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."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. "
Click through to read some of the highlights.
Click through to read some of the highlights.
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..."