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Re: Commercial code is better: Cedega VS Wine

From: karl
Subject: Re: Commercial code is better: Cedega VS Wine
Date: 21 Mar 2006 11:45:57 -0800
User-agent: G2/0.2

(I am posting this on behalf of Richard Stallman,, at his
request. The "I" below is rms.)

   From: "Karen Hill" <>
    Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy,gnu.misc.discuss
    Subject: Commercial code is better: Cedega VS Wine
    Date: 7 Mar 2006 16:05:39 -0800

    Remember XEmacs VS Emacs?  Stallman was almost crying
    because the XEmacs team was backed by a commercial
    venture and the old emacs could barely keep up.  XEmacs
    cost about a million dollars to create.  In some of the
    mailing lists, stallman admitted that he couldn't even
    understand some of the code because it was so advanced
    and he feared emacs would fall really behind.

That is not what I said.  The reason I could not understand
some of the code in XEmacs is not that it was advanced, but
that it was badly written and incomprehensible.  (Later
XEmacs developers apparently agreed with me, since they
completely replaced it.)

Emacs is now doing fine with a large group of volunteer
developers.  However, if XEmacs had won out, that would not
have been a failure for free software.  XEmacs is free
software also.  It was not unusual, even in 1992, for a
company to pay developers to work on free software.  I was
only unhappy that the paid developers did not cooperate with
Given that I am posting a correction on that point, I will
also address some of of the broader issues mentioned in your

    Commercial for profit developers create software that works
    better in [GNU/]Linux than unpaid developers.

    Why try to fight this reality?  Why not admit "Free"
    software is impossible?

The reality is that free software works pretty well, and
lots of people use it and are happy.  You are in the
position of arguing that airplanes cannot fly.

The quotation marks around the word "free" suggest that you
may not fully understand the concept that you are attacking.
Free software does not mean noncommercial software; it means
software that respects the users' freedom.  See  The opposite of
free software is proprietary software--that is,
freedom-trampling software.

Some free software is commercial.  Some non-free software is
commercial.  In the free software movement, we are neither
for nor against commercial software.  We are neither for nor
against paying developers.  Rather, we simply insist on
freedom.  If a program respects our freedom, we can use it.
If a program does not respect our freedom, we reject it, and
perhaps we replace it.

If you are not interested in joining us, perhaps that is
because of your choice of values.  Judging from your
message, freedom is not very important to you; you prefer
the software that "works better" even if you must surrender
your freedom to get it.  I think that is unfortunate, but I
cannot impose my values on you.

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