Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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is famous for beginning the GNU Project
and is outspoken on the topic of Open Source software
and Free software
. So much so that he has garnered dislike from traditionalists who believe that software source code is a trade secret. While this dislike may not be at the level of hiring ninja to remove him from the world, it is strong.
GPL is a recursive abbreviation for ‘GNU Public License’, which covers all GNU software. It stipulates software is copyrighted, provided with full source code, and everyone is free to modify, disseminate and even sell software provided they also provide full source code and retain all copyright notices. This makes all software derived from GPL software also GPL, even if ‘derived’ means ‘borrowed a couple of lines of code from’. Many people consider this to make GNU software behave like a ‘license virus’.
Eric S. Raymond is a famous hacker who has been an unofficial spokesperson for Open Source movement. The plan to prank Eric Raymond next is a bad one: he is an experienced martial artist and gun enthusiast.
Linus Torvalds is the creator of the Linux kernel, an Open Source operating system kernel inspired by Unix.
Ralph Nader is a famous consumer rights advocate, most famous for the 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed and for running for US President in 2000.
- Because of this comic Stallman has been given a katana by fans of xkcd. 
[A man with much facial hair is sleeping on a bed.]
[Suddenly, two ninjas jump through the skylight.]
Ninja 1: Richard Stallman! Your viral open source licenses have grown too powerful.
Ninja 1: The GPL must be stopped.
Ninja 1: At the source.
Ninja 1: You.
[Richard Stallman wakes up immediately, and pulls his katana out of its sheath from under his bed]
Richard Stallman: Hah! Microsoft lackeys! So it has come to this!
Richard Stallman: A night of blood I've long awaited. But be this my death or yours, free software will carry on! For a GNU dawn! For freedom! ... hey, where are you going?
[The ninja step out the window]
Ninja 1: Man, you're right, that never gets old.
Ninja 2: Let's do Eric S. Raymond next.
Ninja 1: Or Linus Torvalds. I hear he sleeps with nunchucks.
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"Richard Stallman is famous for beginning the GNU Project and is outspoken on the topic of Open Source software and Free software." Specifically, he is an outspoken critic of Open Source, and an outspoken proponent of Free Software. Blaisepascal (talk) 02:09, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
- Ah, thank you. That's good to note. lcarsos (talk) 05:25, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
GPL isn't a recursive abbreviation for ‘GNU Public License’, then it would have to be called ‘GPL Public License’. GNU in itself, on the other hand, is a recursive abbreviation for 'GNU's Not Unix'. --220.127.116.11 15:38, 9 March 2013 (UTC)
- ✓ Done (Though I actually noted this myself and fixed it; then noticed your comment :-) ) Mark Hurd (talk) 10:45, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
The pronunciation of GNU is actually "g'new" not "new". 18.104.22.168 02:06, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
~ ~ ~ ~ Aren't ninjas supposed to be stealthy and silent? Of course, they could have been made to announce their mission to Richard before (perhaps) killing him, but still... 22.214.171.124 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- The point is not to kill him, but to startle him into a response to an absurd situation which the pranksters find humorous. -Pennpenn 126.96.36.199 03:00, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
The comic isn't quite explained here. Did the ninjas kill RMS, or were they just pretend-ninjas trying to scare him? Is the blob in the last panel a blood smear or a hood being carried? 188.8.131.52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- Read harder, there is RMS's comment on them running away. 184.108.40.206 21:02, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
I have a bit of an issue with calling non-free software traditional. RMS is the traditionalist here. He created GNU for that very purpose, to get back to the traditional method of being able to access and modify your source, and then share any fixes you made with the wider community. 220.127.116.11 21:02, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Linus Torvalds isn't "mostly harmless". 18.104.22.168 16:25, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
There is a bit of allusion to the movie Brazil, where government goons break into people's homes, cutting through walls and ceilings, in their pursuit of idealists who provide free services -- which is incompatible with the governing economic system. Mountain Hikes (talk) 21:52, 24 September 2015 (UTC)