Don’t get me wrong:
the GPL/LGPL are slightly less horrible than 99% of other “licenses” (in that they explicitly “permit” things which you’d be able to do anyway, if the “public domain” wasn’t so damnably impoverished, due to obscenely long copy”right” terms. (“life plus 70 years? My ass.”)
No, the thing that pisses me off about Stallman is: the fact that his quixotic obsession with the “GNU Hurd” ended up hobbling the “GNU Project”, in many ways.
Let’s be clear about something: Stallman’s tendency to get butthurt and throw tantrums when people refuse to pander to his idiotic “GNU/Linux” fetish is about one thing – and one thing only: the fact that their oh-so-precious “Hurd” was vaporware for decades.
According to Thomas Bushnell, the initial Hurd architect, their early plan was to adapt the 4.4BSD-Lite kernel and, in hindsight, “It is now perfectly obvious to me that this would have succeeded splendidly and the world would be a very different place today”.
Unfortunately for the world-at-large, “Saint IGNUcious” has a serious lapse of judgement – with predictable results:
In 1987 Richard Stallman proposed using the Mach microkernel developed at Carnegie Mellon University. Work on this was delayed for three years due to uncertainty over whether CMU would release the Mach code under a suitable license.
With the release of the Linux kernel in 1991, the primary user of GNU’s userland components soon became operating systems based on the Linux kernel (Linux distributions), prompting the coining of the term GNU/Linux.
Development of the Hurd has proceeded slowly. Despite an optimistic announcement by Stallman in 2002 predicting a release of GNU/Hurd later that year, the Hurd is still not considered suitable for production environments. Development in general has not met expectations, and there are still a significant number of bugs and missing features. This has resulted in a poorer product than many (including Stallman) had expected. In 2010, after twenty years under development, Stallman said that he was “not very optimistic about the GNU Hurd. It makes some progress, but to be really superior it would require solving a lot of deep problems”, but added that “finishing it is not crucial” for the GNU system because a free kernel already existed (Linux), and completing Hurd would not address the main remaining problem for a free operating system: device support.
In other words, after 20 years of utter failure, even RMS himself has (grudgingly) admitted that the “Hurd” is a total piece of shit.
There’s nothing “really superior” about a mircokernal which is essentially Stallmam’s masturbatory fantasy.
This is the primary reason why I refuse to pander to his “GNU/Linux” bullshit delusions: Linus Torvalds actually managed to COMPLETE the “GNU Project” – by means of the LINUX KERNEL.
Stallman is jealous, because a university student suceeded, where HE failed.
What was RMS doing for those 20 years of “active development?” Whackin’ it to the EMACS documentation?
The great thing about relatively permissive (“Free”) licenses like the GPL is: They render any particular developer IRRELEVANT, in that, in the event that particular developer dies/goes insane/turns into a tyrannical knob-gobbler, anybody interested enough to do so can merely “fork” the project, and pick up from before everything went wrong.
(Of course, the same could be said for what would happen with a significantly more robust Public Domain – due to significantly shorter copy’right’ terms, but that’s another topic, for another time.)
TL;DR: even a crude approximation of “software freedom” is better than none.