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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

RMS – Too Crude to Lose « FOSS Force

RMS - Too Crude to Lose

Richard Stallman at the University of Pittsburgh 2010 (courtesy Wikipedia)

When it comes to software freedom, Richard Stallman is a bomb throwing anarchist. That’s a good thing. The FOSS community needs a few bomb throwers in its arsenal.

His job is to keep the bad guys, those who constantly attempt to usurp our principles for their own gain, at bay. More importantly, his job is to expose them, which helps keep us FOSSers from believing the spinmasters when they use Orwellian magic to convince us that “closed is open.”

We are susceptible to such spin.

We love our Linux, we love our GPL, we love our “free and open” so much that we often jump on the bandwagon to proclaim projects “free and open” just because they contain some open source code. Look how pleased many of us are that Android runs atop the Linux kernel. That means it’s got to be FOSS, doesn’t it?

Nope. Nyet. Nada.

We get confused. We think that OSS is the same as FOSS, which it isn’t. There are lots of open source licenses that don’t guarantee software freedom, and the closed source guys are always more than willing to take advantage of them. Take Apple’s OS X for example. It’s built atop one of the open sourced BSDs. Apple makes most of the source code available for a look see and attempts to win us over by calling that “open source.”

But what can you do with with the OS X source code after you look at it? Can you install it on your vanilla version X86 machine? Can you distribute it freely to all of your friends? Can you modify it and make those modifications available to the public? The answers: nope, nope and nope.

The list of companies pushing non free software on us under the banner of “open source” is long. There are also companies embedding open source software in their devices in ways that are completely contrary to license restrictions. We FOSSers often drink the Flavor Ade and accept non free software as free because we get drunk on the idea that we’re winning, just because there’s OSS in the lineage. As for free code that’s hidden in devices, we’d never even know it was there if not for the suspicious minds of Stallman and his ilk keeping a wary eye out.


Well, I have to wonder how much more effective and better received RMS and FOSS would be... If the leaders and advocates of FOSS were to present their wonderful and very important, Ideas and their Cause. In a way that were allot more appealing and understandable, to the General Public. In a way that could and would bring out Public Support, to the point the the People would put pressure on their Government Representatives to make laws that would Protect our Freedom. Instead of making Laws that Support, Protect and Promote, Closed Source Proprietary Software. Which Closes Down our Sources of Advancement in so many Important Fields of Technology. Technology that could, Save Lives and Advance to the point, that we could actually have the time to Enjoy More of Our Time here on Earth... 

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