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Interviews: Bruce Perens Answers Your Questions

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the listen-up dept.

Debian 224

A while ago you had the chance to ask programmer and open source advocate Bruce Perens about the future of open source, its role in government, and a number of other questions. Below you'll find his answers and an update on what he's doing now.Er...what's left in "open source" to talk about?
by xxxJonBoyxxx

Having lived through the entire lifecycle of "open source," it seems like its place in development communities and businesses is well-established, with a mix of different licensing and deployment models for whatever anyone wants to do. So...is there really anything interesting left in "open source" to talk about? (Software patents, maybe, but even that's picked up some case law.)

Perens: There's a lot to talk about, if you consider that “Open Source” is a way of introducing people to the ethos of Free Software as much as it is an economic and technical paradigm for software development. The ethos part of the job is hardly done.

There is always going to be a conflict of interest between a company's needs and your needs as a user or customer. Who has control? It should be you, rather than the company that made the software or a government that tells them what to put in it as the U.S. Government did with RSA Security.

Imagine the billions of dollars paid by companies that thought they were buying security while RSA had a clear conflict between the government's needs and those of the customer. Now, Heartbleed has shown us that there are some problems that don't have enough eyes, but I still can't think of any way to resolve the conflict-of-interest issue without giving everyone the right to read, modify, use, and redistribute software. A third-party can then audit and repair government-inserted security issues as Red Hat did by auditing GNU TLS and making their results and a patch public. If that same problem exists in proprietary systems – and I assure you it does – you can't see it, you can't fix it, you can't help yourself or others, and if others know something they can't help you. But we've not made much progress in selling that idea to the end-user.



State of the Union address / 16 this year
by Martin S.

The OSI is 16 this year and in many ways has experienced a difficult childhood but has grown stronger as a result. What challenges do you foresee for the future?

Perens: Please forgive me for interpolating your question a bit: the Open Source and Free Software movement are important to talk about, OSI the organization isn't. And of course Free Software is older than 16 years, it goes back to the genesis of software. We're still not where we need to be: to the point where everyone can run Free Software for every task, without the threat of litigation over patents, and without being locked in by digital rights management. Regarding Software Patents, we've backslid from the time that we were able to derail a thrust for a Pan-European unified software patent system. That's essentially happening without our objection now. Why? Because we're no longer seen as a movement for helping people and giving them control, we've positioned ourselves as merely an economic and software development paradigm. That was a bad move. Folks, pump up the philanthropic and helping-others aspects of what you do! You dis-empower yourselves and our movement when you fail to do so.

I think we've also backslid regarding DRM, as shown by the W3C accepting a DRM API into their standards process. Indeed, we've not made much progress regarding viewers and reader's rights to use any device, and to have a durable copy of their media that works today and forever because it isn't in some black-box format. A lot of us convert those Kindle books to open formats on the sly, just to preserve them for the future. We should be able to do that in the bright light of day without fear. Or we should not have to do it.

I have been encouraged by the Science Fiction writers. Very many of them refrain from use of DRM these days. Their revenues don't suffer. Neither did the revenues of my own book series. Unfortunately, readers other than the Sci-Fi market don't know what to ask for. Can we tell them convincingly?

I think we all need to think about what we're doing with our lives and how we can help improve electronic freedom for everyone. Together we have the power, we're just not using it.



Automation Technology Displacing Tomorrows Worker
by SethJohnson

I'd like to know your perspective on the future need for programmers while automation technology continues to displace workers in many industries.

Perens: I don't oppose automation displacing people from their jobs, but for a reason you might not expect. Human beings are demeaned when they perform “mechanical” tasks for their employment. They are not machines! Whether picking fruit or stock in a warehouse, People are not enriched by doing it and it does not exercise their unique capabilities as thinking entities. So, I'll ask a different question: When we can automate so much, why is it still necessary for so many to do the most demeaning sort of work just to feed, shelter, and clothe their families? Our society needs to move those people into rewarding work instead of the demeaning mechanical sort. We do a very good job at generating obscene amounts of wealth for a few while too many suffer. What are you doing about that?

Regarding whether programmers will be automated out of a job:
Once “computer” was a job title for people who did math all day, and the automation that so completely replaced them in that job was called an “electronic computer”. Those people moved on to other jobs, often as programmers.

What about the future need for programmers? There was a big, government-funded scientific research project to develop “automatic programming”. It produced what we today call the “compiler”. It reduced the price of programming, but that actually increased the demand for programmers.

The job market for programmers will dry up when all of the programs that a mass of people would ever desire have been written and perfected, regardless of how automated our tools become and how powerful future computers may be. I'm not sure that such an end of need is a possible condition. It's sort of like saying that there will be no further need for horse coach designers once the coach is perfected. We stopped needing what we could imagine in the 1830's, and went on to something else.

If we ever arrive at artificial general intelligence, we may obsolete human beings as no more than an evolutionary step on the way to something else. But that is only one of many possible futures, and not an impending one.



Obamacare
by MouseTheLuckyDog

Should the software used for Obamacare be open source. I don't just mean the website, but also things like the software controlling pharmaceuticals, X-rays, MRI, maintaining health records etc. ?

Perens: Allow me a slight diversion to talk about Obamacare. My wife, son, and I have each individually been denied private health insurance although we're healthy, for what is essentially medical trivia. One insurance company rejected us on the grounds of my son having a certain medical test, even though he passed it. I own my one-man company, and until this year had no way to provide my family with insurance. Fortunately for us my wife was able to get it through her employer, but we would have been sunk if she had lost her job.

I think Obamacare will do one really big thing that truly scares the Republican Party. It will free up millions of smart people to be self-employed, who formerly stayed in the corporate world. These folks are in their 40's and 50's, have families to take care of, but previously could not reliably get insurance on their own. The small-business revolution will come not because these people actually buy care through an exchange rather than getting it through a spouse's employer, but because they know that they can get it when they need it.

The small business revolution that Obamacare drives will create disruptive technology and thus economic churn as income moves from older established companies to more new ones. This shift from mega-business to smaller business erodes the Republican money base, and that's why the Republican Party must kill Obamacare at all costs, regardless of the damage to their own people.

Now, what about the software that is used for “safety of life and property” applications? This isn't just health systems under Obamacare, it's the stuff that operates elevators, aircraft and air traffic control, your automobile, anything where a failure can hurt people.

Karen Sandler does a great talk about this called “Unchain my Heart”. She has an implanted pacemaker due to cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart), and was justifiably reluctant to have one with proprietary software implanted.

There is no question that software failures have killed people going back to Therac-25 and probably earlier, and will continue to do so.

Software that is in life-and-property-critical applications should be disclosed. It can have all of the power of copyright protection, but it should be possible to audit it. Everyone should be able to discuss its issues, with quotes of the applicable source code as needed, on-line and under public view. If the security of your Bluetooth-enabled pacemaker is a crock (as embedded software so often is), we should be able to tell you about it, and get something done.

My experience is that people code better when the whole world is looking over their shoulder.



Credit for the OSS movement
by Anonymous Coward

Some years ago, around 2006, I attended a talk from Eric S. Raymond at a venue large enough to accommodate his massive ego and still leave room for attendees. He informed that he had essentially given HP their Open Source strategy. Your name was not mentioned once. I am curious what were your discussions like at HP during your time there, specifically in regards to the ideals of Free Software versus Open Source. My question specifically: What legal and financial hurdles and impacts, if any, did HP (and other companies) face when deciding between Open Source and Free Software models? I.e., what proprietary assets/IP could not be completely "freed"? What were the savings/costs associated with the decisions?

Perens: At some point I accumulated enough credit for achievements that it became unnecessary to fight over it :-) . But I am hardly without flaws. Most visible might be that I want to get things done and don't mind trampling others if that's what it takes. I try to keep my ego down enough so that I get through those narrow doors.

The worst problems I saw at HP had little to do with Open Source. What I remember most was the sadness. There were and are many smart people there, and so many of us were conscious that the company was in a sort of death spiral and that we couldn't do anything about it. The “pretexting” scandal was to the discredit of the board, the general counsel actually took the 5th in front of Congress on national television! Carly (the CEO) asked all of the employees to take a voluntary pay cut in the same month that she and other Board officers sold tens of Millions of dollars of HP stock. I remember my boss (a Section Manager, now the CTO) announcing at a meeting that an employee had gotten a “Reinvention Memo”. That meant lay-off, a sarcastic re-framing of HP's “Reinvent” motto that showed how even upper managers like him were in despair. There was a series of ill-advised acquisitions of second-best or declining companies that HP failed to turn around, and then sold for cents on the dollar two years after acquiring them. The Compaq merger put the company at the very top of a business with vanishingly-small margins.

There was one really bad day that I guess is safe to talk about now, more than 10 years later, because the information is already in the public and thus no longer subject to NDA: Microsoft showed HP their plans to sue the Open Source projects for the Linux Kernel, Samba, Sendmail, and a list of other projects. Someone immediately shot me an HP VP's memo recounting that meeting and concluding that we should back off of Open Source before the lawsuits started. When I passed it to my boss, I was told to keep it quiet. But I was hired to be an Open Source community leader first, and an HP officer second, and keeping quiet about that meant betraying the Open Source developer community. I just hated that and it poisoned my involvement with HP.

Microsoft eventually used SCO as a proxy to achieve what it disclosed to HP that day. I'd been warned long before that happened, and could do nothing until SCO announced their damaging but ultimately unsuccessful jihad against Linux.

What I think is worth remembering about HP is that it was once the great tech company that people wanted to work for, as Apple or Google might be for many today. I think a lot of what made it great left with Agilent. The Test and Measurement business was a low-volume, high-margin business that required lots of too-highly-paid old smart people who worked in expensive labs in Palo Alto, California. That became the most costly place to do anything largely due to HP's own success. But Test and Measurement was also the brain-trust of the company, and lent its creativity to all of HP's other aspects. So we lost a lot, I think, when Agilent was spun off of HP.

HP's problem regarding Open Source and Linux was that systems running Linux competed with other HP lines running HP-UX or Microsoft, and HP was structured as Organizational Silos. Each line had its own sales-people, and different lines competed with each other for the same customer. HP-9000 folks were always complaining because Linux undercut HP-UX and thus HP-9000, as were folks who sold Microsoft Windows systems based on x86. If I said anything in the press about Open Source or Linux, a customer would ask one of those single-line sales-people about it, and it would come back to my boss as a complaint rather than a sales opportunity.

HP was always to some extent in Microsoft's pocket, although they were also aware that Microsoft had screwed them and would continue to do so. HP de-emphasized further development of the HP 9000 hardware because Microsoft had told them in the late 80's that they were soon to have an enterprise-quality NT. HP believed it, but MS failed to deliver for a decade. That lost HP Billions while Sun Microsystems took the engineering workstation market from HP. The HP officer who made that decision of course went on to be a Microsoft executive.

What we did achieve at HP was a good process for deciding what to do with Open Source when individual opportunities came up. If you wanted to incorporate Open Source in a product, or you had a business reason to Open Source something, we resolved the legal issues, the community issues, we even handled some security aspects and achieved a reasonable level of reuse. That could all be achieved by middle managers. So, everybody in the company knew that it was OK to use Open Source, but there was a process you had to go through. It wasn't particularly expensive, it did sometimes sink multiple days of some engineer in doing paperwork, but that's just due diligence and we ended up on a better legal footing when we used Open Source than otherwise.

There were things we decided not to Open Source because there was no good business reason for doing so. We weren't UNICEF, so there had to be a business reason for everything. There were times when legacy customers would have gained benefit if we brought one of HP's nine legacy operating systems to Open Source, but untangling the proprietary software that originated with third parties from the rest was too difficult. There were a few times when it was decided not to Open Source a legacy product because we were afraid that IBM might use it to sell their hardware against ours. Once that happened with a system that had only 5000 existing customers, and it would have been better for the customers for HP to open it but the decision – not mine – was not to do so.

I've since helped other companies start their own internal Open Source Process, and still do so today.

What we never achieved within HP, what I never had the power to do, was: to get HP to completely stand behind any innovative product regardless of what that meant for old-line products, to make innovation the #1 job of the company, and to grow a brand-new company from the old one every year that they were in business. They needed to embrace disruptive technologies as a pioneer rather than have the disruption done to HP by competitors. I think they tried to kill the Silo organizational structure after I left, I don't know how successful that was.



Q3 for BP
by postbigbang

What are your five biggest fears for safety on the Internet today, and where do you believe responsible admins should put their efforts for those five?

Perens: Centralization: too much depends on too few companies. It's not entirely a matter of architecture, it's a matter of getting customers to distribute themselves. So maybe it's a social engineering problem to a great extent.

Conflict of interest: Back to those companies again. They are operating your internet infrastructure, and their interest isn't yours. I found out today that my kid's school is using Turnitin. The problems with that are well covered at Wikipedia. We need a way to provide sustainable infrastructure that works for the customer, instead of exploits them. I'm for non-profit common carriers and services, using Open Source.

Politics: we still don't have much of a footing, despite our numbers, and even our wealth! We need to get more of the people we listen to and admire into elected offices, and in communications regulators like ITU and FCC. Way too much of the leadership there is from the exploitation side.

Privacy: I am afraid we're going to shoot ourselves in the foot pursuing it. We're rapidly heading for a locked-down Internet as IETF pushes for an HTTPS-only web. From there it's only a very short step to certified browsers, user digital signature requirements, Open Source and anonymity both locked out of the system. Yes, the metadata thing is unsettling, but we also have to be clear that we employ spies to work for our country and to help protect us, and they have an important job to do. We need to work on the politics of regulation and oversight of our nation's espionage rather than the nerd approach, which is to attempt to treat a social problem as a bug in the network software.

Economics: If OpenSSL had been dual-licensed AGPL3 and commercial, we would probably not have Heartbleed. There would have been money from its commercial users. Imagine companies like Intuit using OpenSSL and not giving much back to its maintenance at all! That was a mistake. IMO dual-licensing has a bad reputation because of MySQL, and also because some folks at Red Hat have promoted against it. We need to revisit it.



Moderation
by symbolset

Do you find your views on blended/mixed license models evolving over time? Is it time to lay down the pitchforks some of the time?

Perens: PR isn't really a pitchfork. It's always been about people who are calling something Open Source when it is not. Not against mixed models. If you want to have something that has some community participation and doesn't meet the Open Source Definition, don't call it Open Source or Free Software and nobody will pursue you with pitchforks. We may continue to say our way is better, but that's fair.

In that vein, keep in mind that Creative Commons is not Open Source. A few, actually a minority, of creative commons licenses are. About the only right that all Creative Commons licenses have in common is the right to read.



Open source HARDWARE
by unixisc

What are your views on Open source hardware? Is it as important as open source software, or less important, or not important at all?

Perens: Let's please call it Open Hardware, in the interest of simplicity and good marketing. Unless you are interested in calling it Free-Libre Open Source Hardware or FLOSSHW. I bet there's somebody that silly.

I think it's important. But there's an important thing we should be aware of about Open Hardware. It's backwards in a way. Richard Stallman's Free Software movement opposed software being copyrighted. Copyright does not, for the most part, apply to hardware designs because they are functional (read about CAI v. Altai to understand this). Patents apply to hardware designs, but most Open Hardware designers never pursue a patent on their designs. What then do they license to others?

It turns out that we have a group of people at CERN, and one of my favorite lawyers and Yahoo, and even me, trying to add restrictions to something that is, for the most part, already in the public domain. And it came to me that this was backwards, and that we could be working against our own interest that way.

We all get to use the vast body of electronic designs that we've read about in magazines since the dawn of ham radio. Now, imagine if those were suddenly copyrighted and under enforceable licenses.

The problem is that when we start licensing things that are actually in the public domain, we create norms that the courts take seriously. And they start enforcing licenses on things that could not be licensed before. We really can write new law when what we do gets to a court case, and we want to be careful what law that is. If we were responsible for taking hardware designs from public domain to copyrighted status, we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot.

So, for a while I was uncomfortable with my own Open Hardware evangelism. Was I doing the right thing? I think I've worked out the right path now and will be warning the community about this issue.

There's also a lot of confusion about how effective Open Hardware licenses are. If you make a 3D printer and you think your license keeps other people from manufacturing copies, sorry! It does not protect your design unless you have filed patents. Copyright won't do it. It might keep people from selling the plans, but not the devices.

We also have a bunch of people who use “CC BY-NC” licenses on their designs and then call it Open Source Hardware! Funny how eager they are to call it “Open Source” and then they don't even follow the rules of Open Source. Open Source includes the right to use in any way. If it's “no commercial use allowed” like CC BY-NC, it's not Open Source.

So, there's room for a lot of education there.



Re:How do we address the weaknesses of Open Source
by Tiger4

More to the point, how do you reply to the criticism and practice that Open Source is worthless because there is no company to back it? I run into this all the time. First, no one stop shop to get tech support from if we have trouble. Second, No company to go after for liability. Third, no company to maintain regular bugfixes and general currency and freshness. We don't have a policy against Open Source, we just have a standard the vast majority of (perfectly adequate) software can never meet.

Perens: Well, I bet your employer doesn't do as well as Google. Or any number of companies that make money hand over fist while using an Open Source infrastructure. So, I thought I could stop evangelizing on this issue. But maybe not.

Having a shop to get tech support from is important. But you guys are kidding yourselves if you think there isn't one. Even IBM will do that. Indeed, they make a great deal of money implementing and maintaining solutions that are glued-together Open Source programs for the most part.

Or is it that you want a different company for every different program, like in the proprietary world. That's not so nice when you have to use them, is it? You spend the day trying to convince them that their product is broken and having to deal with them pointing fingers at each other rather than fixing your problem. Sometimes it's nicer when one contractor really can fix all of the pieces. How do you do that without Open Source?

The liability issue is a red herring. How often have you actually sued a software provider and collected all of your damages and court costs? Many of them would go bankrupt first. I am an expert witness on some of those cases, and they cost so much to fight that you lose even if you win.

But there are the big vendors like Microsoft, you're safe with them because they have the cash, right? How often do you hear of a customer actually collecting court costs and damages from them? Go read your EULA.

If you actually want liability that works, you need the vendor to provide insurance-backed support for your individual account. That means the insurance policy covers your account, not their other 10,000 customers, and it persists with you as the beneficiary if the vendor goes away. Most companies aren't willing to pay for that.

Regarding regular bug-fixes and freshness, this is another thing that it's difficult to get for proprietary software. Do you really know what the bugs are and if they are being fixed? I bet that information is a trade secret. This is an area in which it's easier to work with Open Source.

Again, I didn't think I still had to make this sale. Usually, the companies that think they don't use Open Source these days really do, it's just that engineering hasn't told management. I get called in to help the managers make policy when they find out.



Gun Ownership
by Tenebrousedge

You are on record as being rather firmly against private ownership of firearms. Frankly, I thought this extremity of anti-gun zealotry was a Republican myth, a straw man used to rile the rabble. I understand that people in less civilized territories will on rare occasion use guns for murder and atrocity, I am not aware of this impulse being a general hazard of gun ownership.

I'm from Alaska. All the people that I know who have guns have only ever used them for hunting. I'm less sympathetic to those who can acquire an alternate hobby besides shooting, but there are yet many places where hunting is a means of subsistence. I've known many people to bow-hunt, but I suspect if your dinner depended on your marksmanship you might prefer the more effective instrument. Does your plan involve screwing hunters as well as the millions of other lawful citizens?

Originally we are a revolutionary state, and I believe the People yet preserve the right to revolution. Furthermore, Mao was right about the origins of political power: violence is the defining characteristic of government. Do you believe that the 'tree of liberty' is no longer hematophagic? Else, by what means are we intended to obtain and keep self-governance?


Perens: I'll start by calling B.S. on your dialogue above. The existence of disapproval of the private ownership of firearms isn't a “Republican myth” unless you have never heard of the United Kingdom, where – the horrors! - private ownership of handguns and the like is not allowed. You should get out of the county sometime. Indeed, you'd have to be living in Plato's cave to be ignorant of Lincoln, the Kennedys, Martin Luther King and his mom, poor congressperson Giffords deprived of part of her brain and the power of speech, and 11,000 firearm murders in the U.S. every year. So thanks for taking advantage of my interview to give a little deceptive speech rather than just ask a question.

The last time I was in Denali, where 1000 pound grizzly bears would walk right in front of me down the main shopping street in town, I felt the urge to carry some large-bore repeating rifle. Not that it's easy to stop a grizzly. But I understand that out in the boonies, it's different than it is in Oakland.

There's a crime scene with some teenager shot dead a short drive from where I live, almost any evening. And unfortunately there is no shortage of people who decide to find a dozen innocent folks, often kids, to snuff before they take their own lives or persuade a cop to do it for them.

What of my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when every nut-case seems to have been issued sufficient automatic weaponry to cut all that I love right out of this world?

I don't have firearms in my home, and my kid doesn't get more than a BB-gun to plink targets with, because I don't trust myself to be 100% sane for every moment of the rest of my life. People aren't built that way.

I learned that from my dad. He killed some Nazi soldiers and brought home a Luger, with the firing pin carefully removed and destroyed. So we had an authentic human trophy in the house, but not one that would fire. Dad was a reserve and was activated for both WWII and Korea. He had a Purple Heart, a bravery medal, and a panel chock full of campaign ribbons. But he wouldn't trust himself to be 100% sane for the rest of his days and keep a functional firearm at home.

Each society decides on the balance between liberty and protecting the weak from the strong. My problem with firearms is that they make you too strong for the safety of the people around you, and you are not capable of rationally wielding that strength throughout every moment of your life. People do break, and when they do, things happen for which every one of us should be sorry. So yes, I do believe the balance as it exists in the United States today is wrong. If you are not a subsistence hunter and you don't face ursus arctos and maritimus when you take out the garbage, I would indeed have you disable your weapons by leading the barrel, which is a more permanent means of disabling a firearm than just removing the firing pin.

In Jefferson's time, when individuals working together could fight off a regiment, individual ownership of firearms was an implicit limit on the power of the state. No longer can any number of people weigh their armor against that of a modern military, rather than pick at its edges dishonorably with IEDs. The Tree of Liberty today is renewed by the blood of journalists, not marksmen.

I grew up reading Heinlein, like so many of us, and was captured by the romantic image of the armed freeholder. R.A.H. didn't bother to preface his stories with any mention that he was a failure as a miner and too sickly for most of his life to survive without society's protection. For him, those stories were wish-fulfillment. Heinlein invented some aspects of modern warfare (his contribution to the Operations Room or CIC is most cited), further arming society against the individual and killing his own dream for good if it wasn't dead already.

Perhaps there are real freeholders protecting their rights with their guns somewhere, but mostly there are fat old guys with a 300-channel cable TV package and some freeholder fantasy going. Kids don't have to die for the sake of some old fart's toys.

It's damn past time that the anti-firearm folks got as much lobbying power as the NRA. There are enough of us. Count me in if you can make that work.

Thanks for the interview, folks!



Perens: I'd like to tell people what I'm up to this year.

At the moment, I'm CEO of a startup called Algoram. We make a power-efficient mobile software-defined-radio transceiver, which is to dual-licensed Open Hardware and commercial with some tricks that let us both be Open and preserve our revenue, and we're building dual-licensed Open Source and commercial software for digital radio communications. The radio can use any modulation on frequencies of 50 to 1000 MHz, although it's not made for spread-spectrum. Its major market will be commercial and municipal two-way radio, where they don't particularly want Open Source, but hams are experimenters and their Open Source development helps us.

A partner and I have funded the company out-of-pocket through getting our first product working. It's better to ask for venture funding when you already have something to sell.

I'm also operating my consulting firm to pay the bills. I work with law firms and companies that need help with Open Source. Sometimes they need policy and processes, some have been GPL violators who need a path to compliance. I am the bridge between law and engineering, explaining each side to the other, training engineers to identify legal problems in software and work with attorneys effectively, rewriting part of a customer's product to cure an infringement. I get to do good (by helping companies to comply with Free Software licenses) and pay the bills too.

I'm not doing the Free Software Evangelist job very much this year. Taking a break after working on this since about 1991 feels good. I haven't changed what I believe, but I won't be traveling much for Free Software conferences in 2014 and I've turned off a lot of writing and mailing-list participation. I will be back to that, but right now I'm focused on running a company and making something new.

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Do you interview this guy every month? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47222869)

It seems whenever I visit slashdot there's yet another Bruce Perens interview.

Ironically I still have no idea who he is.

Re:Do you interview this guy every month? (-1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a month and a half ago | (#47222919)

Any article/interview from Bruce Perens can be summed up thusly:

"Bruce Perens, who loves Bruce Perens, thinks that Bruce Perens Bruce Perens Bruce Perens Bruce Perens, and also Bruce Perens. Of course, Bruce Perens also thinks Bruce Perens is so Bruce Perens that Bruce Perens Bruce Perens.

Signed: Bruce Perens"

To be fair, the guy is often interesting if you ignore his personality. But he's SO conceited and full of himself, I have a hard time divorcing the message and the messenger.

Re:Do you interview this guy every month? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223167)

So says one of Slashdork's biggest trolls.

Re:Do you interview this guy every month? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223241)

Yes, brilliant people are often "full of themselves".

Putting down brilliant people gives those with mediocre intellects something to do ...

Re:Do you interview this guy every month? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223853)

<FrankCalliendoAsJohnMadden>
Bruce Perens is the greatest Bruce Perens in the history of Bruce Perens
</FrankCalliendoAsJohnMadden>

Gun Rights (4, Funny)

Major Blud (789630) | about a month and a half ago | (#47222883)

"but mostly there are fat old guys with a 300-channel cable TV package"

That's a fine description of Eric S. Raymond.

Re:Gun Rights (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a month and a half ago | (#47222911)

Any description of ESR that doesn't involve a lawfully carried, safely handled weapon cannot be called "fine".

Re:Gun Rights (1)

Major Blud (789630) | about a month and a half ago | (#47222933)

It was a joke, but I'm wondering if Bruce includes ESR in that description.

Re:Gun Rights (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223055)

Ah, oh.

Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1, Insightful)

mfwitten (1906728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47222909)

Bruce, there's a reason why the gun is called The Great Equalizer.

Indeed, in the grand scheme, you are suggesting that we take guns out of the hands of the individual, and put them solely in the hands of the State; that sounds like a transfer of power from the Weak to the Strong...

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0, Flamebait)

HBI (604924) | about a month and a half ago | (#47222951)

Surprise surprise, left wing ideologues hate self-reliance. News at 11.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223125)

Did you pave your own road this morning? Hunted your breakfast? Mined your own minerals to make your guns?

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223649)

Self-reliance is not about who built the infrastructure you use... We all pay for that in some way, so the self-reliance portion is that we can afford to do so, not that we actually physically went out and did it.

But in relation to the commentary..."When seconds count, the police are minutes away." Self-reliance dictates that one has to have some way of buying themselves and their family those few minutes. Doesn't matter if that's a firearm, a panic room, or some other form of personal defense. For the vast majority of people, the firearm is the most cost-effective way (aside from being relatively low-cost, it is also a useful tool for other scenarios, such as hunting).

My opinion: When the professionals arrive, I'll let them handle it. Until then, who else is going to do it if not me?

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2)

Lennie (16154) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224257)

The problem is, the US already has, many, many firearms in the general population so it is hard to change the policy. Because it might have the opposite affect.

But in many countries around the world, there are very few firearm incidents. Because people don't have them.

The problem with firearms is they are really effective and thus very deadly. Which means every time there is a problem there are a lot more deaths when firearms are involved.

Now: if you look at the trends in these other coutries where the general population has no firearms, the number of criminals with firearms _might be_ on the rise. Not much though. These firearms usually originate from countries at war. The obvious solution is to solve that problem. :-)

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2, Insightful)

Maxwell (13985) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223019)

When the constitution was written the Weak (US residents) taking on the Strong state (the British crown) *was* a very real concern. It made sense then, it does't make as much sense now. Unless of course you plan on taking on 'the state' (United states military).

Every gun used in a crime in America was purchased legally by a Law Abiding Gun Owner. Every. Single. One. Law Abiding Gun Owners have clearly demonstrated they are not capable of self regulation, and thus need to be better regulated.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (4, Insightful)

tompaulco (629533) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223089)

Law Abiding Gun Owners have clearly demonstrated they are not capable of self regulation, and thus need to be better regulated.

No. Criminals have proven that they are not capable of self-regulation or outside regulation and no amount of regulatory burden on the law abiding will stop that.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2)

Albanach (527650) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224023)

no amount of regulatory burden on the law abiding will stop that.

How many mass shootings has the UK experienced since they banned ownership of handguns?

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224125)

Indeed. The failure of various American gun-control schemes counts for something, but the relative success abroad counts for quite a bit as well.

Of course, there's also weight in the predictable counter-point: that gun-control isn't everything, and America is generally quite violent, not just in terms of guns.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224495)

What success? The UK is an island, in case you didn't notice. Australia is too. It's much easier to prevent the smuggling of contraband (like weapons) into an island than into a country with vast, undefended borders.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224185)

How many mass shootings has the UK experienced since they banned ownership of handguns?

So work on an Amendment repealing the Second Amendment. Noone's going to stop you from trying to get things changed.

But don't pretend it doesn't exist because it offends your sense of rightness. It's there, deal with it. Either by accepting it or repealing it.

Oh, and good luck with that. I'm pretty sure you'll have about as much luck as trying to repeal the First Amendment, but that's your business....

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1, Interesting)

Nimey (114278) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224091)

Therefore we should have no laws, because criminals would just ignore them anyway.

It's utterly predictable that Slashdot glommed onto the gun question and is ignoring everything else Bruce had to say.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

tompaulco (629533) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224605)

Perhaps he should have refrained from talking about political hotbuttons and instead talked about open source.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223281)

Every single car driven by a drunk driver has been legally owned by someone at some point. Every. Single. One. Law abiding car owners have clearly demonstrated they are not capable of self regulation, and thus need to be better regulated.
 
Every single computer used for child pornography has been legally owned by someone at some point in time. Every. Single. One. Law abiding computer owners have clearly demonstrated they are not capable of self regulation, and thus need to be better regulated.
 
Every single knife used in a murder was legally owned by someone at some point. Every. Single. One. Law abiding knife owners have clearly demonstrated they are not capable of self regulation, and thus need to be better regulated.
 
See! I can play that game too!

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223401)

What's the other use of a legal hand gun? Hunting pigeon, hammering nails, switching off the television?

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2)

morgauxo (974071) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223679)

Self defense. It IS still legal to shoot someone who is threatening to do the same to yourself. Fortunately it is rarely necessary. Simply being seen to have a weapoin is enough to diffuse most situations.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (3, Insightful)

TopherC (412335) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223991)

Do you have personal experience with this? Are there any data on that? How many lives are saved per year by the threat of gun violence?

In the absence of a study, imagine a world in which every citizen (maybe older than, say, the legal driving age) is carrying a firearm. Imagine the major population centers like NYC where the statistics would matter. Would there be fewer gun-related deaths in that world than in ours? I can't see it that way. I would feel safer in a world where people are more encouraged to deal with conflict in a nonviolent way.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2)

swillden (191260) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224175)

Target shooting, competitive shooting, hunting and self-defense are other legal uses of handguns.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223341)

Uh, where's your source data for that? That's an extraordinary claim considering the 10's of thousands of so-called "gun crimes" that happen in the U.S. every year (this includes any crime where a gun was possessed by the perpetrator, not just shootings). Where's your extraordinary evidence?

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223351)

Fuck you dipshit

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223447)

I've come to believe that it may be time to go back to the Founder's Second Amendment interpretation: the US Military, excepting the Coast Guard and National Guard, as it exists today is unconstitutional and if you want to own a gun, serve time in you state's National Guard Post.

Re: Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223995)

Except I am pretty sure they funded an Army and Navy through Congress and included that within federal oversight.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224513)

The National Guard didn't exist until the 20th century. The Founders didn't envision such a thing. If you want to go back to what the original Constitution allowed, you need to just have state militias.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Kuberz (3568651) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223551)

Lol how the hell did you get bumped to 5? I guess /. doesn't have as many intelligent people as I previously thought.

Yes, MOST guns used in crimes in America were legally purchased, but what you failed to mention is that almost all of them were illegally stolen. /sigh

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223645)

I have a friend that lives in RURAL North Carolina, the nearest police station is over an hour away. She has drug dealers living near by, that while they leave her and her kids alone, their CUSTOMERS are not always so "polite". The police have made arrests and there have been convictions, but still the problem persists. When there is a problem she can call the cops and wait for them to show up, 45 minuets minimum to over an hour depending on where the single patrol car is at the time she calls. A few months ago, there was a knock at her door around 2 am. It was someone that had come to the wrong house, insisting she sell them drugs and attempted to force their way in to her home. The sound of her son racking a round in to her father's old 12 ga shotgun was enough to discourage them and they finally went away. It might have gotten VERY ugly had it not been for that old shotgun. Oh and the .38 revolver she was holding behind her back. Emergency - call police!!! Yeah they might have gotten there in time to clean up the mess but to help? Doubtful. Take away her firearms - take away her only real means to defend herself? Yeah right... oh and those of you that say let her move, that land has been in her family for generations, so why should she? Is her case unique? I doubt it. We that live in an urban settings, may forget that large portions of this country AREN'T and police are not always minutes away.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2)

morgauxo (974071) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223663)

>>Every gun used in a crime in America was purchased legally by a Law Abiding Gun Owner. Every. Single. One.

Umm... No. Many of them aren't even legal to own and therefore could not possibly be purchased legally.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224209)

Many of them aren't even legal to own and therefore could not possibly be purchased legally.

Citation?

I'm sure there were guns smuggled illegally into the country and then sold, but off the top of my head, I can't think of a single gun used criminally in the last several years that weren't perfectly legal to own.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47224191)

Every gun used in a crime in America was purchased legally by a Law Abiding Gun Owner. Every. Single. One. Law Abiding Gun Owners have clearly demonstrated they are not capable of self regulation, and thus need to be better regulated.

Not Every.Single.One. Not the 3-D printed gun I have under my pillow. I made that one myself.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223023)

More generally, taking away everyone's guns merely because some people abuse them is a great injustice; it's just collective punishment. Such a thing should not be done unless we're talking about WMDs.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223159)

Why shouldn't the weak get WMDs, why does only the government (the strong) get to arm itself with nuclear weapons? So the idea is "people can protect themselves with weapons, but not the really powerful ones?"

And who makes the determination that a weapon is too powerful for an individual? The government? Why shouldn't each individual himself be allowed to decide how powerful of a weapon get gets? If I want to arm myself with a few grenades, a bazooka, and some C4, why should some Washington bureaucrat tell me I can't?

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223301)

So the idea is "people can protect themselves with weapons, but not the really powerful ones?"

The idea is, "Individuals should be able to own any weapon they want, except for ones that are capable of causing mass destruction in a typical use case."

There is a line, and normal weapons just don't cross it.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223443)

And the government gets to decide which weapons are "normal." Convenient.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223603)

No, that's not my proposal at all. Stop being obtuse. You know very well what I mean by "normal." I do not think the government should be able to arbitrarily decide these things when it's convenient; I believe it should be spelled out as clearly as possible in a new amendment in the constitution.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47224265)

Are automatic weapons normal? Are armor-piercing bullets normal? Are small explosives normal? Are sonic weapons normal? Why does the government get to decide?

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47224289)

Are automatic weapons normal? Are armor-piercing bullets normal? Are small explosives normal? Are sonic weapons normal?

Weapons capable of causing thousands of deaths per use can be banned. Even that is unclear. If you're expecting a 100% exact definition, you won't find it anywhere.

Why does the government get to decide?

The government decides many things, yet I don't see you angry about that. It's not an all-or-nothing scenario, and even a bit of ambiguity can be better than the alternatives.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223131)

Indeed, in the grand scheme, you are suggesting that we take guns out of the hands of the individual, and put them solely in the hands of the State; that sounds like a transfer of power from the Weak to the Strong...

Whereupon the firearms become the "Great UnEqualizers" as it turns criminals on both sides of the law to a greater extant into empowered bullies. It will never be that only the State will have firearms as they have even been manufactured by prisoners within prison walls as well as snuck in.

That old bumper sticker still holds true: " When you Outlaw guns, then only Outlaws will have guns! "

Transfer of Power extends beyond the State at that point.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223165)

I'm pro-2nd Amendment, but at least I understand BP's arguments.
He's saying:

1, That ship has sailed; it's physically impossible for armed Americans to defeat state tyranny.
2. The everyday danger of guns is to great too keep pretending 1 is wrong.

I disagree, but I understand.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1, Flamebait)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223173)

Do you really think a gun levels the playing field between you and the government? Even if there were 10,000 people with rifles trying to take on the state they would be crushed easily. The biggest concern of the military would be trying to look good like the good guys to the media.

It's a trade off. Citizens become more equal with each other, but very very slightly less equal with the state (since the state already has vastly more power). You would be better off giving up the right to own most types of guns in exchange for re-instatement of the constitution and real reforms to the structure of government. Instead of making it an arms race that you have already lost make it an opportunity to get something valuable.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223345)

10,000? LOLZZ!!! There's nearly 100 million gun owners in the US. Studies done by the armed forces have already shown that some of those in the military will turn on their own government if it came down to revolution.
 
  You would be better off giving up the right to own most types of guns in exchange for re-instatement of the constitution and real reforms to the structure of government.
 
Wow. Just wow. The founding fathers are spinning in their graves over talk like this. Rights are now bargaining chips for working out deals with the government? I wonder where the US would be today if Washington and company thought anything even half as stupid as that. What you're talking about is appeasing the powers that be. It has never worked for any real length of time in history.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223701)

>>You would be better off giving up the right to own most types of guns in exchange for re-instatement of the constitution and real reforms to the structure of government

Since when was that offer on the table?

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223883)

LOL, 10,000. There are 10K gun owners in the small rural region where I grew up. There are easily millions in the state of Ohio alone. As for being crushed easily, I seem to recall something about a revolution consisting of a bunch of rag-tag farmers defeating the largest military superpower in the world about 230 years ago...

Not that I'm advocating anything about revolution. But strange and uninformed comments such as the above are almost impossible to ignore. I'm surely stereotyping but it seems to many of those in favor of draconian gun control are either uninformed about the typical legal US firearms owner, uninformed about the onset and outcomes of revolutions, or both.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224021)

seem to recall something about a revolution consisting of a bunch of rag-tag farmers defeating the largest military superpower in the world about 230 years ago...

To prevail, those "ragtag farmers" depended on French aid, Prussian mercenaries, and dirty tricks like burning down the houses of anyone who wouldn't sign up to their rebellion (much of English-speaking Canada is descended from Tories who had to flee the aggression of the revolutionaries). Do you really want to bring foreign players onto US soil and start a civil war against your neighbors just for some illusory "freedom"?

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47224181)

>>Do you really want to bring foreign players onto US soil and start a civil war against your neighbors just for some illusory "freedom"?

Well, no, thus my mention of not advocating anything about "revolution". But this shrill argument advocated by Perens and others regarding the outright elimination of private gun ownership in the United States (11,078 firearm-related homicides in 2010) carries the same weight as advocating against ownership of automobiles (34,080 deaths in 2012).

Is the whole matter of gun violence disgusting? Absolutely and nobody sane is saying otherwise. But it most assuredly isn't the gun that's the problem in US society.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223177)

Have you ever considered actually fixing your political system, so you don't have to constantly worry about having enough guns to take the government down?

I don't get this reason and obsession. "I need guns to protect me from the government." Try getting a better system and form of governance, so you can change things effectively without constantly thinking of violent weapons, and you'll be a lot happier. It works for plenty of places in Europe.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (3, Informative)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223355)

Regardless of whether private gun ownership is a good idea, every country in the world has a corrupt government in some form. European governments are no exception, and all kinds of rights violations happen there, just like in the US.

Speaking of which, many people who are extremely 'protective' of the 2nd amendment seem to not care all that much about the other amendments. I can't count how many times I've seen 2nd amendment supporters come out in favor of things like the NSA's mass surveillance. Anti-gun nuts do it too, of course, but it's just seemingly more of an eyesore when people pretend they care about liberty but then support policies that take us in the opposite direction.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223735)

Well, the UK seems to mirror most of the crap the US government does. Which eurpoean governments would you like us to look at? And how do we get our corporate masters to buy one like them?

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223189)

You missed his point entirely. The power is already in the hands of the state, and average citizens owning rifles and handguns won't change that in the slightest. Doesn't matter how much you dream about being part of a militia that stockpiles grenades and thousands of rounds of ammo per person. The balance he's talking about is the one between citizens.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

Kuberz (3568651) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223209)

Yeah, I just lost all respect for Bruce. I respect your father for fighting in the war, and removing the firing pin was his right. But by sharing that story all you really did is show your prejudice.

You talk about traveling the world... Ok, this is something we both share common ground. The U.K. has a higher violent crime rate than the U.S. Oh, of course we have a different view of violent crime than Britain, but even when you account for that, our violent crime rate is STILL lower.

And on top of that, I live in Virginia.... You know how easy it is to get a gun here? Easier than anywhere else in the world I gauranfuckintee it. Go look at our crime rate, and our murder rate. Want to know why it's so low? Everyone has a gun, regular citizens walk around with guns strapped on. If I wanted another gun, I could go get it today. Want to know why that drops crime? Because the whackjobs are scared to do anything cause literally everyone has guns. Me and my neighbors don't have to wait for cops to show up, we're all locked and loaded and have each other on speed dial.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

CRCulver (715279) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223255)

Wide gun ownership in Virgina didn't stop the Virginia Tech massacre, the sort of violence where a gun owner cracks that Perens is warning against.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1, Flamebait)

Kuberz (3568651) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223377)

Lol name one of the only places in Virginia where private firearms are ILLEGAL. Nice going dumbass

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

cakiwi (686498) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223851)

You perhaps should have checked murder rate statistics before claiming That the UK has a higher violent crime rate than the US...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org] (Firearm deaths)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org] (All homicides)

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2, Insightful)

Gramie2 (411713) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223215)

Here's the thing: the State has weapons that could reduce you, your house, your neighbourhood, or your city to a smoking ruin. They have people (stronger, faster, and more capable than you), who train daily to kill in the most effective ways, with weapons and equipment that are simply unavailable to you. If they were to take you seriously as a threat, they could locate you in seconds and put a drone through the nearest window.

So owning your very own semi-automatic, or even fully-automatic small arms is completely pointless except, at the very best, to let your corpse serve as a witness to the rest of the world that your State kills its own. Armed resistance can not overcome the enormous imbalance of power that modern states possess.

Resistance is not futile, but armed resistance is. The most effective counter to government encroachment is not to be found in the Cliven Bundys of this world.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1, Flamebait)

Kuberz (3568651) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223317)

Here's the thing: the State has weapons that could reduce you, your house, your neighbourhood, or your city to a smoking ruin. They have people (stronger, faster, and more capable than you), who train daily to kill in the most effective ways, with weapons and equipment that are simply unavailable to you. If they were to take you seriously as a threat, they could locate you in seconds and put a drone through the nearest window.

So owning your very own semi-automatic, or even fully-automatic small arms is completely pointless except, at the very best, to let your corpse serve as a witness to the rest of the world that your State kills its own. Armed resistance can not overcome the enormous imbalance of power that modern states possess.

Resistance is not futile, but armed resistance is. The most effective counter to government encroachment is not to be found in the Cliven Bundys of this world.

go tell that to all those terrorist cells and the vietcong

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223537)

go tell that to all those terrorist cells and the vietcong

You mean those groups who caused as much woe for the ordinary population around them as for the supposedly oppressive states they were fighting?

If a rebellion were to break out in the United States against the government, those taking up arms would almost certainly be a minority of the population. The majority of people would be content to accept the state for what it is and try to avoid any of the conflict. We saw that in the American Revolution when those who wanted to stay peaceful and remain part of England had their houses burned down and were driven off to Canada or other British colonies by the "freedom-loving" revolutionaries. We've seen that in states like Syria where only minority of local radicals and foreign adventurers have battled against Assad while the majority of people have just wanted to avoid any of the fighting and go on with their lives.

So great, your right to bear arms not only allows you to wage a futile struggle against a much better-equipped state, it allows you to bring hell and destruction to your neighbors until you are finally put down.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223821)

Plus you have to remember that many of those military personnel with the neighborhood smoking weapons will support the revolution rather than fire on American Citizens. So both sides can create craters.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223263)

That's backwards, the state has always had the power. What power against the state do you wield holding a gun? Do you think having a gun makes you more safe from... paying taxes? How are guns protecting you from NSA? Seriously, you are so stupid to think guns give you anything against the state.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223267)

This country was founded by armed revolutionaries (you know, treasonous traitors against their legal government) who then wrote a Constitution for their new Government that said that the Governors would be selected by and rule at the consent of an armed populace. "Think of the children!" is not a valid reason to do away with that concept.


P.S. I'm one of them there "liberals" on just about any subject you can name.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223453)

There are plenty of other reasons to do away with that. The Founding Fathers were writing in an age dominated by the idea of natural rights, which depended on the existence of a Creator that would endow those rights. Now that it is obvious that there is no Creator, there can be no natural rights. Thus a government does not need to depend on the consent of the governed: might makes right.

Now, since Utilitarianism superseded Natural Rights theory in the 19th century, I daresay that most Americans, even if only intuitively, are OK with the government as long as they perceive it as pursuing the wellbeing of the greatest number of people, even if some people find their "freedoms" curtailed. Consequently, now that the government has the firepower that it does (and the majority of Americans claim to want a strong military), then it really makes no sense to preserve individual gun rights: not only does the population not have the ability to rise up against the state, the minority of people who would rise up cannot even prove the righteousness of their cause against the larger amount of people who don't want change.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223581)

are OK with the government as long as they perceive it as pursuing the wellbeing of the greatest number of people, even if some people find their "freedoms" curtailed.

We see this mentality at work with the TSA, the NSA's mass surveillance, free speech zones, stop-and-frisk, border searches, DUI checkpoints, and loads of other unconstitutional and anti-freedom garbage. Many people are okay with it simply because they think it will keep people safe.

then it really makes no sense to preserve individual gun rights

Sure it does: For the sake of the freedom itself. Collective punishment isn't okay with me, and I'm willing to accept casualties for freedom.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223799)

Your assertion that natural (or human) rights depend on the existence of a Creator doesn't logically follow. Humanity (i.e. humane-ity) and morality CAN exist outside a theological context. I don't have to believe in a deity to know that mistreating animals or oppressing my fellow humans is fundamentally wrong, doctorate level philosophical arguments notwithstanding.

Secondly, the "most Americans" who want a strong military want it to use on other people and nations, not on themselves. Your argument is essentially: "The government has all that firepower, so what's the point? We should give up the few remaining rights we have.", which is both defeatist and disingenuous. Most of the wars I can think of were, at their core, "might makes right" vs. "no, it doesn't".

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

jeIlomizer (3670951) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224041)

I don't have to believe in a deity to know that mistreating animals or oppressing my fellow humans is fundamentally wrong

What is "fundamentally wrong"? Whether it's wrong or right is an opinion.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47224165)

Theists aren't the only ones who believe in an objective morality.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

jeIlomizer (3670951) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224273)

No, they aren't, but I have no reason to believe in such a thing, just like I have no reason to believe in a god.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224271)

So it's OK if I rape your daughter, because it's "only your opinion" that I shouldn't, and I assert that "might makes right"?

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

jeIlomizer (3670951) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224491)

So it's OK if I rape your daughter

It's not OK to me. Individuals can try to stop people from doing things that they don't like. Individuals can also band together to create a society.

Objective morality is unnecessary, and I really have no reason to believe in it.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223975)

WTF? Why does Bruce Perens' opinion on firearms matter? He's been involved in lots of interesting things, and can answer questions about them. I don't think his personal views on guns, abortion, or hockey are all that interesting. Why was that question even asked?

Bruce has his opinions, and he has reasons for them. Other people have different opinions, and have reasons for them. Can we leave it at that?

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47224187)

The power is already in the hands of the government. It isn't possible to lead a revolution. Warfare has changed. Hell, you could barely communicate with other revolutionaries without someone listening in to your conversation 1,000 miles away from their desk. The gun is not the great equalizer, and it hasn't been for a while.

What guns do allow you to do is kill a lot of people quickly, where they don't have a real chance at stopping you. That's great if someone with a knife crawls through your bedroom window. It's not so great if you happen to be walking to Algebra class and a disgruntled student shows up to school looking like Rambo.

The problem is complex, and it's unfortunate that neither side can see the other. We can't be like the UK because we already have weapons. Taking everyone's weapons away would only leave the bad guys with weapons. There are a lot of weapons already out there, already in the hands of criminals. Mandating that weapons can only be kept in the home wouldn't work. My parents had their guns stolen when they were on vacation. Those are in the hands of bad guys too.

Letting everyone have guns (arguably combined with a poor infrastructure for addressing mental health issues) isn't working. Having everyone (ie, only the lawful) give up their guns won't work either. I wish everyone would stop poking holes in the other guys' arguments when they're not willing to take a look at the holes in their own.

Re:Protecting the Weak from the Strong (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224245)

Not only he is completely wrong on the Second Amendment, he is also completely wrong on Obamacare.

Obamacare is part of the large government that is destroying USA at this point, a country with largest debts and deficits in history of the world, larger debts than of all other countries combined, larger deficits than trade deficits of all countries that have trade deficits combined. Obamacare is not the answer to his question as to how to get insurance in the tightly regulated and monopolised USA market. The answer is to open the market for global competition, where Perens would have been able to buy insurance from any insurance company in the world, where the insurance is not mandated at all.

In fact Perens would have been better off without any insurance at all if only he could actually keep his money rather than lose it to the Mafia that runs government and steals his and all other people's incomes via direct taxes and all other indirect taxes (business regulations) and the tax of inflation

Perens is an economic ignoramus.

Fantasies (2)

sjbe (173966) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224343)

Indeed, in the grand scheme, you are suggesting that we take guns out of the hands of the individual, and put them solely in the hands of the State; that sounds like a transfer of power from the Weak to the Strong...

Are you really under the delusion that your little rifle is in any way going to be a deterrent against the US military or police forces? You think your pea shooter is going to be much use against a tank or a drone? I'm actually generally a supporter of gun rights but I think this argument that we are somehow fending off the state is absurd. It has no meaningful deterrence effect against our political leaders. If you actually get to the point where you need to use a firearm in anger against the State then there effectively is no state because you are in a civil war. Is that really the world you want to live in?

Human beings are demeaned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47222941)

Yes, they're also demeaned when they have to work crappy jobs just to get basic housing, food and clothes even though we are surrounded by automation and very productive workers.

What's the solution to that?

Bruce, please shut up about guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223029)

I'd like to direct your attention to this paper [harvard.edu] , viz:

In the late 1990s, England moved from stringent controls to a complete ban of all handguns and many types of long guns.

Hundreds of thousands of guns were confiscated from those owners lawabiding enough to turn them in to authorities.

Without suggesting this caused violence, the ban’s ineffectiveness was such that by the year 2000 violent crime had so increased that England and Wales had Europe’s highest violent crime rate, far surpassing even the United States.19 Today, English news media headline violence in terms redolent of the doleful, melodramatic language that for so long characterized American news reports.

A more salient point, also from that article:

To conserve the resources of the inundated criminal justice system, English police no longer investigate burglary and “minor assaults.”23 As of 2006, if the police catch a mugger, robber, or burglar, or other “minor” criminal in the act, the policy is to release them with a warning rather than to arrest and prosecute them.24

Bruce, you are neither a scientist nor well-versed in statistics. As a well-regarded public figure, people listen to what you have to say.

Like a doctor, people will assume that since you're an expert in one field, you are an expert in other fields and can be trusted - they follow your advice and agree with your opinions. Your stance on gun ownership is founded on false information, and indirectly contributes to suffering and misery by promoting rampant crime.

I really wish people like you would restrict yourselves to topics on which you are an actual expert.

Re:Bruce, please shut up about guns (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224089)

If he's asked about his opinion, he is in his right to answer. Now, of course, we the public should be smart enough to understand that this is outside his field of expertise.

On the other hand, you are right. And this is why I don't want to be famous. I like being able to talk about anything and everything if I so desire without anybody judging me for it.

STFU Bruce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223049)

If OpenSSL had been dual-licensed AGPL3 and commercial, we would probably not have Heartbleed. There would have been money from its commercial users. Imagine companies like Intuit using OpenSSL and not giving much back to its maintenance at all! That was a mistake. IMO dual-licensing has a bad reputation because of MySQL, and also because some folks at Red Hat have promoted against it. We need to revisit it.

You wouldn't have had heartbleed because no one in their right mind would touch that retarded license.

Why are his opinions on guns or... (1)

swb (14022) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223095)

...anything else unrelated to computers/networking in here?

I'm sure he has opinions about Coke vs. Pepsi, Football vs. Baseball, Brownies (chewy vs. cake, frosted vs. unfrosted), and so on. He's a thoughtful guy and they may even be interesting, but his expertise is in IT not beverages, sports, baked goods or politics.

I'm sure everyone has an opinion on gun rights but I don't see why we should read about it here.

Because it draws comments? (2)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223429)

I did ask another question about Open Source, which Bruce answered immediately in the comment thread. I discovered that he was against the private ownership of firearms via his personal site, and like I said, I thought that his position was mythical. I am sure that he also has opinions about those other matters, but he doesn't advertise them. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Re:Why are his opinions on guns or... (1)

spads (1095039) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223687)

Your point is certainly arguable, but I would say that gun ownership and open source are highly related concepts in the abstract. Both fundamentally involve empowerment. I think the only arguable downside to gun ownership (which by no means outweights its advantages) is guns' unfortunate empowerment of wimps and nutcases.

Re:Why are his opinions on guns or... (2)

swb (14022) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224401)

I think you could make that abstract argument concerning the relationship between OSS and many things.

The problem with guns specifically is that it just obliterates anything to do with open source in the comments. It becomes just another Slashbot debate about guns.

And I don't think Bruce has any kind of qualifications about gun ownership generally that makes his opinion anything more than an opinion.

Now, maybe this is supposed to be one of those celebrity interviews where merely the fact that he's got some kind of technology rock star status makes any opinion he has, from guns to Gorgonzola, relevant.

But that's one thing that makes me nuts about celebrities, the notion that they are celebrities means the opinions they have are somehow worthwhile outside of the source of their celebrity. Bono knows rock music. Eastwood knows films. But what makes their opinion of politics worth more than my dog's opinion of bones?

yuo fa1l i7? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223107)

London not good enough for you, was it? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223161)

Human beings are demeaned when they perform âoemechanicalâ tasks for their employment.

I'm reminded of the Monty Python sketch - the on with the tungsten carbide drill.

tl:dr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223193)

Didnyou seriously think people would read all that before commenting? It's Slashdot; we're lucky if they even read the title!

How does it feel to look and talk like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223207)

Data?

B%iznatch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223305)

of 7he old go1ng

Guns (0)

Jiro (131519) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223611)

What of my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when every nut-case seems to have been issued sufficient automatic weaponry to cut all that I love right out of this world?

I'd love to know what he's talking about here, but he's probably just fallen for a lie about "automatic weapons".

Bonus points for referring to the number of murders by guns without asking how many of those were murders by legal guns, and without breaking it out into high-crime inner cities and areas more like the one he probably lives in.

I really dig the Obamacare comments Bruce made (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47223621)

so, so true. The right wing trash that are in power in this country are doing everything to dismantle any notion of we the people. They like their control and want others to suffer the indignities of being chained to their maoney-making system. Not only no, but hell, no. I have, now, sadly, refused to seek out medical care for myself and I really need it. I need shoulder sugery so badly and I'm constantly in pain. I refuse to pay the ridiculous, capitalist prices for the required surgery and subsequent therapy.

Healthcare is a basic human right. Full stop.

Wow (5, Insightful)

twistedcubic (577194) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223713)


I think Obamacare will do one really big thing that truly scares the Republican Party. It will free up millions of smart people to be self-employed, who formerly stayed in the corporate world.

Insightful comment of the year!

Re:Wow (0)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223937)

That's funny. I found that to incredibly non-insightful. Republicans love the self-employed. Republicans are 50 percent more likely to be self-employed than are Democrats [source: The Hill].

Re:Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47224221)

Not only that, but to say the Democrats are any different from the Republicans in terms of pandering to "corporate" America is simply laughable. One only has to look at any politicians donor list to recognize this simple fact. Or did I miss the headline about Democrats turning down those donor dollars from Goldman Sachs et al?

Anybody in this country who thinks their particular choice of political "team" is around to serve in the citizenry's best interests is living in a world of fairy tales.

Re:Wow (4, Interesting)

twistedcubic (577194) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224603)

The insightful part is realizing that healthcare availability provides more "economic freedom", as the libertarians like to call it. The part about Republicans hating it is irrelevant. It doesn't matter if Republicans love or hate it, freedom is freedom.

I'm embarrassed for you (-1, Troll)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223823)

"I think Obamacare will do one really big thing that truly scares the Republican Party. It will free up millions of smart people to be self-employed, who formerly stayed in the corporate world."

I'm self-employed, 40-something, etc. I can tell you from hanging around with a lot of other folks like myself - they tend to vote Republican and give to the Republicans. Democrats get most of their funding from big business, big labor, and of course Hollywood. This data is openly accessible on the internet for those who care.

If you think self-employed people scare the Republicans you're living in an alternate reality.

It's great that you and your family picked up insurance. I know 3 families who lost their insurance - which was perfectly fine for them - and have to pay many times as much now for less coverage. Maybe, just maybe, that is what "scares the Republican Party". It scares the hell out of me and I'm not a Republican.

Re:I'm embarrassed for you (1)

jeIlomizer (3670951) | about a month and a half ago | (#47224079)

I'm self-employed, 40-something, etc. I can tell you from hanging around with a lot of other folks like myself - they tend to vote Republican and give to the Republicans. Democrats get most of their funding from big business, big labor, and of course Hollywood. This data is openly accessible on the internet for those who care.

Both parties are just puppets. The puppeteers may be different different for each one, but that doesn't change what The One Party really is.

Obamacare - 40 & 50 year olds going independen (1)

Peter Gaston (3692415) | about a month and a half ago | (#47223831)

> I think Obamacare will do one really big thing that truly scares the Republican Party. It will free up millions of smart people to be self-employed, who formerly stayed in the corporate world. There's a saying - spend a night in jail, you're a Democrat for life, pay quarterly taxes and you're a Republican.
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