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20 December 2005

Richard Stallman: Hypocrite

So I saw this article on Slashdot and thought I would share a few thoughts...

Freedom 2 is the freedom to copy and distribute the software as you wish. And freedom 3 is the freedom to create and distribute modified versions as you wish.

Interesting... since GPL specifically prevents me from making a modification and distributing under say, BSD license... doesn't sound like I can modify and distribute as I wish. Perhaps that means GPL doesn't comply with those Freedoms -- thus making GPL non-free software.

Non-free software, by contrast, keeps users divided and helpless. It is distributed in a social scheme designed to divide and subjugate.

Well, that makes sense. If it wasn't bad enough having OpenSource vs. Non-OpenSource, GPL has divided it between pro-GPL and anti-GPL OpenSource. Not only that, as can easily be seen in many Linux/GPL forums, there is a huge social clique of pro-GPL that look down on those that would rather make their software truly free (and actually follow those Freedoms they CLAIM to follow).

The developers of non-free software have power over their users, and they use this power to the detriment of users in various ways. It is common for non-free software to contain malicious features, features that exist not because the users want them, but because the developers want to force them on the users.

That is extremely funny, considering that the anti-GPL OpenSource followers don't like GPL because of its 'viral-effect'.  If you want to reference any GPL software, you are forced to make your software GPL -- even if the developer didn't want to.

JP: What was your history with the free software movement?

RMS: I launched the movement in 1983 with a deliberate decision to develop a complete world of free software. The idea is not just to produce a scattering of free programs that were nice to use. Rather, the idea is to systematically build free software so that one can escape completely from non-free software. Non-free software is basically antisocial, it subjugates it users, and it should not exist. So what I wanted was to create a community in which it does not exist. A community where we would escape from non-free software into freedom.

You created it? Weird... I was using Public Domain before that -- which I usually got from wintelnet, which was a very large 'community' of sorts... more importantly, some of the operating systems that existed then (BSD?) are STILL more free than Linux is now.

 In 1983 all operating systems were proprietary.

Interesting, since BSD came out in 1977 [source] and OpenVMS in 1978 [source]

A problem arises when people who might be sympathetic to our ethical position, but focus on other issues, fall into the habit of helping to pressure others into using non-free software.

 It becomes an ethical issue when there is a restriction.

And yet, that is now the anti-GPL camp feels about the pro-GPL camp. They try to take choice away from us and force us to use a licensing scheme that limits people's freedoms.

There are some special circumstances. To develop GNU, I used Unix. But first, I thought about whether it would be ethical to do that.

And yet, earlier he said:

 GNU stands for "GNU is Not Unix", and the most important thing about GNU is that it is not Unix. Unix is a non-free operating system, and you are not allowed to make a free version of Unix. We developed a free system that is like Unix, but not Unix. We wrote all the parts of it from scratch.

interesting. seems like those two statements conflict.

I'm a Liberal, in US terms (not Canadian terms). I'm against fascism.

And yet your whole movement is designed to take choice away from me and force me to always follow your little set of GPL rules. Sounds fascist.