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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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.

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