Viva China

We can find numerous talks in the news about the import of Chinese textiles: the USA and the European Union want to apply limitations to these imports. They seem seem to have just discovered that clothes made in China could be found everywhere. Though it is problematic for the Western industry, I tend to disagree the way tough it is presented in the news.

To begin with, since I was born, almost all sneakers shoes, sweat-shirts and shirts I wear have been made in Asia. Strange, then, to make such a fuss over it only from now on. A lot of people are complaining in Europe and America, but they seem not to think about the millions of Chinese people who are then able to find a job, and a better standard of living because of this. So then, what’s the problem? Racism? Jealousy? Could be. I see that rich Western countries are afraid of the arousal of new countries. They’re afraid to have to share their money. They have to remember that they have abused of these countries during the last centuries to become very rich.

I don’t have the right solution, both to protect the textile industry of western countries and to allow China to better its economy. But, don’t be afraid and don’t think : ‘Chinese people want to steal my money’. Please, be humble and not too aggressive towards Chinese people, who just want a better life for them and their children.

When Linus Torvalds goes wrong

In February of 2002, Linus Torvalds (the Linux kernel creator and project coordinator) started using the freeware BitKeeper to manage the mainline kernel. BitKeeper is a software tool for revision control (configuration management etc.) of computer source code, made by BitMover. It is a closed-source product. Some competing tools such as CVS, GNU Arch or Subversion were existing, but Torvalds chose BitKeeper because it was ‘the best tool for the job’.

While some core developers adopted BitKeeper, several key developers (including Alan Cox) refused to do so, citing the Bitmover licence, and voicing concern that the project was ceding some control to a proprietary developer. The decision to use BitKeeper for Linux kernel development raised a lot of protestations in the free software community. To mitigate these concerns, Bitmover added gateways which allowed limited interoperation between the Linux BitKeeper servers (maintained by Bitmover) and developers using CVS and Subversion. Even after this addition, flamewars occasionally broke out on the Linux kernel mailing list (LKML), often involving key kernel developers and Bitmover CEO Larry McVoy, who is also a Linux developer. A group went so far as to start a petition against the usage of the tool. Some wanted to ban Richard Stallman from the LKML. A warning regarding BitKeeper was sent on the Debian devel list.

On April 5th, 2005, BitMover announced that it would stop providing a version of BitKeeper free of charge to the community, the reason being alleged reverse-engineering efforts by Andrew Tridgell, a developer employed by OSDL. Some days later, Linus Torvalds reacted very fast saying that he began working on an interim solution called Git. But, this issue could have a really hard time stopping for the Linux kernel development. And Linus was warned by several people.

This is a big lesson for the free software community. This is a big ‘back-hand’ for ‘pragmatic people’ who value technical advantage above freedom and community. Please, don’t follow a charismatic leader without ask yourself if he/she’s right or not, even if he/she’s a genius. Please, don’t forget that non-free programs are dangerous. Don’t think that free software philosophy is something just for integrists, when this philosophy created your softwares and your community. If you forget it, you will encounter some bad surprises.

Dishonest and ridiculous

Fortinet is an American company which offers a variety of security products, such as firewalls or antiviruses. On its products, Fortinet claims to run the ‘FortiOS’ operating system. The project, lead by Harald Welte, uncovered that ‘FortiOS’ is using the Linux kernel and numerous other free software products that are licensed exclusively under the GNU General Public License (GPL). The problem is, Fortinet doesn’t tell anything about those softwares to their clients, and doesn’t provide the full corresponding source code and a copy of the full license text. This is a complete violation of the GNU GPL. The worse is, that Fortinet probably knew this, because they used cryptographic techniques to conceal that usage…

Thus, the project was compelled to ask the court for a preliminary injunction, banning Fortinet from distributing its products, unless they are in full compliance with the GNU GPL license conditions. The Munich district court has granted this on Apr. 14, 2005. At this point, we can think that Fortinet should keep a low profile until we forget its ‘misunderstanding’ of the GNU GPL… But, this is not the case.

After this injuction, Fortiner made a paper for his resailers and integraters to explain its meaning about the issue. This paper, in French, is very funny. It isn’t because of a lot of orthographical mistakes in the document. The person who wrote this, probably someone from the marketing service of Fortinet, doesn’t know anything about what he’s dealing with. Well, he doesn’t understand nothing. With this text, you can build a big fortune text! Some examples:

  • ‘L’organisation « projet Open Source GPL » (GNU Général Public License) a révélé de supposées enfreintes par Fortinet (UK) Ltd à la politique GPL.’ which means ‘The GPL Open Source project (GNU General Public License) revealed supposed violations by Fortinet towards GPL politics ‘.
  • ‘Le fondateur de ce projet GPL et développeur du noyau Linux Harald Welte’ (‘GPL project founder and Linux kernel developer Harald Welte‘).
  • ‘L’équipe du GPL a pris la mauvaise habitude de poursuivre systématiquement les entreprises ayant le vent en poupe et en forte croissance, comme Fortinet’ (‘The GPL team took the bad behaviour to purchase systematically dynamic companies with a strong growth, such as Fortinet‘). This sentence is very funny in French, cause ‘GPL’ means also ‘Liquefied Petroleum Gas‘, and ‘GPL team’ means more ‘an oil comapny’ than someting about free software 😉

Anyway, those terms doesn’t really mean something, there is a big confusion with the license, the free software community, the organisation and the GNU project. This document also accuse Mr. Welte of racket, which is in my viewpoint very outrageous. The only thing that Fortinet have won, is that everyone knows now that they are dishonest and ridiculous.

First post

If it is the first time that you come on this blog, you must read it.

Yes, I have a blog. Even if I know since a very long time what is a weblog, I never had the need to create one. But, sometimes I’m fed up with something. Sometimes, I want to share my viewpoint. Sometimes, I have something to say. Sometimes, I need a blog 🙂

In this blog, you will find quite nothing about me. I won’t tell you my life. But my shouting sessions will be certainly here. I will give my opinion on politics, religions, computer science, and probably other subjects.

All things written here are not involving in any way the organizations or movements where I take, took or will take part. The content of the posts may be offensive to some viewers, if you are very sensitive, don’t read them!

We can debate. If you disagree with me, don’t hesitate to give your opinion!

Have a nice reading 😉

PS : The same post in French.