Maybe you’ve heard of this recent statement from Linus Torvalds. It goes like this:
I may make jokes about Microsoft at times, but at the same time, I think the Microsoft hatred is a disease. I believe in open development, and that very much involves not just making the source open, but also not shutting other people and companies out.
People tend to focus in the first paragraph, which I find by far the least relevant. I mean, of course hatred is a disease. And it’s really nothing specific to Microsoft. But let’s read on:
There are ‘extremists’ in the free software world, but that’s one major reason why I don’t call what I do ‘free software’ any more. I don’t want to be associated with the people for whom it’s about exclusion and hatred.”
This is where Linus’ goes intimate. One could say it is intentional, but I see it more as a kind of slip. You see, in Torvalds’ mind, if you speak about free software instead of open source, there’s this danger that they will associate you with exclusion and hatred! His view of the world is very simple and straightforwarded: Either you completely avoid the freedom rethoric, or you’re full of hate.
In Torvalds’ mind it’s not conceivable that one could care about freedom out of love and not hate. It’s not conceivable that one could stand to defend his and everyone else’s rights out of compassion, without hating the person who would take them away. That is the view of an extremist.
It’s very unfortunate that people pay so much attention to Torvalds, as if he was some kind of visionary. Reality is that he’s just a very skilled hacker with delusions of grandeur and complete carelessness about ethics or morality.