Talk:Bruce Perens

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Older discussion[edit]


About the cerebral palsy. My son (Stanley, born April 2000), has been going through his own motor issues, fortunately MUCH less severe than mine, but they force me to consider that my own CP diagnosis may have been incorrect. - Bruce

You'll not get my approval for an image until you fix the GFDL issue. - Bruce

Could you supply a link to explain what issue to which you refer? (I should have read further on. Nevermind). N0YKG 17:15, 17 April 2006 (UTC) (a.k.a. Wowbagger on technocrat and slashdot).

He is widely believed to hold the record for the rate of Slashdot upmodding of his comments.

Widely believed by whom? Fredrik | talk 23:15, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I agree with you, Fredrik. Look at his recent comments: Bruce Perens' Slashdot comments. Most of his recent comments are not highly modded. --Anonymous Cow 04:05, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I had an email communication from Rob Malda at one time in which he revealed that I was the highest moderated individual on Slashdot. It is no longer possible to keep score since Slashdot established a cap on their moderation totals. I did once achieve about 46 moderation points on replies to a single story, and would have equalled the "karma cap" of 50 if I hadn't hit Slashdot's own comment-posting limit first. - Bruce

I removed the unsubtantiated and POV text about him "continuing a long running trend resigning from projects." One example does not a long-running trend make. If it is indeed true that he often starts and resigns from projects, then more examples should be given. 03:50, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

At one time this could have been substantiated, but is no longer the case. People grow, and sometimes grow up :-) - Bruce

Removal of this page[edit]

User: removed the content on this page, replacing it with the following comment:

Because I object to the licensing applied to the wikipedia, I have removed my personal entry. Please respect my desire regarding my own information and do not restore it. If you wish to discuss this with me, please write me at bruce @ or call me at (US) 510-526-1165 during the day US-Pacific time. - Bruce Perens

Of course, no such respect can be extended. I am sure, for example, that the Church of Scientology would rather Wikipedia did not give it coverage, but it is not up to them. — ciphergoth 17:52, August 21, 2005 (UTC)

I learn in email that it is indeed Perens. — ciphergoth 19:03, August 21, 2005 (UTC)

Did he tell you his reasons? 18:48, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't want to either copy private email or try to paraphrase - but I'm sure he'll tell you himself if you ask, and give permission to reproduce here. — ciphergoth 20:25, September 6, 2005 (UTC)
I object to the GFDL license applied to the wikipedia, and believe that - because of the flaws in the license - it is unlawful to host the wikipedia on a computer running any contemporary operating system. This could be fixed simply enough, but I get stuff like "we're more interested in producing good content that arguing over licenses". That would be fine except that the legal problems are going to hit you folks eventually, regardless of what you are interested in. You folks could have been a Free Software project. Or at least an Open Source project. You are neither. You blew it because of a few sentences and arrogance, and it persists through stubborness and arrogance. - Bruce.
I agree, but I wonder what can be done now? — ciphergoth 08:54, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
FSF have a draft written for a new version of the GFDL. Wikipedia is licensed under version 1.1 "or any later version". So we should influence FSF in whatever way we can (which is difficult) to make it a good GFDL. (Bruce, you would probably be far more capable than anyone else reading this talk page.) Gronky 22:13, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
These are strong words so I think many contributors would be grateful if you explained why we "blew it because of a few sentences and arrogance". Do you mean sentences within the GFDL (which we didn't write) or the sentences that decreed the choosing of the GFDL (what other choices were there at the time?) Pcb21 Pete 13:54, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
That stuff about it being illegal to host Wikipedia on any modern operating system sounds like FUD... can somebody cite the exact part of the license that states this? *Dan T.* 04:41, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

The "few sentences" I wrote about are in the GFDL text. No, you didn't write it, but you also didn't amend it to cancel out its problems.

The worst problem I know of with the GFDL is this text:

You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading or further copying of the copies you make or distribute.

As far as I can tell, that provision is so broad that it could easily be interpreted to prohibit storage on a system with login security or even file modes controling read permissions. This is not FUD.

It may be that RMS meant it to read that way. He has historicaly been opposed to login security, and used to say that every computer should include a guest login. I haven't heard him talk about this lately, so perhaps he has moderated that stance. It made it almost impossible for him to read web pages for years, as he couldn't keep an internet-connected system that he approved of from being cracked to pieces.

There is also an issue that the GFDL allows one to designate invariant sections for what are essentially rants. Richard wanted these to be where he explained his version of history in GFDL documents. While I sympathize with Richard's plight - the fact that what is properly the GNU project is usually referred to by the name of the kernel hosting the rest of the software - I don't believe that this justifies invariant sections. Nor do I see why the FSF should stand behind a license that prohibits modifications.

The copyright statement and license should not be altered without permission of the copyright holder, because that is where the terms for copying of the work are set. But that is the only legitimate excuse for anything being invariant in a Free / Open work that I know of.

There are other problems with the GFDL. Google for the Debian project's issues regarding the GFDL and you'll get tons of information. They've put a ton of analysis and argument into this, over several years. And unfortunately FSF has not been forthcoming with a new version.

You can correct the problem by adding a preamble to the GFDL specifically for the wikipedia, prohibiting invariant sections, restricting the scope of the DRM language, and you should look at Debian's concerns for other things to address. Do not alter the GFDL text, write a preamble. The GFDL is copyrighted and you may not edit it directly. - Bruce

I completely agree - the GFDL is a highly problematic license. On the other hand, there's now a million pages of Wikipedia licensed under it, so getting a new project with a new license started could be a tricky sell. What other options are open to us? It sounds as if the Wikimedia foundation could stipulate a few things that would ameliorate the problems you outline, and the FSF are very slow-moving and may yet wake up to the problems with the GFDL, though they probably won't put any thought into the problem until GPL3 is finished. What should be done now? — ciphergoth 08:06, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
There is no need for a new project, or even really a new license. You only need a clarifying preamble. IMO you would not be changing the intent of the license as used by the Wikipedia. I would suggest that you have your attorney write a clarifying text and post it for opposition by current article authors. If someone objects, you have the choice of addressing his objection in your text or allowing him to remove his work before the change is adopted. I find it difficult to think of a reasonable objection to this clarification, so I don't expect you'd have much trouble. - Bruce
Thanks for getting back to me Bruce. On the upside, we have always prohibited invariant sections on Wikipedia (see Wikipedia:Copyrights). I was not even aware of the "DRM restriction", but you are quite right a literal reading (and with contracts what other sort is there?) makes this a very problematic phrase. It will be interesting to put the idea of changing the pre-amble to our pro bono lawyer team and see if they think it is a flyer for this sort of change.
I have read about the Debian team's issues with the GFDL before and they did not overlap greatly with Wikipedia - many of the problems relate to the apparent incompatibility between the GPL and GFDL which happily are not a big a problem for us right now (there are few people that re-distribute our software AND the content - they usually do one or the other). Thanks again for the food for thought. Pcb21 Pete 15:03, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
One reason the Debian team is important is that they are interpreting the GFDL against the Debian Free Software Guidelines, which is essentially the same as the Open Source Definition. And it would be nice to be able to say the Wikipedia is legitimately Open Source. They also have some non-DFSG-related issues with the license. Another chouce would be to label the Wikipedia as compliant with the Creative Commons idea. I don't believe that would be appropriate, because there are texts with restrictions against editing and commercial-use restrictions under the Creative Commons umbrella. - Bruce


I can understand why the comment about it being "unlawful to host the wikipedia on a computer running any contemporary operating system" was called FUD. I highly doubt that any judge would ever rule such a thing to be the case (frankly I find it rather unlikely such a case would ever be brought). Adding a clarifying preamble to make such a judgement even less likely wouldn't hurt, I suppose.

As for the GFDL problem with invariant sections, that doesn't render Wikipedia any less free, because Wikipedia itself has no invariant sections. It only weakens the copyleft, because derivatives of Wikipedia might have invariant sections. To use an analogy, if Wikipedia was released under the BSD license, it wouldn't be copylefted, and derivatives could have all kinds of restrictions - but Wikipedia itself would still be free.

Considering that Wikipedia has no invariant sections, we're really talking about rather minor tweaks and clarifications to put Wikipedia into compliance with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

There are problems with the GFDL, and it would be nice if at least future contributions could be licensed under a better license, such as CC-BY. I doubt it's going to happen, though.


Notable Wikipedian?[edit]

Bruce has edited this Talk page, and on one occasion the article, as User:Bruce Perens. I added the template {{Notable Wikipedian|Bruce Perens}}. User:Pcb21 removed it with the edit comment:

rm "Notable Wikipedian" notice - would be unfair to describe Bruce as a "Wikipedian" at this time given his concerns with the project licence)

I can see your point, but on the other hand, given that his one article-space edit so far is autobiographical it's sort of fair enough to let people know that he's editing his own article. I think his edit is just fine and should stand; I just think of that template as one way to be extra-cautious about autobiography. And it only says "has edited Wikipedia" in the text of the template; many other people carrying this template have made very few edits, and some have (usually much less reasonable) beefs with Wikipedia. What do you think? — ciphergoth 15:17, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Heck, Daniel Brandt and Ashida Kim have that sort of message on the respective article talk pages, and both (apparently) hate Wikipedia to pieces. Maybe it's just the title of the template that makes people shy of using it - but on the other hand, {{Article subject has edited Wikipedia somehow|...}} would not exactly be short and tidy... =) --wwwwolf (barks/growls) 09:41, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

I also agree that it is not needed. Kotepho 20:04, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

That what is not needed? The template or his consent? — ciphergoth 20:47, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
The template. He made one article space edit and a few to this talk page. I think it is a stretch to call him a wikipedian. Kotepho 21:28, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Time marches on[edit]

The fight to eliminate Morse Code proficiency testing for Amateur Radio licenses, which was the mission of No-Code International and the concern of much of the Amateur Radio world, has ended. We won. The U.S. gave up code testing, as did most countries. I hear Russia still wants its code tests, but that's about the only country I know of that does. - Bruce —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 05:17, 19 January 2007 (UTC).


I removed "Politically, he favours a communist ideology, and pursues the destruction of individual property rights through his advocacy of Open Source and Free Software." - Bruce —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:29, 28 January 2007 (UTC).

Tie ownership[edit]

I'm not sure what your intention is with this edit but I am unsure how noting that all the photos of him on Flickr show him with the same tie adds anything to the article. Furthermore, merely linking to pictures of him on Flickr does not represent a legitimate source as it's just a series of pictures. Thanks. Will (aka Wimt) 19:18, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

That was a lousy edit, but Perens does seem to always were a tux tie. I'm sure he has more than one, and I've no idea who knots it for him, or whether it's done wrong all the time, but it wouldn't be terrible to point out that this is a trademark of his style. Here it is again: [1] Gronky 19:27, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
Yeah I'd be fine with saying it's his trademark style, though we would really be better with a reference to source who said that so it doesn't seem like original research. We certainly can't say it's the only tie he has though, because I have seen a picture of him wearing another one! Will (aka Wimt) 22:32, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
Nah, it was probably the same tie but he put it on backwards. I hear he's no expert at putting on ties. :-P Gronky 01:05, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Hahaha yeah you do have a point there. :-) Will (aka Wimt) 01:10, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Tie ownership? Don't you folks have something better to do?[edit]

FYI: I have four of those ties. I tie them in a half-windsor, as far as I'm aware. For me a Tux tie is like wearing a tartan tie would be for a Scott or a regimental rep tie would be for a... uh, I guess that's British. But none of that belongs in the Wikipedia, until some alternate reality in which I become a fashion model! - Bruce —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 05:54, 29 March 2007 (UTC).

Totally agree with you about not including the tie comment in the article - that's why I deleted it. On another point, assuming you are Bruce (and I certainly have no reason to doubt it), would you consider releasing this photo of you from your website under a free license of some description? At the time of writing, I note that someone has uploaded this image into this article, but the copyright status is listed as unknown and so the image will soon be deleted. It is also unlikely to qualify under Wikipedia's Fair use policy. Regards. Will (aka Wimt) 11:00, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I see that User:CGA has removed the image at your request, so no need to answer my question. Regards. Will (aka Wimt) 15:34, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Hi Wimt, i'm the person who uploaded the picture and i've emailed Bruce directly about me editing his page on wikipedia to ask him if he wanted me to add (or he wanted to do it himself) some more important and considerable issues about his life. ie: occupation date and place of birth in the box (which i just removed because it had no much sense without info) his resigning from OSRM and things alike (ie: OSI). i'm sure you've got the point. He replied to me kindly and gently saying that he doesn't allow us to upload a picture of him on wikipedia and that "he have issues" on the license of wikipedia. I'm going to ask him if i can quote the email here for cearness sake. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by CGA (talkcontribs) 15:42, 29 March 2007 (UTC).
OK I have tagged the image for speedy deletion as it has been removed from the article and is copyrighted. Will (aka Wimt) 16:01, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
No doubt we can get a revised version of GFDL out of FSF once the GPL3 work is over. FSF's work on GPL3 is of vastly higher quality than that in the original GFDL. A revised license will have clearer language and hopefully will actually qualify as "Open Source" under the Open Source Definition. Once a revised license is available, I think it would be advisable for Wikipedia to post a legal notice of intention to change the license, remove material from anyone who objects (which is unlikely IMO) and close out this issue. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:45, 30 March 2007 (UTC).

Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material[edit]

As according to: Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons: Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material — whether negative, positive, or just highly questionable — about living persons should be removed immediately and without discussion from Wikipedia articles, talk pages, user pages, and project space.

According to and various other places, Bruce isn't necessarily seen as "a prominent figure" by members of the open source community. If this fact isn't agreed upon by other "prominent people, then at the least it should be sourced. I've removed it for the time being.

There are other statements in this article which could benefit by references. Jarich 04:48, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Please flag them with {{fact}}. Lentower 15:20, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Ad hominem?[edit]

Jarich - the material at seems to be mainly ad hominem, and seems to be retaliation for Perens' action against the Novell-Microsoft agreement - some of the folks on that list are known to be Novell employees. In addition, the material at is generally unknown, for example a search for links to it on Google yields no references and similarly google news shows no stories referencing it. Perens action was very strongly supported, with 3449 signatures as of this morning at and IMO the Open Source community sentiment generally in his corner.

There is material to support the contention that Perens is a leader, including such things as the Novell-Microsoft protest, his many speeches and appearances (how many folks get invited to speak to UN meetings?), and his historical role in the movement. References for this material are widely available. OpenSourcerer 12:59, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Bug report with video[edit]

Can someone please fix the imagemap issue around the movie from UN WSIS? It's not in the wikitext, but in some aspect of the wiki software. Len Tower, whoever removed the movie was probably not vandalizing but was attempting to address this issue. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:16, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. Then whomever did that should had: said so in an edit summary (there wasn't one), and perhaps uncommented the image and commented out the video. It could be fixed by others, as I suspect it's a problem over all of I suggest it be left alone for at least a day, unless someone is a wiki software expert. I did notice the imagemap problem after i did the revert, and assumed it was a temporary software problem and would be fixed. Lentower 00:36, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
I just reverted a change on the video template, which cured the bug. see Template talk:Video#bug in imagemap change. Lentower 00:50, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Historical revisionism[edit]

Hi Folks,

Someone's been doing some historical revisionism. I did not create "the basis" of the Open Source definition as suggested in a recent revision. I created the full document in its exact text. I created the Debian Free Software Guidelines first, and then there was the meeting at which Christine Petersen suggested the name "Open Source" that is referred to in OSI history - I was not there. The next day Eric Raymond called me and brought me in to the formation of OSI. I created the Open Source Definition by a simple removal of "Debian" and replacement with "Open Source" where appropriate. Really just a string substitution. The text stayed entirely the same.

As stated I did not make up the name. The folks at the meeting the day before I was involved did not participate again. - Bruce

My apologies. No revisionism was intended. Use of the passive voice there was an oversight on my part. TCC (talk) (contribs) 04:25, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Very well. Sorry for being so steamed, but the recent edits (some before yours) were getting rather far from reality. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:58, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Is vs Was[edit]

I changed the tense describing Bruce as a leader in the open-source community. He used to hold leadership positions in notable parts of the open-source community like OSI, Debian, etc., but it doesn't seem that he has positions of similar stature now. PuerExMachina (talk) 22:48, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

"Leader" is a peacock term in the first place. I've rewritten it to say "programmer and advocate", both of which he still is. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:00, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Yeh, but there are people who are programmer and advocates in their basement and no one's listening. We need to say something to indicate that he gets paid to travel around and newspapers print what he says. I do agree though that "leader" doesn't fit him so well. Influential? --Gronky (talk) 08:01, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
That's adequately covered over the course of the intro. There's no requirement to boil the entire article down to the first sentence. I don't even think "influential" is required: the Richard Stallman intro is well-written and gets away without it, and Stallman has certainly had more influence than Perens. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:30, 4 April 2008 (UTC)


About twice a year someone tries to add me to a "Jewish" category. FYI, I am a Secular Humanist with a European Jewish ethnic and cultural background. A practicing Jew would not in general consider me to be Jewish.

What the... ?[edit]

Quote "Perens is also a ham" Unquote

>_> I think someone had a good laugh with this typo.

Dwo shwoom (talk) 00:03, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

It's not a typo. "Ham" is slang for "amateur radio operator", although it is probably poor style. The plain English terminology should be used instead of jargon. — QuicksilverT @ 01:14, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Viewpoint section[edit]

Someone has added "and Raymond" to the sentence distinguishing Perens' views from Stallman's. Another sentence explains Raymond's views. Since I got here in an attempt to verify or debunk a claim that Raymond is notable primarily for self-publishing, I am not sure waht to do about this. I do begin to see the point. At a minimum, the first reference should give the full name and link to the Eric A. Raymond page. I question the relevance of Raymond's views in a section devoted to Perens', where they get half the content. Sure both were involved with the OSI, but Raymond has his own page already.Elinruby (talk) 20:03, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

BusyBox lawsuit[edit]

I edited the piece on the BusyBox lawsuit directly due to a false statement that needed to be cleared up. It said I oppose the suits, the reality is more nuanced. I am in general for the suits because I am for GPL enforcement. More generally, I am for compliance with the GPL by companies that use the software under it. Because Andersen and Landley, the two plaintiffs, did not choose to include me and did not allow SFLC to represent my interest, I have issues about the suits. But SFLC and I have come to an understanding, mostly because they no longer represent Landley and thus are able to discuss the issue with me as they could not previously. In my frustration about not being represented, I started consulting for the defendants, helping them to come into compliance and settle with SFLC. - Bruce

Infobox photo[edit]

It looks like he's about to puke in the current video thumbnail. Someone fix that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:54, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

It's a random frame from the video, automatically selected by the software. A better still image should be found and the video should be relocated elsewhere on the page, or merely mentioned as being available on Wikimedia Commons. — QuicksilverT @ 01:14, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to 7 external links on Bruce Perens. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

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N Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers. —cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 15:15, 25 August 2015 (UTC)