Aug 20, 2007

Moglen Takes Aim at the other Foot

If it wasn't enough that Stallman shot the Free Software Movement in the Foot last month, Eben Moglen (former general counsel of the Free Software Foundation) put a bullet in the other foot of the Free Software Movement at OSCON last month. Tim O'Reilly had invited Eben to talk about free software licensing in the Web 2.0 era and Eben gave Tim a tongue lashing. For an encore, he took the opportunity to alienate thousands of open source developers when he told Tim:

If you hadn't taken this whole long 10 year wasted detour, talking about Open Source instead of concentrating on concepts of freedom we could have had the conversation you and I are about to have now... 10 years ago when you started this whole long deviation which is now coming to an end.

So what we want to have now is a philosophic discussion. spread this Open Source nonsense over to the edge, and say now we're talking about what freedom means...

(Emphasis mine)

Riiiiiiiight... Insulting me and ridiculing what I believe in is a sure-fire way to bring me over to your side of the argument. As with Stallman, it boggles the mind how someone so obviously brilliant could be so completely egocentric. Those two deserve each other.


C. Michael Pilato said...

I kept watching for a member of the audience to run up to O'Reilly with a towel. But since Moglen rarely looked at Tim directly (choosing instead to constantly scan what was certainly his audience), I guess most of the venom he was spewing missed Tim entirely.

robilad said...


Eben was just riding on the irony of 'we don't want politics, screw all that freedom talk, we'll talk about source code instead, and make money' founding myth of Tim's free software marketing initiative (aka open source), when Tim's now coming around to figure out that politics, freedom talk, etc. do matter, and trying some of that out himself.

Riding way too hard on that issue for my taste, but he was right on a couple of points, as was Tim.