Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 20th Nov 2009 17:11 UTC
Linux Now this is one to ponder. This year, the Nobel Peace Prize went to Barack Obama, president of the United States. The prize has been given to both politicians and non-politicians alike, and Keith Lofstrom thinks its time to hand over the Peace Prize to a non-politician once more: Linus Torvalds.
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Children tend to do stuff like that, because they don't care what other people might think about them. I've seen children pick up candies from the floor and eat them, that's nothing strange. Most of us adults would never consider eating candies that have dropped to the floor, because we think that's unhygienic. We tend to think that when something is even slightly unhygienic, it has practically become poisonous. Well, believe it or not, we adults are wrong. Dropped candies don't just magically become poisonous as soon as they touch the floor.

I guess in some ways RMS is pretty much like a child, because he doesn't seem to believe that as soon as a candy touches the floor, it instantly becomes poisonous. And it also seems that RMS is actually correct, because he didn't suddenly drop dead after eating that candy that he found from the floor.

I've read that many rich people, like Michael Jackson, and also many other multi-millionaires, have been overly sensitive about bacteria. They wear gloves and masks all the time, and they spread disinfectant spray on everything they plan to touch. But, as a matter of fact, we cannot really avoid bacteria, because bacteria is a natural phenomenon that is all around us (and also inside us) all the time, whether you like it or not. In fact, children who are allowed to get dirty every once in a while are much less likely to become allergic than children who are artificially protected from everything that we adults consider "unhygienic". The fact of the matter is that an overly sterile environment tends to harm children by weakening their immune system.

Of course, if RMS cared too much about what other people think of him, he probably would have never declared in public that sharing software is a recommendable act. Most people seem to agree with the commercial software sellers that sharing software with your friends is always a form of criminal activity, comparable to raiding ships, and that it is right and proper to call sharing software "piracy".

I guess one must be able to think things from a fresh perspective and without any prejudice, like perhaps a child might, in order to come to such an unusual conclusion that all software should be free for everyone to use, to share, and to modify. Most people seem to find these ideas ridiculous, but that's probably just because people have been taught to think that proprietary software is the only possible way to go. Still, some of us find RMS's ideas about Free Software unique and ingenious -- the kind of ideas that make their originator well worth the Nobel Prize.

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