Linked by Linux Review on Tue 20th Mar 2012 17:07 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source It's been a while since we caught up with Stallman. But a couple months ago we took a look around at what's happening with law, politics and technology and realized that he maybe perhaps his extremism and paranoia were warranted all along. So when we were contacted by an Iranian Linux publication and asked if we would like to publish an English translation of a recent interview they had done with Stallman, I thought that it was a particularly rich opportunity.
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v Re:
by kurkosdr on Tue 20th Mar 2012 16:33 UTC
RE: Re:
by shmerl on Tue 20th Mar 2012 16:55 UTC in reply to "Re:"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Brushed off by whom? All sane engineers and experts agree that software patents are totally broken and hurt the technology. And that DRM is unethical as well as ineffective. On the other hand money hungry monopolists and crooks will always try brush off anything that stands in their way, no matter Stallman or not.

Edited 2012-03-20 16:58 UTC

Reply Score: 11

RE[2]: Re:
by galvanash on Wed 21st Mar 2012 00:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Re:"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

And that DRM is unethical as well as ineffective.


DRM is like a gun... almost exactly like a gun. The old saying is "guns don't kill people, people kill people". Sure, it is corny and the phrase is more often used just to make stupid political points - but it IS true.

On the other hand, going around killing people with a knife or club is a different thing entirely - there is no denying that if you eliminate guns murder becomes a significantly different proposition.

On the other other hand... Whether people like it or not, killing people is sometimes justified - a world without guns is a fairytale - war is part of the human condition.

My point is only that DRM isn't unethical from a technology point of view. DRM fundamentally boils down any technology used to retain control of how data can be used and copied. There are perfectly ethical uses for such technology (assuming you can actually make it work effectively - which as you point out is borderline impossible if the demand to defeat it is high enough).

The problem I see with DRM (at least when applied to the music industry) is they are trying to use the technology to impart physical attributes on something that isn't physical anymore. The idea of using technology to ensure that there is only one copy of something in existence is pretty stupid when you consider that the primary attraction of digital media is the ease of which it can be manipulated for different uses. The _reason_ people like digital media (as opposed to a CD or tape) is because it lets them use it all over the place any way they like...

In short I would say the biggest blunder in the history of music was the "problem" of DRM being ineffective. I actually wish it was 100% effective. Why? Because 100% effective DRM would represent the end of the "big label" music industry - they would DRM themselves to death quite quickly...

As things are now there is no real rebellion against the industry - it is much easier to just break their guns and ignore them. Effective DRM would make the general public realize how much they don't want to license music, they want to buy it. We will never reach the point of being able to buy music until this game gets played out completely.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Re:
by shmerl on Wed 21st Mar 2012 02:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Re:"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Not so simple. DRM is a preemptive policing technology intended for a very practical application. Thus it's not comparable to an abstract gun, but more to putting handcuffs on everyone, just in case someone will decide to act illegally. Handcuffs are just a tool, but putting them on everyone as a preemptive policing practice - is unethical. That's why DRM is unethical. It's not just an abstract technology, but technology created for the single purpose of preemptive policing.

Edited 2012-03-21 02:12 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE[4]: Re:
by galvanash on Wed 21st Mar 2012 19:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Re:"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Not so simple. DRM is a preemptive policing technology intended for a very practical application. Thus it's not comparable to an abstract gun, but more to putting handcuffs on everyone, just in case someone will decide to act illegally.


Using handcuffs as an analogy is rather ironic to me - handcuffs are a tool used to inhibit a person's ability to resist. DRM doesn't inhibit this at all, if anything it has the opposite effect (it ends up promoting the exact behavior your imply it deters - primarily because it doesn't work and everyone knows it).

We are both against DRM. But I'm against it because it is used stupidly, not because it is evil. Assuming it actually worked, using it to control copying of sensitive data (that you in fact own) is not evil at all.

Demonizing technology doesn't do any good - I prefer to concentrate on the real problems... If people would stop complaining about silly things like DRM and start voting with their wallets a lot of these "issues" would resolve themselves rather quickly.

The fact is virtually no one is really happy with the rights they are granted when they buy a piece of music (DRM or not). But they buy it anyway... THAT is the problem.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Re:
by shmerl on Wed 21st Mar 2012 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Re:"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

People do vote with their wallets. But it looks like media companies aren't smart enough to realize that DRM doesn't help them (on the contrary).

If analogy of handcuffs isn't precise, use something akin to restrictive collars, legcuffs etc. which restrict the freedom of movement. Imagine these applied to the whole population just to inhibit agile movement (since potential criminals tend to need agile actions).

DRM is intended to restrict the freedom of access to your data. Since it's preemptive and applied unconditionally, it's immoral. That's pretty obvious.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Re:
by galvanash on Wed 21st Mar 2012 21:08 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Re:"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

People do vote with their wallets. But it looks like media companies aren't smart enough to realize that DRM doesn't help them (on the contrary).

If analogy of handcuffs isn't precise, use something akin to restrictive collars, legcuffs etc. which restrict the freedom of movement. Imagine these applied to the whole population just to inhibit agile movement (since potential criminals tend to need agile actions).


You keep saying that. DRM isn't applied to people, it is applied to data. The only people it affects are the ones that choose to use it (by buying it) or choose to defeat it (by breaking it).

If people would simply choose to neither buy it OR break it... Well it would go away rather quickly. Don't buy things that are not in fact what you actually want.

It isn't really about DRM - it is about the fact that the industry does not and has never actually "sold" content. To steal a line from The Usual Suspects, the greatest trick the industry ever pulled was convincing people that they actually own what they buy.

DRM is intended to restrict the freedom of access to your data. Since it's preemptive and applied unconditionally, it's immoral. That's pretty obvious.


It is NOT your data - that is my whole point. It is the right holder's data. You are willingly licensing it when you buy media - stop doing that. If you want it to be your data you have to demand that product from the industry, otherwise you are just lying to yourself, pretending that something is yours when it is in fact not.

If it was your data and it was you who wanted to control it then it is perfectly moral to apply DRM to it. You can't fight the real problem while suffering form this cognitive dissonance - DRM is not the problem, the problem is how the product is licensed...

I fully expect 90% of people who read this to impulsively want to twist my words into something they are not (a defense of DRM) - because they don't agree with my conclusions... Read it again and tell me what I said that isn't 100% factual.

Edited 2012-03-21 21:20 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Re:
by shmerl on Wed 21st Mar 2012 22:36 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Re:"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

The only people it affects are the ones that choose to use it...
If people would simply choose to neither buy it OR break it... Well it would go away rather quickly. Don't buy things that are not in fact what you actually want.


If there would be an alternative choice - why not. Who would care about DRM in such case. But, the point is that the industry which pushes DRM tries to eliminate any alternative choice. Consider DVDs, Blu-rays and etc. If one could easily get the same stuff without DRM - that would be voting with the wallet. Can you actually do it? I.e. no reason to pretend that DRM is purely optional. Those who push it try their best to make it mandatory across the board (up to building it into the hardware). And that's immoral forcing of preemptive policing, as mentioned above.

It is NOT your data - that is my whole point. It is the right holder's data...
the problem is how the product is licensed...

Yes, yes. Everyone knows that's what they want it to be. No point even to discuss this nonsense which they push on people. In essence you buy content, and not licenses. And regardless whether IP rules and practices are all messed up, even if you say that you bought just the license, preemptive policing is still immoral.

Edited 2012-03-21 22:37 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Re:
by phoenix on Wed 21st Mar 2012 23:26 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Re:"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Using handcuffs as an analogy is rather ironic to me - handcuffs are a tool used to inhibit a person's ability to resist. DRM doesn't inhibit this at all, if anything it has the opposite effect (it ends up promoting the exact behavior your imply it deters - primarily because it doesn't work and everyone knows it).


It's not so much that DRM doesn't work, but that it works against those who actually follow the rules (ie, the lawful customers). DRM actually makes the lives of the very customers they are trying to keep just a little bit harder.

DRM servers go down ... paying customers can no longer access their [music|app|game|whatever] ... but the "pirates" can.

All the unskippable crap on DVDs/Blu-rays protected by DRM and other encryption just drive people nuts, to the point where they get fed up with it, and decide to download movies instead of (or, possibly, in addition to) buying them.

And so on. DRM only hurts paying customers. It doesn't hurt the "pirates". Which is completely bassackwards!

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Re:
by kurkosdr on Thu 22nd Mar 2012 09:58 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Re:"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

The problem with DRM is that it is mandated by law if you want to work with DRMed formats like DVD-Video and Bluray-Movie. Even software like Ubuntu is forced to include or recommend DRMed software (LinDVD) in order to legally ship to the US.

DRM doesn't have to do with proprietary or free software, get over it already. It's something the US effectively mandated with the DMCA, for proprietary AND free software, if they want to work with DRMed formats. Microsoft has already said that the reason their Media Center respects CGMS-A is because the law requires it, and the reason they did Protected Video Path was so that windows software can work with Bluray-Movie.

Outside the US, there are proprietary and open source DRM-free software DVD players. Here in Europe, there are DRM-free hardware DVD players too (yes! imported from China).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Re:
by Sodki on Tue 20th Mar 2012 17:10 UTC in reply to "Re:"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

And don't get me started how Stallman pretends "free software" can't have DRM. I can release a DRMed DVD recorder firmware under a BSD license (the FSF approved one), and then TiVoize the device to prevent people from changing it. Sure, Stallman will whine how such software is not free, but since the license is FSF approved, i can claim otherwise.


GPLv2, a free software license that Stallman wrote, can be tivoized. He's not pretending anything. The next license that he wrote, prevents that. I really don't know where you are trying to get here.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Re:
by lucas_maximus on Tue 20th Mar 2012 17:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Re:"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

However the GPLv3 is not compatible with lots of projects that aren't GPL and that is why Torvolds probably won't move to it ...

GPL is quite a restrictive License if you are a developer.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Re:
by Sodki on Tue 20th Mar 2012 17:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Re:"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

However the GPLv3 is not compatible with lots of projects that aren't GPL and that is why Torvolds probably won't move to it ...


GPLv3 is actually compatible with more licenses than GPLv2. Linus won't move to it because he disagrees with the tivoization restriction.

I also remember reading that he might try to change the license if Sun released OpenSolaris under GPLv3 instead of CDDL, but of course Sun doesn't exist anymore.

GPL is quite a restrictive License if you are a developer.


Only if you don't want to abide by it's terms. Seriously, I think this point is moot. I recently had a discussion with a friend regarding this and thinking "this is why the GPL was created". BSD license already existed, and it was a free software license. But the spirit of the GPL, the spirit of copyleft, is much more than that. Fortunately, you have a choice.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Re:
by lucas_maximus on Tue 20th Mar 2012 19:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Re:"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Most places have a no "GPL policy" for a bloody good reason.

Edited 2012-03-20 19:08 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE[5]: Re: - "most places"
by jabbotts on Tue 20th Mar 2012 19:49 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Re:"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

to put the comment in perspective, what definition of "most places" are we using.. what is the sample size for organizations questioned about GPL produced tools used?

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Re: - "most places"
by lucas_maximus on Tue 20th Mar 2012 19:53 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Re: - "most places""
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Okay fair point. But there are quite few places I've work where GPL software wasn't a consideration for the legal team (and I have heard from others that work in similar industries), I can't see this changing.

These btw wasn't web shops.

Edited 2012-03-20 19:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Re: - "most places"
by mrstep on Wed 21st Mar 2012 13:56 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Re: - "most places""
mrstep Member since:
2009-07-18

That's my experience as well. BSD license was fine, GPL you couldn't touch. Fortune 500.

Now what I really enjoyed is having an interview from a country where wholesale theft of software is legal and they're chatting with Stallman... fun! The RIAA/MPAA/DMCA/ software patents is sort of the opposite end of this spectrum - how about a sane middle ground?

Reply Score: 0

An interesting interview with Linus
by ndrw on Wed 21st Mar 2012 14:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Re:"
ndrw Member since:
2009-06-30

and his (IMHO very sensible) take on tivoization:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw58LZTuZjA

Reply Score: 2

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I think Torvalds shouldn't have been surprised by the views of the FSF. As a printer, also a device, was the reason that Stallman started his project:

"In 1980, Stallman and some other hackers at the AI Lab were refused access to the source code for the software of a newly-installed laser printer, the Xerox 9700. Stallman had modified the software for the Lab's previous laser printer (the XGP, Xerographic Printer), so it electronically messaged a user when the person's job was printed, and would message all logged-in users waiting for print jobs if the printer was jammed. Not being able to add these features to the new printer was a major inconvenience, as the printer was on a different floor from most of the users. This experience convinced Stallman of people's need to be free to modify the software they use."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Stallman#Decline_of_MIT.27s_ha...

So is it surprising that the FSF feels strongly about being able to modify the software on devices you own.

With software you can have a license, with hardware you usually buy the product. It is yours, you own it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Re:
by Morgan on Fri 23rd Mar 2012 11:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Re:"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

If I were to write a piece of software and wanted to put it out there for mass consumption, I would go with the BSD license every time. Why? Because in my own personal view, that license is much less restrictive than the GPL in any revision. For all the freedom the GPL grants, it also is very restrictive in that it forbids certain actions, benign though the intent behind it may be. That is the very antithesis of freedom in my personal view.

That said, I do respect what Stallman is trying to do with the GPL as his tool. Unfortunately, forcing someone to follow a restrictive set of rules so that the software itself can be "Free" is no different than using guns to promote peace. It has to be done, but it sucks all the same.

To put it another way, the GPL says "you MUST do this, this, this, and this so you are free to do everything else", and BSD simply says "you are free to do anything you want".*

*Yes, I realize the BSD license requires that a copy of the license and copyright notice are included with source and binary releases, but if that were not the case it wouldn't be a license at all. It would simply be license-free public domain. As the GPL also contains this clause, I feel the two instances cancel each other out for the purposes of this discussion.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by lucas_maximus
by lucas_maximus on Tue 20th Mar 2012 16:49 UTC
lucas_maximus
Member since:
2009-08-18

I find it ironic that Iran is mentioned, when talking about "Freedoms".

Classic case of "First World Problems"

Edited 2012-03-20 16:55 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by lucas_maximus
by Parry Hotter on Tue 20th Mar 2012 22:42 UTC in reply to "Comment by lucas_maximus"
Parry Hotter Member since:
2007-07-20

Ironic, if you let yourself get fooled perhaps. Iranians are 90% regular secular people ruled by 10% religious wackos.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by lucas_maximus
by Hiev on Tue 20th Mar 2012 22:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by lucas_maximus"
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

Would you mind to put the link to the source of such statement?

Reply Score: 2

Parry Hotter Member since:
2007-07-20

No link, first-hand experience traveling the country. The percentages may be off by a bit but you get the idea, most people are not the flag burning, quran-wielding nincompoops you see on the news.

Reply Score: 4

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Did you miss the bit where the military waded in after the Elections were rigged and people protested?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009%E2%80%932010_Iranian_...

Or how an Iranian is going to be executed because somebody pirated his form code for a website and put it on a porn site.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/20/iran_web_developer_executio...

While the people maybe find (and I believe there are many that are) ... the Government clearly isn't.

Sorry this is not a free and fair society.

Edited 2012-03-21 04:09 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by lucas_maximus
by jgvr on Wed 21st Mar 2012 08:18 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by lucas_maximus"
jgvr Member since:
2012-03-21

how did you know that news are not One-side news?
do you live before in Iran or even had a travel to this country? in Iran the users have some limitation like expensive Internet... some filtering but i think you should not accept every news you may see in every media... Stallman has a extremist viewpoint of Iran i think.

Reply Score: 1

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

This stuff isn't coming from some Right Wing Western Media source ... Iran is well known for human rights abuses.

The whole point is that they are talking about "software freedoms", while mentioning a country to be rather selective on who has any actual (i.e. worthwhile) freedoms.

It constantly pisses me off the fact that most nerds don't have any sense of proportion.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by lucas_maximus
by mrstep on Wed 21st Mar 2012 14:18 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by lucas_maximus"
mrstep Member since:
2009-07-18

If you think there is less freedom there it's because you don't value the freedom to be oppressed by religious wackos! Now if we can just get that here in the U.S., I'll be really happy.

Speaking of - the totally unjustifiable push to brace the U.S. for the 'need' to intervene in Iran next (because Iraq was so justified?) worries me a lot more than the ethics of using Safari vs. some "free" browser. Maybe Stallman should talk about global freedom and ethics.

Reply Score: 2

v Re:
by kurkosdr on Tue 20th Mar 2012 17:53 UTC
RE: Re:
by Sodki on Tue 20th Mar 2012 18:14 UTC in reply to "Re:"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

Really? Stallman never loses an opportunity to remind people how "Free Software" can't have DRM and how switching to free software is a way to make sure you will be free of DRM.


Free software can have DRM, of course, and of course he aknowledges that. That's why he created the GPLv3 in the first place, so we can have a free software license that doesn't restrict the user's 4 fundamental freedoms regarding DRM. It doesn't prevent DRM, it prevents some restrictions that come with DRM.


When asked about how DRMed "free software" can be tivoized to pervent people from changing it (if it's tied to specific hardware), he will claim such software is not really free, despite the fact it is according to the definition, free.


Oh really? I dare you to find a single quote from him stating that. Just one. Hint: none in this article, although you might be tempted to think otherwise.


Anyway. Stallman is an egoistic ungrateful jerk that damages open source.


How can you say that? The guy quit his job so that he could make free software. Without him you wouldn't have GCC, glibc or other basic software foundations. BSD wouldn't have evolved the way it did, Linus or other contributors wouldn't be able to afford a C compiler for Linux, etc, etc.. The guy may be a wrecking ball in terms of PR, but he's anything but egoistic. Perhaps the ungratefulness lies with you.


Access and distribution rights over the source code is a priviledge (a convinience), not a right.


You have the right to believe in that, but remember that a lot of people don't agree with your view. I don't care about proprietary code, I just choose not to use it. And it's ludicrous to think that free software didn't help the advance of all software, including proprietary. Remember the old UNIX days? What a mess!

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Re:
by lucas_maximus on Tue 20th Mar 2012 19:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Re:"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Most sane people actually think that free software is a convenience, unfortunately Richard Stallman is quite clearly a bit mental and a bit of an arse.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Richard_Stallman#Other

Also Stallman was fired from his Job.

Edited 2012-03-20 19:32 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Re:
by danger_nakamura on Tue 20th Mar 2012 23:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Re:"
danger_nakamura Member since:
2011-06-21

Most sane people actually think that free software is a convenience,


This depends greatly on your definition of sane. I'm not sure that I agree with this statement at all. Mind you, I'm not at all convinced that the subset of people that would qualify as well-adjusted to a society necessarily belong to the subset of people that are sane. I could think of other adjectives...


unfortunately Richard Stallman is quite clearly a bit mental and a bit of an arse.


Yes, he seems to be. I wouldn't rent an apartment to him or have him for dinner - I find him personally repellent and I'm not convinced of his overall mental stability.

However, none of this impacts on the validity of his views on this subject.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Re:
by lucas_maximus on Tue 20th Mar 2012 23:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Re:"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Other than rubbish you spoke about Sanity.

Of course how someone acts affects their viewpoint. If you are speaking about ethics, it is entirely about somebodies outlook.

The reason he created the GPL was because the MIT hacker culture was dying.

Jaron Lanier used to live with him and was utterly dismayed when Stallman announced he was going to make a "free" unix clone.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Re:
by danger_nakamura on Wed 21st Mar 2012 02:35 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Re:"
danger_nakamura Member since:
2011-06-21

Other than rubbish you spoke about Sanity.


Rubbish? Ouch. Its hard to argue with that logic.


Of course how someone acts affects their viewpoint.


Affects... yeah sure. Bears on the rightness or wrongness (or correctness/incorrectness)- no, sorry. Someone's behavior and disposition may give clues as to the reliability of a source, but tells us nothing about the expressed viewpoint - which must be evaluated on it's own merits.

Imagine that The Mad Hatter posited that the moon was made from rock while a career scientist suggested it was made out of green cheese. Evaluating these claims using personality and disposition, we would likely listen to the scientist. However, this believability and credibility has no bearing on the facts of the matter. The scientist, however sober, reasonable and sane, would be wrong on this point.

This was my point.


If you are speaking about ethics, it is entirely about somebodies outlook.


So you're a pure subjectivist, then? I'm not, so we'll never agree. Too many people have tried arguing this one - we're not going to solve it.



Jaron Lanier used to live with him and was utterly dismayed when Stallman announced he was going to make a "free" unix clone.

[/q]

If we're going to dismiss the opinions of clearly egotistical individuals than I think we'd better leave Mr. Lanier's opinions to the side. His tone of address in his writings is so condescending as to be insulting.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Re:
by lucas_maximus on Wed 21st Mar 2012 02:56 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Re:"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Rubbish? Ouch. Its hard to argue with that logic


It was utter nonsense. A logical breakdown wasn't necessary because it made no sense whatsoever.

So you're a pure subjectivist, then? I'm not, so we'll never agree. Too many people have tried arguing this one - we're not going to solve it.


No, but outside and inside of the computer sphere the guy is stark raving f--king bonkers. He uses a cron job to surf the net, thinks that minified JavaScript is removing people's freedoms. He pretty much believes that I am enslaved because I can't read and modify the code on the system that I prefer to use.... obviously I am going to know what to do with 100 millions of lines of code that contribute to the average modern operating system.

I can't take any of his ethical arguments seriously. Because I cannot take him seriously.

The author of the software should be free to choose whatever license they wish ... and the user is should be given the choice if they want to use the software with the licenses restriction (if there is any at all).

There is no ethical issue in my mind at all ... it is a deal ... you use something while accepting the terms of the person that created it.

If we're going to dismiss the opinions of clearly egotistical individuals than I think we'd better leave Mr. Lanier's opinions to the side. His tone of address in his writings is so condescending as to be insulting.


How is Jaron Lanier condescending exactly? I've actually read some of his stuff and I am not a Gadget was a quite interesting read. There wasn't anything patronising not much of it was abrasive, "being dismayed" which were his exact words is hardly egotistical.

Edited 2012-03-21 03:07 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Re:
by Soulbender on Wed 21st Mar 2012 09:55 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Re:"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Jaron Lanier


Yeah, talk about nutcase...

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Re:
by lucas_maximus on Wed 21st Mar 2012 15:08 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Re:"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Well written ideas and explantion and a interest in Squid ... yeah what a nutcase.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Re:
by Gone fishing on Wed 21st Mar 2012 09:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Re:"
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

Why is it that many people who disagree with Stallman attack him on the grounds that he is insane or he is religious about software? When there are no grounds for either belief. RMS is very consistent with his arguments which are logically argued. No leaps of faith necessary (not religious) no wild inconsistency or delusional references (no insanity), just stubborn consistency.

I happen to think Stallman is partially mistaken, but because his view of freedom is partially mistaken. Stallman concentrates largely on software freedom but his larger view of freedom seems to be to be escape from the control of others. Rather than the ability to control your life or destiny. From this this, problems arise, for example his view of unethical is controlling others and this is seen as a black and white issue when it isn't. In any hierarchical organization this is inevitable and I feel without a Stallman attempting a analysis of this his view of Unethical is unsustainable.

below is my reaction to the Stallman interview on the Linux Action Show

Stallman was interesting and consistent, however, I feel that the interviews didn't ask the right questions to tease out whether Richard is right. These questions seem to me to be:

1 What is freedom? 2 Why is freedom important? 3 How do you advance Freedom?

Richard is clear enough what Free software is but not what freedom is in a larger sense, he clearly argues that restricting other peoples freedom as far as software is concerned is unethical, but again this is not clearly articulated in a larger sense of what freedom is. I would argue that freedom is about the ability to control your life or your destiny. It is unethical to prevent others for controling their destiny. This would seem to be consistent with Richard's Software Freedoms. However, it also makes Bryan's question pertinent, Bryan is a software developer he has a right possibly even a responsibility to maximize, his freedom i.e to take control over his life. Giving up writing software and becoming unemployed would reduce his freedom and his control over his life and preventing him from doing it would be unethical. However, if Bryan writes Propriatory software he is limiting the freedom of others. Clearly these two freedoms are in tension with each other, I would argue “in tension” the moral imperative is not obvious or straightforward and unfortunately this is too often the case. The resolution would be to make Bryan's freedom not restrict other peoples Freedom and I feel that Free software can do that.

Freedom is important for two reasons, firstly to make people happy as they are more likely to be happy when they are in control over their lives. Next because it works best – people who are Free can can make rational decisions, can apply their intelligence to problems – they have their potential liberated. This is not the case with people who are not Free and cannot control their lives or make decisions. It is not an accident that the modern development of technology has taken place in societies that value individual liberty. I would argue that Free software will intimately gain ascendancy because it liberates the creative potential of the user whilst Propriatory software seeks to stifle it. I would further argue that the Free model is similar to the open peer review development model that has been so succesful in science, far more succesful that closed models.

This brings me to how to advance freedom. RMS would argue that any use of propriatory software is unjustified and per se wrong. I would argue that a user using Windows or OSX has almost no freedom and almost no control - they are have simply the freedom to use but even that is a greater freedom than not having a computer (as someone who has lived in the 3rd world for many years believe me this is true) The user of most Linux distributions has a very large degree of Freedom even if the distribution uses binary blobs. Freedom is not either there or not there as RMS would have us believe it is graded and by degree. The binary blobs certainly limit freedom but they are also not very good, the propriatory model does not deliver the best solution. Liberating the user produces better software. If the binary blobs are needed to encourage more users to use Linux fine, if they are moving away from Apple etc this is moving people in the right direction. Ultimately the blobs will be lost because Freedom will produce a better more efficient solution

Reply Score: 9

RE: Re:
by lucas_maximus on Tue 20th Mar 2012 19:26 UTC in reply to "Re:"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Why haven't you joined http://omgcheesecake.net?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Re:
by danger_nakamura on Tue 20th Mar 2012 23:22 UTC in reply to "Re:"
danger_nakamura Member since:
2011-06-21


Anyway. Stallman is an egoistic


Most probably... he seems to me to have a large ego and good deal of vanity (strange vanity, but vanity nonetheless). Most infuriating to me, he goes out of his way to try and communicate in such a way as to make it appear that he has no ego and is completely community minded. I don't buy it.


ungrateful


How so?


jerk


Possibly, but entirely subjective.


that damages open source.

I don't think he'd mind. He may be upset to learn that his antics have hurt "Free Software," but I'm not sure that there would be any way to convince him of this. I'm not even sure he'd be able to change if he wanted to.

Still, the man has accomplished a great deal despite his self-imposed handicaps.
[/q]

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Re:
by kurkosdr on Wed 21st Mar 2012 16:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Re:"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11


Most probably... he seems to me to have a large ego and good deal of vanity (strange vanity, but vanity nonetheless). Most infuriating to me, he goes out of his way to try and communicate in such a way as to make it appear that he has no ego and is completely community minded. I don't buy it.

Stallman is egoistic because he thinks that, just because he declared proprietary software to be "wrong" (never mind it's not really wrong if it doesn't come with DRM), the whole world has to agree with him. Otherwise, you are either a) brainwashed b) a pig who only cares about comfort and not "freedom" (never mind that no constitutional freedoms are violated by proprietary software) or c) on the payroll of some company making proprietary software (yeah, right).

Genuiely disagreeing with his ideology that proprietary software == wrong, simply because you do not really think it's wrong, is beyond Stallman's comprehension, because he is so egoistical.

If you release a piece of software as proprietary and that software becomes successful, he will badmouth you whenever given the chance, call you 'evil' and hold silly protests in front of your store (even if said software doesn't have DRM or user restrictions), until you agree with him and release it as open source ("free software"). Disagreeing with his ideology that "all software should be free" and still remain "good"/"non evil" is something egoistical Stallman cannot accept.

"
ungrateful

How so?
"

Because if you do decide to release some software as open source("free"), he acts as if it was your obligation anyway, instead or a warm thank you.

Edited 2012-03-21 16:17 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Re:
by Morgan on Fri 23rd Mar 2012 08:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Re:"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

is egoistic because he thinks that, just because he declared proprietary software to be "wrong" (never mind it's not really wrong if it doesn't come with DRM), the whole world has to agree with him. Otherwise, you are either a) brainwashed b) a pig who only cares about comfort and not "freedom" (never mind that no constitutional freedoms are violated by proprietary software) or c) on the payroll of some company making proprietary software (yeah, right).


The problem with what you said is that the US Constitution (and Bill of Rights more specifically) is far from being the absolute authority on human rights and freedoms, in fact the document itself says as much. There are a lot of freedoms that can be violated without crossing the boundaries of constitutional rights; for examples you may scan the news headlines over the past few years.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a proud American who greatly enjoys the freedoms granted by our founding documents, though they are slowly being eroded in current times. I'm just practical enough to realize that no man made document can be absolute and perfect; it's up to our interpretation of the writers' intentions, along with plain old common sense, that help to define what our rights really are.

I find it particularly disturbing that respected government leaders from my own state are daft enough to claim that even an accidental miscarriage during a pregnancy is grounds for arresting and charging the mother with murder. That sounds batshit insane to any normal person, but there are people out there who actually supported that position enough to keep those politicians in office. Thankfully they are few and far between, but just the thought of someone out there eager to put their own warped ideas above the freedoms of innocent mothers who were victims of a medical anomaly made me gag.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Re:
by r_a_trip on Wed 21st Mar 2012 11:03 UTC in reply to "Re:"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Stallman is an egoistic ungrateful jerk that damages open source. Access and distribution rights over the source code is a priviledge (a convinience), not a right.

Depends on the license of the software. With GPL-ed software it is a right granted by the license stipulations.

One can rail against Stallman for doing damage to Open Source, but I don't think Stallman would mourn one day if the notion of Open Source vanished off the face of the earth. Open Source is nothing but Free Software with the philosophical and political parts removed. As such it considerably weakens the position of Free Software.

Stallman cares about Free Software. Software licensed in a way that gives you the Four Freedoms. Free Software is about more than the convenience of collaborative development models.

When it comes to excuses, developers don't have any. The power lies solely with the end user. It is the end user, who decides what terms are acceptable, not the developer. The developer can put any terms on his software he wants, but if end users deem these unacceptable, they either refrain from using the software or they brush aside the legalese and use the software against the stipulations anyway. The only decision the developer truly has power over is to develop and maintain the software or not.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Re:
by demetrioussharpe on Wed 21st Mar 2012 20:47 UTC in reply to "Re:"
demetrioussharpe Member since:
2009-01-09

Anyway. Stallman is an egoistic ungrateful jerk...


...who just happened to have been correct this whole time. Stallman never doubted the limitless depths of greed for money or power. IMO he understood, from the very beginning, the evils of human nature & where it would lead us concerning technology. Look around you, things that he's been ranting about for the past few decades are coming true. And, unfortunately, it's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets any better.

Everyone thought that he was crazy, but he wasn't. In fact, we was smarter than all of us. We're just now catching up, mentally, to where he was when he started his whole crusade. The difference? He knew it would happen, whereas we actually had to see it with our own eyes.

Reply Score: 5

I just don't follow...
by Tuishimi on Tue 20th Mar 2012 18:27 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...his argument about ethics.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I just don't follow...
by danger_nakamura on Tue 20th Mar 2012 21:18 UTC in reply to "I just don't follow..."
danger_nakamura Member since:
2011-06-21

Which part?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: I just don't follow...
by Tuishimi on Tue 20th Mar 2012 21:23 UTC in reply to "RE: I just don't follow..."
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, all of it. I mean, does he just mean to apply the philosophy to specific TYPES of software? He does state that the license shouldn't affect "paid development"... so is he referring only to software that has this license applied to it in the first place?

Yet it seems like to me he is suggesting that ALL software be "free".

(Am I asking that clearly?)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I just don't follow...
by danger_nakamura on Tue 20th Mar 2012 23:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I just don't follow..."
danger_nakamura Member since:
2011-06-21

Well, all of it. I mean, does he just mean to apply the philosophy to specific TYPES of software? He does state that the license shouldn't affect "paid development"... so is he referring only to software that has this license applied to it in the first place?

Yet it seems like to me he is suggesting that ALL software be "free".

(Am I asking that clearly?)

If I parse his beliefs correctly...

The idea of "Free or Not Free" really finds genesis in the act of distribution. Interestingly this makes his view of 'Software Freedom" completely compatible with his expressed views on "Personal Freedom." I.E. you can do whatever you want in your own home - it would be wrong to enter and tell you that you have to share, or you can only use such-and-such in a particular way.

I think that if you substitute "In House" for "Paid development it is easier to understand. In the role of contracted consultant or employee, the "work" is done for internal deployment, not for the purposes of sharing or reselling. The programmer in this instance is deriving income from one entity - their employer or contracting agent.

This contrasts with "selling software" in the traditional sense. In this event, there is no contracting party or employer. You are distributing something for consumption that is available to parties that you have no relationship with.

Again, Stallman believes that people should be free to do so, and places no restrictions on selling software in his license. However, people doing this have discovered/reported/assumed that it is difficult to do so unless restrictions are placed on the receiving party. Otherwise, every customer becomes a potential competitor. One such restriction is witholding the scource code - you can't change, develop and release what you don't have.

It is this last case that Stallman objects to. Basically, this is where your freedom bangs up against someone else's. You are now selling someone something that, while not useless, is intentionally crippled and potentially dangerous.

Since he believes that this is immoral, he naturally believes that it should not happen at all. However, his license only applies to code written by someone that shares his beliefs/wishes. He has not participated in any lawmaking or dictatorial activities. You are free to choose whatever terms of distribution you would like on code that YOU have written in its entirety. Just remember that he is free to believe that the choice you make is not a good one - even to believe that it is an amoral or immoral one.

Either all that or I am completely misunderstanding the man ;-)

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: I just don't follow...
by Tuishimi on Wed 21st Mar 2012 04:46 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I just don't follow..."
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

I think I get you. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: I just don't follow...
by lucas_maximus on Wed 21st Mar 2012 08:42 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I just don't follow..."
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Just remember that he is free to believe that the choice you make is not a good one - even to believe that it is an amoral or immoral one.


And this is where it is a load of bullshit.

Whether you give software over or not is not a ethical decision and never will be.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: I just don't follow...
by Morgan on Fri 23rd Mar 2012 08:49 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I just don't follow..."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

For me, the only time ethics enters into it is when closed source software is used, by its nature of being closed source, to harm people. This is almost always via DRM or activation schemes. A great example is Microsoft Office. It's a very expensive program, and after you've activated it a certain number of times (every time can be legal and valid mind you) the key becomes banned by Microsoft, requiring you to call and explain why they should allow you to install it to the same computer for the fourth time. Never mind that you paid an arm and a leg for it, never mind that you are having to reinstall it to the same hardware four times, not giving it out to your friends or selling it on eBay. If you're lucky, they will unlock the key for one last install (with a stern warning that this is your last chance) instead of insisting that you buy another valid key at a 10% discount.

To me, this system does nothing to deter piracy and everything to force genuine, well intended customers to have to buy something they already bought once before. This is unethical and in my eyes, overtly criminal. It's why I refuse to buy Microsoft Office even though I can get the most expensive version through my part time job's employee discount for pennies on the dollar. LibreOffice does everything I need from an office suite, and it's free in every sense of the word.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: I just don't follow...
by Tuishimi on Tue 20th Mar 2012 21:25 UTC in reply to "RE: I just don't follow..."
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Also... this:
-------------

If you convince people that some free software is technically superior, they might run some free software, but they will remain ready to use nonfree software in the areas where that is technically superior. They will continue to judge an important question based on superficial issues. This is just a partial success.

-------------

If I am not convinced of this being an ethical issue in the first place surely preferring software that functions better is not superficial?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I just don't follow...
by Brendan on Tue 20th Mar 2012 21:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I just don't follow..."
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

Also... this:
-------------

If you convince people that some free software is technically superior, they might run some free software, but they will remain ready to use nonfree software in the areas where that is technically superior. They will continue to judge an important question based on superficial issues. This is just a partial success.

-------------

If I am not convinced of this being an ethical issue in the first place surely preferring software that functions better is not superficial?


I think he wants people to use free software because it's free (not because it's better, and not because it's less expensive). If someone uses free software simply because it's better then it's less of a victory to him.

It's like an atheist who goes to a church for the bread and wine - I'm sure the church would prefer people attend for other reasons.

- Brendan

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: I just don't follow...
by Tuishimi on Tue 20th Mar 2012 22:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I just don't follow..."
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

O.K. Thanks... that makes sense.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I just don't follow...
by WorknMan on Tue 20th Mar 2012 21:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I just don't follow..."
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

If I am not convinced of this being an ethical issue in the first place surely preferring software that functions better is not superficial?


Not only that, but there are some areas... actually a lot of areas, where there is no free software solution. For example, I have a piece of software that allows me to edit/organize sounds from my Yamaha synth on a PC, which takes me minutes to do, instead of the hours it would take to do it directly on the synth. This software is not free, and there is not a free alternative, and I sure as hell don't have the time or expertise to build my own. So I'm just not supposed to use this software for ethical reasons? *pfffffffffffft* Whatever ;) Stallman is off his rocker.

My own personal philosophy is to use free software when it suits my needs, but to use non-free software when this isn't the case. For example, there are better (as in technically superior) non-free mail programs than Thunderbird, but TB does everything I need it to do, so that's what I use.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: I just don't follow...
by Tuishimi on Tue 20th Mar 2012 22:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I just don't follow..."
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

O.K. I agree with you... but I think by his standards/ideals that makes us unethical. But thank you because I just thought I was missing something and not clearly understanding his position.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: I just don't follow...
by r_a_trip on Wed 21st Mar 2012 11:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I just don't follow..."
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

but I think by his standards/ideals that makes us unethical.

No, not unethical, but subjugated. Remember, you are using the software and accepting someone elses unethical restrictions. You didn't distribute it to someone else and placed restrictions on someone else.

Stallman is the pure endpoint of the Free Software ideals. I don't think it is possible to be more Stallman than Stallman. So he should be used as a checkpoint on where you yourself stand with regards to software freedom. As with many things, this issue is full of shades of grey.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: I just don't follow...
by danger_nakamura on Tue 20th Mar 2012 23:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I just don't follow..."
danger_nakamura Member since:
2011-06-21

Not only that, but there are some areas... actually a lot of areas, where there is no free software solution. For example, I have a piece of software that allows me to edit/organize sounds from my Yamaha synth on a PC, which takes me minutes to do, instead of the hours it would take to do it directly on the synth. This software is not free, and there is not a free alternative, and I sure as hell don't have the time or expertise to build my own. So I'm just not supposed to use this software for ethical reasons? *pfffffffffffft* Whatever ;) Stallman is off his rocker.


Only inasmuch as anyone taking a principled moral stand is off their rocker. While I agree with you that no real harm is being done, in a philosophical vacuum you are, by using that software, contributing to the larger problem and helping to remove the impetus to have free software developed that fills that need. An idealist can often have difficulty stepping outside the vacuum, but I'm not sure that this is a bad thing. The world needs idealists.




My own personal philosophy is to use free software when it suits my needs, but to use non-free software when this isn't the case. For example, there are better (as in technically superior) non-free mail programs than Thunderbird, but TB does everything I need it to do, so that's what I use.


That's fine. But Stallman is tackling what he percieves to be a social issue, not meeting of the needs of individuals. As such, from his perspective, this attitude is part of the problem. You are meeting your needs at the expense of the larger potential for social improvement.

Again - not saying that I agree But I can certainly understand where he is coming from.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I just don't follow...
by danger_nakamura on Tue 20th Mar 2012 23:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I just don't follow..."
danger_nakamura Member since:
2011-06-21

If you have some time read my comment below: Stallman Strikes Again.

Reply Score: 1

Stallman Strikes Again
by danger_nakamura on Tue 20th Mar 2012 22:33 UTC
danger_nakamura
Member since:
2011-06-21

I always look forward to articles on Stallman because it seems a sure bet that there will be a colorful and entertaining comments section following the article. And even in early innings that is already the case here. I even dug out my OSnews login info despite having 8 million other things to do because I wanted to jump in the fray this time.

It seems that the outbursts of vitriol that the man inspires can be generally considered to belong to one of 3 fields of objection:

1. The actual message
2. Presentation and personal disposition
3. Unwillingness to yield or compromise

Taken out of order...

Leaving the substance of the man's beliefs aside, I find no value in objections against his stubbornness. If someone truly believes that they have thought through all cases and that a particular act is "objectively morally wrong" then what else is there to do but to take a stand?

As an example (deliberately not of the same gravity as the software issue - thank you) imagine believing that impaling 6 month old babies on stakes was well and truly wrong - regardless of any considerations of cultural background or religions beliefs or personal preferences. In other words - you don't believe that its a vanilla-or-chocolate type of issue but a genuine moral issue. I hope that this isn't too much of a stretch for most people.

Should you be willing to compromise and say that its OK if some people do it, or its OK only if you really, really want to do this, or maybe its OK but only if the baby is an Eskimo, or if people can make a lot of money doing it....

Taking a principled stand on a moral issue that one believes is important is nothing to be ashamed of. It certainly has not made his life any easier. If you truly believe that something is wrong there should be no willingness to compromise. Compromise is suited to vanilla-chocolate type of differences between people, not the answers to moral questions. We may disagree on the answers, but it is unreasonable to expect the other side in these cases to be willing to compromise or yield in any way.

Other people (myself included) object to the man's style of presentation. These opinions range from bemoaning the practical effect of his presentation and appearance all the way to downright character assassination. I agree with some of the opinions that I have seen, especially the practical arguments, but It really is a separate discussion that has no bearing on the relative merits of the "Free Software" philosophy. Using them as such is cheap and intellectually sloppy and dishonest.

As for the first set of objections, I think that I understand and can even appreciate objections against the man's message. At least these objections are intellectually honest. People that value convenience over what Stallman calls freedom would consider his arguments to be irrelevant. Those that draw an income from the proprietary software model would view his beliefs as a threat. And I suppose there are those that actually believe that technology should be "locked down" for people's own good (-shudder-).

As for my own perspective, I tend to agree with Stallman. He deals specifically with software... I gravitate to the larger view of "locked down."

From my personal perspective the tinkerer in me personally can't stand things that are locked down. I know that this rankles Stallman, but I don't really agree that this is monumentally important.

However, I also can't stand that this lockdown makes it difficult to repurpose highly toxic devices for reuse. This passes over from personal opinion into the realm of fact. The fact is that for every device that is "locked down," either by it's design or by the withholding of the code that makes it work, we lose a potential opportunity to repurpose that device at the end of its useful life.

Some equipment may find their way to be recycled in a clean manner - some may be "refurbished" or updated in an expensive factory setting. But the fact remains that much of this highly toxic material ends up being burned or buried at the expense of our common environment. As someone that knows first hand that an "old" computer could be a new ___ (fill in the blank) just as an old iron could be a new doorstop, I know that it is not because there is no alternative. While not everything will prove to be reusable, "lockdown" is surest way to encourage a particular device to enter the waste stream once its design purpose has been exhausted.

Finally, as technology powers more and more of our world, it is becoming a gateway for "control." Locked down devices and software are essentially, as Stallman describes, instruments of control. While I disagree that "Binary Bill's House of Shareware" is evil, the comfort zone that it contributes to greatly benefits the cause of what I consider to be evil.

Obviously those that belong to the "safety-and-convenience-at-any-cost" crowd or the "commerce-trumps-all-moral-considerations" crowd will disagree. But I believe that a human being is a free-agent that agrees to participate in a society for mutual benefit, and therefore has certain rights that are inalienable. This concept is being increasingly threatened, and "locked down" technology is a major tool to achieve this in our Brave New Technological World.

Perhaps the most important point is this:

The "slippery slope" is in this case so slick as to be nearly frictionless. And the endgame is such that were his fears to become reality, it will be too late to do anything to fix things. In other words, before dismissing the man at least recognize that the issues at stake, if he is correct, will be difficult to impossible to mitigate against *because* of the power of the instruments involved.

I'm sorry - but I don't want myself, my family or most important to me, my daughter, to live in such a world as one can easily envision just by looking at what those that wish to Control have accomplished already.

So on balance I'd have to say... GO STALLMAN! Only please take a bath. ;-)

Reply Score: 7

RE: Stallman Strikes Again
by wannabe geek on Wed 21st Mar 2012 02:23 UTC in reply to "Stallman Strikes Again"
wannabe geek Member since:
2006-09-27

I agree with most, if not all, of your monumentally long post ;)

This sentence, though, got me thinking about how people's choice of words may influence their opinions:



From my personal perspective the tinkerer in me personally can't stand things that are locked down. I know that this rankles Stallman, but I don't really agree that this is monumentally important.



I'm strongly against IP, especially patents, for ethical reasons. I'm also against copyrights, given that copyright laws keep growing ever more teeth. The more powerful the corresponding laws, the more I oppose them.

On the other hand, I have no ethical issues with merely technical restrictions such as obfuscation, hardware-only DRM (unlike how actual DRM works in practice nowadays), keeping valuable information secret, and so on. I do agree it's a bad idea for people to invest time and effort in a platform they don't control, but they should know what they are getting into when they pick a closed platform.

So you may think I'm inconsistent. Do I have an ethical issue with "lockdown" or not? In fact, when I worry about patents and other forms of copyright, my concerns are more about lockout than lockdown. The effects of lockdown are temporary, and it often hurts the culprit more than the victims. After some time, users migrate to a new platform which is more open or that gives them more control in some way. The previous platform is forgotten.

In contrast, patents remove an area from the mental landscape, they lock engineers out of it. Even a single event of this kind is much more distressing than all the hassle they may get from changing platforms, and it stays in their head as a dead zone for the whole duration of the patent.

The current profusion of patents is like rocks raining on a lake. Eventually there's no water left for the fish to swim.

Of course, there's also the issue of how so-called intellectual property is fundamentally incompatible with actual physical property. But that's another matter.

Reply Score: 4

All this talk about freedom...
by odegard on Wed 21st Mar 2012 08:22 UTC
odegard
Member since:
2012-01-11

... but the CPU in his machine is from CHINA? I'm sure there's a metaphor descripbing this using pots and kettles.

Reply Score: 2

RE: All this talk about freedom...
by Morgan on Fri 23rd Mar 2012 09:06 UTC in reply to "All this talk about freedom..."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I used to find his apparent compromise in this area to be confusing as well, but you have to look at the entirety of his philosophy to understand it. He basically doesn't give two shits about the state of a country's government or political climate. He cares solely about the level of freedom in software. Look at his comments in this interview; he doesn't avoid visiting Iran because he opposes the government, he avoids it because he fears his opinions on freedom will subject him to incarceration or worse.

As for the processor in his laptop, he doesn't care (or maybe just doesn't even think) about the fact that it's produced in a corrupt, communist country known for oppressing and censoring its citizens, nor that the entire laptop is likely built in a factory much worse for its employees than Foxconn on a bad day. All he seems to care about is the fact that he needs no binary blobs, or indeed any non-GPL software, to enjoy the full capabilities of the device. It's quite the myopic view, but it's how he rolls.

Reply Score: 2

So boring ...
by jgfenix on Wed 21st Mar 2012 09:04 UTC
jgfenix
Member since:
2006-05-25

Fifteen years and people keep asking him the same questions (How many times have I read him explaining the differences between Linux and GNU/Linux?)

Edited 2012-03-21 09:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Oh my, Stallman, old chap ...
by ViktorRabe on Wed 21st Mar 2012 09:49 UTC
ViktorRabe
Member since:
2011-12-30

However, if you convince people that they deserve freedom, they will start rejecting nonfree software whether it is technically inferior or technically superior, because they will see that free software is ethically superior. They will understand the important question and judge it right. This is a full, deep success.


To quote Yoda: "That is why you fail."

Stallman, my friend, nobody except a loon will choose inferior software for ethical reasons that are connected to the software's inherent freedom or absence of said freedom. If need really be, a user will pirate the superior software. And if ethics play a role for said user, he'll choose the inferior software because he can't afford the superior one. But not many people will choose inferior software because it's the "right" thing to do for the sake of freedom.

You have to face the ugly truth someday, Stallman: what's most important for many users today, when it comes to FLOSS, is the "free as in beer", not the "free as in speech".

Edited 2012-03-21 10:00 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Oh my, Stallman, old chap ...
by Soulbender on Wed 21st Mar 2012 11:40 UTC in reply to "Oh my, Stallman, old chap ..."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Stallman, my friend, nobody except a loon will choose inferior software for ethical reasons that are connected to the software's inherent freedom or absence of said freedom.


I don't see why not. People boycott a lot of "superior" things for ethical reasons all the time. On the other hand, there are many things we should do, ethically, but do not.
The problem, if you're Stallman, is not that people wouldn't boycott it, the problem is that they are not convinced that they should.

But not many people will choose inferior software because it's the "right" thing to do for the sake of freedom.


I guess that's the problem then. Maybe we should.
I think it's interesting how many people there are here who apparently value ethics less than technical features. Maybe that says something about us.

Reply Score: 5

sparkyERTW Member since:
2010-06-09

"Stallman, my friend, nobody except a loon will choose inferior software for ethical reasons that are connected to the software's inherent freedom or absence of said freedom.


I don't see why not. People boycott a lot of "superior" things for ethical reasons all the time. On the other hand, there are many things we should do, ethically, but do not.
The problem, if you're Stallman, is not that people wouldn't boycott it, the problem is that they are not convinced that they should.

But not many people will choose inferior software because it's the "right" thing to do for the sake of freedom.


I guess that's the problem then. Maybe we should.
I think it's interesting how many people there are here who apparently value ethics less than technical features. Maybe that says something about us.
"

Well put. More and more I find myself placing more value on the ethical and freedom-minded aspects of software than the technical capabilities. What does the software claim to do? Do I trust it? Does it lock me in? Can I get my data back out of it freely? What happens if other parts of my system get updated? If it stops working, can I get it back? Will it force me to pay due to the circumstances an upgrade would create? Even if the source is available, does the software rely on a service that is black-box? Do I trust the provider of that service?

There are certain things that, yes, I have to rely on non-free software for, mainly hardware related. But I'm finding that I'm more frequently turning my nose up at software that may be flashy and feature-rich, but after a long, hard look at I realize I simply can't trust or rely upon.

Reply Score: 5

1983...
by sakeniwefu on Wed 21st Mar 2012 16:24 UTC
sakeniwefu
Member since:
2008-02-26

MIT: So, let me get this straight... you are leaving a highly paid and well-regarded position here in order to write software and give it away for free?

RMS: No, I am not going to give software away for free, but for Freedom. You see, in English we have a single word 'free', whereas other languages like Spanish use different words for free as in beer and free as in freedom.

MIT: Um, okay. But I still believe you could be writing your software while working here, we could license it so that other people could benefit from it as well. We could make it so people could then redistribute modified versions without any limitation.

RMS: That is unacceptable, people need freedom, but they are too stupid to realize they do. There must be limitations so that anybody using the code is forced to give any modifications back.

MIT: Well, at least you will stop stealing our beer, right?

RMS: You wish!

Reply Score: 1

mistersoft
Member since:
2011-01-05

Stallman's recurrent definition of 'free software' does get a bit repetitive, and maybe for a reason, it's a bit of a bogus fight (in some ways)..
He does *seem* to be positioning Free Software (of his defining -i.e. fulfilling his 4 rules) against Closed source/Payed-for software sometimes..........and I'm not sure that's ultimately his intent, or if the whole issue, even for himself -having been round the loop so many times- is becoming confused.

Free Software (of the RMS/FSF definition) ought be solely positioned against or be fighting the good fight against 'Open Source(but not entirely Free) Software' e.g. the Tivoization situation recounted where say a hardware manufacturer will take a piece of Open Source software or code and modify it, maybe add some really useful improvements and release the code back into the wild but lock their hardware so further tinkerers can't reload their own further code modifications.

Furthermore I think the fight really *really* ought to be with hardware manufacturers locking down their devices unnecessarily,especially all the tablet makers -in all of their Android, IOS, and soon MS/WOA varieties.

It won't be much good having OpenSource/Free software is we can't run/load it onto the devices we have!

People keep claiming things like AntiTrust laws, in either the US/EU, don't apply to say Microsoft in the tablet market as they barely have a foothold there, or that Apple are trying to provide the best possible user experience or malware free App store.....yada yada

...overarchingly, that's all bull! ..if we take ALL the tablet(+phone) hardware device/OS makers TOGETHER (as the cabal they either already are or might be becoming..?!..'by accident') then, as the 'personal computing' market/system gradually switches further and further away from the generic, run-what-you-like how-you-like x86 PC model toward more and more and more of a walled-garden model where control is shifted (inexorably?) away from the consumer/user to the manufacturer, the legally bound and gagged official software developers, and dare I say it also to governments or their offshoots....then maybe AntiTrust/competition laws could have some meaning in this context..

People have grown accustomed to expect certain freedoms from their PC's and just because the de facto PC is 'evolving' toward the phone and the tablet doesn't mean we ought let all the control and freedom 'be evolved away from us' at the same time!! But RMS and other freedom advocates are probably bang on, they will be if we let them be!

Last point regarding Dickie and his Looping State of Mind(sorry, couldn't resist a The Field reference)- -in this case, his incessant recanting of the GNU/linux naming debacle - I would be pretty positive that those who have followed computing history long enough have heard this from various sources almost an uncountable number of times - but usually from Stallman himself - he doesn't seem to me to come across overly conceited or proud, but perhaps with this issue he maybe needs to be let go, or just let others take over that particular small fight - perhaps even if the Linux entry on Wikipedia defaulted to redirecting to GNU-Linux, with the mention of the GNU system tools further toward the top of the article would be 'enough' and he could 'let it go'.

Reply Score: 1

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

People have grown accustomed to expect certain freedoms from their PC's and just because the de facto PC is 'evolving' toward the phone and the tablet doesn't mean we ought let all the control and freedom 'be evolved away from us' at the same time!! But RMS and other freedom advocates are probably bang on, they will be if we let them be!


Amen!

Reply Score: 2

Re:
by kurkosdr on Wed 21st Mar 2012 21:55 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

"ungrateful jerk... ...who just happened to have been correct this whole time.


Nobody blames him for his stance against DRM, user restrictions and tracking. What we blame him for is his stupid "proprietary software == evil", and if you don't agree with that and release some software as proprietary, you are evil too. No, he doesn't care if most people don't think proprietary software == evil and that you can't declare proprietary software evil without declaring the whole idea of copyright evil.

If you think that the only way to save youself from DRM, user restrictions and tracking is by avoiding proprietary software, you 've fallen to Stallman's trap.

Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.2; el-gr; LG-P990 Build/FRG83G) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1 MMS/LG-Android-MMS-V1.0/1.2

Edited 2012-03-21 21:59 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Re:
by demetrioussharpe on Wed 21st Mar 2012 22:21 UTC in reply to "Re:"
demetrioussharpe Member since:
2009-01-09

What we blame him for is his stupid "proprietary software == evil", and if you don't agree with that and release some software as proprietary, you are evil too. No, he doesn't care if most people don't think proprietary software == evil and that you can't declare proprietary software evil without declaring the whole idea of copyright evil.


Regardless of whether people follow his reasons for proprietary software being evil, the fact remains that his prediction of the effects of proprietary software on social structures is correct & the effects are coming to fruition. In other words, it doesn't matter that a person might believe that lions are evil, if he's telling you that you shouldn't try use a wild lion as a pet & that the lion is going to eventually try to eat you. Are you going to disregard the guy warning you about the lion just because you think he's crazy, you don't think he baths regularly, or you think he's a jerk???

Reply Score: 3

One big hole
by Moochman on Thu 22nd Mar 2012 17:57 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

His answer about how to earn a living on free software is mind-bogglingly short-sighted IMHO. His argument is that "most paid software development is custom"--whatever that means, I believe he is referring to custom-tailored software created for in-house use within an organization. Be that as it may, most *used* software is not custom -- it's mostly commercial software distributed on a large scale to the unwashed masses, at relatively cheap prices due to economies of scale. The only reason there are so many jobs in "custom" software despite its niche status is that the developers charge an arm and a leg for it to make up for the low number of licenses.

So given that the "non-custom" software is actually more important to 99% of users, what is Stallman's proposal to replace the proprietary model for said infinitely more useful non-custom software? hmmm???

Edited 2012-03-22 18:09 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: One big hole
by mistersoft on Thu 22nd Mar 2012 19:53 UTC in reply to "One big hole"
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

RE replacing the 99% of 'more useful'(for consumers; i'm sure it's a lower % for businesses but the point is still valid)

Anyway - just wanted to say, good point! well made. I was trying to say something similar - but I'm not always very concise!! cheers

Reply Score: 1

RE: One big hole
by kaiwai on Fri 23rd Mar 2012 13:01 UTC in reply to "One big hole"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

You would sell services on top of the software - in an ideal world in other words you would have hardware vendors like Dell developing and supporting their own version of Linux, selling extended support contracts etc. In other words the existing model would be replaced and there would be a period of transition where not all businesses make it but in the end consumers will realise that software is more than just DVD/CDs and that they're paying for someones specialised skills in much the same way that one pays for a qualified plumber or electrician.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: One big hole
by Moochman on Sat 24th Mar 2012 16:59 UTC in reply to "RE: One big hole"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

You would sell services on top of the software - in an ideal world in other words you would have hardware vendors like Dell developing and supporting their own version of Linux, selling extended support contracts etc. In other words the existing model would be replaced and there would be a period of transition where not all businesses make it but in the end consumers will realise that software is more than just DVD/CDs and that they're paying for someones specialised skills in much the same way that one pays for a qualified plumber or electrician.


Hmm. This answer doesn't satisfy me at all. First of all, Dell would probably suck at developing their own version of Linux, and honestly I'd rather have one Linux distribution (such as Ubuntu) that has a cohesive vision, is well-supported for the long term, and runs on multiple platforms, than have every hardware manufacturer developing some custom thing and thereby fragmenting and ultimately (in all likelihood) making crappier the Linux that they put on their machines. That's what's happening to Android right now after all, isn't it, and look how that turned out...

Second, the point about treating software developers like people with specialized skills such as plumbers or electricians... Developing software is nothing like being an electrician or plumber. When you release a piece of software, especially if you make it open-source, there is no mechanism in place to ensure that you will be financially compensated for your work -- copying is, after all, free. Whereas, an electrician or plumber is doing something in a physical location in the physical world where their efforts cannot be replicated free of cost. Can you imagine the equivalent of an "open-source" plumber? Of course not, because he deals in physical services that cannot be replicated for free.

The only way to ensure that you get compensated for your work as a software developer is by either A) Asking for donations and trusting people to give them B) employing some kind of artificial mechanism to prevent customers from attaining your product without paying, or C) to have a middle-man (such as Red Hat or Dell) paying you because of the fact that your work enables some kind of commerce in the physical world. But then the question is, what will happen to all the innovative "apps" if there is no middle-man company out there willing to pay for them to be developed? What will happen to the independent software developer who has that cool, unique new idea and wants to devote his life to bringing it to life?

Reply Score: 2

Re:
by kurkosdr on Thu 22nd Mar 2012 23:25 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

Thanks to the article poster, for inspiring a new TM

http://tmrepository.com/trademarks/richardstallmanwasrightallalong/

Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.2; el-gr; LG-P990 Build/FRG83G) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1 MMS/LG-Android-MMS-V1.0/1.2

Reply Score: 2

RE: Re:
by Johann Chua on Fri 23rd Mar 2012 12:28 UTC in reply to "Re:"
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

Linking to TM Repository from an Android phone. Well done.

Reply Score: 2