Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

First, a bit of context.

Richard Stallman, father of the free software movement, has struggled all his life trying to explain that the "free" in "free software" is a "free" as in "freedom", not as "free beer".

Now, let's say someone argues that the main reason for adopting free software is that it has no cost (free beer). How can I tell him that he would make Richard Stallman go mad by saying this?

Is there an idiom that could communicate this effectively? (Obviously, this is a language question, not a free software debate.)

Edit: I just realized that I am looking for a version of "to turn in one's grave" for alive people :)

share|improve this question
    
"You'll make RMS go bananas", "You'll make RMS go bonkers", "You'll make RMS flip his lid"... so many to choose from! –  user730 Dec 13 '10 at 3:34
    
Thanks for the suggestions J. M. Why not post it as an answer? –  Olivier Lalonde Dec 13 '10 at 3:36
    
Because I don't know which of these you want. But if you insist... –  user730 Dec 13 '10 at 3:39
1  
How about: "If Richard Stallman were dead, he'd be turning in his grave right now!"? :) –  Mitch Schwartz Dec 13 '10 at 9:58
4  
From my personal, subjective, anecdotal experience, it is completely and utterly impossible to make Stallman go mad. He's got more patience than most other people I know combined. If you're looking for an equivalent of "to turn in one's grave" for RMS, I would go with "roll one's eyes" or "shrug". –  RegDwigнt Dec 13 '10 at 10:15

8 Answers 8

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you say this to Richard, he'll...

  • go nuts
  • go crazy
  • go mental
  • explode
  • lose it big time
share|improve this answer

Since Olivier insists:

There are at least four sentences you can use:

"You'll make RMS go bananas!"

"You'll make RMS go bonkers!"

"You'll make RMS flip his lid!"

"You'll make RMS blow his gasket!"

or since this is RMS we're talking about...

"You'll make RMS explode into bits!"

share|improve this answer

In addition to the others mentioned:

If you say this to RMS, he will...

  • bust a blood vessel
  • go postal
  • do his nut
  • go nuclear
  • spontaneously combust
  • blow his top
  • bite your head off
  • give you a piece of his mind
  • see red
  • haul you over the coals
  • tear a strip off you

I could go on forever... ;)

share|improve this answer
    
Sometimes I use "spontaneously ignite" or "pop a blood vessel", but of course it's a matter of style... :) –  user730 Dec 13 '10 at 10:55
    
+1 for the spontaneous combustion; that's one we just don't hear enough :) –  Will Dec 13 '10 at 13:54

Dicky S would have a fit.

share|improve this answer
1  
"Dicky S" sounds so wrong, man... XD –  user730 Dec 13 '10 at 12:44
    
We can't all be RMS fans. –  Eric Dec 14 '10 at 12:41

You could keep it themed:

Don't say that 'Free Software' has no cost, or Richard Stallman could go proprietary on your ass!

It might not be a common idiom, but your audience should understand the intention from the context and tone of your delivery

share|improve this answer

RMS will be...

  • crazy
  • nuts
  • insane
  • bonzo
  • no longer in possession of his faculties
  • three fries short of a Happy Meal
  • wacko!
share|improve this answer
    
I appreciate the reference, but technically this is incorrect - these words and idioms are are using the sense of 'mad' as 'insane', rather than 'angry'. –  MrTheWalrus Jun 13 '12 at 18:44

Coming late to the party; but all of the answers so far make the angry person the subject of the phrase (as in X will turn in her/his grave), rather than the object as in the original question. So to fill that gap, you might also…

  • drive/send X round the bend
  • drive/send X up the wall
  • drive X crazy
  • give X a fit
  • get X’s goat
  • …more? CW’d in hopes of more :-)
share|improve this answer

I'm partial to "X makes the baby Jesus cry."

In this context, it would be "That meaning of free makes Richard Stallman cry"

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.