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GNU is Not Unix DRM Open Source Software

Richard Stallman Interviewed By Bryan Lunduke (youtube.com) 172

Many Slashdot readers know Bryan Lunduke as the creator of the humorous "Linux Sucks" presentations at the annual Southern California Linux Exposition. He's now also a member of the OpenSUSE project board and an all-around open source guy. (In September, he released every one of his books, videos and comics under a Creative Commons license, while his Patreon page offers a tip jar and premiums for monthly patrons). But now he's also got a new "daily computing/nerd show" on YouTube, and last week -- using nothing but free software -- he interviewed the 64-year-old founder of the Free Software Foundation, Richard Stallman. "We talk about everything from the W3C's stance on DRM to opinions on the movie Galaxy Quest," Lunduke explains in the show's notes.

Click through to read some of the highlights.
"Instead of the DMCA, which makes it a crime to show people how to break DRM, it should be a crime to make, import or lease or sell devices with DRM," Stallman says. "Both the players and the media. It should be a crime. The executives of the companies that are now pulling the strings of the W3C, they should go to jail for doing DRM. "

Asked about Sir Tim Berners-Lee's endorsement of DRM in HTML5, Stallman quipped that "The fact that he's a knight means he was of service to the empire. And now he's being of service to another empire...What's happening here is that Berners-Lee and Jeff Jaffee have convinced themselves that by making this a standard, they will make the injustice of DRM smoother and less annoying in minor ways. And they've convinced themselves that that's the purpose of their lives... "

"He should handle it by saying no. But he can't really. And the reason is he set up an organization which is controlled by the businesses that want to put in the most money... By structuring it so it's controlled by the businesses, they've structured it so it wouldn't defend us from those businesses."

Stallman calls Skype "a non-free program with a network effect" whose users are "victim co-perpetrators," and also says that "Nobody uses Facebook, Facebook uses them. Facebook doesn't have users. It has useds. If you have a Facebook account, Facebook is using you to get information about you and about other people you know..."

Stallman pans mobile devices "that are full of peripherals that require non-free software at the system level. So there's no way to free them and have them work, except lots of painstaking reverse engineering, which is proceeding slowly."

And Stallman reserves a special bile for "the internet of Stings", saying "I personally wouldn't tolerate anything in my home that was talking to the internet except for my computer. They're designed to mistreat you. And part of the way they're designed to mistreat you is that they contain non-free software. And as happens often in the non-free software world, they have malicious functionality... It's the act of folly to use such a device."

Citing evils including surveillance, DRM, and back doors, as well as censorship and tethering to a remote server, Stallman says "If any proprietary program nowadays has no malicious functionality, that's basically luck."

"With free software you can remove any malicious functionality [or] a few other users can get together and release their modified version, and you just have to use it. With free software the community of users can defend itself from malicious functionalities. With proprietary software, the users are defenseless. This is why the mere fact of being proprietary software is an injustice." At one point he even says that proprietary software is like a dangerous drug, and "we've got to teach people to get off of it."

His advice to others? "Reject products with DRM. Never use any product designed to restrict you unless you have, immediately to hand, what it takes to break the handcuffs."

Stallman says he's running Trisquel's GNU/Linux distro on a ThinkPad x60, "one of the models of computer that can run a free BIOS with no binary blobs in the BIOS or in Linux, no proprietary software at any level of the GNU system. This is basically what we were aiming for 34 years ago."

Lunduke asks Stallman how a staunch proponent of free software -- and a man who doesn't agree to EULAs -- gets his entertainment media? Stallman replies, "No movie or show or song is worth giving up my freedom for. So I don't. So the only ways I will get copies of publications is when there's an ethical way to do it, one that doesn't mistreat me, doesn't do injustice to those who are using it..." "I buy music on CDs from physical stores... The problem is in the U.S. it's hard to find such stores any more!"

As a recovering teenaged TV addict, he no longer owns a television -- he went cold turkey when he went to college -- but he loved The Prisoner, and quotes it. " 'I'm going to escape and come back and wipe this place off off the face of the earth' is an inspiration to me. You might say that spirit is the base of the Free Software Movement. I'm going to escape from proprietary software, and come back, and wipe proprietary software off the face of the earth."

Finally, Stallman says we need more free software champions to help with this great work, and when Lunduke conveys the thank-yous of many free software fans, Stallman replies, "The best way to thank me and the thousands of other people who've worked on GNU is by helping us advance. So look at GNU.org/help, and you'll see see dozens of different kinds of work you can do or contributions you can make. And it's not all programming..."
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Richard Stallman Interviewed By Bryan Lunduke

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  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday April 24, 2017 @04:23AM (#54290671) Journal
    He's harsh on Tim Berners-Lee for supporting DRM. I can't say he's wrong, though.
    Also he's harsh on Facebook.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Stallman is a well-known liberal and he won't spare the opportunity to take a jab at the Crown :) But seriously, he's right. Tim Berners-Lee didn't have a choice to begin with. If TBL said "NO", the rest of the big-money players will just move on without him.

      It wouldn't be quite fair to say it was TBL that "set up an organization which is controlled by the businesses." This is far beyond the control of an individual, no matter how influential and visionary he is.

      • Re:harsh (Score:4, Interesting)

        by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Monday April 24, 2017 @09:38AM (#54291437)
        'Liberal' is being incredibly generous to RMS. Go through his website stallman.org: you'll see that he's a Progressive, bordering on Socialist. Of course, he claims that his ideals are closer to that of Social Democrat parties in Western Europe, rather than Socialist or Communist parties anywhere. Yet, he had been supportive of Hugo Chavez, when he was around (although I wonder where he stands on the current Venezuelan unrest)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Ahh, 'progressive'. It's funny how you lot are so scared of that word.

          His ideals are, in fact, that much closer to european social democratic movements. But I don't know why you're so scared of Socialism; the US has lots of examples of it, and some of them aren't even corporate welfare.

          On Chavez: I think a lot of lefties (me included) were very supportive of Chavez when he appeared on the scene; the first few years of Chavez rule were significant in terms of how they improved the lives of the poor.

          Did Chave

          • 'Progressive' is just an euphemism for Marxist. Sorta like 'People's Democratic'. Like North Korea is the 'People's Democratic Republic of Korea'. That's wonk-speak for ya.

            Socialism is just Communism sans the genocide: it's the forcible confiscation of wealth for equitable re-distribution. Or transfer of wealth. Which is particularly grating to people who earned it, or even had it passed over through generations.

            If Chavez's way was so good, why is Venezuela currently in turmoil, after Maduro attemp

      • The w3c is set up for business interest takeover though. To be a member you have to pay a sum, to become part of a working group to create a "standard", you quickly have to sink in thousands if not hundreds of thousands per year. Few individual, small busones or even hobbyist groups will be able to make that expense, the only names you see on there is Adobe, Microsoft, Google etc.

    • Re:harsh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2017 @04:44AM (#54290717)

      He is Richard Fucking Stallman. He is going to be direct, blunt, and passionate, and everything he says is going to be true.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Slashdot is full of IT types these days. They got into IT because a counselor in High School told them it would be lucrative. This isn't the old Slashdot of nerds it once was. Many of them assume this is and was always an IT site.

        IT is modern day clerical work. Shining the modern equivalent of file cabinets. Fighting over the correct color of Pendeflex hanging folders and the merits of Steelcase versus Herman-Miller office furniture.

        Truly, they are the telephone sanitizers.

    • Re:harsh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2017 @05:17AM (#54290795)

      I can't say he's wrong, though.

      That's Stallman in a nutshell. Particularly the "though".

  • FSF = not practical (Score:5, Interesting)

    by allcoolnameswheretak ( 1102727 ) on Monday April 24, 2017 @05:01AM (#54290755)

    I sympathize with his ideals, because the truth is that a lot of DRM sucks ass and big companies like facebook are screwing their users in unethical ways. But it's still hard to take Stallman seriously because he doesn't provide practical solutions to these problems. The reality is, we live in a world choke full of DRM and information harvesting megacorps - the free software idealism has lost and will never win - and Stallman seems like a radical extremist that advocates blowing up parlament and engaging in civil disobedience by opting out of all the services modern life offers. This is not a practical or tolerable solution for 99% of the population. Most people want to watch Netflix, connect with their friends on facebook and perform Google searches. If you just tell them they can't have all that, you'll never win them over.

    • by gringer ( 252588 ) on Monday April 24, 2017 @05:35AM (#54290825)

      the free software idealism has lost and will never win

      It's becoming more popular in the biology / medical research community, as people start to understand the importance of reproducible and open research. Every thing that can be opened up and inspected is another thing that doesn't need months (or years) of work to repeat.

      • the free software idealism has lost and will never win

        It's becoming more popular in the biology / medical research community, as people start to understand the importance of reproducible and open research.

        I though the whole idea of science was reproducible and open research. Also, having more of a natural science than CS background, I've always viewed FOSS as the application of scientific principles to software. Unfortunately, I've come across closed software in fields such as molecular modelling and fluid dynamics. It's an interesting turnaround if scientists have to learn the basics again from software guys.

        • by gringer ( 252588 )

          I though the whole idea of science was reproducible and open research.

          Yes, one of the ideas of science is reproducible and open research. The realities involve things like "publish or perish", boys clubs of peer review, and a funding preference for things that no one else has done before, but already have substantial research done to back them up.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2017 @05:37AM (#54290829)

      > I sympathize with his ideals, because the truth is that a lot of DRM sucks ass [...]

      This is probably the most insidious geek trap. "It can't be done perfectly, so I better do nothing..." "Oh! someone tweeted something!". Uncountable geek's corpses lay scattered around on that cliffs.

      The best antidote is: Do as well as you can. Pick your battles. Keep it fun, while not losing the goal's sight. Accept imperfection. Above all, keep it fun.

      • Above all, keep it fun

        So he does that by suggesting that by people who create DRM need to be jailed?

        He's never going to win the hearts and minds if he keeps at it.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          So he does that by suggesting that by people who create DRM need to be jailed?

          I think this is a great example of the situation. I used to think of RMS as a nutcase, and over the years I've come to agree with him on nearly everything. (Though yes, I do make some compromises.) Fighting for peoples' rights does win hearts and minds. Maybe you're not a programmer, but to a programmer, it is extremely offensive to have laws that prohibit me from doing what I want, especially when those laws don't even serve the

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "the free software idealism has lost and will never win"

      Never is a very, very long time.
      Never is literally everything ever to come in the future.
      Including thousands and perhaps even millions of years from now.
      It will take billions of years before our sun is gone.
      You could've written "will probably never win".
      But you didn't, you wrote "will never win".
      Humans have only had computers for less than 100 years.
      Think about that for a moment.

      "If you just tell them they can't have all that, you'll never win them ove

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Monday April 24, 2017 @06:03AM (#54290865) Homepage Journal

      Free software is winning. What is the most popular OS kernel? Is there a modern computer or mobile device that doesn't run GNU software? Do you think companies like Google would open source their software if free software was losing?

      What about the internet? It was all proprietary, closed systems before free software and protocols set us free.

      Netflix will give us DRM one day. They would do it now I think, if it were not required for licencing the material they offer.

      Think how much worse things would be without free software.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        There are times where it feels like free software has an effect similar to a democracy that votes for authoritarianism. It's made it easier and simpler for people to develop DRM and mass spying.

      • Free software is winning.

        Too broad a brush unless you specify where it is winning. Some places it very much is succeeding, others not so much. Some types of software are absolutely dominated by free software and in some other categories it is, near as makes no difference, non-existent. Good luck finding any company with accounting software or CAD software that is free (speech or beer) and better than the closed source options. (spoiler: none exist) Proprietary software is in no danger of extinction any time soon no matter how

        • You can't legally put GPLv3 software in the App Store, since it requires that the user not only have source code, but the keys to install it. I've read that GPLv2 software can't go into the App Store, but I really don't see it when I reread GPLv2.

      • by ausekilis ( 1513635 ) on Monday April 24, 2017 @09:17AM (#54291363)

        I'm gonna go ahead and channel my inner RMS:

        Free software is winning. What is the most popular OS kernel? Is there a modern computer or mobile device that doesn't run GNU software? Do you think companies like Google would open source their software if free software was losing?

        Android itself is not open source. There is the Android Open-Source Project which, last I checked, was more than a few version behind what the latest flagship phone ships with. Google appears to be slowing down with the contributions to AOSP, which is why Cyanogenmod started in the first place.

        Sure GNU/Linux runs on damned near anything, but it is still a bit niche. Android being the exception, most people don't know or care that Linux is running on that webserver, or that router, or their TV.

          I don' t keep up with what Google has open-sourced... but their primary revenue source (us, ads specifically) and their search algorithms are still proprietary. Have they published the bottom-to-top design and software of their search system? Their datacenters?

        What about the internet? It was all proprietary, closed systems before free software and protocols set us free.

        There's a difference here. Open protocols vs open software. Internet explorer uses an open protocol, but is not free (as in speech) itself. If Microsoft had the pull to force everyone to use their own proprietary protocol/format, you can bet your ass they'd monetize it. Just look at the ODF/OOXML battle a few years back. Microsoft wanted to keep office document formats locked into their own MS Office format.

        Netflix will give us DRM one day. They would do it now I think, if it were not required for licencing the material they offer.

        Netflix already has DRM. They have since day one. Their original web player used MS Silverlight because it could handle DRM and was more difficult to hack than Flash (the bar was low). Now with HTML5 supporting DRM, they can move away from the defunct Silverlight, while maintaining that control over distribution and keeping the MAFIAA happy.

        Think how much worse things would be without free software.

        I have no doubt that things would be worse without free software. I think the GPL has done some great things and kept companies honest about using great, freely available software. There has even been government (Munich, some others) action to move away from vendor lock-in, and those guys are routinely the hardest to break away from the status quo. Unfortunately, the masses don't really *care* if the software is free, non-malicious, openly inspect-able and modifiable. Ask any Apple fanboi why they chose Apple, and the answer is probably "It just works. I can buy other Apple stuff and it all just works together". The truth is 90+% of the population don't want to tinker with stuff, they just want to get whatever job done.

      • The most popular distribution of the most popular OS kernel is wrapped in a tightly controlled ecosystem in which everything you can do, which by default isn't much, is tracked and logged.

        What percentage of operating systems in the world are running in an open and "free" environment as per FSF definition? Less than a fraction of a percentage? How can you consider that winning?

        • by ranton ( 36917 )

          The most popular distribution of the most popular OS kernel is wrapped in a tightly controlled ecosystem in which everything you can do, which by default isn't much, is tracked and logged.

          What percentage of operating systems in the world are running in an open and "free" environment as per FSF definition? Less than a fraction of a percentage? How can you consider that winning?

          AmiJoJo is mostly referring to servers running Linux, not consumer devices. Either that or he/she is just wrong.

          • I'd think the most popular distribution of the most popular OS kernel would be Android. Linux is very successful for servers and embedded software, and has well over a 1% market share of desktops/laptops.

    • Stallman seems like a radical extremist that advocates blowing up parlament

      No, he doesn't.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      My believe is that what you are proposing is too limited in scope to change the world. You do not change the world with principles based on compromise. You need the strictness and its proponents to sway the other side more towards that compromise. It is basic negotiation at a global scale.

      ps i hate negotiations, but in my experience this is how the world also works on the large scale.

    • by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Monday April 24, 2017 @06:48AM (#54290961)

      "The reality is, we live in a world choke full of DRM and information harvesting megacorps - the free software idealism has lost and will never win"

      His idealism has nothing to do with it, he's not an extremist. Basically its people like you who don't understand that the free market is a myth in a society of high speed internet where software producers are under private control, pre-high speed internet their was a balance between buyers of software and makers/sellers of software. AKA you got the software to run entirely on your computer because they physically had to let go of the software, post high speed internet. Basically Steam/mmo's/drm/software companies can take software hostage on the other side of the internet, break it into two pieces.

      Free market theory can't work in such a society because 1) You'd have to be physically close to the companys producing software to hold them accountable and thereby prevent DRM from being forced upon you. 2) The average layperson in capitalist society is not technology literate enough to be a market participant. AKA the primitive primate brain was never designed to make rational decisions in a high tech capitalist society.

      If anything permanently spying on people because private ownership of megacorporations doesn't work when the population using their services/products are physically not close enough to effect their policies. It's not that I wanted Steam or mmo's (drm'd rpg's with a subscription) to take off, it's that the informed members of capitalist society are not organized in a way to produce bad market outcomes. The idea that the average clueless tech illiterate kid is going to make rational decision regarding the future of videogames for instance (aka drm everywhere) is a myth. It has very little to do with Stallman being an extremist and everything to do with the free market having always been a myth, any large organization that controls a large share of the worlds wealth can simply forcibly impose policies on populations because the population is 100's of miles away, without physical proxmity in a post high speed internet age, there's no way to prevent having these policies forced on the population if they want to participate in the culture. Basically the myth of the free market is being shown to be a farce with the rise of the internet.

      The myth of consumer choice is the issue - you can't have genuine accountability or influence over corporations policies without physical proxmity, aka drm wouldn't be a think if we all lived within a few blocks of these companies. They get to force it down our throats because they are taking advantage of the fact the internet allows you to 'distribute' the product while holding part of its functionality hostage on companies servers, aka it's corporate warfare on peoples right to their own personal computers and the files they are purchasing from these companies. UWP and encrypted computing Microsoft and big companies are working on are working to turn computing devices into magical dumb terminal permanently. The entire internet is being re-engineered to take total control of software away from the end user, since the end user is too technically illiterate to understand the sophistication of the attacks on their rights.

      If anything stallman is right and the free market corporate extremists are wrong, in what world do you want to have you private data bought and sold by anonymous corporations and then sold to people who are hostile to your interests AND have your own computer files like games encrypted so you can't modify them while the legal environment is being remade to make file modifications illegal to software you've paid for? What kind of fucked up world do you live in that you want to be a slave of a giant corporation these little ceo kings and ignorant peasants? If anything its the average free marketeer that is the extremist.

      No market relationship can exist when buyer and seller are 100's of miles away from each other, there's no accountability so producers can impose their will on society and the average person is not intelligent enough to make rational decisions regarding technology because the human brain didn't evolve to deal with it.

      • Okay now, what should we do about it? All this complaining, all this saying that we can't beat back the system and the corporations, it is in essence us brushing our hands off for the responsibility for actually changing things. I believe that the only way that we can change things is to go ahead and build brand new hardware, brand new software that instead of taking control away from the user instead bring the control back to the user. And it will only happen if we build the hardware and the software.
    • After the Sumerians invented a written language pressed into clay tablets, one of the first uses they had for this tech was business:
      http://international.loc.gov/i... [loc.gov]

      Stallman is trying to promote a version of theInternet that by being non-commercial forever fundamentally changes human nature.

    • by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Monday April 24, 2017 @08:02AM (#54291125) Homepage

      Stallman is more like the kind of political extremist who would tell everybody not to vote because it perpetuates the system. He doesn't force anybody to do anything, he only forces himself and suggests to others. Forcing is what he's against.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Stallman is more like the kind of political extremist who would tell everybody not to vote because it perpetuates the system. He doesn't force anybody to do anything, he only forces himself and suggests to others. Forcing is what he's against.

        And how is this not wanting to use the force of law to impose his ideological views on others?

        "Instead of the DMCA, which makes it a crime to show people how to break DRM, it should be a crime to make, import or lease or sell devices with DRM," Stallman says. "Both the players and the media. It should be a crime. The executives of the companies that are now pulling the strings of the W3C, they should go to jail for doing DRM. "

      • by gr8_phk ( 621180 )
        >> Stallman is more like the kind of political extremist who would tell everybody not to vote because it perpetuates the system. I think he's more like a person telling you to vote libertarian. Unfortunately real-world libertarian candidates are more like BSD than GPL.
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday April 24, 2017 @10:07AM (#54291565) Homepage Journal

      But it's still hard to take Stallman seriously because he doesn't provide practical solutions to these problems.

      Actually he does: opt out. It won't kill you to only buy entertainment which is DRM-free. So you can't stream the latest episode of Game of Thrones; if you have access to a library you have more alternative ways to entertain your imagination than you'll ever have time to use.

      The problem is not being able to buy what the people around them are buying is just too radical for most people.

      This is not a practical or tolerable solution for 99% of the population.

      This is not anticipated to be tolerable by 99% of the population. They don't actually know, because they'll never try it. Stallman seems to be happy enough without Netflix. But Stallman is a nut. Why is he a nut? Because he's happy enough without Netflix. It's circular reasoning; for all you know you're a nut too, you just don't know it.

      This is how powerful corporations control people: by manipulating their unexamined assumptions of what they can tolerably live with. They don't need police power, because people will police themselves.

      In a sense this is nothing new, they're just manipulating a longstanding fact about human nature: people are very bad at predicting how things will affect their future happiness. I've recently developed an interest in the old Greek and Roman philosophers called the Stoics. They reasoned more or less thus: if happiness is having all your wants satisfied, the surest path to happiness is to want less. But even they realized that nobody can really adequately regulate their own desires. The best you can achieve is a kind of skepticism about what would otherwise be unchallenged assumptions about what you need. But even though it falls short, it goes a long way toward freeing you from self-afflicted dissatisfaction.

      • Actually he does: opt out. It won't kill you to only buy entertainment which is DRM-free

        True but a bit of a dodge really. That's like arguing that I always have the option to leave the US if I don't like the president. Technically true but highly unrealistic for all but the most severe cases of oppression. DRM is a problem (whether they realize it or not) but for most people it isn't something that they care about on a deep level so long as it doesn't conspicuously interfere with their daily lives. It's one of many little bits of friction in our daily lives which we have to work around.

      • You choose to focus only on the entertainment value of Netflix, and it's easy to argue that people don't really need that form of entertainment and could choose other "free-er" forms of leisure.

        First of all, that is a very utopic argument to make. People live in a society, and most people don't care about the details of technology, privacy, DRM and the moral / ethical implications of all that. Let's call these people "sheep". Most sheep just want to watch good shows and couldn't care less about the politica

    • by e r ( 2847683 )

      But it's still hard to take Stallman seriously because he doesn't provide practical solutions to these problems.

      WTF am I reading?! There's this thing called the GNU [gnu.org] project. Maybe you've heard of it.

    • The open and free software movement is winning though. Especially in specialized and scientific fields people are going out of their way to avoid closed software or write alternatives. They've been bitten many times over and over by large companies.

      The next field I am seeing the trend growth is manufacturing and factories. Again, many things still run on Windows XP or even NT to the point of it being a liability for large companies, utilities and other many are starting to demand open source software at lea

    • Stallman has helped create a free operating system that's quite successful, among other things. He provides practical solutions to many problems.

      I don't see that it matters if Free Software idealism wins, as long as it exists. I run an operating system that I can examine and modify as I like, and it didn't cost me anything significant. I can get implementations of all sorts of computer languages for free. That's not how things tended to work in the 1980s and before, and Stallman is a very important re

  • I'm surprised... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2017 @05:44AM (#54290843)

    ... that Lunduke would even interview RMS again after RMS telling Lunduke that he should go broke rather than develop software... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=radmjL5OIaA

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Except that is not what he said.

      Q: The job I am doing is unethical, but it earns me lots of money. Do you want my children to starve?

      A: That does not make it ethical and there are other jobs out there.

      • Yeah, getting a job is just like going to Safeway and getting a six-pack of beer, or coke. All you need to do is want it.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The video you linked to is over an hour long. I don't know where he said that and I'm not inclined to go looking because you didn't post a time code.

      Anyway, Stalman has said that he isn't against selling software or services like development and support. And in fact companies do just that quite successfully, e.g. Red Hat.

  • He is right (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2017 @07:04AM (#54290999)

    I have enjoyed every interaction I have had with him because he doesn't bend his principles. He becomes a modern prophet of sorts to us calling out the truth we already know but are maybe too lazy to actually apply to life without being reminded.
    Now my wife would call him and quite often me a real Sheldon Cooper but we need a few dorks around calling us to do the right thing to shepherd us against those motivated by personal or corporate gain and 'free' not libre systems which actually just use us as farmed cash crops.
    He did like my suggestion for the next openmoko/Neo900 which included a POCSAG pager module though he disagreed on the agreed upon modem module implementation in that design. He would own a phone if it was one which didn't abuse him, having a pager on passive alert and only connecting to the phone network when he chose to to answer/call back his calls sounded good to him.
    I suppose the problem is there is less commercial pressure to produce a phone or computer which fully respects the user when even a little abuse spread among thousands or millions of units can enrich a small number of executives. I think well over 90% of users in our endless September could care less about the mostly invisible abuse going on and like airline passengers just care about the price no matter how bad they are treated.

    • +1. He is an idealist and pragmatist. If we had listened to him we wouldn't be in the mess we are now, with megacorporations with walled gardens shoveling spyware every chance they get.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Stallman is a true liberal progressive. He can be exceedingly demanding in principles, and unrelenting in their enforcement. He is blunt and to the point.

      But from my experience, he never try to coerce, never to intimidate. He respects people's rights while maintaining his strong differences.

      No wonder so many are afraid of him. When you can't attack his character and message, you attack his person.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Stallman is a true liberal progressive.

        He is. What's so especially fascinating about that, is how amazingly compatible it is with conservatism.

        If RMS were to win some battles, I might some day find myself in an adversarial relationship with him. But for now, he's the enemy of everyone's enemies. No matter how left or right you are, if you join him in fighting corruption, both sides win.

        Later, some distant day, maybe we can fight about our differences, but in 2017 those differences are insignificant. Freedom

  • Then why does Proprietary Software dominate?
    • Then why does Proprietary Software dominate?

      More people use MS Windows than Linux for the same reason that more people use English than Esperanto. Not because it's better, but because it's entrenched in society. MS-DOS for the IBM PC wasn't remarkably good. What was remarkable about it was that it hacked together very quickly. Copyright gave monopoly control and massive profits to whoever got something out the door first in an emerging market. (Although control over "the desktop" is now becoming less i

  • 34 years (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Monday April 24, 2017 @08:46AM (#54291229) Homepage

    So, after 34 years, in a world of on-demand entertainment, mobile devices, in-home electronics, video conferencing, etc., Stallman is using a decade-old laptop, watching no entertainment at all, presumably has nothing in the line of other devices (e.g. tablets, phones, CCTV, etc.) and can't talk to anyone who doesn't use the same kind of software as him (e.g. everyone on Skype, WhatsApp, etc.). And he also thinks you should go to jail for wanting to put a restrictive licence on things you own?

    And we're supposed to follow this guy's ideals?

    The guy's a moron. And that's coming from someone who does do an awful lot of things the open-source way, including my own programming.

    If you want to fix this problem, rather than mouth off, try and fix some of the primary problems identified by the FSF - which has included open-source video conferencing for years. Hell, they're still talking about an open-source alternative for Flash which has lived and died in the time they've been trying to create one.

    The sentiment is overblown, the direction is a good one, but the reality is so poor that everyone gave up waiting (e.g. for Hurd which only recently got SATA functionality...). And you're seriously advocating a years-old laptop as the way to live? That laptop stopped manufacture before millions of the users of things like iPads and WhatsApp were even born.

    Not only are you bad at fixing the problem, you're bad at finding interim solutions, and bad at making suggestions, and nothing but bad press for people who DO still want free and open kit.

    I'm incredibly disappointed that NOBODY with these large organisations with tons of skilled people on board has thought to monetise the exact thing they can do : Make a series of machines that are free and open from top to bottom. You can use sales from them to develop further. People would buy one just for a certified "open" tag.

    But, no, the closest you can get is System76 who recycle old IBM laptops still and who have just thought about getting into the game of end-to-end production.

    We could have been doing that since the 386 era when this guy first started mouthing off publicly, but nothing has been done in that direction.

    I'm all for free software but, you know what, I have to talk to real people. That means a mobile phone. I have to use computers. That means ones I can buy in a shop today. I have to live and enjoy. And that means playing games on Steam and watching movies on Amazon.

    Because there are precisely ZERO viable alternatives, short of a 10-year-old laptop and giving everything else up.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I have to live and enjoy. And that means playing games on Steam and watching movies on Amazon.

      You make it sound like a penance rather than a reward. If I have to pick between living what you live for and living what Stallman lives for, that kind of "Brave New World" summary is not exactly making me pick the former over the latter.

    • That's like arguing that the health-conscious are wrong because they're not opening healthy drive-through restaurants to compete with McDonalds.

      Stallman isn't in the business of creating software to compete with *every* proprietary piece of software out there. He's in the business of changing minds. When you change minds, the market will accommodate the needs of the consumer. Just like how McDonalds has healthy options now (or so I hear, haven't been to one in years).

  • > Stallman replies, "No movie or show or song is worth giving up my freedom for. [...]"

    It seems to me like he is giving up a lot of one kind of freedom in order to attain his kind of it. Having limited options, even if self-prescribed, is a lack of freedom.

  • Stallman pans mobile devices "that are full of peripherals that require non-free software at the system level. So there's no way to free them and have them work, except lots of painstaking reverse engineering, which is proceeding slowly."

    Thanks for reminding me: how is that Replicant project (or should it be GNU Replicant?) coming along? Are we likely to see it any sooner than HURD? Or will that too be a HURD like project - abandoned by you after going through an odyssey of experiments by the devs?

    "I buy music on CDs from physical stores... The problem is in the U.S. it's hard to find such stores any more!"

    Don't you still get CDs in the mail from BMG or Columbia House, like I used to, in the 90s? Here's what I consider mistreatment: having to put down anything from $7-15 on a CD w/ 11 songs, only 1 or 2 of which I like. And being spammed by the

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday April 24, 2017 @10:59AM (#54291817) Journal

      his goal at the end - eviscerating proprietary software from the face of the earth - just reveals his evil Stalinist tendencies that have never left him, and never will.

      The problem with Stalin wasn't his ideals. The problem with Stalin was that he killed people who disagreed with him. Either you have a very basic lack of understanding, or you are purposely trying to mislead people. Which is it?

      • I never said that Stallman shared Stalin's ideals. I did imply that he has goals similar to what Stalin had, except that whereas Stalin eviscerated entire populations and conducted genocide, Stallman wants to wipe out businesses that operate on principles different from what he believes in. Yeah, he doesn't want to kill people, but he wants to stamp out all ideas other than his own. Not a whole lot better than the Soviet leader.
  • "I'll make the best OS. It will be free. The very best free. And I know how everyone should think about their data. I'm very good with data. The best. And their wrong. We need to make HURD best again."

  • I'm going to escape from proprietary software, and come back, and wipe proprietary software off the face of the earth.

    Calm down there, Mr. Ahmadinejad

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