is foolhardy to expect to be able to disentangle where all the influences came from, once an idea was born–and that’s why it’s so ridiculous for a Patent to say “He made that, he gets the idea”, because all too often that discovery depends on the unattributable ideas of others, and all too often others can, and do, come up with the same idea later on, independently. And I would go so far as to say that enforcing patents are a violation of the free expression of ideas, for this reason alone.

  139. @Nigel “Frankly language development is somewhat passé anyway.”

    Perhaps it is; I’ve been trying to learn Common Lisp, off and on, for several months now, and while I’m not nearly as experienced in the language as I’d like to be, I am convinced of one thing: in one sense, we probably shouldn’t be developing new languages. We should be learning Common Lisp, and growing that language to fit our needs. (I only say this in a somewhat “Ha ha, only serious” way, though, because sometimes it’s useful to develop independent of whatever syntax came before, and then figure out how to bring that syntactic knowledge to Lisp….although, now that I think about it, the language that doesn’t borrow from a previous language’s syntax is a rare one indeed.)

    On the other hand, in a way, language development is definitely NOT passé: every time we create a new function, develop a new API, or put together a new framework, we’re creating a new language. It may not be dramatically different from the core language we’re using, but that doesn’t matter: we’re developing a new vocabulary for a program domain, and then using that domain to solve problems. So, in this sense, we’re NEVER going to get away from language development: it’s at the core of what we do from day to day, when working as software developers.

  140. Eric, your ideas about open source software development have some severe bugs and security vulnerabilities, especially the stupid idea you have that you call “Linus’s Law”. What I’ve written in this thread amounts to bug reports about a “false sense of security flaw”, that you should acknowledge and address, instead of ignoring and sweeping under the rug because you’re too embarrassed and cowardly to answer my questions. Now that many eyes have seen me raise the issues with you in public, they will now watch to see if you act irresponsibly by sticking your head in the sand and ignore my bug report, in the name of “not feeding the troll” (which is to cut off your nose to spite your face), or act responsibly and acknowledge the elephant in the room, and respond to my security bug report. So what is it Eric, are you going to continue stonewalling and pretending I never said anything, without addressing the fatal flaw in your logic, because you think it’s more important to pretend you never made a mistake by ignoring me, than admit you’re not perfect and work on fixing your bugs? You’re not only incapable of reading code to audit bugs in it with your own eyeballs, but you’re also incapable of reading my bug reports to audit bugs in your own flawed ideas. Because to ignore me in the name of “not feeding the trolls” proves that you’re a coward who can’t take the same free speech that he dishes out, and you choose to shoot the messenger instead of acknowledging and acting on the message, no matter how distasteful the source is to you. I repeated some perfectly valid criticism from Theo De Raadt, and from Robert Glass that is written in the Wikipedia about your buggy law for all to read, and added my own valid criticism, for everyone here to read (except for yourself apparently), and you’re still afraid to address and incapable of refuting any of the points, because you don’t like the messenger and don’t want to hear the message. But ignoring me, and +Craig Lennox , and +Rich Freeman , and Theo De Raadt, and Robert Glass, and other people who raise valid points, isn’t going to make our criticism go away, or fix the bugs you caused, Eric the Coward. Imagine if the open source community responded to the HeartBleed bug that way, by denying it existed because they accused the person who reported it of being a “troll”. You can’t fix bugs by stage managing bug reports and trying to mark them as “will not fix” by accusing their reporters of being trolls. If you want me and others to shut up, then ignoring me won’t work, so your “don’t feed the trolls” approach to ignoring and denying bugs is about as ineffective as your “many eyes” approach to fixing bugs. Read up on the Streisand Effect, Eric. Your denialism and stonewalling is pretty unethical behavior, isn’t it, Eric? And it just serves to prove my point that you’re too thin skinned to address reality. Is it your policy to ignore bug reports from Theo or me or other people because you think we’re assholes and trolls? Then you put the responsibility on us to shout it from the rooftops for all to see and hear, that nobody should use your buggy software or listen to your buggy ideas or trust your unethical behavior, because your ideas are fatally flawed, have unaddressed but widely known vulnerabilities, and you refuse to acknowledge and fix the bugs we’ve reported. Is it really in the best interests of the open source community that you act like a cowardly child, and stick your fingers in your ears like this, Eric? Nice set of principles you have there, Eric the Coward. ?

  141. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus%27s_law
    In Facts and Fallacies about Software Engineering, Robert Glass refers to the law as a “mantra” of the open source movement, but calls it a fallacy due to the lack of supporting evidence and because research has indicated that the rate at which additional bugs are uncovered does not scale linearly with the number of reviewers; rather, there is a small maximum number of useful reviewers, between two and four, and additional reviewers above this number uncover bugs at a much lower rate. While closed-source practitioners also promote stringent, independent code analysis during a software project’s development, they focus on in-depth review by a few and not primarily the number of “eyeballs”.

  142. Eric blamed his law on Linus, so he didn’t have to take the heat when three gigantic security holes in a row big enough to fly the space shuttle through showed up within a few months of each other. If he really wanted to be vengeful, he should have called it Stallman’s Law. It’s sad that the only competent people actually being paid to put in the time to audit open source code are working for the NSA, and they don’t fix the bugs they find or even file bug reports. (And Theo de Raadt also audits code of course, but I don’t believe Eric has ever sent him any money to help pay his electrical bills, to offset all the pollution credits he owes the world for vast quantities of hot air and carbon dioxide that’s spewed out of his mouth.)

  143. And attacking the straw man that you claim I’m saying free open source software is better than proprietary software doesn’t work Eric. The point is that your “many eyes” idea that you attribute to Linux gives a FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY, independent of how bad proprietary software is. You need to face the fact that it’s incredibly difficult to audio any kind of software, open source or proprietary, and that requires a lot of time of very skilled people who could be paid very well for doing other less tedious, more interesting things, and it requires money to pay for their food, housing, electricity and equipment. So exactly how much money have YOU personally given to support Theo de Raadt, Eric? And how many lines of code have YOU personally audited, Eric? Stop spending your energy constructing and attacking straw men, and DO SOMETHING to fix the false sense of security that you’ve spread throughout the industry, which has caused huge multi billion dollar corporations to use open source software as important parts of their mission critical software in the heart of the Internet, yet they have totally failed to donate any money or person power to support the development and auditing of that crucial software that billions of people depend on every day. You need to shift your focus to evangelizing those companies into supporting people like Theo de Raadt, even if you despise them and call them assholes and trolls because they have legitimately criticized you in the past.

  144. kurkosdr raises an excellent point about how open source fish still rot in the sun, and his example of VLC really resonates with me. I’ve been trying to work with that particular code base, and it flabbergasts me how terrible it is, and how features that work fine in one release suddenly manifest bizarre bugs in the next, and how many aspects of its behavior is incredibly flakey and non-deterministic across all releases.

  145. Eric the Flute writes:

    >That depends on the one guy. My projects stay clean because they start clean. I don’t think I’m exceptional that way.

    I’d like to look at the source code of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Netnews, to test your claim. Have you made that available as open source software? What ever happened to it, Eric? You used to talk about it all the time! Almost to the exclusion of anything else, in fact. Now I’ve asked you about it many times and you’ve never said a word about it. Did your source code start clean, and where is it now, and why can’t we see it?

  146. @Don Hopkins

    You need to face the fact that it’s incredibly difficult to audio any kind of software, open source or proprietary, and that requires a lot of time of very skilled people who could be paid very well for doing other less tedious, more interesting things, and it requires money to pay for their food, housing, electricity and equipment.

    You mean, basically, not at all like the lads from OpenBSD?
    https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2014/04/friday_squid_bl_419.html#c5470469

    Not like they are a match to the Elite Forces from Redmond. Whose code you are not even allowed to see, let alone audit.

  147. >Did your source code start clean, and where is it now, and why can’t we see it?

    You can see it if you really want. What happened was the C news guys got past me. Which is a bit of a shame because I solved a couple of problems they didn’t.

    You might want to look at something more relevant, like giflib or GPSD.

  148. “It’s sad that the only competent people actually being paid to put in the time to audit open source code are working for the NSA, and they don’t fix the bugs they find or even file bug reports.”

    Even a stopped clock is right, twice a day.

    It’s not just NSA. Every major country has such agencies, doing the same things. Lots of eyeballs examining the same code means vulnerabilities *will* be found and exploited for nefarious purposes. It is essential that OS forces try to match them eyeball for eyeball, or give up the idea of open source code entirely.

  149. >It is essential that OS forces try to match them eyeball for eyeball, or give up the idea of open source code entirely.

    The general problem is being worked on. Watch this space for an announcement.

  150. On the other hand, in a way, language development is definitely NOT passé: every time we create a new function, develop a new API, or put together a new framework, we’re creating a new language.

    I want to be clear that when I made that statement it is not to denigrate folks who like and do new language development today. Just that when i was in school in the late 80s writing a new language was what all the smart CS guys wanted to do because that’s where the action and fame was. Later it was AI, etc.

    Note that van Rossum wrote python in the late 80s…for every language rock star like Guido van Rossum there’s a horde of guys and languages that simply faded into obscurity. Kind of like music in that way.

  151. >for every language rock star like Guido van Rossum there’s a horde of guys and languages that simp

    See, I was stupid here. I might have been a Guido or a Larry if I had executed well enough; my technical interests and skills pointed me in the right direction as early as 1985. But I didn’t try to catch that moment because I thought Lisp should be good enough for anybody!

    Ah well. I found other ways to express my language-designing urges. Domain-specific languages and DSL-like markups are a persistent theme in my work. Most recently, in reposurgeon.

  152. The software arms race is archetypal. On one side are the intrepid rebels using innovation and resourcefulness to achieve beyond their means. On the other side is the Leviathan with endless resources, murky ethics, and an unquenchable thirst for more of everything.

    Life would be boring without some conflict every now and then. And so it goes.

  153. >In Murka, the normal order of things is that your employer owns all rights to your intellectual output whether on or off the job.

    What weirds me out is that not such laws exist, neither that they are theoretically enforcable, but that they are practically enforcable enough to be a worry. As I said before it is the surprising efficiencly of the US justice system is something I don’t fully grok why and how. Just like the million teenagers who don’t really care the weed they smoke is theoretically illegal, I would think it is the same thing… Write code during downtime at work through SSH or something. Quit the job. Wait half a year, work on something else. Release that old code.

    Part of the efficiency of enforcement I don’t really grok is how anyone who would sue you would even find out what you are doing. But I guess this must have a lot to do with the lack of linguistic barriers, online advertisements – and a huge market being in the same or similar jurisdiction mostly. (For example I know a guy who copied a Scandinavian software basically feature by feature, field by field, and started selling it Eastern Europe basically offline by cold-calls. As long as he does not translate it to English and does not advertise it on the web, there is a low chance of them finding it out. It must be entirely different with a large market, online advertisement, and everybody speaking English. Even if they find out the cost and bother of an international lawsuit may just be too big.)

    If it essentially boils down not swimming in murky waters but things are being pretty much being in the open, large market, one language, similar jurisdictions, and it having the disadvantage of everything that can be sued will be sued, it must also have the advantage that when everything is right, sales can be huge. Just out of curiosity, if you would live anywhere in the world, say, South Africa or South Korea, and would write an e-book like yet another Python cookbook and wanted to make money with it, and basically you could sell it anywhere online, would you try selling it focused mostly on the US market?

  154. >and post-employment non-compete clauses as well

    That is relatable to me. This cr*p got popular in the EU as well – I was once offered 12 months non-comp for 6 months of severance pay – and the general opinion of the jurists I asked is that it is fucking stupid to try to forbid someone from exercising their profession, so e.g. an automotive engineer will go to a competitor, because it is a narrow profession, and it is OK, except when there is this kind of severance pay, then it is not. Broader, more generic professions like accounting are seen a bit differently.

  155. Thanks to everyone for your accurate answers, I understand better. I’m rather fortunate, as non-compete agreements in France have to be limited in scope & time.

    In other words, I am not allowed to sell banking-marketing related software on my own(but other kinds of software I can), and if I do anyways, my former employer must pay me 80% of my expected income for 12 months. In other words, that kind of clause is rather shallow over there. Seems it’s stronger in he USA.

    Back to the main topic : Don Hopkins, could you please divide your posts into paragraphs? Such massive blocks of text are doomed to be ignored – whatever value they may carry – and you cannot decently complain about them being ignored. I know substance is the important thing, but when form betrays it, form is the issue, not substance.

  156. @el_slapper/shenpen
    Wikipedia has the rules

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-compete_clause#Europe

    Europe

    Generally, CNCs are allowable in Europe only if the employer can show a reasonable business interest in having a CNC.

    In the Netherlands, non-compete clauses (non-concurrentiebeding or concurrentiebeding) are allowed regarding issues such as moving to a new employer and approaching customers of the old company. Unreasonable clauses can be invalidated in court.[34]

    In the United Kingdom, CNCs are called Restraint of Trade clauses and may be used only if the employer can prove a legitimate business interest to protect in entering the clause into the contract. Mere competition will not amount to a legitimate business interest.[35]

    In Germany, CNCs are allowed for a term up to two years. The employer must provide financial compensation for the duration of the CNC amounting to at least half the gross salary.[36] Unreasonable clauses, for example excluding similar jobs in whole Germany, can be invalidated.

    In Belgium, CNCs are restricted to new employments within Belgium and for no more than one year. The employer must pay financial compensation for the duration of the CNC, amounting at least half of the gross salary for the corresponding period.[37]

    In Spain, CNCs are regulated by article 21 of the labor law. CNCs are allowed up to two years for technical professions and six months for other professions.

    In France, CNCs must be limited in time to a maximum of two years and to a region where there the employee’s new work can reasonably be seen as competitive. The region can be a city or the whole country, depending on the circumstances. The employer can be forced to pay financial compensation, typically 30 percent of the last salary, depending on the circumstances surrounding the termination of the employment. A CNC may not unreasonably limit the possibilities of the employee to find a new employment.

    In Romania, CNCs are regulated by article 20-4 of the labor code and restricted to two years for managing positions and six months for other positions. The employer must pay financial compensation for the duration of the CNC, amounting to at least 25 percent of the last salary. ACI Worldwide has been known to block employees even after changing their job several times.

    In Portugal, CNCs are regulated by article 136 of the labor code and restricted to two years extendible to three years in cases of access to particularly sensitive information. The employer must pay financial compensation for the duration of the CNC but the law doesn’t specify anything regarding the amount of the compensation.[38]

  157. >Eric, 1995 was not too late for Ruby…

    You’re right, and that surprised me. I thought Python and Perl had used up all the oxygen by then.

  158. This cr*p got popular in the EU as well – I was once offered 12 months non-comp for 6 months of severance pay

    Assuming your travel lifestyle isn’t extravagant and you’re single that’s an awesome opportunity to travel the world for a year…

    Not so hot with kids and a mortgage. Still, I’d have considered it.

  159. Here is why “Raymond’s Law” (as you should call it, to avoid delegating the blame to Linux) is wrong: “ALL bugs are SHALLOW”. You are wrong to say “ALL”. And you are wrong to say “SHALLOW”. If you believe either of those two words, then you don’t have enough experience developing software, and you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    There are many bugs that are EXTREMELY DEEP no matter how many eyes look at them. And there are some deep bugs that most eyes simply can’t see, and only a few are people qualified to spot, or find by testing without even looking at the source. So increasing the number of eyes does not linearly increase the probability of finding them.

    And no, Eric, most bugs are NOT shallow, or they would not have been bugs in the first place. Even if the right person is looking for a bug, that bug may still be very deep. Having a lot of people look at bugs does not automtically make them “shallow”. They may still be very deep even for the person who is skilled or lucky enough to find them.

    It is TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE of you to combine those two incorrect words together into one sentence, and spread lies that give people a false sense of security, and minimize the urgency of funding independent code audits. There are many great things about open source software, but “all bugs being shallow” because “enough eyes” look at the code is NOT one of them.

    You try to rationalize the “law” by going on and on about how there is 0% chance of finding bugs in proprietary software. That is a straw man, since it does not support the “ALL” bugs claim, and it does not support the “SHALLOW” claim. And it is also INCORRECT because it’s certainly possible to license the source code of proprietary software and look for bugs in it. And there are other ways of finding bugs than reading the source code.

    The fact that all you do is type and talk but never actually audit code or give money to people who do, makes you totally hypocritical, and THE WRONG PERSON to be making such claims, or work on projects relating to auditing code.

    But you’ve pre-announce that you’re starting up a company to fund code audits. Well I think that would be a great idea, but YOU ARE THE WRONG PERSON TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH IT. Because your terrible reputation as a BULLSHITTER who PROMISES MORE THAN HE OR OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE CAN DELIVER, and a RACEST BIGOT who think BLACKS ARE STUPID AND VIOLENT, will discredit and embarrass whatever project you’re associated with.

    After the episode with Brendan Eich, don’t you think the world is moving in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION of tolerating a racist bigot running a company? Your bat shit crazy ideology, and the racist statements you’ve made, certainly won’t make black people, liberal people, and many other groups for whom you’ve expressed contempt comfortable about working with you.

    So if you want to help fix bugs in open source software, then donate your money to worthy causes, but PLEASE DO NOT ASSOCIATE YOURSELF WITH WORTHY CAUSES PERSONALLY.

    Your time as a leader of the open source software community is OVER. You were kicked out for a good reason. And since then you have written so many disgraceful crazy racist things, that you are much less qualified to lead any open source projects than you ever were when you were kicked out of the position of President of the Open Source Software Initiative.

    Leave it to other people who have not gone on the record as making racist divisive statements, and who do not have a long sordid history of antagonizing the Free Software movement and Richard Stallman. How is a project to fund auditing code supposed to explain your participation when they want to audit some GNU code? Richard Stallman certainly isn’t going to want to work with you.

    And starting a project to audit only non-GNU code is just an ass-hole political maneuver, precisely the kind of think you would want to do, just to be a dick. And that’s why you should not be involved. ALL software needs to be audited, not just software with licenses you approve of. And that also includes proprietary software whose source code is available without cost, of which there is a lot, like Shared Source software from Microsoft.

    You have nothing to contribute to a project that requires cooperation with people developing software licensed under the GPL. And you have very little experience auditing code yourself. You’re just a cheerleader, like George W Bush was, whose cheers pick fights and bring people down.

    So please just give your money to somebody else to fund projects to audit code, but STAY AWAY FROM THOSE PROJECTS PERSONALLY, because it’s important that they succeed, and they should not be a stage for you to advance your extremist anti-GNU, libertarian, gun nut, racist causes.

  160. @Winter wrote:

    >Not like they are a match to the Elite Forces from Redmond. Whose code you are not even allowed to see, let alone audit.

    You’re misinformed, and spreading misinformation. There is quite a lot of proprietary Microsoft code that you’re allowed to see AND audit.

    —-
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_source

    “Shared source” is an umbrella term covering some of Microsoft’s legal mechanisms for software source code distribution. Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative, launched in May 2001, includes a spectrum of technologies and licenses. Most of its source code offerings are available for download after eligibility criteria are met.

    The licenses associated with the offerings range from being closed-source, allowing only viewing of the code for reference, to allowing it to be modified and redistributed for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

    —-

    You may froth in the mouth and rant and rave against auditing Shared Source Software because of ideological reasons (for example, because the concept of Shared Source Software invalidates Linux^H^H^H^H^HRaymond’s Law), and you replace the letter “S” with a dollar sign and call Microsoft childish names, to show your dedication to your tribe, but you’re factually wrong that you can’t read and audit all proprietary code, and it’s just as important to audit proprietary code that many people are using, as it is to audit open source code.

    To refuse to acknowledge or audit Microsoft Shared Source code is as irresponsible as an anti-vaccination parent refusing to vaccinate their child. It’s not only bad for the child, but it’s bad for society at large. Bugs in proprietary code harm everyone. It’s not a contest to reduce the number of bugs in open source software and maximize the number of bugs in proprietary software. We need to reduce the number of bugs in ALL software, and Microsoft’s Shared Source Software is a great place to start.

    And it’s also very important to audit Free Software as well as Open Source Software, and Eric Raymond is utterly unqualified to have anything to do with a company or project that needs to collaborate with the FSF or Richard Stallman, since he has made (and destroyed) his career tearing them down.

  161. @Eric the Flute writes:

    >See, I was stupid here. I might have been a Guido or a Larry if I had executed well enough; my technical interests and skills pointed me in the right direction as early as 1985. But I didn’t try to catch that moment because I thought Lisp should be good enough for anybody!

    No you couldn’t have been a Guido or a Larry. You thought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Netnews was your ticket to fame and fortune, and how did that turn out? Instead, you had to make (and destroy) your career by being divisive and attacking Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation.

    Have Larry or Guido ever attacked the FSF or any other FOSS software development organization, with anything approaching the glee and divisiveness that you have? No they haven’t. You are missing the elephant in the room, Eric. Besides the fact that your technical skills are NOWHERE NEAR Guido’s or Larry’s (and it just goes to show how incredibly narcissistic you are to claim that), it’s your IDEOLOGY and your NARCISSISM that disqualify you from following in their footsteps.

    So PLEASE STAY AWAY from any companies or projects that are intending on funding code audits. Because it’s something that desperately needs to be done, and it should NOT be sabotaged by YOU. If I were a venture capitalist or angel investor who was approached to fund such a company, and I found out that ERIC RAYMOND was associated with it, I would go running away in the opposite direct and never return any of your phone calls.

    Eric, the cat has been out of the bag for a long time: you have already abused your right to free speech by publishing so many divisive, racist views. A start-up company does not need to explain why you wrote that BLACKS ARE STUPID VIOLENT, and they certainly don’t need to read your explanation for that view, that blames the reader for misinterpreting you because they are an idiot.

    It’s you who’s an idiot if you think any start-up company for funding code audits could possibly succeed if you were associated with it.

  162. Don, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the argumentum ad hominem fallacy, but calling ESR a “racest” (whatever the fsck that means) isn’t going to get him, or most of the regulars here, to connect that allegation with the truth value of whatever it is he’s saying.

    Similarly, based on what he’s said about the Eich situation, I think it’s safe to say that his reaction to such allegations boils down to:

    0) Ignore the noise. Being called “racist” now simply means you’re making points that leftists are unwilling/unable to make any substantive effort to refute. It’s the rhetorical equivalent of having heavy AA fire confirm you must be close to a juicy target.

    1) Tell you to go fsck yourself.

    Neither of those includes backing down because someone called him a bad name.

  163. America is replete with examples of people working ‘day jobs’ to pay the bills, while building businesses/projects in their personal time. To say that it is SOP to thwart this is irritating “blame ‘murka” lefty bullshit.

    If you’re waiting tables or flipping burgers to support your rock band, you probably aren’t being asked to sign an NCA. However, coders are instrumental in creating the information that confers a competitive advantage, so corps are inclined to protect their interests by requiring you to sign over the rights to anything in your head that might confer a competitive advantage to them, or the competition. As to your interests, if you can’t afford the expensive legal representation, they don’t matter much in this country.

    Also… In practice, the USA is an oligarchy, not a democracy. So unless you’re really that cool with the kingship of the moneyed elites, “blaming Murka” is the right thing to do. American laws are notoriously skewed in favor of those who pay for them by international standards.

  164. @Jeff Read “Also… In practice, the USA is an oligarchy, not a democracy. So unless you’re really that cool with the kingship of the moneyed elites, “blaming Murka” is the right thing to do. American laws are notoriously skewed in favor of those who pay for them by international standards.”

    First of all, in theory, USA was *never* a democracy. It started as a rag-tag collection of colonies under a Monarchy, then transitioned to a loose confederation of said colonies, and finally settled on a model of being a democratic Republic.

    Second, I can’t help but wonder if that study was able to factor out one of the key factors in political donations today: how many companies donate to *both parties* in an effort to be left alone? And how often does that “leave me alone” donation gradually morph into “and while you’re at it, why don’t you make it a little easier for me?” In other words, to what degree is this idea that “money corrupts politics” is a direct result of the corrupting influence of the politicians and other bureaucrats themselves?

    I only briefly skimmed the study itself, but I did notice that one of their data-sets dates back to 1981. (I think it covered the 1981 to 2001 date range.) The problem with this is that the corruption caused by bureaucrats would certainly date back to FDR’s time, when the government used regulations to force industries into having only two or three primary businesses (hence, Ford, GM and Chrysler, rather than a dozen competing car industries); it may date all the way back to the time of the Robber Barons of the 1880’s, if not earlier.

    In other words, we might very well be in an “oligarchy”, but that oligarchy may very well be that of the politicians and bureaucrats in office, and not of the moneyed interests. Part of the issue, of course, is that our government has long ago left the constraints originally established by the Constitution. The other part, however, is that we’ve used voting techniques that give us two, and only two, remarkably similar parties. I suspect that if we could return to our Constitutional roots, and also if we could break the stranglehold on the two-party system, then the power of this “oligarchy” might very well be broken, regardless of where it’s coming from.

  165. @Nigel “I want to be clear that when I made that statement it is not to denigrate folks who like and do new language development today.”

    That’s a fair clarification, but to the extent that I want to “take offense” at the observation that language development is “passé”, it’s more, I think, because I’m a little sad that it’s more than a little true.

    Even so, I think we’re in an interesting point in computer-language history: I was reading old blog posts of Steve Yegge, and he had the interesting observation that every ten years, a new language arises and dominates the landscape; at the moment, I can only recall C and Java being the two examples, with C++ *maybe* being the third example, and he was expecting a new language to rise up in 2004. It’s been ten years since then, and this hasn’t happened. Instead, we have languages like Python and Ruby and PHP and JavaScript and maybe two or three more that I can’t think of right now, off the top of my head. (To me, Perl is “dead”, because I haven’t used it in years, but I know it’s still used by certain companies…companies I probably want to avoid. ;.)

    I think two factors are involved here. First, is that I suspect around the turn of the century, computers became big enough to comfortably come with multiple languages, and the software engineering community became large enough, to easily support at least several languages. If this is true, then we will likely never see the computing world be dominated by a single language ever again.

    Second, perhaps the “one language to rule them all” observation, while it rings true (to me, at least), may never have been true in the first place. Certainly, some form of Lisp, and some form of Fortran, has been around at least since 1958; this same period also includes languages like Forth, BASIC, COBOL, SmallTalk, and even APL.

    Of course, it may be that the idea that language design is passé may be flawed itself, when considering the existence of languages like Go, Dart, and Julia. (I’m still looking forward to ESR’s review of that language, BTW!) Having said that, the only Algol-descended language that I was excited learning after having learned C++ was Python, because I concluded that most Algol-descended languages were basically the same, except that C/C++ had decent syntax. There is a comparison of Go with Algol-68 which is somewhat eye-opening…and the comparison makes me think that people designing languages aren’t doing all that much that’s new, after all…

    (I know one reason Ruby isn’t all that interesting for me is that I’m not convinced that I’d learn much for from it, than I learned from Python…and that Common Lisp can’t offer as well; indeed, Common Lisp is likely to be able to be more mind-stretching for me than Ruby! And, similarly, I’m not convinced that Go is going to be a significant enough stretch from C or Java to make it interesting enough for me…I guess I like learning languages that are significantly different from one another…)

  166. >I think it’s safe to say that his reaction to such allegations boils down to [0 and 1]:

    Yup, that’s about right. I might expand 1 to “Go fsck yourself, because you’re obviously and willfully ignoring my repeated condemnations of racist thinking even after I pointed you at them”.

    >Neither of those includes backing down because someone called him a bad name.

    Disappointing. I’ve known Don on-and-off for a long time and thought better of him than this. It would appear he has become the archetype of the Embittered Old Fart while I wasn’t looking.

  167. At least he’s quit accusing you of brainwashing me into attacking the FSF… but who is he? I’d never heard of him before he dropped his multi-kiloword screeds into your G+.

  168. @Don Hopkins
    “You’re misinformed, and spreading misinformation. There is quite a lot of proprietary Microsoft code that you’re allowed to see AND audit. ”

    It is very likely that I am misinformed. However, if this code does not include the libraries behind CAPI, or the SMB stack, what is the point? And then we even ignore the problems in Outlook, Office, and IE.

    Furthermore, there is something very odd in having volunteers audit the proprietary software that is making MS (big) money. For those programs that indeed are OSS, there was never a suggestion they should not be investigated and cleaned up.

  169. Well pardon my typo calling Eric the Flute a “racest”. As you can see, I spelled it correctly the other times I wrote the word in the same and other postings. So you can harp on that as much as you want, if it’s the best evidence you have to prove I’m wrong.

    Of course Eric denies it, but none of his denials hold any water, and he’s still widely held to be a racist, and he shares many views with white supremacists, and many of his fans and followers who admire and respect him are unrepentant self identifying racist white supremacists and racists themselves, so his “dog whistle politics” are hitting a chord with somebody, even if you’re delusional enough like Tron Guy to deny that “dog whistle politics” is a “thing” without actually having read what I wrote and the examples I cited to prove it.

    Here are some examples of people who also believe Eric the Flute is a racist, and who don’t believe his denials:

    http://geekz.co.uk/lovesraymond/archive/microsoft-job-offer

    RMS: Eric, we need a word.
    Linus: We heard that Microsoft offered you a job and we read your response on the internet…
    RMS: The writing style made us suspicious so we broke into your room.
    Linus: Eric, we found the mentally ill hyperglycemic 12-year old child you’e been forcing to write your blog for you.
    ESR: Oh no, my secret is out! I’m ruined!
    RMS: But he says he’s been on strike for 3 weeks. You must have written that response yourself.
    ESR: Yeah well he won’t write what I ask. Turns out he’s not really into the white supremacy thing after all.

    # Posted by Burning Bush on Sep 14th, 2005 at 12:36 pm

    Eric Raymond is obviously a racist; much like anyone arguing with “women on average have smaller brains” is a sexist.

    Reading his pamphlets it becomes pretty clear that he is both a racist and a sexist.

    In other words, Eric Raymond would normally end up as the kind of fat guy sitting in a dirty t-shirt in a trailorpark home, gun in his lap, yelling: “Bring me my beer, black bimbo!”

    Unfortunately some people — Bruce Perens took a lot of that blame for himself — declared him worthy of attention.

    Now all of us pay the price for that.

    # Posted by Rich Smith on Sep 14th, 2005 at 8:18 pm

    Much as I think Raymond is a dick, reporting scientific studies that show IQ is to some extent correlated with race != racism. It would be amazing if there wasn’t any link if you think about it. His interpretations are suspect however; for example this comment — “U.S., blacks are 12% of the population but commit 50% of violent crimes; can anyone honestly think this is unconnected to the fact that they average 15 points of IQ lower than the general population?” — is complete speculation. It a little disturbing that he leaps on the IQ argument rather than other possible factors such as poverty.

    If you want to take the piss out of Raymond’s blog entries, there are lots of better candidates though. How about his apology for fascist Spain?
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=94

    # Posted by dbt on Sep 14th, 2005 at 9:23 pm

    He’s completely wrong about the Bell Curve, its trashing was thorough and well-deserved. I can only assume that his other racist sources are bogus, but I’m really too lazy to read through his drivel and try to figure it out. It smells like crap, for sure, but I guess he’d tell me that’s just the extra zinc in his hair, which he never washes.

    # Posted by European Perspective on Sep 14th, 2005 at 10:05 pm
    Re: Rich Smith

    His fascist fantasies come as no surprise to a European: ESRs particular political branch of U.S. gun-toting libertarianism is considered extreme right wing, even fascist in Europe. For a reason, I believe. ESRs racism, sexism and relatively clumsy attempts at giving his political statements a scientific appearance remind me of the way the creationists try to “rationalise” against evolution.

    Quite plainly: ESR is the last person I would want anywhere near my life, family or children.

    # Posted by Joe Buck on Sep 15th, 2005 at 5:26 am

    Just to shift topics a bit: Microsoft never offered ESR a job. Some Microsoft recruiter was passed ESR’s name
    and asked ESR if he was interested in interviewing. I wouldn’t be surprised if that recruiter had no idea
    who ESR was, or if someone passed the name along as a joke. Hell, maybe ESR did; after all, he hasn’t
    gotten much press lately. I wouldn’t put it past him to have a friend suggest to someone at Microsoft
    that ESR might be interested in selling out, just so he could proudly post the first feeler he received
    to the world.

    Oh, and CTD, ESR abandoned libertarianism some time ago. The non-coercion principle simply isn’t
    compatible with flogging the Iraq war and the international battle against “Islamofascism”.

    # Posted by Yahya on Sep 15th, 2005 at 8:51 am

    ESR’s knowledge of history is apparently limited to the computing age. It would be an eye opener for Mr ESR if these so called ‘scientific IQ studies’ were conducted during the dark ages when the white race was busy with witch hunting and the Muslim world was not only laying down the basic foundations of science and mathematics, but also adhering to Islam much more fundamentally than any group of Muslims in these times.

    Even today, if we look at the Indian/Pakistani ethnic group in the UK, they occupy similar status as the blacks in the US. However the same group is generally regarded as highly educated and intelligent in the US.
    This shows that IQ has nothing to do with ethnicity and is likely correlated to economic factors. However, as ESR so aptly demonstrates, one can grow up in an intellectually stimulating enviroment and have access to the best educational and economic resources and still turn out to be an idiot.

    # Posted by German Conservative on Sep 16th, 2005 at 9:40 am
    Re CTD:

    As a native German who once read “Mein Kampf” and has had the usual education on the subject (people here cannot go through school without having that subject multiple times to make sure we don’t fall for it again) much of ESRs superficial “survival of the fittest” and “life and death” rhethorics sounds awfully familiar to the things that the fascist used to justify their atrocities.

    So yes, if he were living in Germany, ESR would probably be considered to be somewhere in the “brown spectrum” — the color associated with fascism. The German conservative party has expelled people for much more harmless statements than those of ESR for them being considered outright fascist.

    # Posted by sb on Sep 16th, 2005 at 4:55 pm

    What I find really strange is that ESR does not seem to know the difference between correlation and causality.

    Maybe he spent too much time polishing his guns and not enough in math class?

    # Posted by joan on Sep 20th, 2005 at 9:09 am

    ESR says: ‘stupid people are more violent is a fact independent of skin color’.

    this could explain his appassionate defense of guns?

  170. @Don Hopkins

    much like anyone arguing with “women on average have smaller brains” is a sexist.

    As brain size is linked to body size and women are on average smaller, women have smaller brains (in weight or volume).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain-to-body_mass_ratio

    I cannot see how expressing this empirical fact would make a person a sexist. As “normal” brain sizes have no empirical relation to human intelligence, it is also irrelevant.

    If this is indicative of the depth of your reasoning, I skip the rest.

  171. >he’s still widely held to be a racist,

    This just demonstrates that the there is no shortage of idiots in the world. Which isn’t really news.

  172. esr on 2014-04-17 at 07:56:42 said:
    >>he’s still widely held to be a racist,

    >This just demonstrates that the there is no shortage of idiots in the world. >Which isn’t really news.

    This just demonstrates that Eric the Flute calls many people who raise valid criticism against him “idiots” and dismisses them, instead of acknowledging and addressing their argument.

    So why don’t you give it another try, and address the criticism I’m posting, instead of attacking the messenger and ignoring the points raised in the criticism, Eric?

    I just posted some quotes from the article about you on Rational Wiki. But they have not appeared here yet for some reason. I posted them again and it said that I had just posted those comments. So are you censoring what I’m posting, now, after proclaiming that your respect for freedom of speech prohibits you from doing that? Have you censored any other comments I’ve written, or will you state unequivocally that you have not censored me and you will not censor me?

  173. I just changed some of the text and tried to post it again, and it did not go through. So now I will try posting it in parts.

  174. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Eric_S._Raymond

    i am slowly going crazy one two three four five six switch

    Eric Raymond was one of those unfortunate souls who went completely nuts after 9/11. He has thus turned from a respected thinker with some good and some extreme ideas into a paranoid headcase, who sees Islamist and Communist conspiracies everywhere, and who is the perfect example of the ancient proverb stating that those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

    This self-proclaimed “anarchist” turned overnight into a nuke-the-Middle-East fanatic and began posting tedious manifestos such as “The Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto,”[3] proclaiming the duty of all good Americans to support George W. Bush and his transcendent crusade to crush “Islamofascism.”

    His political writings make most sense as the ravings of someone who believes that America is the greatest country in the world and that all other countries are run by little girls.[4]

    [3] Why We Fight — An Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto (2.0): http://www.catb.org/~esr/aim/
    [4] Hyperpower and high finance: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=906

  175. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Eric_S._Raymond

    Idiotarian, n. Anyone who isn’t a trigger-happy neocon/liberventionist

    Raymond’s “idiotarians” include consistent anti-war Libertarians (such as himself before 9/11), “idiotarians of the left” (the peace movement and antiwar Democrats), “idiotarians of the right” (conspiracy theorists and those like Jerry Falwell suggesting 9/11 was God’s punishment of America), and anyone else not fully on board with invading Iraq. The term and concept quickly spread to pro-war bloggers, who have continued the tactic of lumping together the peace movement and antiwar Democrats and Libertarians with David Duke, Lyndon LaRouche, Fred Phelps, far-left Communist cults, 9/11 conspiracy theories, etc. as all being part of the same anti-war tent. This tactic is used to discredit the peace movement and mainstream opposition to the war. Thankfully nobody’s buying it anymore.

  176. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Eric_S._Raymond

    In late 2009, he came out on the side of global warming denialists amid the controversy surrounding the leaking of email communications between climate scientists from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit;[14][15] however, he never did comment when internal and UK government investigations cleared the CRU of both misconduct and bad science. One of the comments in said post makes it very obvious that ESR is the kind of person who will add 2 and 2 and come up with a Communist plot.[16] (Really? KGB psyops? Have they been shooting their mind control beams at you, Eric?)

    [14]: Hiding the Decline: Part 1 – The Adventure Begins: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1447
    [15]: Quote mining code: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/01/quote-mining-code/
    [16]: Hiding the Decline: Part 1 – The Adventure Begins:
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1447#comment-243073

  177. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Eric_S._Raymond

    In early 2010, in the wake of Pat Robertson’s ridiculous remarks regarding the Haitian people’s supposed pact with Satan, ESR wrote a blog post suggesting that the Haitian people really did summon up the Voudon god Ogun to kill off all the white Frenchmen.[17] Of course, his source is a stultifying right-wing conservative website, so who will you believe? (By the way, ESR describes himself as a neo-Pagan, though an atheistic one, and unlike Robertson does not condemn the Haitians for doing ritual magick to free themselves of an oppressor.)

    [17]: The Devil in Haiti: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1573

  178. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Eric_S._Raymond

    In 2011 he proclaimed himself a “natural” at “game” (in other words, a born pick-up artist).[18] Since he also describes himself as a natural polyglot,[19] an expert martial artist, a natural small-unit leader,[20] a natural flutist and “a natural witch, albeit of a kind uncommon in this century”[21], a natural marksman [22], and speaks with confidence about historical linguistics [23] perhaps this claim should not be taken too seriously.

    [18]: A natural contemplates game: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=3000
    [19]: Bad at languages?: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=3985
    [20]: Facing your inner alpha: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=3008
    [21]: Dancing With The Gods: http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/dancing.html
    [22]: Guns and Me: http://www.catb.org/esr/guns/personal.html
    [23]: English is a Scandinavian language?: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4710

  179. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Eric_S._Raymond

    After the Trayvon Martin case was exposed in March 2012 and John Derbyshire weighed in with the bile that cost him his National Review job, Raymond went all-in on hardcore The Bell Curve-style “scientific” racism.[24] Though he hotly denies that it is in fact racist,[25] it’s pretty much impossible to see him as anything other than a seethingly idiotic white supremacist at this point. And he believes Derbyshire isn’t racist either; his self-proclamation as such was just irony.

    [24]: An intelligence test: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4270
    [25]: On not ceding the truth to racists: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4278

  180. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Eric_S._Raymond

    [...] His influence and involvement in Open Source advocacy has, needless to say, been greatly diminished and he is now best known as a notorious Internet crank, leaving Stallman to fight the ninjas alone.[26] He’s somewhat aware of his reputation, but still found a curiously egomaniacal way to respond to the charges.[27] The people currently running the Open Source Initiative are trying to politely exorcise his ghost.

    [26]: Open Source: http://xkcd.com/225/
    [27]: Killing the Founder: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1327

  181. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Eric_S._Raymond

    Sometimes, late at night, I think of Finland and touch myself

    Raymond’s attitude towards science and technology isn’t much better. Though he fancies himself a rationalist, Raymond has a history of latching on to things that appeal to him and defending them beyond any sense of reason. His advocacy of Linux proved both prescient and influential; the spread of Linux as a major operating system (particularly in IT centers as the core of the LAMP webserver stack and as a royalty-free platform for embedded hardware development) is a major example, giving Linux a very strong market niche outside hobbyist circles and giving it respectability as a professional platform.

    However, Raymond either got a swelled head from this, or had severe flaws in his reasoning from the beginning; in his presentation of the Halloween Documents, a series of internal documents laying out Microsoft’s internal strategy to deal with Linux’ rise in popularity, Raymond predicted Windows 2000 would be an expensive failure, and claimed credit for a successful prediction in later edits; in actual fact, Win2K was only marketed on a consumer basis by Sony, but was still considered a capable follow-on to NT4. (Though his description of what a car crash 2000 would be fit the real disaster, Vista, marvellously. Seven years late.) Raymond is also an Android fanboi and has been recently spotted making similarly over-the-top predictions of the iPhone falling into irrelevance, going so far as to quote mine job listings to “prove” that Apple’s phone developers are technically incompetent and lying to the public about the quality of their hardware. Any evidence to the contrary is the work of shills.

    During the Climategate fiasco, Raymond’s ability to read other peoples’ source code (or at least his honesty about it) was called into question when he was caught quote-mining analysis software written by the CRU researchers, presenting a commented-out section of source code used for analyzing counterfactuals as evidence of deliberate data manipulation. When confronted with the fact that scientists as a general rule are scrupulously honest, Raymond claimed it was a case of an “error cascade,” a concept that makes sense in computer science and other places where all data goes through a single potential failure point, but in areas where outside data and multiple lines of evidence are used for verification, doesn’t entirely make sense. (He was curiously silent when all the researchers involved were exonerated of scientific misconduct.)

  182. This bit about “Raymond’s ability to read other peoples’ source code (or at least his honesty about it)” is very interesting, in regard to the current topic of HeartBleed, and Eric’s announcement that he’s involved with a company or project to audio source code.

    It goes to show that Eric Raymond has proven himself incompetent at auditing source code, and that he lets his ideological beliefs interfere with his objective interpretation of the meaning of the tiny bit of code that he actually does bother to audit.

    So Eric, can you please explain this situation in more detail? Do you agree with the points raised in the Rational Wiki about your dishonesty in auditing the source code related to global warming, or can you refute them without resorting to calling people “idiots” and ignoring the rest of the text that prove you wrong?

  183. It also claims that “He was curiously silent when all the researchers involved were exonerated of scientific misconduct”.

    Have you continued to be “curiously silent” after the researchers were exonerated, or can you point me to somewhere that you conceded that you were wrong and they were right?

  184. And again, I will ask, since you still have not answered:

    Why were you kicked out as President of the Open Source Initiative?

    We all know why Russell Nelson was kicked out: his blog posting entitled “Blacks are lazy”, which you vehemently defended, by attacking people who objected to his blog postings as “fools and thugs”:

    http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Linux-and-Open-Source/New-OSI-President-Steps-Down/#sthash.EJtgGdxJ.dpuf

    “The people who knew Russ as a Quaker, a pacifist and a gentleman, and no racist, but nevertheless pressured OSI to do the responsible thing and fire him in order to avoid political damage should be equally ashamed,” Raymond said. “Abetting somebody elses witch hunt is no less disgusting than starting your own.”

    “Personally, I wanted to fight this on principle,” Raymond said. “Russ resigned the presidency rather than get OSI into that fight, and the board quite properly respected his wishes in the matter. That sacrifice makes me angrier at the fools and thugs who pulled him down.”

    And on the term “thug” and the fact that Eric Raymond loves to use racist “dog whistles”:

    https://aattp.org/thug-just-a-dog-whistle-for-n-word-says-nfl-star-richard-sherman/
    ‘Thug’ Just a Dog Whistle for N-Word Says NFL Star Richard Sherman

    Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman ignited his name brand with the sideline interview heard ’round the world. Trading banal sound bites for raw exuberance, he offered the most memorable tirade in modern sports memory. It dominated the week’s sports cycle with predictable finger-wagging over poor sportsmanship and self-serving harrumphs about obscuring his team’s win.

    This wasn’t something Sherman could bat away like an errant pass. American controversies demand a cycle of explanations, apologies, and social media bloodletting. By then, the public discussion is well underway, served up with the usual polarized frenzy.

    More so this time, because Sherman is African American, and was shouting through his adrenal glands. It didn’t take long for racial dogwhistles to blow. They summoned bottom-feeders from the rank depths of social media; most easily identified by protests of “I’m-not-racist-but” and “I-have-black-friends” with every vile utterance. Sherman’s more genteel critics would consider outright epithets too crude, so they embraced “thug” as their code word of choice.

    Sherman didn’t need his Stanford communications degree to correctly interpret “thug”, and wasted no time calling out these barrel-scrapers in a press conference:

    The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like it’s the accepted way of calling somebody the N-word nowadays. It’s like everybody else said the N-word and then they say thug. And that’s fine. That’s where it’s kind of, you know, it kind of takes me aback. And it’s kind of disappointing because they know. What’s the definition of a thug, really?”

  185. So Eric, will you please answer my repeated question about why YOU were kicked out of the Presidency of the Open Source Initiative?

    And will you address the points I’ve raised, about the parallels between your ouster, Russell Nelson’s ouster, and Brendan Eich’s ouster, all from leadership positions in FOSS companies, all because of bigotry?

    I summed it all up in this tweet:

    https://twitter.com/xardox/status/455832054023077888
    @xardox: Blacks are lazy! – @russnelson Blacks are violent & stupid! – @esrtweet $1000 so gays can’t marry! – @BrendanEich GO AWAY! -FOSS Community

    And can you please answer the questions I and others have raised, instead of ignoring them, without calling us “thugs and fools”?

    It’s ironic that you’d call other people thugs, since YOU are the one who’s a gun nut, who threatened Bruce Perens, by implying you were going to shoot him, then backpedaled and explained that you only meant to publicly humiliate him. (And you only publicly humiliated yourself by that.)

    I REALLY suggest you stop throwing the word “thug” around in an attempt to defend your own and other’s racism. It’s a well documented dog whistle for “nigger”. Now you know, and you can’t deny nobody ever told you. And if you deny that dog whistles are a “thing”, then you should make your case for deleting this wikipedia page, and see if you can achieve consensus with your brilliantly logical arguments like “you’re an idiot” and “you are thugs and fools”:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog-whistle_politics

    One group of alleged code words in the United States is claimed to appeal to racism of the intended audience. The phrase “states’ rights”, although literally referring to powers of individual state governments in the United States, was described by David Greenberg in Slate as “code words” for institutionalized segregation and racism. In 1981, former Republican Party strategist Lee Atwater when giving an anonymous interview discussing the GOP’s Southern Strategy (see also Lee Atwater on the Southern Strategy) said:

    You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968, you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

  186. Don Hopkins: I very seldom ban people – it tends to happen less than once a year – but sometimes I find I have to rate-limit people who can’t shut up and won’t change the subject.

    Flame me all you like, but keep it to one post per day, or you will be banned.

    I find it entertaining that you think large crowds of fools screaming “ESR is a loon” will affect me in the slightest. I’ve always figured that if you aren’t taking about 10% of your audience out of their comfort zone, you aren’t pushing them hard enough.

  187. Oh, and for the record, here is Russell’s original “Blacks are lazy” post that he wrote, which got him in trouble, and which he withdrew, and which he admitted was badly written, and which caused him to resign, AND WHICH ERIC RAYMOND DEFENDED BY CALLING PEOPLE WHO CALLED FOR RUSSEL’S RESIGNATION “THUGS AND FOOLS”. Just thought I’d like to point that out and set the record straight, since Russell is no longer publishing this on his web site:

    http://slashdot.org/~tomhudson/journal/98015

    The economist is here, and boy is he pissed.

    Mon, 07 Feb 2005

    Blacks are lazy

    Black people are lazy in that they work less hard than whites. Not only that, but they are rational to be lazy! After black slaves were freed, they worked less. The value of their leisure time (highly valued after a lifetime of slavery) exceeded the pay from their work. Also, ongoing American racism has caused blacks to be paid less than whites. If everything else is the same, a black person is less likely to want to work as hard as a white person. I think that is what led people into the mistaken idea that blacks are lazy–as a characteristic of being black. They’re not; it’s an economically-ignorant idea to say that they are. They’re just rationally valuing their leisure time at the same rate as whites, getting paid less for the same work, and deciding to work less because of it.

    Actually, come to think about it, we had about 150 years of black slavery, and it hasn’t even been 150 years since the Civil War. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that blacks are still taught to value their leisure time more highly than whites. When their forebears were slaves, their leisure time was very precious to them. Cultures change slowly.

    Disclaimer: Everyone is an individual, and you cannot pre-judge the characteristic of an individual from the characteristics of a culture or race. From that mistake comes prejudice. My brother-in-law is a highly paid lawyer and he works sixty hours a week if he works a day. But that just makes my point: stop (actually) being racist and blacks will stop being (perceived as) lazy.

  188. Don, there’s plenty of topics on which I don’t even *remotely* agree with esr’s views. I’m a RationalWiki reader too, y’know.

    However, turning a discussion about OSS into an outright teardown of character over issues *completely unrelated to the question posed* is a bit unseemly. ESPECIALLY when you USE such FORCED EMPHASIS to TRY to MAKE a POINT.

    There are a few, shall I say, “interesting personalities” in OSS, about whom I could ramble on endlessly, in many cases angrily, over computer and non-computer issues. At least I try to stay on a given topic, though.

    Like… “whoa.” Take a breather; this cannot be good for your blood pressure.

  189. So there, I think I’ve made enough of a case by quoting Eric’s and Russell’s own words, that I should give them a chance to respond, or to demonstrate that they REALLY ARE RACISTS by 0) ignoring me and the points I and others have raised, or 1) calling me and other people who think you’re a racist names like “thug” or “fool” or “idiot” or “bitter old fart”.

    Here is 12 hours of crickets chirping in stereo for you to listen to in a loop, while waiting for Eric to respond, and actually address the points, instead of ignoring them and calling names.

  190. Todd, I am taking a breather, listening to crickets, awaiting Eric’s response. The fact that his responses up to new were just ignoring the points he could not address, because they hit home, and calling me and other people childish names, was just cause to expand my scope to cover other patterns of Eric’s behavior that are very well documented and very well ingrained in his personality.

    I have known Eric for longer than most people reading this blog, and he has always been like that, but he’s just gotten worse as time goes on, so it’s really ironic the way he’s calling me an “embittered old fart”, instead of addressing my points, so he deserves the response that I gave him, of expanding the scope like he did, since he’s the one who’s made a career of an outright teardown of Richard Stallman’s character, he has no right to whine about getting a nice taste of the exact same shit he’s been dishing out for years.

  191. >ignoring the points he could not address, because they hit home

    Uh huh. Your delusions are very comforting, I’m sure.

    Hint: when I ignore an attack, it’s usually because I think it’s such obvious nonsense that refuting it would confer a weight it doesn’t deserve. When that’s not true, I’m just too busy doing useful things to be bothered.

  192. Don, there are many, many thugs who aren’t black and many, many black people who aren’t thugs. There is such a thing as thug culture. You equate that with racism when there is no equivalence to be drawn, and by doing so, you paint yourself as a racist: you assume that thuggishness is limited to black people.

    “Dog whistle” is an invention of leftists who have to invent arguments instead of bringing up real ones. So is “privilege”. Anyone who attempts to use either in a serious argument demonstrates themselves to be an unserious thinker.

    What disappoints me is that someone who obviously understands human factors as well as you do – one project I work on got serious raves from users when we re-implemented the pie menus that an application redesign by the official source of the code took out – would so badly misunderstand human factors in argumentation: you’re far too tedious and long-winded to engage those you wish to argue with.

    You’re also quite obviously a frothing left-wing moonbat. That so many full-gospel Stallmanites share that trait lends unfortunate credence to the argument that the soi-disant “free software” movement is deeply Communist.

  193. >you’re far too tedious and long-winded to engage those you wish to argue with.

    That would be tolerable if he didn’t simply ignore refutations. I truly don’t understand how he can actually quote Russ Nelson saying “Everyone is an individual, and you cannot pre-judge the characteristic of an individual from the characteristics of a culture or race. From that mistake comes prejudice.” and still claim Russ is a racist (or that I’m one for supporting him).

    This can’t even be intellectual dishonesty in the normal sense; it’s too blatant. It seems more like Don suffers from a sort of hysterical blindness that is unable to process plain English right in front of him if it disagrees with his preconceptions. How does this happen to otherwise intelligent people? I am mystified.

  194. Eric the Flute writes:

    >Uh huh. Your delusions are very comforting, I’m sure.

    >Hint: when I ignore an attack, it’s usually because I think it’s such obvious nonsense that refuting it would confer a weight it doesn’t deserve. When that’s not true, I’m just too busy doing useful things to be bothered.

    That’s a nice impression of Pee Wee Herman you have there, Eric, but it ignores the many points that I and others have raised, and proves my point.

    So my point stands, and you’ve confirmed it: you refuse to address all the evidence that you’re a racist, and you attack people who raise valid points by calling them “delusional”, “thugs,” “fools,” “idiots,” or “bitter old farts”.

    If it’s so easy to refute all those points that I and others have raised so many times in so many places over so many years, then why haven’t you bothered? They keep coming up again and again, and if you could come up with a way to refute them, that actually held water, wasn’t just stonewalling and namecalling, and didn’t go over like a lead balloon, then wouldn’t that save you a lot of time, and go towards reforming your terrible reputation as a racist, Eric?

    I will queue the crickets chirping again, since just as I predicted, Eric’s reaction was to ignore the criticism and call me names. Now I have graduated to a “delusional bitter old fart”. And Eric STILL hasn’t answered any of the questions.

  195. @esr
    “How does this happen to otherwise intelligent people? I am mystified.”

    Maybe it is the human condition that emotions can blind the ratio. See it as a kind of (negative) Faith.

    Not knowing the details of this specific case, it is obvious that sometimes we (unspecified) want to praise or condemn so badly that the emotion blinds us. As in the Spanish proverb, “No man is so blind as he who does not want to see”.

  196. Jay, you’re such a sad case. Attempting to turn the tables on me by accusing me of being racist because I quoted a black man stating that the word “thug” was a dog whistle for “nigger”? Really, Jay.

    And then denying that “dog whistle politics” is a “thing”, by giving your own completely unsubstantiated definition, which contradicts the definition from Lee Atwater himself given on the Wikipedia page about Dog Whistle Politics that I quoted?

    So I challenge you, too, to go propose that the Wikipedia page on Dog Whistle Politics be deleted. Give it your best shot. See if you can achieve consensus with your argument that ““Dog whistle” is an invention of leftists who have to invent arguments instead of bringing up real ones.”

    So where are your citations that prove your point that there is no such thing as “dog whistle politics”? You’re going to have them in order before proposing to there that wikipedia page. So why don’t you present them here, if you’re so sure of yourself.

    You seemed pretty sure of yourself on America’s Got Talent, but you weren’t able to convince the judges or the audience that you had anything to say that was worth listening to. I hope you can do better on Wikipedia.

  197. I gave up on Wikipedia long ago. See my user page.

    While most of it was disgust at a cultural that ignores its own rules when it’s convenient, a good chunk of it was disgust at the place being run by frothing left-wing moonbats. No wonder a left-wing moon bat like you finds it congenial as a source of bogus citations for left-wing political ideas.

  198. Eric, it’s entirely possible for Russell make whatever reassuring statement he wants claiming not to be a racist, but that was AFTER THE FACT he wrote his “Blacks are lazy” article that he was unable to defend, or provide any plausible explanation of what he actually meant. He himself said it was badly written, and he himself decided to withdraw it, and he himself decided to resign, as I understand it.

    Yet instead of agreeing with him that it was badly written, YOU defended the original article, and not “supported him”, but ATTACKED the people who were calling for his resignation by calling them “thugs and fools”. And “thug” is a dog whistle term for “nigger”, as you well know.

    And there is a huge amount of evidence that YOU are a racist. I have only posted the tip of the iceberg here. If you really want, I will continue to post evidence. But I warn you: there is a LOT of it.

    Since you have so much time to talk about me in the third person, why don’t you go back and address my questions, instead of running away from them and ignoring the while calling me names?

  199. > And Eric STILL hasn’t answered any of the questions.

    This is a ban warning. One post a day. You’ve used up your quota for today.

  200. Well if you ban me for replying to your messages about me, then that certainly proves that you’re intolerant of free speech, and proves my overall point that you’re a bigot who has to ignore questions, call people names, and resort to censorship, because he can’t defend his position.

    So it’s well worth me “manipulating you” into betraying your dedication to free speech by banning me. So do it now, Eric! Because you are a coward who is afraid to answer my direct questions. Case closed, the prosecution rests. ;)

  201. Jay, you gave up on the argument that dog whistle politics are not a “thing” when you said you gave up on Wikipedia. Thanks for conceding my point.

  202. And to further elaborate why Jay loses the argument, he has failed to post any citations supporting his point to this blog, as I asked. Because he can’t. And his only hope is that Eric bans me, so he can have the last word.

  203. Eric, you’re amazingly thin skinned if you think asking you to answer my questions is a bannable offense. But go on, please ban me, and betray what you previously stated, that you’re dedicated to free speech, and that you can tolerate other people’s free speech, and tolerate the consequences of your own free speech, and defend your own opinions and ideology without resorting to name calling and censorship.

  204. No, Don…I simply don’t give a fuzzy rat’s ass what a rabid left-wing moonbat thinks of me, since I know you already hate me for being a conservative.

  205. Jay, you still haven’t justified your outlandish claim that there’s no such thing as “dog whistle politics”. Projecting names like “moonbat” on me doesn’t advance your argument at all, it just demonstrates that your best argument in your own mind is psychological projection.

  206. Don, what the hell does any of your rambling (regardless of its amount of basis in reality) has anything to do with the topic of this specific blog post?

    There’s no reason to respond to all that spew simply because it’s not relevant. If you have comments about the nature of OSS and how it reflects on security software, that’s great. If not… then “why are you even here?”

  207. And, btw Don, in the specific comments where you do, equally rambling-on, address the character of OSS rather then esr, you mention TdR.

    That’s the same TdR who actively launched DDoS attacks against other OSS organizations. There’s plenty of dirt there too, but I’m not going off on one hell of a tangent raking the muck.

  208. Holy shit Don, you rant like a fucking champ

    No idea what your raison d’etre is….

  209. He’s a raving left-wing moonbat. He doesn’t have to have a raison d’être.

  210. My points about Eric Raymond’s well documented and notorious racism, divisiveness and name calling (which he has been so generous to demonstrate again in this thread) speak directly to my point that he should not associate himself with any projects or companies whose goal is to fund code auditing.

    And another point that I raised, that directly addresses that issue, is that the little bit of code auditing that Eric Raymond actually did, was incompetent and ideologically motivated, in his quest to discredit the scientists who warned about global warming. The code he found and highlighted was actually COMMENTED OUT, and he never addressed the fact that the scientists were vindicated.

    With his reputation for incompetent, dishonest, and ideologically motivated code auditing, on top of his reputation for divisive, bigoted racism, race baiting, and dog whistle politics, Eric Raymond is the wrong person to be involved with any projects like this one that he publically pre-announced here in the comments of this blog article:

    >esr on 2014-04-11 at 12:54:05 said:

    >>Slow on uptake here – “foundation”?

    >I and some allies (including some very well known Internet old hands) have been quietly working on an institutional attack on the Internet-infrastructure funding problem. Yes, we want to pay people to look for bugs like Heartbleed before they blow up (among other things). Nobody is doing this in any serious way.

    >Several A&D regulars already knew of this. A couple are directly involved.

    >The effort is still partway under wraps (and the name will remain secret until public launch) because we want to retain some control of the messaging when we go public. I will not – repeat not – answer further questions in public, but interested parties can contact me privately. Commitments for pre-launch funding would be especially welcome.

    >Also, we’re looking for a CFO with experience running a nonprofit.

  211. This is addressed to the “very well known Internet old hands”, people with “commitments for pre-launch funding”, and people qualified for a position as “CFO with experience running a nonprofit”:

    You’d better consider whether or not you really want to work with Eric Raymond, given his well established and notorious reputation, and the fact that he still can’t keep his mouth shut, and has already leaked the news about the profit, despite the fact that they want to “retain some control of the messaging when we go public”.

  212. Don’t pop too much corn — Eric is just on the verge of betraying his commitment to free speech by censoring me, because he can’t tolerate me asking him questions he doesn’t want to answer. Or maybe that was just an idle threat, like his threat to Bruce Perrens. Wouldn’t it be a better strategy for him to let me keep on talking, and make a fool of myself, like was his actual plan of how to deal with Bruce, instead of simply shooting him as his threat implied? And what’s point of having all those guns and ammo, if you don’t actually go out and shoot anybody once in a while?

  213. So Jay, where is your proof that dog whistle politics is just a left wing conspiracy without foundation?

    I understand your frustration with Wikipedia, because they don’t let you just write anything you dream up, and require citations and proof. It must be very difficult and frustrating for you to get along in an environment that requires proof and consensus, not just name calling and grandstanding without providing any proof.

    Since I’m a raving left-wing moonbat, it should be very easy for you to prove me wrong. But you’re a raving right-wing moonbat, so you don’t have to provide any proof.

  214. So far I’ve tried to post this twice, the second time explaining it was rejected the first time, and it never showed up, with no explanation given. So maybe Eric the Flute is already betraying his commitment to free speech by censoring me. I will try again, this time posting it in several parts.

    This posting was apparently censored, so I will prepend this explanation and try posting it again:

    Here is a good summary of why Russell simply saying something like “Everyone is an individual, and you cannot pre-judge the characteristic of an individual from the characteristics of a culture or race. From that mistake comes prejudice.” doesn’t prove he’s not a racist, or prove he deserves to be president of the Open Source Initiative. And why it was justified to call for him to resign, without being a “fool” or a “thug”.

    On the other hand, Eric was unable to come up with any valid reasons that Russell should not resign, so he had to resort to name calling, which is what he always does when he’s losing arguments, like right now for example.

    http://slashdot.org/~squiggleslash/journal/97860

  215. http://slashdot.org/~squiggleslash/journal/97860

    Third update: My response to Nelson’s resignation and the eWeek story is here. Tom Hudson cached the actual comment that attracted the controversy here – please remember on reading it that Nelson has (a) withdrawn it and (b) acknowledged it was poorly worded (and presumably, by implication, feels it means something that was not intended.)
    – S. Feb 8th/9th 2005.

  216. http://slashdot.org/~squiggleslash/journal/97860

    Interesting comments from Russ Nelson, recently appointed OSI president. I’m not sure what to make of it. If I wanted to be charitable, I’d say he’s trolling, but for f—‘s sake, why? Reading the rest of his blog (which I hoped would address some of the issues many of us have with the OSI that Nelson refused to address in public), it doesn’t look like he’s trolling, unless it’s a fairly sophisticated spoof of right wing libertarians.

    If I wanted to be slightly less charitable, I’d say Nelson is a classic “student debater”, wording what he thinks is a plausible argument in the most controversial way possible. Then, once people respond angrily and with genuine hurt, he can easily blow away some emotional arguments with clear, reasoned ones. Except you have to start with a plausible argument. Nelson doesn’t ever justify the headline – he comes up with half-arsed “explanations” that rely upon you accepting the headline as true to begin with, but he’s really lost it if he thinks there’s anything resembling a coherent argument there.

    The final option I can think of is that Russ Nelson is a racist, which, despite the apparent disclaimer at the end (which doesn’t really justify an unjustified statement) is a conclusion justified by the literal words used. It’s hard to know for sure because Nelson doesn’t give reasons.

    And either way, none of these three situations bode particularly well for the OSI.

  217. http://slashdot.org/~squiggleslash/journal/97860

    A leader of a software advocacy group shouldn’t be trolling.
    There’s a reason people stop debating using emotionally charged language to rile opponents once they’ve done it a few times: those opponents get the support and you look like an obnoxious ass. Take it from me, I am an obnoxious ass. (The good news is that when I’m obnoxious in public these days it’s genuinely felt, FWIW. But I wouldn’t ask the OSI to appoint me President and if an advocacy group – well, at least, one I support – suggested they were considering me, I’d be pretty vocal in suggesting it’s a bad idea.)

    And, well, I definitely wouldn’t want an advocacy group I’m involved in to have an individual who makes racist generalizations in public in charge. I don’t care how relevant it is to the topic, it undermines the group, driving away good people and tarring the group with an image it doesn’t deserve.
    Couple this with Nelson’s first act as OSI President, and I seriously question the wisdom of appointing him.

    And therein is the irony. Open Source was invented in part to remove a “stigma” associated with Free Software that, supposedly, it was all about ideology. In practice Open Source has always been more ideological than FS, but the consensus has always seemed to me to be that it isn’t because OS advocates argue “practical” benefits to the model whereas FS advocates just whitter on about “Freedom”.

  218. This paragraph won’t go through, so I’m posting it sentence by sentence to determine which one contains words that are problematic.

    http://slashdot.org/~squiggleslash/journal/97860

    Much of this has to do with the way in which the case has been presented, but much has to do with the demonizing of RMS with the simultaneous ignoring of faults of the figureheads of the Open Source movement.

  219. @ Don Hopkins

    Don, I don’t know you and this is the first time I’ve read any of your comments.

    But like others commenting above, I interpret your volume and composition as a raging rant of amorphous innuendo and unfounded accusation. Your argument is a menagerie of emotional outbursts that belie a serious anger issue, not validation for some conspiracy theory.

    If you want to have any traction on this board, you’re going to have to bring a better game. Craziness is often forgiven, but being stupid for stupid’s sake is a non-starter.

  220. This sentence isn’t getting through, so I’m hyphenating words that might be problematic.

    http://slashdot.org/~squiggleslash/journal/97860

    With RMS being a committed social-ist and a very poor public debater, the figureheads of Open Source being associated with “libertarian-ism” (usually the right wing variant), and the average American geek’s general relative position on these issues, that’s not overly surprising.

  221. Aha, I’ve discovered the word that triggers the censorship: Social-ist! Let’s see if libertarianism gets through. If you’re reading this, then you’re allowed to say libertarianism, but you’re not allowed to say social-ist.

    Social-ist! Social-ist! Social-ist! BOO!!!!

  222. Anyway, now that we’ve determined that Eric Raymond’s blog automatically censors postings with the un-hyphenated word “social-ist”, I will continue posting the rest:

    http://slashdot.org/~squiggleslash/journal/97860

    But FOSS-supporting geeks who think like this need to wake up a little. If the complaint is that the leadership of one group is too political, and too poor an advocate, then you can’t improve matters by creating a replacement group whose leaders are also highly politicized, and also poor advocates.

    In many ways, it doesn’t really matter what Nelson’s intentions are. The truth is he looks like a racist, he wrote an article that will appear racist to the vast majority of its readers. Whatever complaints are levied at the Free Software movement and RMS are pale in comparison. If the OSI wants to be taken seriously, they need to rethink their choice of President.

  223. And as to why the article I just posted is relevant:

    Any company or project considering working with Eric Raymond, especially relating to code audits, and with any possibility of having to cooperate with the Free Software Foundation, should seriously consider if he is more of a liability than a benefit, for the exact same reason that article argues that Russell Nelson should not be president of the Open Source Initiative, and for the exact same reason that Brendan Eich resigned his position as CEO of Mozilla.

    The fact that Eric Raymond went so far as to actually agree with and defend the “Blacks are lazy” article that Russell Nelson stated was poorly written and withdrew, by literally calling the people who wanted him to resign “fools and thugs”, proves that Eric Raymond is even crazier than Russell Nelson.

  224. TomA, I’ve been posting a lot of quotes from other people who have raised valid criticism of Eric Raymond, so you can’t reject those too because you don’t like the messenger, the formatting, or the spelling.

    Calling me crazy and dismissing everything I have to say is just like what Eric Raymond did when he argued that people calling for Russell Nelson to resign because of his “Blacks are lazy” posting were “fools and thugs”.

    It means you can’t address the points I and other people have raised, so the only thing you have left to do is to call me crazy, and imply that everyone I am quoting is also crazy, and (as Eric has said) not worthy of a response.

    I am still waiting for Tron Guy to justify his claim that there is no such thing as dog whistle politics. Clearly he is totally crazy. But have I dismissed him? No I haven’t. I want to continue the conversation with him, and draw him out, so he posts some citations attempting to prove his points that:

    >“Dog whistle” is an invention of leftists who have to invent arguments instead of bringing up real ones. So is “privilege”. Anyone who attempts to use either in a serious argument demonstrates themselves to be an unserious thinker.

    So since Tron Man is clearly crazy, do you dismiss his arguments like you’re dismissing mine, too? Or would you like to see him attempt to justify them, like I do? Can you answer those questions, please? Or are you just going to call me names, like Eric.

  225. Don, you’re demanding I prove a negative. Even a raving left-wing moonbat should know why that’s a logical fallacy.

  226. Jay, I’m demanding you prove what you claimed. That’s not a negative. I’m not asking you to prove a negative. I’m just asking you to prove something that is not true. So either admit it’s not true, or prove it.

    Let me quote your own words back to you:

    >“Dog whistle” is an invention of leftists who have to invent arguments instead of bringing up real ones. So is “privilege”. Anyone who attempts to use either in a serious argument demonstrates themselves to be an unserious thinker.

    So show us when and where leftists invented the idea of “dog whistle politics. I have already shown you that it was the invention of Lee Atwater, and he is HARDLY a leftist. Can you provide a better citation that proves me wrong?

    And show me that all of my arguments that Eric Raymond is racist are invalid. I have posted MANY citations that prove that point, and quoted MANY other people who believe that, and their arguments demonstrating that fact, with citations. So get started refuting all the arguments I’ve already posted.

  227. The term “dog whistle” was applied to politics by none other than William Safire, who describes himself as a libertarian conservative. So your accusation that it’s “an invention of leftists who have to invent arguments instead of bringing up real ones” is incorrect, in fact the absolute opposite of the truth.

    So now that I’ve proven you wrong, will you admit you were wrong, and change your mind? Or can you provide some better evidence that I just have?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog-whistle_politics

    >According to William Safire, the term “dog whistle” in reference to politics may have been derived from its use in the field of opinion polling. Safire quotes Richard Morin, director of polling for The Washington Post, as writing in 1988 that “subtle changes in question-wording sometimes produce remarkably different results. … researchers call this the ‘Dog Whistle Effect': Respondents hear something in the question that researchers do not,” and speculates that campaign workers adapted the phrase from political pollsters.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Safire

    >Safire described himself as a “libertarian conservative.” A Washington Post story on the ending of his op-ed column quotes him on the subject:
    I’m willing to zap conservatives when they do things that are not libertarian. [After the 9/11 attacks,] I was the first to really go after George W. on his treatment of prisoners.

    And here is the original source, from Safire’s Political Dictionary:

    http://books.google.nl/books?id=c4UoX6-Sv1AC&pg=PA190&lpg=PA190&dq=richard+morin+political+views+dog+whistle&source=bl&ots=V1Fl5vqxNm&sig=YxHs0nrQkk1CVE8-e-kRnZnK4zQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=i_9PU6itC-em0AWvgoDwBg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=richard%20morin%20political%20views%20dog%20whistle&f=false

  228. The term “dog whistle” was applied to politics by none other than William Safire, who describes himself as a libertarian conservative. So your accusation that it’s “an invention of leftists who have to invent arguments instead of bringing up real ones” is incorrect, in fact the absolute opposite of the truth.

    So now that I’ve proven you wrong, will you admit you were wrong, and change your mind? Or can you provide some better evidence that I just have?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog-whistle_politics

    >According to William Safire, the term “dog whistle” in reference to politics may have been derived from its use in the field of opinion polling. Safire quotes Richard Morin, director of polling for The Washington Post, as writing in 1988 that “subtle changes in question-wording sometimes produce remarkably different results. … researchers call this the ‘Dog Whistle Effect’: Respondents hear something in the question that researchers do not,” and speculates that campaign workers adapted the phrase from political pollsters.

  229. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Safire

    >Safire described himself as a “libertar-ian conserv-ative.” A Washington Post story on the ending of his op-ed column quotes him on the subject:
    I’m willing to zap conserv-atives when they do things that are not libertar-ian. [After the 9/11 attacks,] I was the first to really go after George W. on his treatment of prisoners.

    And here is the original source, from Safire’s Political Dictionary:

    http://books.google.nl/books?id=c4UoX6-Sv1AC&pg=PA190&lpg=PA190&dq=richard+morin+political+views+dog+whistle&source=bl&ots=V1Fl5vqxNm&sig=YxHs0nrQkk1CVE8-e-kRnZnK4zQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=i_9PU6itC-em0AWvgoDwBg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=richard%20morin%20political%20views%20dog%20whistle&f=false

  230. Hyphenating to work around the censorship filter:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Safire

    >Safire described himself as a “libertar-ian conserv-ative.” A Washing-ton Po-st story on the ending of his op-ed column quotes him on the subject:
    I’m willing to zap conserv-atives when they do things that are not libertar-ian. [After the 9/1-1 att-acks,] I was the first to really go after Geor-ge W. on his treat-ment of prison-ers.

    And here is the original source, from Safire’s Poli-tical Dic-tionary:

    http://books.google.nl/books?id=c4UoX6-Sv1AC&pg=PA190&lpg=PA190&dq=richard+morin+political+views+dog+whistle&source=bl&ots=V1Fl5vqxNm&sig=YxHs0nrQkk1CVE8-e-kRnZnK4zQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=i_9PU6itC-em0AWvgoDwBg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=richard%20morin%20political%20views%20dog%20whistle&f=false

  231. Hyphenating to work around the censorship filter:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Safire

    >Safire described himself as a “libertar-ian conserv-ative.” A Washing-ton Po-st story on the ending of his op-ed column quotes him on the subject:
    I’m willing to zap conserv-atives when they do things that are not libertar-ian. [After the 9/1-1 att-acks,] I was the first to really go after Geor-ge W. on his treat-ment of prison-ers.

  232. Flamage like this just begs to be paired with a fine cup of lapsang souchong

  233. Don Hopkins: This is a second ban warning.

    After being told to hold it down to one post a day, you have continued to flood the blog. Various commenters have observed (some of them even politely) that you appear to be too crazy to deal with. You may demonstrate otherwise by making one additional comment today (the 17th) acknowledging the rate limit and agreeing to comply.

    Please read How to get banned from my blog to understand what sort of good behavior is required so the rate limit will be removed.

    You will not receive a third warning; I will ban you on further misbehavior.

  234. >Anyway, now that we’ve determined that Eric Raymond’s blog automatically censors postings with the un-hyphenated word “social-ist”

    No, that’s not my blog installation. The spam filtering for this blog is done by Akismet, a collaborative Baysesian filter run by WordPress. While it is possible for me to set additional blocks, I have not blocked on the word “socialist”.

    If Akismet is now doing so, that must be a very recent development. Certainly that word has been used plenty of times in comments here.

  235. >Flamage like this just begs to be paired with a fine cup of lapsang souchong

    Ugh. I suppose it’s good that somebody is enjoying it, but watching anyone I had a modicum of respect for make a spectacular ass of himself just makes me wince.

  236. Ok, Eric, I’ll make one more comment tonight. (I’m in Amsterdam so it’s 21:48 right now. I will respect your west cost time zone, so if you’re on the east coast, you’ll get a few bonus hours.)

    Well shame on you, Eric, for refusing to answer my questions. They are questions that other people are asking, and I’ve been getting even more critical of you and bringing in more evidence of the points you refuse to refute, and quoting more people who make other points, BECAUSE you’re not answering my questions.

    One very simple question you can answer, that I’ve asked you repeatedly, is “Why were you kicked out of the role of President of the Open Software Initiative?” That’s certainly a valid question, that a lot of people would like to know and have asked, that I’ve never seen you answer, and that can’t find the answer to by googling around on the internet. I’ve read your “naturally arrogant” post that Rational Wiki links to like this:

    “He’s somewhat aware of his reputation, but still found a curiously egomaniacal way to respond to the charges.[41] The people currently running the Open Source Initiative are trying to politely exorcise his ghost.”

    [41]: Killing the Founder: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1327

    I would describe it as “naturally narcissistic”, and I’m afraid that there is no way to spin that personality trait into a “good thing”. You act like the poster child for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

    Beyond the arrogance you admit to and celebrate, I think the key symptom that you’re exhibiting and naturally not aware of is this: “mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and to others in the process”

    One of the “others” I’m concerned about is the Free Open Source Software movement and community itself.

    Instead of apologizing for what you did and who you hurt, you rationalized that you could do no wrong, and claimed you did it all on purpose. That’s your narcissism talking, not just a simple case of Olympian Arrogance.

    “This is not the outcome I wanted for the open-source movement. I had the capability to hold it in a grip of charisma, had I so chosen; instead, I consciously engineered a different outcome over a period of years, through both things I did and things I did not do. Many of those decisions are now taken for granted by people who cannot really imagine how it could have been otherwise.”

    That really sounds like something a four year old child would say, because four year children are understandably narcissistic. It’s cute and forgivable that they think the world revolves around them, because they’re four years old, instead of the way it’s sickening and unforgivable for you to act that way. Four year olds don’t have the capacity to set back and embarrass the Free Open Software community the way you did.

    Maybe being “insulated against such insults by my natural arrogance” isn’t such a great thing? Because you’re admittedly living in a bubble, unable to perceive any valid criticism, be it constructive (like “You’re suffering from Narcissistic Personally Disorder, and it’s hurting the people around you and the organizations and ideologies you associate yourself with.”) or destructive (like “GO AWAY!” or “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”).

    Nothing I can say will ever get through any of your arrogant filters, so you will never answer any of my questions (although your inability to answer and your silence on those questions is more revealing than anything you could say verbally, since your words will twist the truth in your favor, to make it look like you can do no wrong, and turn the blame around on the people who are criticizing you, and probably be accompanied with a lot of grandstanding and name calling. While your continued silence speaks loudly and doesn’t lie.

    But your arrogance is only a symptom of NPD, not a cure-all for every form of criticism, as you seem to be using it (and even admitting to that on your blog).

    But you’re wrong to call it “natural arrogance”. You might as well call your real problem “Natural Narcissistic Personally Disorder”, because natural things can be just as harmful as synthetic things.

    And as for your good friend Tron Guy, can you please explain to him that he’s lost the argument, because he doesn’t seem to understand that if he fails to provide any citations or even logical arguments to counter the citations I’ve provided that prove he’s wrong, and only calls me names and comes up with an imaginary reason to not counter my proof or continue the discussion, then that means he lost.

    And you might also suggest to him that he re-examine a lot of his other beliefs and assumptions, since that one is just so wrong, and he clings to it so hard. He doesn’t want the concept of “dog whistle politics” to exist, because if it does, he realized that you and him and many of the people he follows are very very guilty of it.

    Take this interview with Ted Nugent, for example. He called Obama a “Subhuman Mongrel”, which is a direct translation of the German term “untermenschen”:

    >”That’s what the Nazis called Jews to justify the genocide of the Jewish community,” Blitzer said in a Feb. 18, 2014, interview. “They called them untermenschen, subhuman mongrels. If you read some of the literature that the Nazis put out there, there is a long history of that specific phrase he used involving the president of the United States.”

    Whether you accuse them of bias because you don’t agree with the truth or not, politifact wrote:

    The words “subhuman mongrel,” which Ted Nugent called President Barack Obama, were used by the Nazis to “justify the genocide of the Jewish community”: TRUE
    http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/feb/18/wolf-blitzer/wolf-blitzer-ted-nugent-used-nazi-terminology-subh/

    There is NO WAY Ted Nugent or you or Tron Guy can weasel your way out of that fact. But look how Ted tries. And look how terrible it works.

    This is not just a classic textbook case of “Dog Whistle Politics”, this is more like “Wolf Klaxon Politics”. He fails so spectacularly because doesn’t realize that after the last election, most people can recognize dog whistle politics for what it is.

    So he gets called on it, and his denials are obviously lies. I mean, come on: “subhuman mongrel”

    What he does is classic psychological projection: accusing his accusers of doing exactly what he’s doing (and his accusers aren’t), just like what you always do, Eric. Just watch him go! If you can’t see it as clear as day, then your brain is broken.

    Ted Nugent Responds to Critics for Calling President Obama ‘SubHuman Mongrel’ on CNN Erin Burnett
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJcpPAB-Kps

    You’ve been acting like Ted Nugent, for long before Ted Nugent learned how to do it by aping Ann Coulter.

    And no, “ape” isn’t a dog whistle, because neither Ted nor Ann are black.

    But dropping a male pronoun into the sentence ambiguously referring to Ann Coulter would be a dog whistle (so you can explain later that it refers to somebody else, and you weren’t implying that Ann Coulter was a man).

    And Ted Nugent referring to Barack Obama as a “chimpanzee” is definitely a dog whistle, because Obama is black, and racists call back people chimpanzees, apes, monkeys, macacas, etc. Listen to him vehemently deny that is a reference to Obama’s race: it’s total bullshit, he knows it, the reporter interviewing him knows it, you know it, I know it, everybody knows what he meant by “chimpanzee”. But he’s still going through meaningless the exercise of denial, in order to hurl insults and accusations back at his accusers:

    “Yeah Erin, I appreciate you playing that. Do you really think that I reference any race as a primate? I call my buddies in my band chimpanzees when they miss a good guitar lick. I reference no racial overtones there whatsoever. I was referencing people who would look like a cam–” then there is a cut that might have skipped over something to terrible to broadcast.

    Then he realizes that’s not going anywhere, so he jumps into the Republican’s Last Resort, railing against Benghazi, which has absolutely nothing to do with chimpanzees, racism, defending himself the accusation of making a racist statement, or anything else, and then starts psychologically projecting by accusing his accusers of doing exactly what he does: “there’s four dead Americans in Benghazi, and and and refused to be accountable, and say what difference does it make. You’ve either got to be a punk, a liar, grossly dishonest, dangerously anti-american, or some kind of ANIMAL to agree with that kind of stuff.”

    And here comes the great part, when he proves how it’s impossible for him to be racist because he admires and dedicated his whole life to black people: “So insert the word dog, or mongrel, or chimpanzee, I have nothing against any race, in fact my whole life is dedicated to my black heroes, my black musical heroes, and you know that. I have no racist bone in my body. That’s the sol–” and here is another cut, where he probably said something else too terrible to broadcast on TV.

    Then he switches gears to 1998, because Benghazi didn’t bail him out of this hole he keeps digging: “Lewinski propoganda ministry running amok like your goofball friend Paul Beglia, who claims that my, I’ve been, a has-been. I just celebrated my 50’th greatest tour. 50 years. Number one guitar player in Detroit last year. I’m a black guitar player from Detroit. Get over it.”

    The reporter interjects: “Ted, I know one thing. I know one thing. All I know is that if I called the President, who is a black President, a chimpanzee, I would and should be fired. Because it is a racist thing to say.”

    Now Ted starts sputtering incoherently and totally denying reality, then he jumps back to finish up with a grammatically incorrect reference to Benghazi: “I didn’t call the President- I didn’t call the President- I never called the President a chimpanzee. Never. Not trying to. You think- You think I- You think I hesitate- People who support, that it doesn’t matter four Americans are dead.”

    Yeah, Ted. Sure thing, Ted. Anything you say, Ted. Tron Man: do you still deny that there’s such a thing as “dog whistle politics”, after watching that?

    Now Eric, I will admit that you are not QUITE so bad as Ted Nugent. But he IS on the board of the NRA, so you can certainly understand how much he embarrasses and disgraces the NRA every time he opens his mouth.

    Well keep this idea in mind: that Ted Nugent is a disgrace to the NRA. because he practices Dog Whistle Politics, and then doesn’t have the ability to rationalize, backpedal and prevaricate fast enough to pull off a plausible denial of reality.

    Then cross out “Ted Nugent” and write in “Eric Raymond”, and cross out “NRA Board Member” and write in “Open Source Initiative President”.

    Ted Nugent sounds a lot like you, Eric, when you write that blacks are stupid and violent, and a lot like Russel Nelson, when he writes that blacks are lazy, and then connect it all together to support your racist ideology, and then try to weasel out of it by accusing your accusers of being idiots and thugs who are out to get you, and issuing non-apology apologies begging forgiven for other people misunderstand and wrongfully getting their feelings hurt, instead of actually apologizing for YOUR OWN HARMFUL ACTIONS.

    So “Dog Whistle Politics” is exactly what you’ve been doing by making these totally racist on their face statements, and then trying to rationalize yourself out of them. But of course you can’t see that because of your NPD, and you think you’re just totally right and everyone else is totally wrong, and they’re terrible people for accusing you of being a racist, using dog whistle politics, being divisive, making your career by tearing someone down, etc.

    So yes, “dog whistle politics” is a “thing”. It is the speciality of the Republican Party: they use it all the time. I am sure you can find a few cases where liberals used by liberals of course, but it’s overwhelmingly used by the right wing.

    And that is because they use it to communicate with their racist, homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic, religiously fanatic base. Remember, all those people who USED to be Democrats when the Democratic party was racist, who then switched to the Republican party when the Democratic Party stopped being racist and they took up the flag. It’s the basis for Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”.

    I’m sure I don’t have to tell you all this stuff, that you know it very well, but please explain it to Tron Guy, because he seems unclear on the concept of EVERYTHING, and he has made up an entirely fictional alternative reality to live in, but doesn’t even realize the rest of us don’t live in that universe.

    Do you think he’ll actually listen to you, if you explain to him about dog whistle politics, or do you think he’ll make up something that’s so easily disproven and the opposite of the actual truth, like the statement he offered me: ““Dog whistle” is an invention of leftists who have to invent arguments instead of bringing up real ones.”

    Tell me truthfully, Eric: Are you really so gullible as to be fooled by Tron Guy’s statement that leftists invented dog whistle politics? Do you not believe in the very thing that you are so good at doing yourself?

    Can you or Tron Guy name which liberal came up with the idea of accusing Republicans of “dog whistle politics”? Wikipedia says the term as applied to politics originated from a conservative libertarian, William Safire, and the technique was perfected by Lee Atwater. And you can’t get more right wing than him.

    Hillary Clinton is one of the few Democrats who has been accused of using racist dog whistles against Obama. And she totally deserves to be criticized for that. But by far by an overwhelming majority, the people who use racist dog whistles against Obama or anyone else are Republican, conservative, right wing, extremist, libertarian, anti-obama, racist, white supremacist or tea party.

    So don’t try to deny dog whistle politics exists, and stop doing it yourself, OK? Thanks!

    I think that’s enough for now — I hope to read your replies tomorrow.

  237. @Don
    There are much better things to do in Amsterdam than spamming a blog.

    The major museums are open again and the concert hall is one of the best in the world. Nightlife is good too. It is not Berlin or London, but still.

  238. America is replete with examples of people working ‘day jobs’ to pay the bills, while building businesses/projects in their person

  239. >One very simple question you can answer, that I’ve asked you repeatedly, is “Why were you kicked out of the role of President of the Open Software Initiative?”

    Silly person. What are your grounds to believe I was kicked out? Is this some kind of LSD fantasy?

    All that stuff about Ted Nugent and dog-whistle politics is just incoherent raving. Sorry, I’m not going to turn into a racist (or any other kind of bigot) no matter how fervent your desire that it be so. Bigots are idiots who suffer from a failure of reasoning; whatever my other failings may be, I do work hard at not being an idiot.

    As for “grip of charisma”, you think that’s egotistical because, like most people, you don’t understand how easy that is. Even idiots can do it – and, alas, frequently do. See http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1327&cpage=1#comment-258305 where I explained this in some detail.

  240. Daaaaayyyyyyuuummm!

    That is the loudest 60-cycle hum I’ve ever heard, I don’t think I’ve even seen tumblr come close.

  241. >That is the loudest 60-cycle hum I’ve ever heard, I don’t think I’ve even seen tumblr come close.

    It is rather impressive, isn’t it? In a horrifying, pathetic sort of way.

  242. And of course the assertion that Russel Nelson be da rasis is a textbook example of how memebots running a kafkatrap program respond when the program is challenged.

  243. (501) jmaynard@yakko:~$ wc
    <paste Don’s latest screed, followed by control-D>
    103 2413 14203
    (502) jmaynard@yakko:~$

    Multi-kiloword, indeed.

    Don: tl;dr

  244. I don’t know very much about the history of the Open Source movement, nor the specifics of any prior conflicts and hurt feelings, but Don Hopkins has the worse case of penis envy that I have ever witnessed. Please stop the self abuse, or at the very least, do it in a more private setting (e.g. you can email Eric directly and spare the rest of us).

  245. > I have not blocked on the word “s o c i a l i s t”.

    Perhaps that’s not the word actually being blocked. The inherent spamitude of the names of E. D. medicines is quite impressive.

  246. Yes, that confirms that the block on “soci‍alist” is in fact on the embedded “ci‍alis”, and I’m only able to sneak these words past the filter via the creative use of the Zero Width Joiner HTML Entity.

  247. >Don Hopkins has the worse case of penis envy that I have ever witnessed.

    It’s not quite the worst case I’ve seen, but it’s up there. This is lesson #1 in why you do not want to become famous unless you have a specific and compelling reason you need to use fame as a mission enabler – because even if you have the unbending rectitude of a saint (which I don’t) and never make a single error (which I can’t claim) you will attract this sort of self-destructively bizarre, dysfunctional haterboy ranting.

    To cope, you have to understand that the ranting isn’t actually about you at all – you’re just the projection screen for the haterboy’s internal conflicts. It’s a lot like delusional psychotics losing the ‘self’ tag on parts of their own minds and interpreting them as the voices of demons, except you get to be the demon. Whee, what fun.

  248. >Yes, that confirms that the block on “soci?alist” is in fact on the embedded “ci?alis”, and I’m only able to sneak these words past the filter via the creative use of the Zero Width Joiner HTML Entity.

    I believe you, but report that I can post the word “socialist” without the funky markup.

    I confirm that “cialis” is on my list of blocking words.

  249. >Please stop the self abuse, or at the very least, do it in a more private setting

    I report as a datum of possible interest the fact that this basically never happens. That is, private rants of anywhere near this kind of deranged intensity.

    There’s something about every category of haterboy fixation (Peevish Adolescent, Embittered Old Fart, Zealot, and Iconoclast) that seems to demand public performance. The reasons are slightly different for each type, but the result is constant.

  250. > I believe you, but report that I can post the word “soci‍alist” without the funky markup.

    You also can post comments with a special background color the rest of us don’t get, as well as actual articles, pull comments out of moderation, and even ban people. Ockham’s Razor suggests that the proper interpretation of these data points is “ESR can do things on his blog that the rest of us can’t.”

  251. > “ESR can do things on his blog that the rest of us can’t.”

    Entertainingly, I probably remain unaware of some of the differences. I don’t see quite the same interface you do.

  252. The major museums are open again and the concert hall is one of the best in the world. Nightlife is good too. It is not Berlin or London, but still.

    Don’t forget the legally-available weed!

  253. @Jeff Read
    Although I think Don could use some calming down, I am concerned the use of mind altering substances in his current state could make things worse.

  254. >Although I think Don could use some calming down, I am concerned the use of mind altering substances in his current state could make things worse.

    Don’s recreational preferences may have changed significantly since the 1980s, we all change and grow, but…how to put this delicately? Um. When I got a first eyeful of his ranting it immediately occurred to me that mind-altering substances might partly explain his current state.

  255. @esr
    “When I got a first eyeful of his ranting it immediately occurred to me that mind-altering substances might partly explain his current state.”

    There have been complaints that the concentration of active substance in weed on sale in the Netherlands has become too high. I have no idea whether that could trigger such outbreaks over such a long period (many hours).
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16191670

  256. > Entertainingly, I probably remain unaware of some of the differences. I don’t see quite the same interface you do.

    You might try looking at the blog from an Incognito Mode window occasionally. Thus will you be enlightened. Or entertained.

  257. As soon as he mentioned “Amsterdam”, the cluebat caught me upside da hed

  258. Pingback: Some Perspective on Heartbleed® | Techrights

  259. In my limited, anecdotal exposure to those who are heavy THC consumers, this kind of extended ranting is nearly impossible. Major stoners generally don’t have the motivation to be so verbose, or for that matter, irately angry. Far too much nicotine, or perhaps a pinch of phencyclidine, would be a better candidate… but oversensitization to nuance and lack of capability to rational expression would be far more likely.

    esr has… I’ll just say, “more than a few”… misconceptions of the real world on topics that perhaps are too far removed from his direct personal experience. Yes, his RationalWiki pseudo-biography hits a lot of paranoiac nails squarely on the head, and he could perhaps make good use a larger helping of humility on some topics.

    I’ve learned not to assume that I know better about every topic within solely my own single brain… or that anyone else does, either. I also understand when a given fight is both in context, and worth the expended effort. I’ve butted heads with several of the commenters on this thread in other discussions, too.

    That said, I’ve never seen esr go off on a rant quest anywhere near Don’s magnitude above; not even the “AIM” linked below comes close. It’s like… I’m just… uhm… screw it; my eyes hurt.

  260. Pingback: First Phase Of Security Audit Finds Vulnerabilities But No Backdoors In TrueCrypt Encryption Software | magann.org

  261. @Todd – I’ve seen various people respond differently to the same dope. Some can become very animated for extended periods of time. Some become vegetables. The particular strain of plant is significant.

  262. Well, that’s why I qualified it with “limited, anecdotal exposure”. The whole drug insinuation is just meant to be satirically humorous, in any case. :)

  263. What do you think of the issues being uncovered in the OpenBSD rewrite (some summarized at http://opensslrampage.org/ )?

    They mainly seem to be architectural (relating mainly to excessive portability) and some general poor code quality (if I might speculate, I’d think that there’s some “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” allergy to refactoring security-related code behind this). I wonder if these had the effect of… well, scaring eyeballs away. If it’s hard to understand the code, then it’s hard to see what might be wrong with it.

    And some of it makes one wonder if the original maintainers themselves understood it. They had, for example, made what was essentially an obfuscated bzero function (to prevent compilers from cleverly optimizing it out when they think the resulting zeros won’t ever be used)… which isn’t that bad by itself, but then someone else directly copied every obfuscated step into a hand-tuned assembler version (presumably when the original function showed up as a performance bottleneck).

  264. >What do you think of the issues being uncovered in the OpenBSD rewrite (some summarized at http://opensslrampage.org/ )?

    I just left a message volunteering to run Coverity/cppcheck/splint against this code and fix nits so it will be at least statically clean.

  265. Don was ranting hysterically but did have many straight accusations which can be answered.

    So, as a right-wing loon by his definition, I will request ESR to answer a couple, such as:

    1 – The accusation of ideologically-motivated, incompetent code auditing of climate science code released during ‘climategate.’ Did you prove people were ‘hiding the decline’ by pointing to commented out code?

    2 – Saying ‘blacks are lazy’ is not racist.
    ?

    The rest seem to be just envy or incredulity in the face of your competence, whether it be with women, or marksmanship or whatever, so that’s irrelevant.

  266. This quote bothers me: “This is about realizing belatedly that code we thought of good quality was not even decent, and ended up becoming too complex and unmaintainable.”

    The fact that security-related code over a decade old was “thought of good quality”… that people – not just any people, the OpenBSD people, who I thought knew better – just made assumptions rather than looking at it with their own eyes – seems to me to have bad implications for any non-vacuous formulation of Linus’s Law.

    There was no-one whose job it was to look into these things. Auditing code for security, or even for quality, is hard and not fun. Are you sure that proprietary development isn’t better at doing things that are hard and not fun?

  267. @Random832
    “Are you sure that proprietary development isn’t better at doing things that are hard and not fun?”

    If it is better, we should find (many) proprietary programs that are hard and not fun, and better than OS.

    In this case, more secure proprietary libraries in the same domain as OpenSSL. Are there such much better libraries?

  268. > In this case, more secure proprietary libraries in the same domain as OpenSSL. Are there such much better libraries?

    Certainly libraries in the same domain exist. The question of whether they’re more secure seems to be answered along ideological lines.

    Many eyeballs may make for shallow bugs, but OpenSSL in particular seems to have had very few eyeballs on it indeed. The answer seems to be that open source makes providing the eyeballs someone else’s problem.

  269. >Are you sure that proprietary development isn’t better at doing things that are hard and not fun?

    Reasonably sure, yes. Confirmation from Coverity’s recent study of comparative code quality, as well as previous investigations including the Fuzz papers.

  270. Would like to see what Coverity has to say about the VMS code base, assuming such a thing could be analyzed. I bet that when reliability is a selling point, proprietary development yields damn more reliable software than Linux.

    (As one VMS hacker put it, “my OS doesn’t crash and has never been hacked!”)

  271. *chortle* I used to have dozens of VAX/VMS accounts, some with unimpeded write permission to SYS$SYSTEM:, back in the heyday of X.25 networking. “Never” is a bit of a stretch.

    In my _anecdotal_ industry experience, reliability is an orthogonal concept to open source vs. proprietary. Achieving reliability is much more a factor of the target application, how much effort is put specifically into fault tolerance, and who did the work, than its source visibility. (You’ll note that I conspicuously didn’t include cost/money as a correlation factor.)

    I’ve seen some pretty abysmal open source code (admittedly, this is most common in Java and C# source trees), and some stellar, rock solid sources (yes, even some of these in Java or C#… some even in the atrocity that is PHP).

    I’ve also seen clunky proprietary apps that are hideously expensive, and cheap ones that could withstand a wrecking ball to the server (well… almost) — and that includes looking behind the proprietary curtains under NDA or as an employee. Or, for instance, looking through the “accidentally” leaked WinNT5 (Win2k) source code some years back… some components were worthy of issuance of a Good Hacker Gold Card, but so many others were bloated messes of fail.

    In context of things like Coverity’s analysis and the fuzz papers, I’ve seen too much of the meat and bones of source trees to consider quality vs. openness to be anything more than a very convenient coincidence. Those studies do give a modest hint that the better visibility of OSS is a good trait to have, and that *highly* visible source trees may tend toward a higher level of code quality. But I consider that to be a corner niche of OSS, as it’s trivial to poison the pool by adding more OSS code to the mix.

    What I can definitely see as a positive attribute of OSS is its ability to help cross-pollinate good coding behavior. The rise of open source has made it a great tool for teaching what classrooms can’t: real world, hands-on experience. The dividends of that knowledge may land again in OSS, or may land in proprietary apps, but I believe this to be one of the unspoken (or even subconscious) rules that have made the use of OSS in business applications attractive.

  272. >Did you prove people were ‘hiding the decline’ by pointing to commented out code?

    I think I did. I didn’t think the fact that the code was later commented out was relevant, and still don’t.

    >Saying ‘blacks are lazy’ is not racist.

    Read Russ’s original post. He was arguing that blacks may have a lower willingness to trade leisure time for the gains from work precisely because prejudice lowers those gains, and that as prejudice disappears the relative utilities should change in such a way that blacks appear less ‘lazy’. This is an anti-racist explanation of a racist trope; it takes a particularly vicious grade of moron to interpret this as “racism”.

  273. *chortle* I used to have dozens of VAX/VMS accounts, some with unimpeded write permission to SYS$SYSTEM:, back in the heyday of X.25 networking. “Never” is a bit of a stretch.

    The relevant criterion here is whether VMS exposed a vulnerability that was exploited to escalate privileges beyond what the security policy explicitly allowed. If your sysadmin set a shite security policy, that’s not really VMS’s problem and doesn’t count.

    The developers of OpenBSD, the open-source Unix with the best track record in this regard, brag when they go a few years without such a vulnerability. To my knowledge, VMS has never had such a vulnerability, ever, in its entire service lifetime.

  274. > The developers of OpenBSD, the open-source Unix with the best track record in this regard, brag when they go a few years without such a vulnerability.

    As a decade-plus veteran of the NetBSD Foundation, I know that this bragging is more often spin than it is truth.

    After all, there were several openssh vulnerabilities that TdR didn’t consider to be triggers for mea culpas — in spite of OpenBSD being the *original source* for openssh — because the brag phrase was “N years without a remote hole in the default install” (emphasis added).

    Local exploits, and exploits that require starting a service or setting a config option that aren’t started or set by default, were never counted in this tally. Bullshit politics are still bullshit politics.

  275. Contemplationist wrote:

    >”1 – The accusation of ideologically-motivated, incompetent code auditing of climate science code released during ‘climategate.’ Did you prove people were ‘hiding the decline’ by pointing to commented out code?”

    Eric the Flute replied:

    >”I think I did. I didn’t think the fact that the code was later commented out was relevant, and still don’t.”

    It doesn’t matter what you think, because you provide zero proof, you’re irrational, and your ideology is extremist. All that matters is what you can PROVE. So prove to us how COMMENTED OUT CODE affected the results of the program by “hiding the decline”.

    You’re accusing those vindicated scientists of being ideologically motivated incompetent programmers, who twisted their results to fit their pre-conceived political notions. That’s a textbook case of psychological projection, Eric: YOU are the one who’s so ideologically motivated and incompetent at programming, that you twist the results of your failed attempt at code auditing to fit your pre-conceived political notions.

    So since you cast the first stone, and rejected conclusions of the now-vindicated scientists who you suspect of ideological motivation, while you do PRECISELY the same thing you accuse them of doing, that means the ball is in YOUR court to prove your unfounded (and quite RIDICULOUS on their face) accusations.

    We want to SEE the code you cited, and READ all the claims you made about it BEFORE it was revealed to be commented out. And then we want to HEAR your explanation of how it was possible for commented out code to affect the results of the program. So start linking and writing, Eric, otherwise you have spectacularly lost this argument, and your reputation and credibility is (still) in the gutter.

    Contemplationist wrote:

    “2 – Saying ‘blacks are lazy’ is not racist.?”

    Eric the Flute replies:

    “Read Russ’s original post. He was arguing that blacks may have a lower willingness to trade leisure time for the gains from work precisely because prejudice lowers those gains, and that as prejudice disappears the relative utilities should change in such a way that blacks appear less ‘lazy’. This is an anti-racist explanation of a racist trope; it takes a particularly vicious grade of moron to interpret this as “racism”.”

    Again, your interpretation of it doesn’t matter, because of your extreme ideology and total irrationality when it comes to seeing yourself and your friend Russell Nelson as other people justifiably see them. Instead of conceding that there may be two sides of this issue, and respecting the views of people who see such obvious race bating and fault logic as a sign of racism, what do you do?

    You pathetically attempt to “turn the tables” on your accusers, and call them names like “particularly vicious grade of moron”. Who’s being particularly vicious, Eric? I certainly am being vicious to you, as an academic exercise of dishing back to you a big helping of your own medicine. So excuuuuuuuse me. But look at yourself, Eric. You’re as just as vicious and moronic as you imagine your accusers to be. You have absolutely no respect for anyone else’s opinion, and that’s why I (and so many other people in the community) have absolutely no respect for YOUR opinion.

    Nobody believes the bullshit you spout any more, Eric. The fact that you and Russell Nelson have come out swinging for Brendan Eich is a humiliating embarrassment for him. Being known in the computer field as the guy who invented a language as flawed as JavaScript is humbling. But being known worldwide as the homophobic guy who resigned his job as president of a major open source web browser company is a much worse legacy.

    But you’re only adding sweet insult to his deserved self injury, by publicly supporting him, and accusing “gay advocates” of “bullying” him, and hurling vicious insults and accusations at everyone who found his ACTIONS offensive, exactly like you attacked everyone who criticized YOU for your blog posting about how blacks were stupid and violent, and attacked everyone who criticized Russell Nelson for his blog posting about how blacks are lazy.

    Eric, thanks to your spirited defense of Brendan Eich and Russell Nelson, now everyone knows you’re all birds of a feather, cut from the same cloths, members of the old boys club, laying down with the same dogs, and scratching at the same fleas.

    You, Eric Raymond, are an Albatross of Shame around Brendan Eich’s neck. Thanks to your spirited defense consisting of vile accusations and childish name calling, and your worldwide fame and millions of impressionable readers, Brendan Eich’s legacy is now forever associate with Eric Raymond’s racism, Russell Nelson’s racism, on top of Brendan Eich’s own homophobia, through the magic of google and a few simple search engine optimization strategies.

    Eric Raymond, you’re a bigot and a bully and an irrational violent gun freak, and you should be ashamed of yourself for standing up for other bigots and bullies like Russell Nelson and Brendan Eich, while at the same time calling victims of oppression like gays and blacks bullies and racists and stupid and violent.

    Contemplationist wrote:

    “The rest seem to be just envy or incredulity in the face of your competence, whether it be with women, or marksmanship or whatever, so that’s irrelevant.”

    If that’s how you interpret it, you reveal much more about yourself, because you sure don’t know me. Your list of possible sources of jealousy is laughable. Let me explain why:

    I have known Eric the Flute for many more years (more like decades) than you have, long before anyone ever dreamed up open source software, even before RMS invented free software.

    As the person who inspired Richard Stallman to use the word “copyleft” — http://www.donhopkins.com/home/copyleft/ — my problem with Eric is rooted in the fact that he’s made his career spreading misinformation and attacking Richard Stallman’s reputation, who I consider my friend, a hero, and a role model (although I am certainly aware of his personality quirks, and could probably tell you about some that you’ve never even heard of).

    I’m certainly not envious of him, but you’re right that I’m incredulous, because I have very good reasons not to believe a thing he says.

    It’s not possible for me to be envious of his competence, because he is NOT competent. I’ve been very successful in the software industry, and I certainly have a lot of friends and colleagues who are MUCH more competent than I am or he is, yet I’m not envious of them — they just inspire me to keep on learning and improving.

    It’s not possible for me to be envious of his marksmanship, which I could not possibly care less about, and know absolutely nothing about — all I know is that he’s a lunatic gun nut who foams at the mouth and raves incoherently just like Ted Nugent, which doesn’t mean anything about how good an aim he is. But the fact that you think I might care, or even be envious, or afraid he might shoot me, or respect him for having guns, makes me laugh, and wonder what’s wrong with YOU — psychological projection perhaps?

    It’s not even remotely possible for me to be envious of his interactions with women, not simply because I’m gay, but because I first observed first hand quite a lot of his behavior around women from the early 1980’s until 1990, at east coast science fiction conventions. My distinct impression (shared by many others who also witnessed it, and still a common opinion) was that he was quite creepy and slimy.

  276. http://interviews.slashdot.org/story/14/03/04/178232/interview-ask-eric-raymond-what-you-will

    Hard work or talent? (Score:1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:08PM (#46398507)
    You often come across as classless and creepy. Do you work at it or does it come naturally?

    More quotes from that “ask Eric Raymond what you will” that capture his reputation and the way people think about him due to his vile speech, childish behavior, and infamous gloating — what is MOST TELLING is all the ones he ignored and refused to comment on.

    The fact is that ESR only had the guts to reply to TWO of the questions, then he ran away with his tail between his legs like the coward he is. Here is his slashdot posting history that proves it:

    http://slashdot.org/~ESR

  277. [I'm posting this in parts because of this blog's silly keyword based moderation system, so please don't count the number of posts against my censorship quota, Eric! I meant it to be one wall of text that you and your friends would never read, but that google would analyze and bring up for anyone interested in reading about you.]

    http://interviews.slashdot.org/story/14/03/04/178232/interview-ask-eric-raymond-what-you-will

    Still Surprised By Wealth? (Score:2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @01:51PM (#46398249)
    Did you get to cash out before the crash? After you infamous gloating here, http://news-beta.slashdot.org/story/99/12/10/0821224/esr-writes-on-surprised-by-wealth , inquiring minds want to know.

    In all seriousness… (Score:5, Insightful) by iluvcapra (782887) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @01:51PM (#46398255)

    ESR wrote: “I believe, but cannot prove, that global “AIDS” is a whole cluster of unrelated diseases all of which have been swept under a single rug for essentially political reasons, and that the identification of HIV as the sole pathogen is likely to go down as one of the most colossal blunders in the history of medicine.”

    Do you still deny a link between HIV and the disease known as AIDS? http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=184

    ESR wrote: “You picked an extremely bad example there; Turing was atypical in a way that damages your case. If you examine the actual circumstances of Turing’s exposure, you’ll discover that he was remarkably and willfully self-destructive about it. Outed himself, under circumstances where he could easily have covered and (as I read it) the cop was trying to look the other way. Still, I’m not “pro” Turing’s suicide, just refusing to blame anyone else for it. He made his choice and died. End of story.”

    Do you still blame Alan Turing for his fate? http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1046#comment-236592 So have you become a total crackpot since September 11th, or was it something that was always sorta brewing under the surface.

  278. In all seriousness, why is this guy still a thing in the Open Source movement? He wrote a few books in the 90s, very good ones, but he’s been irrelevant for years and he’s a nut. He has nothing to offer.

    >All he’s arguing is historical accuracy–someone really did perform a ceremony that’s pretty much a curse.

    You’re giving him quite a lot of credit, not only does he assert that the curse was real and effective, he also declares that he’s a “third degree wiccan” and then identifies the deities he would have would invoked. There’s no question that he believes the Haitian people actually invoked the santeria deity known as Ogun to liberate them from French domination, and that the earthquake may have been Ogun collecting on the debt.

    >I think if you read “invoke” in Eric’s posting as “appeal to” rather than “cause to appear” you’ll see what I took him to be saying. The one thing he doesn’t believe in is literal religious magic. I am with you on all the other examples, though.

    Late update to my own post: on the other hand, later in the comment thread on that same posting, he clearly believes in literal faith healing, in one case of a sprained ankle, so, uh…

  279. Re:In all seriousness… (Score:3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:26PM (#46398807)

    >Are you still a scientific racist/”race realist”? http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4270

    That one is incredible. The fact that he isn’t asking “Do you accept these negative observations about black people as fact without any evidence?” shows what a massive, unthinking racist he is. And I’ve emphasized “unthinking” for a reason; for all his squawking about rationality, he consistently makes judgements based on his emotions and prejudices rather than basic logic, in a way that a barely-educated child would have learned not to do.

    Every esr argument ends up with him insisting what he wants to be true is absolute fact, and that his detractors are illogical idiots. It’s a stunning lack of awareness or capability. The man should be a case-study.

  280. Re:In all seriousness… (Score:0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:34PM (#46398901)

    Pfft. That’s absolutely typical of extreme libertarians: they go on and on about how rational and logical they are, but in reality they’re making emotional value judgements like the rest of us, the only difference is that they take their value judgements to the logical ad absurdum.

    Re:In all seriousness… (Score:5, Informative) by ESR (3702) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @04:24PM (#46400439) Homepage

    >OK, let’s squash some of this nonsense right now. [bla bla bla... we've heard it all before.]

    Re:In all seriousness… (Score:0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @04:33PM (#46400563)

    That’s a longwinded way to say “yes, I’m an AGW denier and conspiracy theorist”.

    Re:In all seriousness… (Score:2) by iluvcapra (782887) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @05:30PM (#46401379)

    ESR writes: “I believe, and have repeatedly said, that the supposed “scientific consensus” on CAGW is not a conspiracy but an error cascade.”

    With all due respect, human beings do not cascade errors, machines do. What you’re suggesting is that hundreds, thousands of PhDs, all taking either their own measurements or analyzing a broad corpus of measurements collected by generations of researchers, of all manner of phenomena, are all arriving at the same erroneous conclusion, over and over, and that no one with the qualifications to catch the mistake is catching the mistake, for decades.

    Re:In all seriousness… (Score:1) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2014 @12:58PM (#46446619)

    Quoting directly from your blog dated 2009-11-24

    ESR writes: “This, people, is blatant data-cooking, with no pretense otherwise. It flattens a period of warm temperatures in the 1940s 1930s — see those negative coefficients? Then, later on, it applies a positive multiplier so you get a nice dramatic hockey stick at the end of the century.”

    “All you apologists weakly protesting that this is research business as usual and there are plausible explanations for everything in the emails? Sackcloth and ashes time for you. This isn’t just a smoking gun, it’s a siege cannon with the barrel still hot.”

    For some one who supposedly is a hot-shot programmer it turns out you missed that the code was commented out and labeled as an experiment.
    So unless you mean that the Global Warming deniers like you Watts/Spencer/Lindzen/Christy have been caught “fraudulently” manipulating the data. You need to post a PUBLIC apology to the scientists you libeled with yo

    [the post was cut off there, but there are many other messages on that topic, none of which Eric has ever addressed!]

  281. So Eric, please tell us why you ran away from your Slashdot Q&A article after only answering two questions? And please answer all those unanswered questions I posted, that you previously ran away from with your tail between your legs?

    See, I’m NOT the only person calling you on your bullshit incompetent ideologically motivated code review of the global warming software. I understand that you believe that you’re right and everybody else is a poopie monster that eats your poopie and smells like poopie and has poopie lips and is stupid and dumb. We already get that. Now where’s your PROOF???

  282. So do you still stand by your emphatic statement that “This isn’t just a smoking gun, it’s a siege cannon with the barrel still hot.”

    How in the world can commented out code make a gun smoke, let alone make the barrel of a siege cannon hot?

    WAIT! I KNOW what you were JUST about to do: call me another name! But how about trying to provide some PROOF, instead, huh, Eric? Just this once? PLEEEEEEASE???

  283. Re:In all seriousness… (Score:5, Insightful) by Alomex (148003) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:09PM (#46398521) Homepage

    >So have you become a total crackpot since September 11th, or was it something that was always sorta brewing under the surface.

    It was always brewing under the surface.

    He is a blind follower of extreme libertarian ideas. For example, a long time ago in a personal discussion I showed him how under the specific libertarian rules he was suggesting I could buy all the land around a person’s house and starve them to death since they couldn’t leave. He didn’t bat an eye. He kept insisting that “free market rules” wouldn’t allow this, as if by magic, rather than rethinking his simplistic position.

    Frankly ESR is an embarrassment to the open source movement.

  284. Re:In all seriousness… (Score:4, Informative) by fsck-beta (3539217) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:39PM (#46399003)

    What has ESR done in the last decade for the open source community? Well he has spread a lot of ignorant and hurtful ideas outside of the open source community…

    Re:In all seriousness… (Score:3) by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @12:13PM (#46408965) Homepage Journal

    This ELER might help answer your question. http://geekz.co.uk/lovesraymond/archive/show-them-the-code

  285. So… (Score:5, Funny) by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @01:53PM (#46398281)

    So how annoyed are you that RMS got to do an interview a week before you did.

    Re:When are we… (Score:2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:15PM (#46398621)

    Some background: ESR changed portions of the Jargon File to reflect his nutty personal politics, there was a predictable shitstorm, and since then ESR took his Jargon File and went home, no more updates.

    Are you still rich? (Score:1)
    by crgrace (220738) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:09PM (#46398515)
    With all the ups and downs in the industry, are you still surprised? http://www.linuxtoday.com/infrastructure/1999121000105NWLF

    Why the attitude? (Score:5, Interesting) by Slartibartfast (3395) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:33PM (#46398897) Homepage Journal

    It permeates everything you write: the moral assuredness that You Are Right. I’m all in favor of positing that a position someone takes is the right one — that’s human nature. But your whole “I speak for the hackers” tone, wherein you seem to feel the need to put your views forward as representing others’, puzzles me. I give, as a case-in-point, your “Sex Tips for Geeks” as exhibit A http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/sextips/ , but, really, most any of your writings — most definitely including your handling of The Jargon File http://www.catb.org/jargon/ , as well as your stance on homosexuality http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=26 — qualify. Care to comment?

  286. Jesus, Don, you’re an embarrassment to rational thinkers, too. There’s a way to approach another person’s questionable conclusions to evoke rational discussion… and this is not that way, by far.

    Most of these rants don’t belong on this blog post. Sure, you can make your own blog and rant all you want, but WTF with these comments?

    And keep in mind that there is no such thing as “free speech” when you’re commenting on a publishing channel owned by someone else. If esr chooses to ban your comments from his blog, that’s not “censorship”. esr isn’t a government entity.

    Seriously, I may agree with many to most of your points, but even I want you to shut the hell up.

  287. Jay Maynard on 2014-04-17 at 19:21:28 said: [...] “Don: tl;dr”

    Of course you want to pretend that you didn’t read what I wrote, so you don’t have to respond to it, just like ESR ran away from his slashdot interview after only replying to TWO questions, after the heat became too much for him.

    And that’s because you’re intellectually dishonest, and it’s extremely easy for me to prove that, simply by citing facts that you can’t disprove, which I’ve already done.

    So to maintain face, your only alternative is to run away from the argument and pretend you didn’t read what I wrote. That allows you to act smugly and pretend that you won the argument in your own mind.

    So I will repeat what you wrote, and how I countered it, and give you another chance to run away from the argument, and prove my point that there is no possible way for you to win it, so instead you must run away with your tail between your legs like ESR did, pretend it didn’t happen, and never speak of it again.

    But this text that I wrote, applying a few simple straightforward search engine optimization techniques, won’t go away like you wish it would, and google and other web search engines will dutifully index it, and also I will keep a snapshot, which I will publish on my web site, so people searching your name will always find it, and read it, like you pretended you never did, and draw their own conclusions about you:

    You, Jay Maynard, also known as “Tron Guy”, are totally incorrect in your ridiculous claim that:

    ““Dog whistle” is an invention of leftists who have to invent arguments instead of bringing up real ones. So is “privilege”. Anyone who attempts to use either in a serious argument demonstrates themselves to be an unserious thinker.”

    And then denying that “dog whistle politics” is a “thing”, by giving your own completely unsubstantiated definition, which contradicts the definition from Lee Atwater himself given on the Wikipedia page about Dog Whistle Politics that I quoted?

    So I challenge you, too, to go propose that the Wikipedia page on Dog Whistle Politics be deleted. Give it your best shot. See if you can achieve consensus with your argument that ““Dog whistle” is an invention of leftists who have to invent arguments instead of bringing up real ones.”

    So where are your citations that prove your point that there is no such thing as “dog whistle politics”? You’re going to have them in order before proposing to there that wikipedia page. So why don’t you present them here, if you’re so sure of yourself.

    You seemed pretty sure of yourself on America’s Got Talent, but you weren’t able to convince the judges or the audience that you had anything to say that was worth listening to. I hope you can do better on Wikipedia.

  288. >just like ESR ran away from his slashdot interview after only replying to TWO questions

    Um, what drugs are you on? I answered every question Slashdot forwarded me. It was a good many more than two.

  289. Then square that with your posting history, which only has two replies, and the article itself, which only has two replies.

    Philip K Dick wrote a story called “Faith of our Fathers”, where there was a conspiracy about slipping a drug to some people to find out how they saw the world. It turned out that the drug was actually an ANTI-hallucinogen, and that reality had bifurcated several ways so that different people saw different things, because they were actually living in different but parallel universes, and the government was putting hallucinogens in the water supply, to trick people into thinking that they were all living in the same universe.

    So Eric, click on this link and tell me how many postings you made on Tuesday March 04, 2014. I count exactly two. Everybody else please do that too, and report back here how many postings you see. Then maybe we can arrive at a consensus.

    http://slashdot.org/~ESR

  290. You know, “Hopkins Don”, (sockpuppet much?) the way the AGT crowd treated Jay in the YouTube clip is pretty much the way the leftist-educated mob treats anyone who dares express a politically-incorrect opinion. They don’t allow any opportunity to show the evidence and chain of logical reasoning used to reach a conclusion; they just drown them out with boos and catcalls.

    Above, you explicitly reject ESR’s explanation for why “it makes perfectly rational sense for blacks to be ‘lazy’ when they expect no reward for acting otherwise” is not the least bit racist, because… well, because dammit he’s a racist, and nothing he can say to explain his racism will change the fact that he’s a racist. You’ve made up your mind that he’s a racist, so at this point, it is closed to any other possible explanation.

    Eerily similar to the heckling crowd, that.

    You are not arguing in anything remotely resembling good faith. By your own words, all you’re doing is establishing some sort of Google Bomb to impugn ESR, presumably to produce more hecklers. That does not promote constructive conversation; it ends it.

    As an admirer of his restraint with the ban hammer, I believe it is past time to employ it in your particular case.

  291. >As an admirer of his restraint with the ban hammer, I believe it is past time to employ it in your particular case.

    Regretfully, I think I must. Don violated the rate limit with three posts that you saw and seven that the Akismet spam filter stopped – I don’t know how it spotted that they were raving and noise, but it did. He’s shown no sign at all of being interested in civil or rational argument.

    Damn. I was really hoping not to have to ban anyone this year.

  292. From your posting history, you read at least some of those questions on March 04, 2014, and felt it appropriate to respond to two of them then, and then made no more posts to slashdot after that.

    I see you answered the softball subset of the questions that reddit sent you later, after cherry picking the unfiltered questions from the previous week, but there are a whole lot of serious questions you have never answered, many of which which I have just posted, and the answers you have given just raised a lot more questions, and simply don’t wash.

    Like your claim you’re still right even though the code you found was commented out. That’s ridiculous, Eric.

    Your answer to the “Linus’s Law” question danced around the fact that YOU unambiguously claimed (more like shouted from the rooftops) that ALL bugs are SHALLOW, which, as I’ve already pointed out, is ridiculous. You’ve never addressed the fact that your hyperbolic exaggeration has given many people and big companies a false sense of security, and the crows have finally come home to roost. You can’t distract from the fact that your “law” was factually inaccurate, totally naive, and intellectually dishonest, by just beating your old drum that open source software is better than proprietary software and that ends the conversation.

    You still refuse to go back and address those points, that I and others have raised, Eric.

    All because your poor little feelings are hurt, because I’m treating you with the exact same disrespect that YOU treat EVERYONE ELSE with. You poor little princess, you just can’t take your own shit that you dish out. Boo fucking hoo.

    So once more, I thank you for tarnishing Brendan Eich’s reputation by embracing and defending him. It really says a lot, when he has someone as widely disrespected as you sticking up for him so vocally.

  293. Merciful $DEITY. It’s obvious he’s not interested in discourse, but rather smearing Eric’s name for Google searchers. This makes him not only a fitting subject for the ban hammer, but also gives cause to remove his rantings form this blog as well.

    Discuss? Fine, take any position you want. Vandalize and smear? GTFO.

  294. >From your posting history, you read at least some of those questions on March 04, 2014, and felt it appropriate to respond to two of them then, and then made no more posts to slashdot after that.

    Yes. I realized it would be futile; Slashdot has a semi-infinite supply of trolls who will simply ignore reasoned answers in much the same way you do.

    >YOU unambiguously claimed (more like shouted from the rooftops) that ALL bugs are SHALLOW

    No. “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” directly suggests that if you don’t have enough eyeballs, some bugs are deep. As we’ve seen in the case of Heartbleed.

    What I believe is true is something which can actually be proved under fairly general formal assumptions (I sketched the proof; two solid-state physics guys in England completed it). As count of eyeballs goes up, expected time to diagnosis of any given bug drops. Emphasis on ‘expected’ – you don’t ever get to hard zero, you get a decrease in the distribution mean.

    It’s not even guaranteed that you get the mean below any specified constant time, let alone the distribution right tail. But in practice the effect is pretty strong. If it weren’t, the Linux kernel wouldn’t work.

    (Linus’s grasp of the law is less mathematicized than mine. That’s fair, he’s not a former mathematician.)

  295. >Above, you explicitly reject ESR’s explanation for why “it makes perfectly rational sense for blacks to be ‘lazy’ when they expect no reward for acting otherwise”

    It’s not my explanation, it’s Russ’s.

    I think it’s partly right, but I think Russ is in a sense too optimistic. There is no doubt that blacks are stuck with a lower mean IQ than non-black ethic groups in the U.S. (the doubt is only whether the deficit is genetic or mainly culture-driven). And there’s empirical evidence that IQ is inversely correlated with time preference. This has been studied extensively in the economic literature on savings rates, which correlate with national average IQ.

    Thus, American blacks are caught two ways: lingering prejudice reduces the gains from labor investment, and higher average time preference means that as a group they time-discount those gains more. They’re not lazy within that frame, but you can’t really fault anyone with lower time preference for interpreting the resulting behavior as laziness either.

    An end to prejudice will only solve the problem to the extent of the reduction in investment gains – it won’t reach the “laziness” that’s due to difference in time discounting. I quote “laziness” because people with high time preference are actually responding efficiently to the incentives they perceive.

    Usual cautions about pre-judging individuals based on group statistics apply – don’t do that!

  296. “So where are your citations that prove your point that there is no such thing as “dog whistle politics”?”

    You’re still demanding I prove a negative.

    But then, Eurosocialists, as you’ve amply demonstrated yourself to be, are totally devoid of logic anyway, so I’m completely unsurprised.

    Talk about embarrassing your cause. How does it feel to out-Stallman RMS?

  297. “It’s also a sterling example of the serious problems with using C for security-critical systems code.”

    The “serious problem” is not with using C for security-critical systems. The serious problem comes with one of the following:
    1. Lack of developer education.
    2. Lack of well-designed tests, or lack of tests at all.

  298. Eric, you have a stalker in Don Hopkins and it’s not a trivial matter. Beware.

  299. >Eric, you have a stalker in Don Hopkins and it’s not a trivial matter. Beware.

    Been there, done that, know to take it seriously, carry a gun.

  300. > >Above, you explicitly reject ESR’s explanation for why “it makes perfectly rational sense for blacks to be ‘lazy’ when they expect no reward for acting otherwise”

    > It’s not my explanation, it’s Russ’s.

    You chopped the sentence short:

    > >Above, you explicitly reject ESR’s explanation for why “it makes perfectly rational sense for blacks to be ‘lazy’ when they expect no reward for acting otherwise” is not the least bit racist
    It was indeed your EXPLANATION for why Russ’s THEORY is not racist. I didn’t say it was your theory, but whacking that off the end of the sentence makes it look like I did.

  301. > Been there, done that, know to take it seriously, carry a gun.

    Have you had any conversation with your local law-enforcement agencies about SWATting, and the number of “conservative” (more accurately “anti-leftist”) bloggers who have been victims thereof? It’s a very disturbing trend. If you get SWATted, that gun can get you killed. Especially if the SWATter mentions “my blog is named Armed and Dangerous” when he pretends to be you calling 911.

  302. > No. “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” directly suggests that if you don’t have enough eyeballs, some bugs are deep. As we’ve seen in the case of Heartbleed.

    It is implied that being a popular open-source project provides a sufficient number of eyeballs – if this is not true, the “law” is non-constructive and meaningless.

  303. I and some allies (including some very well known Internet old hands) have been quietly working on an institutional attack on the Internet-infrastructure funding problem. Yes, we want to pay people to look for bugs like Heartbleed before they blow up (among other things). Nobody is doing this in any serious way.

    Several A&D regulars already knew of this. A couple are directly involved.

    The effort is still partway under wraps (and the name will remain secret until public launch) because we want to retain some control of the messaging when we go public. I will not – repeat not – answer further questions in public, but interested parties can contact me privately. Commitments for pre-launch funding would be especially welcome.

    Hey, congrats! This looks like an awesome, well-funded effort: http://www.linuxfoundation.org/programs/core-infrastructure-initiative

  304. >Have you had any conversation with your local law-enforcement agencies about SWATting

    No, but that won’t be difficult. The local police chief knows me and my wife.

  305. In case anyone is wondering, RationalWiki is anything but rational. It’s full of snide, self-congratulating humour. It makes me think of high school jocks making fun of the nerds to make themselves feel better about things they don’t understand.

  306. Except that RationalWiki comes at it from the other direction: humor (which is more often satirical than just plain mocking) from the nerds, targeting the people who don’t understand particular things. Pseudoscience and various quackery, theories wholly debunked by documentation; those kinds of things are the primary focus.

    It’s not meant to be strictly impartial the way Wikipedia [sometimes] goes out of its way to be, because some opinions simply don’t deserve equal time in the light.

  307. >In case anyone is wondering, RationalWiki is anything but rational.

    I’ve noticed the same thing. A lot of insecurity, a lot of attempted point-scoring, pretty low quality of thinking and discourse compared to (for example) LessWrong.

  308. Oh please. This SWATting thing is way overblown. It’s terrible when it happens, but conservatives are making a mountain out of a molehill by attributing it to some VLWC targeting them specifically. Besides which, Erick Erickson’s potty mouth is bound to piss off the wrong people one way or another.

    We don’t even know that it’s not conservatives SWATting themselves just for the attention and buttpats: http://www.osborneink.com/2012/06/is-the-swat-story-another-right-wing-prank.html

  309. Regarding the claim that the climategate scientists have been vindicated by inquiries. My intention is not to feed the troll but to give interested readers more information.

    The full story of the inquiries is given in Hiding the Decline by Andrew Montford. A shorter report for the GWPF by the same author is here.

    The summary is that none of the inquires managed vindicate the scientists or not. For instance, according to Montford’s report, the parliamentary committee found that freedom of information laws had been breached by CRU, but made no attempt to investigate who was responsible (paragraphs 78-79).

  310. Don Hopkins

    1- ‘Race-realism’ is simply realism. The facts speak for themselves. Your values are your own, and as far as I know, the ‘is-ought’ gap remains.
    But anyone who professes extreme skepticism of IQ and racial gaps in IQ, including in EVERY SINGLE STANDARDIZED TEST EVER, is a massive, massive, true science ‘denier.’ Twin adoption studies, a 100 year old unshrinking gap, genetics research, etc etc. You aren’t even in the ballpark of being right. So, best give up. It’s likely that this same person will also be in full support of the AGW/Climate Change socialist agenda, while being unable to discuss any salient points about the matter. It appears you are a specimen.

    2 – Eric claims to be good with guns and with women. I claimed this is irrelevant unless it was proven false, which would support your point of Eric being a talentless, bloviating poser. But, you couldn’t refute it, and while you couldn’t you still claimed it was relevant. Hence, you automatically lose. Calling him a ‘gun nut’ does not diminish him in the least. There are tens of millions of very proud, sane, family loving, culture loving, responsible citizen ‘gun nuts’ in this country. It’s a shame that you aren’t one.

    3 – Considering that the Climategate perpetrators refuse to release their data. Considering that every single mainstream media 110-IQ Journalism School hack was sucking Michael Mann’s dick. Considering that an amateur statistics enthusiast like Steve McIntyre was able to humiliate Michael Mann; Considering all of that, it’s clear that the top echelon of climate science as presented to us through the IPCC and media (not saying there isn’t good climate science) is thoroughly corrupt. Also considering that peer review as a binding, compulsory system for publication is only about 50 years old, and that most groundbreaking science had already been done by that point, and considering that peer review + government funding via grant writing makes ideological cliques inevitable, it is not a ‘conspiracy theory’ to posit an ideological anti-science clique that has taken hold of climate science.

    4 – I can make no claim to judge Eric’s software craftsmanship as I haven’t examined his code. But considering the great man Linus Torvalds himself thought Eric to be a good representative of hackers, I have to be apriori in favor him.

    5 – From all I’ve read of Eric on RMS, he has never defamed him. He has always considered RMS a high idealist who has a martyr complex who simply needs a chance of strategy to accomplish his goals. He has praised RMS innumerable times. If this is considered slander, then I don’t know what good-faith disagreement looks like among comrades.

  311. And yes, Rational Wiki attempts to be a veritable compendium of snark masquerading as ‘rationality’ on all sorts of topics, which are, lo and behold, always skewed left-wing.
    If a true ‘rational-wiki’ should be established, it should be done by the LessWrong contingent who, obviously aren’t sporks but will do a markedly better job than this political document.

  312. > Oh please. This SWATting thing is way overblown. It’s terrible when it happens, but conservatives are making a mountain out of a molehill by attributing it to some VLWC targeting them specifically. Besides which, Erick Erickson’s potty mouth is bound to piss off the wrong people one way or another.

    Nice strawman. I’m not aware of anyone blaming a VLWC. I am aware of certain people who seem to have a beef with several of the targets, suggesting more of a rogue element than a grand consipiracy.

    And it matters not whether it’s a Lone SWATter, a Half-Vast conspiracy, or it’s done under the direct orders of the DNC if you’re the person who has cops in tactical gear show up at your home.

    Let’s try that logic out with a little search and replace:
    > Oh please. This lyn‍ching and as‍sas‍sination thing is way overblown. It’s terrible when it happens, but blacks are making a mountain out of a molehill by attributing it to some K‍K‍K conspiracy targeting them specifically. Besides which, Malcolm X’s mouth was bound to piss off the wrong people one way or another.

    Yeah, that’s what I thought.

  313. >1- ‘Race-realism’ is simply realism.

    I wish this were true.

    Unfortunately, a significant segment of the people who label themselves “race realists” – not all by any means, but a troublingly large minority – are bigots who have latched on to scientific findings to rationalize what they wanted to believe anyway.

    The difference between rationalists and rationalizers leaks through in the emotive language the latter use. They can’t seem to help themselves, the hatred thrusts itself into view as though forced out by internal pressure. It’s an ugly thing to see.

  314. @ ESR -” It’s an ugly thing to see.”

    Go one level deeper. Society continues to fracture and the fissures are widening. This process is fueled by irrationality, and those who possess this trait are persisting across generations. Ten thousand years ago, that trait would likely have kept you out of the long term gene pool.

    Irrationality is a memetic mutation, not a racial characteristic; but it can be infectious.

  315. Winter, in this country being “tough on crime” is far more important than protecting the citizenry, so the police forces become armed thug bands and the prisons become hellholes into which we toss undesirables to avoid dealing with them and/or extract free labor from them.

    Maybe “what’s the problem with Kansas” syndrome comes from the fact that people like Winter — who hails from a country that beats the USA on every metric that matters: better education, better heath care, lower overall crime rate, more humane justice system, better social services overall, greater expected life span, less income equality — look to our country and see a backwards, dysfunctional state; even worse, one with nukes. And people from places like Kansas are notoriously unlikely to have such a global perspective.

  316. > Unfortunately, a significant segment of the people who label themselves “race realists” – not all by any means, but a troublingly large minority – are bigots who have latched on to scientific findings to rationalize what they wanted to believe anyway.

    This is used to justify suppressing those findings, as if the ability of a fact to be used to further a distasteful agenda somehow falsifies it.

    Thus the only people who are willing to label themselves “race realists” are those who are willing to be labeled “racist” for doing so. Is it any wonder that a significant segment of them are actual racists?

    The perverse effect of this is Emperor’s New Clothes situation is that on some level everyone knows they’re participating in a Big Lie, and that the few people who aren’t lying are the “racists”. That gives the actual racists a very powerful recruiting tool. I’m not willing to cede to them a monopoly on the truth. And that means I have to be willing to be called “racist” to do it.

  317. people like Winter — who hails from a country that beats the USA on every metric that matters: better education, better heath care, lower overall crime rate, more humane justice system, better social services overall, greater expected life span, less income equality

    And not the one that matters most: more freedom. If you want to trade away your freedoms for illusory gains, you know where to find Europe. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

    But leave those of us seeking freedom above all the US.

  318. The fact that childhood Pb exposure has much more to do with IQ than skin color leads me to even greater suspicion that race realism is racism in sheep’s clothing. Granted, in Murka childhood Pb exposure correlates with skin color due to socioeconomic historical accidents, but that just makes me detest conservo-libertarianism — which tends to favor both notions like “race realism” and lax environmental laws — all the more.

  319. @Jay Maynard
    “And not the one that matters most: more freedom.”

    With two million people in jail at any one time and a multitude of those under surveillance under some kind of probation, this can be argued.

    And it can also be argued that with respect to freedom of speech, we do not have to envy the USA. And even a single person killed by the police is a political crisis.

    So, you might want to inform yourself about our freedom before you start making accusation.

    (of course, like everywhere else in the world, you are not allowed to walk around with an AK47)

  320. When people behave rationally, they tend to unite on the common ground of facts and reality. By contrast, societal divisiveness can be a surrogate indicator of institutional irrationality.

    The problem with making stupidity popular is that it inevitably leads to an unruly mob whose needs far exceed their productivity.

  321. “With two million people in jail at any one time and a multitude of those under surveillance under some kind of probation, this can be argued.”

    Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

    I’m willing to argue whether any particular crime or class of crimes should be crimes, but if you commit a crime knowing you’re doing so, then you deserve what you get.

    “And it can also be argued that with respect to freedom of speech, we do not have to envy the USA.”

    That is, unless you wish to say something politically incorrect. Like, say, vocally opposing Islam and its misogyny and intolerance for anything that even remotely smacks of infidels. However, the American Left is working on that problem even as I type this, and we may reach European levels of intolerance soon.

    “(of course, like everywhere else in the world, you are not allowed to walk around with an AK47)”

    This is not a feature.

  322. Contemplationist said: “…every single mainstream media 110-IQ Journalism School hack…”
    Uh-oh. I took the online Mensa test years ago and that was my score. I wanted to learn programming, having read ESR’s “How to Become a Hacker” and whatnot. Am I below the minimum IQ required to be a programmer? (I’m not being sarcastic; I honestly want to know.) If so, what other activity might appease my appetite for geeky stuff?

  323. >Am I below the minimum IQ required to be a programmer (at 110)?

    No. You won’t be able to perform like a genius, but there’s a lot of programming for which genius isn’t necessary. You may actually have an easier time fitting into a conventional work environment than a super-bright person would. Conscientiousness and learning good practices will take you a long way.

  324. @Jay Maynard
    “That is, unless you wish to say something politically incorrect. Like, say, vocally opposing Islam and its misogyny and intolerance for anything that even remotely smacks of infidels.”

    Sorry, but the political party that does just that is one of the largest in parliament. Getting in jail for what you say or write is rather difficult overhere.

    We hardly ever see reports about the police harrassing the political opposition or SWATting unarmed people.

    And about the crimes. You really have no idea of the laws that can send you to jail. Search for “Don’t talk to the police”.

  325. “Sorry, but the political party that does just that is one of the largest in parliament.”

    Tell that to Ayaam Hirsi Ali. She was there, and was in the Dutch parliament, until she spoke out…and had to leave because she wash’t being protected.

    “Getting in jail for what you say or write is rather difficult over here.”

    To that, I have just two words: Holocaust denial.

  326. > To that, I have just two words: Holocaust denial.

    that, and also slander and libel or other forms of defamation. I don’t know if the Netherlands have laws that forbid incitement to commit a crime, but Belgium does. Then there’s “shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre” …

  327. To that, I have just two words: Holocaust denial.

    At the end of the movie Lincoln, Lincoln addresses the Confederate delegation with these words at the close of the war:

    “If we submit ourselves to law — even submit to losing freedoms, the freedom to oppress, for instance — we may discover other freedoms previously unknown to us.”

    I am unable to find a historical source for this quote, and critics may well rightly point out it’s not something Lincoln would have actually said. But it comes to mind whenever I hear that Europeans have “less freedom” because they cannot openly deny the Holocaust, or their markets are more restricted. Northern and western Europe is the most peaceable — and, given the way things have developed in the USA, possibly also the freest — place on Earth and has been for almost seventy years because the toxic memes which produced a devastating world war have been criminalized. The loss of the right to distort or deny history is a small price to pay, I think.

    I would also recommend you read the book Three Felonies a Day. Not doing the crime is becoming more and more difficult for a Murkan adult going about his daily. This is by design: if the government can nail you for anything, your freedom is at the behest of the government.

  328. that, and also slander and libel or other forms of defamation.

    Defamation laws are in force all over the world, even in the USA. However I do know that the threshold for libel is much lower in the UK than in the US, such that homeopaths, naturopaths and other alt-med ne’er-do-wells are able to use libel law to prosecute people who point out that their methodologies have no scientific standing. I don’t know what the case is in the Netherlands or other continental countries.

  329. @Jay Maynard
    I am not sure anyone has been jailed for holocaust denial in the Netherlands in the last decades. I would have to look that up. We do look at denialists as people preparing the next round.

  330. Jeff, Winter: Whatever you think of Holocaust denialists – and don’t be sure I don’t share your opinion! – you cannot take away their right to speak freely without destroying freedom of speech for all.

    It’s politically incorrect speech, nothing less, nothing more, and so the only answer is more speech, not less.

    Jeff, as I’ve said before: If you want to live in Europe, you know where to find it.

  331. @ESR
    Thank you for your answer. I didn’t hope to perform like a genius anyway; just knowing I can perform at all is enough—and hearing it from you is such a relief! ;)
    @Jay Maynard
    I agree. While I could perhaps support such censorship in principle, giving that power to the State is far too dangerous: they’ll soon want more and more power over our speech. Guess I can be considered a consequentialist libertarian.

  332. @Jay Maynard
    “you cannot take away their right to speak freely without destroying freedom of speech for all.”

    No, that is emperically untrue. If thr USA would make it illegal to deny the historical existance of slavery, that would not destroy freedom for all. (on the other hand,the USA are capable of messing that up too)

    Holocaust denial is always interpreted as an exceptional and weird law on the continent. It is interpreted extremely narrowly.

    But this talk about the law is irrelevant. Russia has the “freest” constitution of Europe, and it is a dead letter, just ink on paper. What counts is how laws are applied.

    In practice, the netherlands tend to score better on freedom in general, including of speech and press, than the USA. And we most certainly do not need to jail so many people.

    With 7 milliin people under “unfree” probation and incarceration, “the land of the free” is not my first association.

  333. > The fact that childhood Pb exposure has much more to do with IQ than skin color leads me to even greater suspicion that race realism is racism in sheep’s clothing. Granted, in Murka childhood Pb exposure correlates with skin color due to socioeconomic historical accidents, but that just makes me detest conservo-libertarianism — which tends to favor both notions like “race realism” and lax environmental laws — all the more.

    The only extent to which “conservo-libertarianism” “favors ‘race realism'” is this:

    Leftism presumes that all skills are equally distributed among ethnic groups and between genders (except, perhaps, for those skills that appear to be disproportionally distributed in favor of protected groups), and that any discrepancy in hiring and compensation is therefore “de facto” racism/sexism.

    Realists recognize that such skills are not equally distributed. In doing so, we do not necessarily impute what share of that mal-distribution is due to environmental factors such as exposure to Pb or growing up in a culture that values certain skills more/less than other cultures do, vs. how much is due to genetics. It is only necessary for the argument against “de facto” that the mal-distribution exists.

    If there are a statistically-significant number of black folks whose prenatal and childhood exposure to Pb made them measurably less intelligent, then that suffices to shatter the entire edifice of “de facto discrimination”.

    The problem is that we are not allowed to even notice that the mal-distribution exists. We are told that even thinking that it exists is itself “racist”. Therefore, we never get around to the question of how to fix it. Instead, we have to do things like spending more money on failing inner-city schools that are trying to educate people who under your theory are uneducable due to Pb exposure, or push some of those Pb-addled people into more intellectually-demanding schools (where their inadequacies doom them to fail) in order to make some affirmative-action quota.

    As to “lax environmental laws”, I call bullshit. The environmental laws I advocate are only “lax” by comparison to the overbearing Byzantine mess we have now. I’m very much in favor of not allowing people to spew pollutants into the air and water; I just think we need very different standards for “spew” and “pollutants” than present laws and regulations define.

  334. >Instead, we have to do things like spending more money on failing inner-city schools that are trying to educate people who under your theory are uneducable due to Pb exposure,

    The theory that Pb exposure explains lower average IQ in blacks is silly, anyway. It fails in two ways: first, we don’t see a comparable deficit in non-blacks living cheek-by-jowl with them and just as exposed to environmental lead. Second, the same IQ deficit shows up in lots places outside the U.S. where leaded paint and leaded gasoline cannot plausibly be factors.

  335. >I didn’t hope to perform like a genius anyway; just knowing I can perform at all is enough—and hearing it from you is such a relief! ;)

    Well, there’s another thing. The Mensa tests do not have a reputation for accuracy. You might be misled about your actual IQ.

    I think this is likely. While a person with a 110 IQ might think and use written English as you do and have ambitions to be a programmer, I’d give good odds of you being brighter that that – like in the 120-125 range.

  336. I’m inclined to wonder how much IQ varies over time. Not just over a lifetime, but month to month or even faster.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one disappointed by so-called “RationalWiki”. Makes rationalists look bad.

  337. The US has had limits on pornography, and they haven’t destroyed freedom of speech in general. People are somewhat compartmentalized.

  338. “Well, there’s another thing. The Mensa tests do not have a reputation for accuracy. You might be misled about your actual IQ.”

    You do not have to do a test. Just calculate in which percentile you were in high school (at the end), that is, estimate how many kids had better grades out of the whole year. Adjust for drop outs etc by looking at the percentage of all kids who finish high school to get your percentile in the population (cohort).

    Recalculate that to a standard deviation using normal distribution. Each standard deviation above average is 15 IQ points over 100.

    Unless you have professional taking your tests, this is likely more accurate than whst you can do at home.

    (If you can do these computations, you are likely over 110 ;-) )

  339. Winter:

    IQ doesn’t correlate to grades in school. (I’m a stellar example — I failed about a third of my high school courses and had to do a lot of make-up classes, but my test scores were consistently very high. I just couldn’t keep focused on daily work.)

    Really, IQ is not intended to gauge amount of knowledge of minutiae; rather, it attempts to quantify abstract thinking, pattern recognition, learning ability, and retention. These measures show the potential for intelligence, which may or may not be fully utilized.

  340. @Todd Vierling
    Sorry, but IQ tests correlate highest with school performance. Which is to be expected as IQ was invented to predict school performance in children.

    But, no correlation is absolute. Also, I am not well acquainted with the US school system. Maybe you can use college performance instead if high schools are indeed nothing but teenage day care?

  341. Grade-IQ correlation could also be overshadowed by one or all teachers exerting arbitrary influence on grades (up or down). It could also be trumped by local demographics. If your HS was in a small neighborhood, you might have high grades simply because your class was full of dummies and there was a curve in effect, or alternately, you had mediocre grades in a very intelligent, competitive group.

    That correlation, as useful as it might be, seems too fraught to me.

  342. Winter: I was about the 30th percentile in my high school class…and I scored 710/790 on the SAT in 1976.

    Tell me again how grades correlate to IQ?

  343. Pretty sure that Winter was using European schools as a basis. Any number of comparative educational assessments will tell you that European public schools far outstrip American ones in terms of educating their pupils, which means grades will more closely track actual academic potential. I’d be willing to bet that they are better at assessing intelligence, too; they’d have to be, in order to determine how students will be tracked. (Tracking went out of vogue, and everybody-is-a-winner equivocation came into vogue, sometime in the 80s or early 90s in American schools.)

  344. >I’m inclined to wonder how much IQ varies over time. Not just over a lifetime, but month to month or even faster.

    I don’t know.

    I do know of one kind of interesting time-variation. If you study adoptees, their childhood IQ distribution tends to match that of the adopting family. Until adolescence, after which it rebounds to match that of their biological ancestors.

  345. >Recalculate [grades] to a standard deviation using normal distribution. Each standard deviation above average is 15 IQ points over 100.

    Sorry, this is only a decent approximation within about two sigmas of mean. Farther out than that on either end it goes completely to hell. This is because the school system is designed for that bump in the middle; its instructional methods, and its tests, serve people in the distribution tails very badly.

  346. ESR: thanks again. I’m particularly grateful for your approval of my written English, as I have little experience writing it (as opposed to reading it). Of course, corrections are welcome, as I want to keep learning.
    Alas, your optimism regarding my IQ may be unfounded, as I’ve always sucked at math (albeit I recently read “Asimov on Numbers” and liked it). I want to believe it’s due to a lack of discipline, rather than a lack of intelligence. At any rate, I know I lack discipline. So I’d better grow it, as you say in the aforementioned “How to Become a Hacker”.
    By the way, that how-to needs an update: HTML Dog no longer teaches XHTML. It has switched to HTML5 (and CSS3; and it has added a tutorial on JavaScript). I like their boxer logo, though.

  347. @esr
    “Sorry, this is only a decent approximation within about two sigmas of mean.”

    Obviously, but we were talking about someone who had received an IQ score of 110.

    @People complaining their high-school results were not correlated to their IQ.
    So, switch to college/university numbers. You probably can get the percentiles of your college in at the state level.

    @Jeff Read
    Indeed, I was foolishly extending into the USA the idea found across Europe and Asia that high school is about education. Thanks all for clearing that up.

    @Jay Maynard
    “And I direct the attention of those of you extolling the freedom of speech in Europe ”

    We were not discussing Europe, but only my parochial continental corner of it. I know things can be worse in other areas.

  348. “we don’t see a comparable deficit in non-blacks living cheek-by-jowl with them and just as exposed to environmental lead.”

    I wasn’t aware there was any data that might prove or disprove this at all – the only data I’ve seen on a lead-IQ correlation at all is based on time variance in environmental lead (from leaded gasoline and paint becoming popular and then being banned)

  349. >I wasn’t aware there was any data that might prove or disprove this at all

    All you need to blow the Pb hypothesis up as an explanation of of lower average black IQ is data on urban blacks and non-blacks at any given time, ideally one fairly close to peak lead levels. We have a wealth of such data, especially for the large cohort in both groups close to population means. By hypothesis lead-exposure levels are similar for both groups, so the mean-IQ difference can’t be due to that.

  350. “All you need to blow the Pb hypothesis up as an explanation of of lower average black IQ is data on urban blacks and non-blacks at any given time, ideally one fairly close to peak lead levels.”

    Okay, does this data exist?

  351. Also, if one were serious about testing the hypothesis, one would test actual blood lead levels, and graph them individually against IQ scores. I’m suddenly reminded of the silliness that some people on this blog have claimed is done in preference to driving a thermometer through a city to test the urban heat island effect.

  352. Could It be? Is it too early to say? He could just have paused… or… is the Arch Rantmonger, Dan Hopkins finally gone?

    ESR, For the love of my scroll wheel and my sanity, could you please put his posts in 1Pt. font size or something.

  353. >Could It be? Is it too early to say? He could just have paused… or… is the Arch Rantmonger, Dan Hopkins finally gone?

    I had to ban him. He wouldn’t accept a one-post-per-day rate limit, which is my second-to-last resort for incorrigible nutcases.

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