Subject: This whole Apple boycott issue
To: None <,>
From: Brian Kendig <>
List: macbsd-general
Date: 09/04/1994 01:19:40
I know this whole issue of the FSF boycott against Apple is (a) not
appropriate to this mailing list, (b) something which has been hashed
over millions of times in the past, and (c) not likely to change in the
future, but as long as it's being discussed here, there are a few things
I'd like to say about it.  I'm somewhat surprised and also pleased that
rms himself has taken up discussing it with us.

First, a minor point: as I understand it, the boycott is because the FSF
stands for anyone being free to write any sort of software, and Apple
wanted to try to keep Microsoft from writing software whose interface
looked a certain way, right?

That's understandable.  I don't agree that it's a valid reason for a
boycott of all Apple products, but I understand why some people believe
it is a valid reason.

However, I'm surprised that the FSF supports Microsoft products, in
light of a move by Microsoft about half a year ago to prevent Stac
Technologies from using undocumented DOS system calls.  The issue was
that Microsoft took Stac to court because Stac's "Stacker" software used
some DOS routines that Microsoft didn't want anybody but its own
developers to use.

Isn't that another form of trying to bully other developers?  Apple
wanted to make sure Microsoft didn't use Apple's interface ideas;
Microsoft wanted to make sure Stac didn't use Microsoft's undocumented
calls.  In both cases, the company doing the suing was trying to keep a
certain benefit all  to itself and not let anybody else have access to it.

Are these two issues fundamentally different?  if they are, would you
please explain to me how they're different?  Maybe I just don't
understand the purpose behind the FSF boycott well enough, then.

But here is the more serious issue that I'd like to bring up:

I would very much like to get in on this FSF thing.  I believe that
software should be distributed freely and without restriction, to avoid
duplication of work, improve the state of the art, and so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, since I have a Macintosh, I can't easily get in on this.
Most GNU software is not available for the Mac.

(Does GNU == FSF?  I'm not completely familiar with the distinction.)

Now, the easy solution would be for me to just move to the next closest
thing which *is* supported by the FSF.  Namely, a DOS PC.

Problem is, I refuse to do this.  MS-DOS is a hack, an ugly operating
system.  Windows is an ugly hack too.  I don't want to give Microsoft
any of my money, because I seriously disagree with their practices -- I
don't like their practice of buying up smaller companies with clever
ideas then sitting on the ideas to make sure nobody else gets them, I
don't like their practice of making Windows NT *almost* but *not quite*
compatible with Unix in order to keep people locked into the Microsoft
Way (tm).  I don't like their way of trying to force the industry away
from the idea of "applets" that work together and back towards the idea
of monolithic applications in order to avoid having to put a lot of
resources into rewriting Word and Excel.  I don't like that Microsoft
has engaged in a vicious but saddeningly effective drive to kill the
PowerPC by refusing to release native versions of Word and Excel for it.

I refuse to give Microsoft any of my money, and that really limits what
I can do with a PC.  Even without that moral objection, I would not buy
or use a DOS PC, because I can't do as much with it as I can do with my
Mac.  I am happy with my Macintosh, and I will continue to buy Macintosh
hardware in the future.  There's no better solution for me right now.

I'm unhappy that this means it's difficult for me to use or work on
GNU/FSF software on my Mac, but that fact isn't important enough to make
me switch computers.

It's ironic, really.  The very people who make up the Macintosh user and
developer communities are generally people who want to break all the
"traditional" ideas of how computers and people work together, and these
are the people who the FSF would probably benefit from the most.  I
believe that the FSF is hurting itself more than it's hurting Apple with
its boycott.

Instead of trying to hurt everyone who uses Macintosh computers because
of something Apple did, maybe what the FSF should be doing is trying to
set an example for Apple of how far their computer system can go if they
*don't* waste time trying to hoard their code and their ideas?

_/_/_/  Brian Kendig                              Je ne suis fait comme aucun
/_/_/                 de ceux que j'ai vus; j'ose croire
_/_/                             n'etre fait comme aucun de ceux qui existent.
  /  Be insatiably curious.   Si je ne vaux pas mieux, au moins je suis autre.
 /     Ask "why" a lot.                                           -- Rousseau