Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 12th Sep 2007 04:14 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source Here is an interview with Richard Stallman about a range of free software topics including GPLv3 and comment on the Microsoft patent issue. Stallman has a go at Linus Torvalds even suggesting that if people want to keep their freedom they better not follow Torvalds. From the interview: "The fact that Torvalds says "open source" instead of "free software" shows where he is coming from. I wrote the GNU GPL to defend freedom for all users of all versions of a program. I developed version 3 to do that job better and protect against new threats. Torvalds says he rejects this goal; that's probably why he doesn't appreciate GPL version 3. I respect his right to express his views, even though I think they are foolish. However, if you don't want to lose your freedom, you had better not follow him."
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We Need Both
by llanitedave on Thu 13th Sep 2007 05:25 UTC
llanitedave
Member since:
2005-07-24

I tend to vacillate between "following" Stallman and "following" Torvalds when they each talk about their underlying philosophies. They both make some good sense. And between the two of them, a healthy ecosystem is indeed developing.

I agree with Torvalds that proprietary software is not necessarily "evil", and that Open-Source leads to superior technical achievement.

I agree with Stallman that the Freedom to learn and grow is a fundamental individual right, and that as long as we're forced to use proprietary software, that right is stifled. Society does suffer when its progress is slowed, and freedom leads to greater progress.

So neither argument should be disregarded. Freedom allows us to pursue the growth that is our right, and pursuing this growth leads to both technical and social progress.

While I don't think prorietary software is inherently evil, I think the type of coercion that forces you to use proprietary software is indeed evil. I see nothing wrong with using a closed-source application if it helps you accomplish your tasks. If it's the best tool for the job, then you should have the freedom to choose it.

However, I also see nothing wrong, and everything right, with working to replace that closed-source application with a Free equivalent -- not by violating copyright law, but by using the Freedoms to independently define, refine, cooperate, learn, and implement the functionality that is needed.

Proprietary software should not be prohibited or impeded from being available, but it should not have a special consideration to prohibit or impede Free software, either.

Linus is right -- we should use the best tool for the job, and Free Software is potentially, if not in all cases the number is growing, the best tool.

RMS is right -- Free software is vital to allowing us to achieve our potential as both humans and as workers.

They're both wrong, too: Stallman in his single-minded devotion to Free-software ONLY, and Linus in his lack of appreciation for what freedom means apart from the technical side.

Fortunately, as long as certain proprietary companies don't use the law to shut down Freedom, I think we have a healthy ecosystem building here: Free software is competing quite successfully in "commodity" areas, such as OS, Office Suites, media players, and browsers, while proprietary software can still maintain a successful niche in specialized areas of narrow but important applicability.

There is room for both.

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