20-100 Also, don't be mistaken, politics are much more important than technology.
Important? Yes. Valued in discourse when people have different viewpoints? Not as much. Agreement is valued, disagreement is an attack on everything we hold dear.
It's not that I'm so enlightened as to feel entirely different about that than Average Joe. It's just that my expectations about it are based on experience as well. I think of this as a support forum. If people want to talk politics, I'm not averse to it. I'm coming from a different place than most of the BSD users I know, but even if I feel strongly about certain values, I'm using BSD because I think it is more useful to those values than other things are at this point.
In particular, if GNU wants to survive politically it will need to become more autonomous than it is.
I support free software, but I've given up on the FSF. There is a BSD project that seeks/has FSF approval, but I can't think of a reason why someone who already has a BSD installation would use it. The only difference between OpenBSD and an FSF-approved BSD would be about firmware, and I've already read de Raadt's mailing list posts on the subject.
The context of this comparison is not about BSD so much as the future of the GNU Project.
Hurd was never going to happen, it's cool research but the design simply repels developers. It's based on a BSD kernel design that everybody has walked away from-- it could be useful IF enough people wanted to work on it. 30 years later...
If we accept (I do at least) that Linux has no (good) political future, then that means all GNU can do is adopt a working BSD kernel. Hyperbola wants to do that.
But the GNU project has a coup within it that is several stages ongoing, the real "advantage" is a political one, but the people running the coup are not good people. In fact they're closer to the very groups that the politics would free us from, so GNU is most threatened from within.
I hope there are enough good people to pull it together, but right now the whole thing is like a country in eastern Europe following the fall of the Soviet Union.
My take on copyleft is both political and practical. There really are practical arguments to be made for it-- the strongest arguments from copyleft IMO are from people like Keith Bostic who worked on permissive-licensed software like X11.
Being a free software guy, it's the 4 freedoms that motivate me. It's very important to preface with that, because if I don't then the free software people will think I've gone turncoat or something.
My definition of "practical" vs. pure ideology is "the proof is in the pudding". At the moment, the most free-as-in-freedom operating system is OpenBSD, I firmly believe this. Years of careful study go into that claim-- I hadn't used it yet because I was afraid it wouldn't work! So I wanted until it was "ready" (arbitrary, imagined difficulty).
I don't think OpenBSD necessarily proves that permissive is better, but I also don't think there is a copylefted OS right now that doesn't have a much worse political crisis than OpenBSD. So am I going to use GNU, which is falling apart at the moment, with a completely hopeless kernel-- or BSD, which is doing more for 4 freedom than anything the FSF has to offer?
I do sincerely wish Hyperbola the very best though. I know de Raadt thinks they are stealing, but I'm not convinced. It seems like they're "stealing" less than Sony or Apple, but there are very few "free software" people on this frontier.
BSD is freely licensed primarily because two people pushed for it-- Richard Stallman and John Gilmore. The most free-as-in-freedom BSD is OpenBSD, it's very strict about it (much like the FSF) in that way.
It remains to be seen whether the free software people will flee their burning ships and rebuild on BSD. Either way, I don't think they have any other options. Of the free software developers, ONLY Hyperbola seems to have a plan that works.
Either way, I have OpenBSD, and de Raadt is doing a stellar job. He also refuses to rank his developers by "worth" to the project. I think he appears intelligent, but I also think he's a lot smarter than he looks. And the proof is in the operating system. The NetBSD people (who I follow less closely) are no slouches either. I consider this to be primarily a NetBSD forum-- I know it's strictly more universal, and I really appreciate that. But credit where credit is due, and I think NetBSD needs to be credited (in the rhetorical sense) for the fact that this community exists. If I'm mistaken, I'm sure someone will enlighten me. So that's a giant point for NetBSD, as far as I can tell.
Politics without community is too authoritarian for my taste-- community is a very key aspect of all this. In the free software world, the community is voluntarily dismantling itself. There's also quite a lot of that in Open Source, but I divide Open Source into two distinct categories.
"Open Source" was coined by Christine Peterson in 1998. That's official.
OpenBSD was named prior to 1998, OpenDOS was named prior to 1998, and both referred to the source code being available. So there's a version of Open Source from 1998 onwards, which I think has been entirely co-opted. Then there's BSD.
What's interesting is that Open Source in the context of BSD neither started in 1998 (but earlier) nor behaves like the "Open Source" that (Microsoft-run) OSI "founded".
The easiest way to understand the politics of today is to study the history of the same politics. But the "Open Source" that existed prior to 1998 is one of the most interesting parts of the puzzle. Either way, it was Stallman and Gilmore that encouraged BSD to be free, and IMO de Raadt has the best implementation of said freedom.
I'm sure it's cringeworthy and horrific to compare OpenBSD to Debian and NetBSD to Ubuntu, particularly when OpenBSD came from NetBSD and with Debian it's the other way around. But I only mean it in certain specific ways-- in terms of the priorities and ambitions, from what I can tell.
It isn't at all fair to OpenBSD or to NetBSD. It's not intended as an adequate description of either, only as a reference point for those only familiar with Debian or Ubuntu. And most importantly I'm referring to the Debian and Ubuntu of 12 years ago, not what they've become.