Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
BTS Issue 50

In the article on ESDI drives, the URL for the MCA page should be: http://glycerine.cetmm.uni.edu/mca/. I love your magazine. Three articles in this issue answered questions I had been having. Keep up the good work.

—Pete dstrader@zianet.com

Linux and Compaq ProLiant 2000 and SMART

I have read articles saying many wonderful things about Linux and I believe most of them to be true. Unfortunately, the extent of hardware support that some of these articles claim is not a reality—or at least does not seem to be when it comes to Compaq equipment.

I have just spent the best part of a day searching the Internet by various means, including various search engines, trying to find drivers to support the embedded NCR 53C710-based SCSI controller in a Compaq ProLiant 2000 and also drivers to support a Compaq SMART SCSI RAID array controller. Result: nothing, except a lot of stress.

Please can someone help me (and the many others who I have encountered looking for these drivers). Linux claims to support quite a bit of hardware—please extend this support to include some key Compaq server items.

—Graeme Nelson graeme@cheerful.com

Open Source vs. Free Software

I'm writing you after seeing one too many odes to the glories of the Open Source movement. I have a serious problem with the whole Open Source bandwagon due to the fact that Open Source is almost solely about making free software palatable to business—a segment of society which has played a largely non-existent role in the development of free software. Business has done nothing to make the user and programmer community at large more aware of the benefits of free software. I feel the primary benefits are individual and social freedom.

The June article by Eric S. Raymond, “Open Source Summit”, is a good example of the fundamental emptiness of the Open Source movement. The O'Reilly conference report struck me as being more about how Larry Wall, et al., can strike it rich than about how the lives of users and programmers can be enhanced through free software. I have nothing against people being financially compensated for their labor, but being financially compensated for one's labor has always been a secondary or even irrelevant consideration in the free software movement and rightfully so.

The most appalling notion implied in the rhetoric of the Open Source movement is that we, those of us who use/write/support free software, have to change our ways and adopt a more corporate mindset if we want free software to be successful in the real world. This is manifestly ridiculous. If free software hadn't already proven itself thoroughly in the real world, there wouldn't even be an Open Source movement. In fact, I think that free software and the free software movement have proven themselves to such an amazing degree that the corporate world now wants to find a way to squeeze a buck out of us. Again, there is nothing wrong with making a buck, but don't you dare do it at the expense of my freedom.

Unfortunately, free software developers are not a major source of advertising dollars for LJ, so it is not likely that LJ will be publishing alternate views to the Open Source camp anytime soon. That apparently being the case, I would suggest that if LJ readers are interested in an alternate view of the free software movement, check out, for starters, Richard Stallman's article “Why Free Software is better than Open Source” at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-or-free.html.

—Shawn Ewald shawn@wilshire.net

While I disagree with your stated beliefs, I'm always happy to publish alternate views—I have done so in the past, do so now with your letter and will do so again in the future. While it is true that LJ does not receive advertising dollars from free software, we put free software items in the “New Products” column and publish reviews and tutorials of free software.

Linux Journal strongly supports “freely available” software and the Open Source movement. This is one reason we chose the Debian distribution to use in our office.

By the way, I see no reason for you to have singled out Larry Wall as looking for a way to “strike it rich”. Perl is free and Larry is most definitely not a money-grubbing type of guy.



My thanks to the numerous people who've written in response to my article in LJ #50, “PPPui: A Friendly GUI For PPP”. To anyone interested in more features—especially anyone who relies on single-use passwords—please check http://www.teleport.com/~nmeyers/PPPui/ for features added to PPPui since the article was originally submitted.

—Nathan Meyers nmeyers@teleport.com