Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Why does freedom matter?


"Why does the philosophy matter? Because people who don't value their freedom will lose it. If you give people freedom but don't teach them to value it, they won't hold on to it for long. So it is not enough to spread free software. We have to teach people to demand freedom, to fight for freedom. Then we may be able to overcome the problems that today I see no way to solve."

--Richard Stallman

RMS as he is commonly known is basically a free software evangelist, which is to say he promotes free software on issues not related to the most practical problems, and does not share the views of mainstream IP stakeholders. He thinks everything should be free (as in Freedom). He also writes a lot of software for free (as in beer). He would like to be able to write software to do anything he likes without fear of reprisal through the courts, and would also like to be able not to charge money for it.

Example : Personal Video Recorders. RMS could write one himself, but due to recent changes to US software laws, he can't, because it infringes on the IP of some cable tv set-top boxes. It's not like they got there first, like is normally required of patents, it's just that they will accuse RMS of modifying their hardware, something that's illegal in the US.

This is not just a software argument. People are giving up their freedoms every day, and not fighting for it. I would like it if more people fought for their freedom.



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