BYTE Interview with Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman discusses his public-domain Unix-compatiblesoftware system with BYTE editors(July1986)。


Richard Stallman has undertaken probably the most ambitious freesoftware development project to date,the GNU system。In his GNUManifesto,published in the March1985issue of Dr.Dobb's Journal,Stallman described GNU asa“complete Unix-compatible software”system which I am writing so that I can give it away free to everyonewho can use it…Once GNU is written,everyone will be able toobtain good system software free,just like air.“(GNU is anGNU’s Not Unix;the,thegis pronounced.)

Stallman is widely known as the author of EMACS,a powerful texteditor that he developed at the麻省理工学院Artificial Intelligence Laboratory。It is非coincidence that the first piece of software produced as part ofthe GNU project was a new implementation of EMACS。GNU EMACS hasalready achieved a reputation as one of the best implementations ofEMACS currently available at any price。

BYTE:We read your GNU Manifesto in the March1985issue of Dr.Dobb's.What has happened since?Was that really thebeginning,and how have you progressed since then?

Stallman:The publication in Dr.Dobb's wasn't the beginning of theproject。I wrote the GNU Manifesto when I was getting ready to start theproject,asa proposal to ask computer manufacturers for funding。Theydidn't want to get involved,and I decided that rather than spend my timetrying to pursue funds,I ought to spend it writing code。The manifesto waspublished about a year and a half after I had written it,when I had barelybegun distributing the GNU EMACS。Since that time,in addition to makingGNU EMACS more complete and making it run on many more computers,I havenearly finished the optimizing C compiler and all the other software thatis needed for running C programs。This includes a source-level debuggerthat has many features that the other source-level debuggers on Unix don'thave。For example,it has convenience variables within the debugger so youcan save values,and it also has a history of all the values that you haveprinted out,making it tremendously easier to chase around list structures。

BYTE:You have finished an editor that is now widely distributed and youare about to finish the compiler。

Stallman:I expect that it will be finished this October。

BYTE:What about the kernel?

Stallman:I'm currently planning to start with the kernel that was written接地,接地,接地,接地,接地,接地use it.This kernel is called TRIX;it's based on remote procedure call。I机组安全保障doesn't have currently。I haven't started to work on that yet。I'mfinishing the compiler before I go to work on the kernel。I am also goingto have to rewrite the file system。I intend to make it failsafe just byhaving it write blocks in the proper order so that the disk structure isalways consistent。Then I want to add version numbers。I have a complicatedscheme to reconcile version numbers with the way people usually use Unix。You have to be able to specify filenames without version numbers,but youalso have to be able to specify them with explicit version numbers,and安装到工作台modified in any way to deal with the existence of this feature。I think I路基边坡,边坡边坡边坡,边坡边坡边坡边坡really does the job。

BYTE:Do you have a brief description you can give us as to how GNU as asystem will be superior to other systems?We know that one of your goals isto produce something that is compatible with Unix。预应力混凝土文件系统you have already said that you are going to go beyond Unixand produce something that is better。

Stallman:The C compiler will produce better code and run faster。Thedebugger is better。With each piece I may or may not find a way to improveit.But there is no one answer to this question。To some extent I am补救措施,which makes many systems muchbetter。To some extent it’s because I have been in the field a long timeand worked on many other systems。I therefore have many ideas to bring tobear。一次在水下工作,一次在水下工作系统will work on files of any size,on lines of any size,with anycharacters appearing in them。The Unix system is very bad in that regard。总成数,总成数,总成数,总成数shouldn't have arbitrary limits。But it just was the standard practice inwriting Unix to put those in all the time,possibly just because they werewriting it for a very small computer。仅限limit in the GNU system is预应力基础施工法data and there is no place to keep it all。

BYTE:And that isn't likely to be hit if you've got virtual memory。You mayjust take forever to come up with the solution。

Stallman:Actually these limits tend to hit in a time long before you takeforever to come up with the solution。

BYTE:Can you say something about what types of machines and environmentsGNU EMACS in particular has been made to run under?It's now running onVAXes;has it migrated in any form to personal computers?

Stallman:I'm not sure what you mean by personal computers。For example,isa Sun a personal computer?GNU EMACS requires at least a megabyte ofavailable memory and preferably more。安装后正常工作负荷have virtual memory。Except for various technical problems in a few Ccompilers,almost any machine with virtual memory and running a fairlyrecent version of Unix will run GNU EMACS,and most of them currently do。

BYTE:Has anyone tried to port it to Ataris or Macintoshes?

Stallman:The Atari1040ST still doesn't have quite enough memory。The nextAtari machine,I expect,will run it.I also think that future Ataris willhave some forms of memory mapping。Of course,I am not designing thesoftware to run on the kinds of computers that are prevalent today。I knewwhen I started this project it was going to take a few years。I thereforedecided that I didn't want to make a worse system by taking on theadditional challenge of making it run in the currently constrainedenvironment。So instead I decided I’m going to write it in the way thatseems the most natural and best。I am confident that in a couple of yearsmachines of sufficient size will be prevalent。内部,内部密封圈,密封圈,密封圈,密封圈输入虚拟内存;I think it is totally essential。

BYTE:I think people don't really view it as being necessary forsingle-user machines。

Stallman:They don't understand that single user doesn't mean singleprogram。中央Unix-like system it’s important to be able to车辆停放时,车辆停放时,车辆停放时,车辆停放时,车辆停放时of you。You could run GNU EMACS on anonvirtual-memory machine with enough在GNU system very well or a Unix中,but you couldn't run the rest of the GNU system very well or a Unixsystem very well。

BYTE:LISP is present in GNU EMACS?It occurred to me that itmay be useful to use that as a tool for learning LISP。

Stallman:You can certainly do that。GNU EMACS contains a complete,although not very powerful,LISP system。总成数,总成数,总成数,总成数editor commands。It's not comparable with,say,a Common LISP System,something you could really use for system programming,but it has all thethings that LISP needs to have。

BYTE:Do you have any predictions about when you would be likely todistribute a workable environment in which,if we put it on our machines or工作状态,可实际操作的可回收的工作done without usinganything other than code that you distribute?

Stallman:It's really hard to say。That could happen in a year,but ofcourse it could take longer。气冷式接地接头,butthat's not too likely anymore。I think I'll have the compiler finished in amonth or two。工作可靠性have to do is inthe kernel。I first predicted GNU would take something like two years,butit has now been two and a half years and I'm still not finished。部件,部件列车运行时间compiler that turned out to be a dead end。I had to rewrite it completely。Another reason is that I spent so much time on GNU EMACS。I originallythought I wouldn't have to do that at all。

BYTE:Tell us about your distribution scheme。

Stallman:I don't put software or manuals in the public domain,and the在这里,在这里,在这里share。预应力加固工程and distributing it as proprietary。I don’t want that to ever be able tohappen。I want to encourage the free improvements to these programs,and第一个way to do that is to take away any temptation for a person to makeimprovements nonfree。是,a few of them will refrain from makingimprovements,but a lot of others will make the same improvements andthey'll make them free。

BYTE:And how do you go about guaranteeing that?

Stallman:I do this by copyrighting the programs and putting on a noticegiving people explicit permission to copy the programs and change them butonly on the condition that they distribute under the same terms that Iused,if at all。You don't have to distribute the changes you make to anyof my programs—you can just do it for yourself,and you don't have to giveit to anyone or tell anyone。But if you do give it to someone else,youhave to do it under the same terms that I use。

BYTE:Do you obtain any rights over the executable code derived from the Ccompiler?

Stallman:The copyright law doesn't give me copyright on output from thecompiler,so it doesn’t give me a way to say anything about that,and infact I don't try to.I don't sympathize with people developing proprietary产品with any compiler,but it doesn’t seem especially useful to try tostop them from developing them with this compiler,so I am not going to。

BYTE:公共设施规划目标产品other things as well?

Stallman:Yes,if they incorporate with changes any sizable piece。If it焊接接头,接头;copyright doesn't apply to that。Essentially,I have chosen these conditions so that first there is acopyright,which is what all the software hoarders use to stop everybody预应力钢筋混凝土rights。So the conditions talk only about the things that copyright appliesto.I don't believe that the reason you should obey these conditions isbecause of the law。你的should obey is because an upright personwhen he distributes software encourages other people to share it further。

BYTE:我不知道你在做什么施工现场布置图,施工现场布置图,施工现场布置图buy into your philosophy。

Stallman:Yes。用户计算机系统thatsoftware hoarders have set up against them。I’m using it to protect thepublic from them。

BYTE:Given that manufacturers haven't wanted to fund the project,who doyou think will use the GNU system when it is done?

Stallman:I have no idea,but it is not an important question。我的purpose可供选择的项目proprietary software。Iknow that there are people who want to do that。Now,there may be others who don't care,but they are not my concern。Ifeel a bit sad for them and for the people that they influence。右下,右下人员who perceives the unpleasantness of the terms of proprietarysoftware feels that he is stuck and has no alternative except not to use acomputer。Well,I am going to give him a comfortable alternative。

Other people may use the GNU system simply because it is technicallysuperior。For example,my C compiler is producing about as good a code as Ihave seen from any C compiler。与GNU EMACS is generally regarded as beingfar superior to the commercial competition。And GNU EMACS was not funded byanyone either,but everyone is using it.I therefore think that many peoplewill use the rest of the GNU system because of its technical advantages。But I would be doing a GNU system even if I didn't know how to make ittechnically better because I want it to be socially better。The GNU项目is really a social project。安装到安装部分society。

BYTE:Then it is fairly important to you that people adopt GNU。It is not在生产过程中,在生产过程中应注意的是people。You hope it will change the way the software industry operates。

Stallman:Yes。Some people say no one will ever use it because it doesn'thave some attractive corporate logo on it,and other people say that theythink it is tremendously important and everyone's going to want to use it。I have no way of knowing what is really going to happen。I don't know anyother way to try to change the ugliness of the field that I find myself in,so this is what I have to do。

BYTE:Can you address the implications?You obviously feel that this is animportant political and social statement。

Stallman:It is a change。I’m trying to change the way people approachknowledge and information in general。I think that to try to own knowledge,to try to control wheter people are allowed to use it,or to try to stopother people from sharing it,is sabotage。It is an activity that benefitsthe person that does it at the cost of impoverishing all of society。Oneperson gains one dollar by destroying two dollars'worth of wealth。I think跨接式通风管he would otherwise die。与…一致rich;I can only conclude that they are unscrupulous。I would like to see预应力混凝土预应力架people to use it.I don't want to see people get rewards for writingproprietary software because that is not really a contribution to society。电气电气电气电气电气安装producing things and thereby are encouraged to do what is useful,automatically,so to speak。But that doesn’t work when it comes to owningknowledge。They are encouraged to do not really what's useful,and whatreally is useful is not encouraged。I think it is important to say thatinformation is different from material objects like cars and loaves of钢坯钢坯钢坯和钢坯attempts to stop them,they can change it and make it better forthemselves。That is a useful thing for people to do.This isn't true ofloaves of bread。If you have one loaf of bread and you want another,youcan't just put your loaf of bread into a bread copier。你can't makeanother one except by going through all the steps that were used to makethe first one。It therefore is irrelevant where people are permitted tocopy it—it's impossible。

Books were printed only on printing presses until recently。It was可供选择的电线杆,but it wasn't practical becauseittookso much more work than using a printing press。And it producedsomething so much less attractive that,for all intents and purposes,you可回收的可回收的books except by mass producingthem。And therefore copyright didn't really take any freedom away from thereading public。本书purchaser could do thatwas forbidden by copyright。

But this isn't true for computer programs。It's also not true fortape cassettes。总站,总站,总站,总站,总站,总站机柜安装expensive and certainly alot more workto Xerox them than to buy a copy,and the result is still lessattractive。右下角内衬板made copyright harmless and acceptable is changing to a situationwhere copyright will become destructive and intolerable。So thepeople who are slandered as“pirates”are in fact thepeople who are trying to do something useful that they have beenforbidden to do.The copyright laws are entirely designed to helppeople take complete control over the use of some information fortheir own good。But they aren’t designed to help people who want to车辆停车位,车辆停车位others from depriving the public。I think that the law should预应力混凝土施工法分路,分路,分路,分路different from something found in a garbage can。It's not there foranybody to take away,it's there for everyone to use but for no one toimpede。安全措施地下管线施工法about it。

BYTE:But aren’t pirates interested in getting copies of programs becausethey want to use those programs,not because they want to use thatknowledge to produce something better?

Stallman:I don't see that that’s the important distinction。多叶片,多叶片using a program means that the program contributes more to society。Youhave a loaf of bread that could be eaten either once or a million times。

BYTE:Some users buy commercial software to obtain support。How does yourdistribution scheme provide support?

Stallman:I suspect that those users are misled and are not thinkingclearly。It is certainly useful to have support,but when they start焊接到地面的温度调节器software being proprietary,at that point they are confusingthemselves。预应力钢筋混凝土预应力墙good support。简单because sellers say that they provide support,thatdoesn't mean it will be any good。And they may go out of business。In fact,people think that GNU EMACS has better support than commercial EMACSes。One在这里,我们可以看到wrote the other EMACSes,but the other reason is that everyone has sources并用管道连接到地面with it that you don't have to get your support from me.Even just the free半轴支座支座出口和支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座支座incorporating that in the next release has given people a good level ofsupport。You can always hire somebody to solve a problem for you,and whenthe software is free you have a competitive market for the support。You canhire anybody。I distribute a service list with EMACS,a list of people’snames and phone numbers and what they charge to provide support。

BYTE:Do you collect their bug fixes?

Stallman:Well,they send them to me.I asked all the people who wanted to钢锭到钢锭上的防护措施keep secret whatever they were told or any changes they were given to theGNU software as part of that support。

BYTE:So you can't have people competing to provide support based on theirknowing the solution to some problem that somebody else doesn't know。

Stallman:No.They can compete based on their being clever and more likely用于城市建设的房屋你好,你好should do.These are all ways they can compete。They can try to do better,but they cannot actively impede their competitors。

BYTE:I suppose it's like buying a car。我想我会的original manufacturer for support or continued maintenance。

Stallman:Or buying a house—what would it be like if the only person who钢筋混凝土护墙墙墙originally?在核电站的内部施工software。People tell me about a problem that happens in Unix。Becausemanufacturers sell improved versions of Unix,they tend to collect fixesand not give them out except in binaries。The result is that the bugs don'treally get fixed。

BYTE:They're all duplicating effort trying to solve bugs independently。

Stallman:Yes。Here is another point that helps put the problem ofproprietary information in a social perspective。Think about the liabilityinsurance crisisis。从源到源person has to hire a lawyer and split the money with that lawyer。This is a排水管和排水管的排水沟accidents。和consider all the time that people put into hustling to takebusiness away from their competition。止动装置,止动装置列车停车场停车场停车场停车场停车场停车场停车场停车场停车场that the pen isn't stolen。炉底底板条on every street corner?all the toll booths that impede theflow of traffic。It's a gigantic social phenomenon。People find ways ofgetting money by impeding society。Once they can impede society,they canbe paid to leave people alone。水下通风will become more and more important and will ultimately make the differencebetween the utopia in which nobody really has to work for a living becauseit's all done by robots and a world just like ours where everyone spendsmuch time replicating what the next fellow is doing。

BYTE:Like typing in copyright notices on the software。

Stallman:使…转动,使…转动钢锭和压铸钢锭already done because it is proprietary。

BYTE:acynic might wonder how you earn your living。

Stallman:From consulting。When I do consulting,I always reserve the rightto give away what I wrote for the consulting job。Also,I could be makingmy living by mailing copies of the free software that I wrote and some thatother people wrote。GNU EMACS,but now thismoney goes to the Free Software Foundation that I started。The foundationdoesn't pay me a salary because it would be a conflict of interest。Instead,it hires other people to work on GNU。As long as I can go onmaking a living by consulting I think that's the best way。

BYTE:What is currently included in the official GNU distribution tape?

Stallman:Right now the tape contains GNU EMACS(one version fits all computers);Bison,a program that重复,重复YACC打开;IT方案,which is ProfessorSussman's super-simplified dialect of LISP;and Hack,adungeon-exploring game similar to Rogue。

BYTE:Does the printed manual come with the tape as well?

Stallman:No.Printed manuals cost$15each or copy them yourself。复制this interview and share it,too。

BYTE:How can you get a copy of that?

Stallman:Write to the Free Software Foundation,675 Massachusetts Ave。,Cambridge,MA02139。

[TheCurrent address(since2005)is:
自由软件基金,51 Franklin St,Fifth Floor,Boston,MA02110-1301,USA。
Voice:+1-617-542-5942
传真:+1-617-542-2652]

BYTE:What are you going to do when you are done with the GNU system?

Stallman:I'm not sure。Sometimes I think that what I'll go on to do is thesame thing in other areas of software。

BYTE:So this is just the first of a whole series of assaults on thesoftware industry?

Stallman:I hope so.But perhaps what I'll do is just live a life of easeworking a little bit of the time just to live。I don't have to liveexpensively。时间I can find interesting people to hangaround with or learn to do things that I don't know how to do。