back to article FFS FSF, you're 35 already? Hands up if you just sprouted a gray hair or felt a craving for a Werthers Original on reading that. Happy birthday, folks

The Free Software Foundation turned 35 on Sunday, ushering in a week-long celebration of its user liberation efforts. Founded in 1985 by Richard Stallman (who was not-so-oddly absent* from the announcement), the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has its origins in the GNU Project and is all about opening up software for tinkering …

  1. druck Silver badge

    9th October Anniversary

    That's also my wedding anniversary, cloices, choices...*

    * No, not really.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: 9th October Anniversary

      It actually is my 14th wedding anniversary on the 9th October, thanks for reminding me.

      Now, should I send the link to the FSF so that she can celebrate with them?

      Or do you think she would prefer to go out for a meal?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: 9th October Anniversary

        You're brave by not posting anonymously!

        I keep forgetting the various dates deemed memorable by SWMBO. Somehow I don't forget the moments when she reminds me of them!

        Mine's the one with the box of chocolates in the pocket – can you remove the price tag?

        1. HildyJ Silver badge

          Re: 9th October Anniversary

          My wife's birthday and our anniversary are a few days apart. Thank Google for reminding me which is which and how long it's been. (After 33 years I've got to maintain a happy face on my own.)

          1. druck Silver badge

            Re: 9th October Anniversary

            My first son's birthday is the day after my wife's birthday, and my second son's is two days after my wedding anniversary. As the boys start counting down the days to go at least a month before hand, and are continually suggesting toys they want, I'm now very unlikely to forget either preceding event.

  2. Jan 0


    If you're an oldie in the UK, Werther's is a Johnny come lately. It has a much longer history in Germany and other parts of Europe. Did Werther's have any presence in anglophone countries when the FSF was founded?

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: Werthers?

      Quite. Mint Imperials were always the confectionery of choice for the older Briton.

      1. Dazed and Confused

        Re: Werthers?


        Back then it would have been Callard and Bowser, Butter-Scotch, Licorice Toffee or my favourite Old English Treacle Brittle.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Werthers?

          Don't forget Barley Sugar!

          I could kill for a bit of treacle! Got to get some in time for making parkin.

          1. Captain Hogwash

            Re: Don't forget Barley Sugar!

            I remember those more as something parents gave to children who felt car sick on long treks to visit grandparents.

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: Don't forget Barley Sugar!

              Yup - amazing how often we felt carsick!

              1. Tom 7 Silver badge

                Re: Don't forget Barley Sugar!

                We popped up to the lakes one afternoon after a massive spag boll for lunch. I got car sick and threw up a jumper!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Werthers?

          Not bad - but any Scot would want Highland Toffee bars!

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Werthers?

        I know I'm getting old and my remaining teeth are dodgy but mint imperials are like pebbles these days - I'm sure I could happily crunch them thirty years ago. For comparison I can quite happily crunch the hazel nuts that have escaped the squirrel bastards with their long tails and twitch noses.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Werthers?

      It's just an inferior form of butterscotch. What you really need is toffee sticky enough to remove fillings!

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Werthers?

        My grandparents (a long time ago) always had those big square humbugs, in a bowl on the sitting room table.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Werthers?

        Bonfire night used to involve making a whole variety of sugary treats. Properly made treacle toffee would remove filling from your teeth and make temporary door hinges. I remember watching something about the Cubans making some form of metal filler/glue from sugar and it brought to mind having to drink lava temperature hot chocolate in an attempt to melt your jaws apart. I was pleased to discover mulled cider with added vodka worked pretty well as I got older. Last time I went to the cinema I estimated I made over a thousand pounds worth of cinder toffee most bonfire nights!

    3. keith_w

      Re: Werthers?

      They have been available in Canada for a very long time. I don't particularly like them but my wife's family do.

  3. bombastic bob Silver badge

    Stallman's absence

    "Cancel Culture" notwithstanding, I'm both disappointed AND relieved at Stallman's absence.

    I disagree with Stallman on his rigid interpretation of what the GPL should be. Copy-left indeed, because if it intends to FORCE people, it is about as left as it can be.

    If the FSF is *truly* about freedom, free as in freedom, then MAXIMIZING freedom is what it should do. These alleged "license incompatibilities" between the GPL and MIT, BSD, and others, could simply be resolved by allowing for copyright statements to comply with the other licenses. Instead, GPLv3 emerged.

    I tend to 'dual license' my open source stuff, so that you can use a BSD-like or MIT-like license if you want, OR a GPLv2 or later license, YOUR CHOICE. [I got quite a bit over on github, easily found if you want it, lots of W.I.P. though]

    In many cases you need to have 'closed source' for at least some of the code, to protect a trade secret, to comply with legal regulations, and so on. BLOBs are often used for this in Linux kernel drivers. But it's my understanding tht GPLv3 *eliminates* that possibility. Also it was necessary to adapt the gcc library licensing to allow for linkage into closed-source applications, because [L]GPLv2 was ambiguous on this possibility, favoring the NON-publishing of source compiled with gcc as binary-only. Clang doesn't have this problem, just to mention. [nor does gcc any more, to my best understanding]

    So Stallman had a good idea, to make software open, and keep anything you license under GPL "open". it also attempts to drive ALL software into becoming "open" which is not practical, and shoots its own foot in the process. [but without Stallman directly driving, this may be improving]

    So if Stallman really IS "pro freedom", and wants software to be "free as in freedom", he shouldn't try to CONTROL things so much. And I think the FSF is doing that. Without him.

    (profit is good - it is NOT evil to make money! Who said that? *ME*)

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Stallman's absence

      > it also attempts to drive ALL software into becoming "open"

      That's basically Stallman's life goal though. Read up on how he started out. He's had to be rather unyielding and controlling because everyone wants some sort of compromise or easy way out.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Stallman's absence

      IANAL but the main purpose of GPL3 isn't to prevent blobs - it was to prevent somebody taking opensource code and using it in a product but locking it in such a way that you couldn't make changes.

      On the other point I agree that there should be MIT/BSD alongside GPL. Some important libraries I work on are popular because they aren't GPL and so can be used without getting corporate lawyers in a state.

      But I can see the point of having a "true believer" pushing for extreme freedom - if only to drag the others along. I suspect if all open source was BSD/MIT there would be a lot of internal corporate forks and very little sharing.

  4. cornetman Silver badge

    > He remains head of the GNU Project and has said his statements were mischaracterised.

    Yes indeed, agree wholeheartedly with the mainstream opinion or get your professional life destroyed.

    The cancel culture got into full swing for RMS, one of the more shameful episodes in computing history, a situation that I'm sure Turing would have some sympathy with.

    If I believed in conspiracy theories, I would suggest that someone had it in for him.

    I also heard someone accuse him of showing someone his office mattress: quite a common thing for dyed-in-the-wool nerds to have for those all-night coding sessions. You can imagine how that was dressed up.

    Absolutely disgraceful.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I once spent the best part of a week hosting Stallman in my home. His behaviour around women is very unsettling.

      1. jake Silver badge

        james_smith, that is what most people call "substantiated malicious rumo(u)r mongering". You should be ashamed of yourself.

        1. jake Silver badge


          unsubstantiated, that is.


        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I stand by my comment since it's based on my own genuine experience of the man in social settings. There are also other accounts of this behaviour that people have posted in a less anonymous manner.

      2. cornetman Silver badge

        From what I hear, he certainly is all round weird.

        Is he not on some kind of "scale" whether that be aspergers or whatever? Not really sure.

        Time was, lefties stood up for people that had disabilities/difficulties physical or mental and gave them some latitude. No longer. You fall foul of the opinion police, you can be ended by the crushing force of a million ignorant, uncaring voices.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I have Aspergers Syndrome, and his behaviour neither struck me as similar to mine or like any other form of autism that I have witnessed.

      3. jtaylor Bronze badge

        His behaviour around women is very unsettling.

        A friend worked with him briefly after university, some years ago. I didn't hear anything criminal, but apparently his behavior was a major feature of the workplace. She didn't stay long.

  5. jake Silver badge

    "S Club 7"


    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      S Club 7

      British pop band from yesteryear.


      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: S Club 7

        I kinda figured as much from the context. Ta.

        Went and looked, just out of curiosity. As far as music goes, its not even wrong.

        Mental note: Add "that was rhetorical" to this kind of thing in the future.

    2. cornetman Silver badge

      > "S Club 7"

      Indeed. More properly called S Club these days after Paul Cattermole left the band, although I think they have all gone their separate ways now.

      Actually I really liked the music, very positive. I still listen to some of it and I aint no teeny bopper.

    3. Ken Y-N

      I believe they are a popular beat combo, m'lud.

  6. Andy Mac

    There ain’t no party

    There ain’t no party like a Scat Club party. It doesn’t mean I want to go to one.

    (Happy birthday FSF)

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