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Richard Stallman: Cell Phones Are 'Stalin's Dream'

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the stupid-stalin-ruins-everything dept.

Cellphones 792

jbrodkin writes "Cell phones are 'Stalin's dream,' says free software pioneer Richard Stallman, who refuses to own one. 'Cell phones are tools of Big Brother. I'm not going to carry a tracking device that records where I go all the time, and I'm not going to carry a surveillance device that can be turned on to eavesdrop.' Even the open source Android is dangerous because devices ship with proprietary executables, Stallman says in a wide-ranging interview on the state of the free software movement. Despite some progress, Stallman is still dismayed by 'The existence and use of non-free software [which] is a social problem. It's an evil. And our aim is a world without that problem.'"

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792 comments

Open source vs proprietary (3, Insightful)

Billy the Boy (2016540) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489748)

Oh come on, trying to get everyone to stop using mobile phones is a little bit far fetched. It's also not like you can make the cell phone technology in any other way, location tracking will always be possible. That's why there are laws that restrict access to such records. AND if you really want to blow up a pizza place, leave your phone home that one time.

And the social problem of non-free software? People do not care. They never have, they never will. I doubt Stallman cares about every little detail about things he uses but isn't that interested in. When he is cooking his tv dinner, he just wants a microwave that works. When Stallman goes to his weekly pony riding classes, he just wants a pony that works without going into every mundane detail. Some little girl could think that Stallman is evil because he doesn't raise, feed and have the pony at his home as part of the family, but while Stallman doesn't have time to raise a pony, he wants to ride one. That's when you take what's easy for you without going in to details.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (3, Insightful)

divxio (2016536) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489754)

There's also nothing wrong with proprietary executables, expect maybe for OSS geeks. We can have them both. Instead of attacking proprietary software and companies like Microsoft by saying they're the root of evil, MAKE BETTER SOFTWARE. Let the quality show how good choice OSS is.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (3)

balls of steel (2016538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489760)

I agree. By far open source advocates have mostly attacked Microsoft and other software companies that produce closed source applications.

Where is FOSS answer for Visual Studio? There just isn't anything as good.

Where is open source games that beat the hell out of commercial games?
Where are the games like Call of Duty (a hugely popular game), Civilization V, Portal 2, World of Warcraft.. the list goes on and on.

And no, being open source alone isn't enough reason. The applications and games have to be better than their commercial competitors!

Re:Open source vs proprietary (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489894)

Where is FOSS answer for Visual Studio? There just isn't anything as good.

I for one prefer Eclipse to VS. Even when developing C++.

And no, being open source alone isn't enough reason. The applications and games have to be better than their commercial competitors!

With this, I cannot do anything but agree.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (1)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489906)

While (as a game developer) I agree on the open-source game front, I've used both and I can say that Eclipse roundly thumps every square inch of Visual Studio's ass.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489930)

If you're going to rant about this, at least understand what the man is on about. It's not "OMG FOSS is just so better and Miscro$oft is teh evils!!!11!1ONE!!!"

His position is basically that if you don't have the source you don't have the freedom to control your own computing.

With closed source programs you are:

  • Never sure what they're doing
  • Unable to adapt them to your needs
  • Unable to share them with other people (sharing being a virtue, not a vice)

He considers those points (and at least one other, and possibly wider points than I have made) to be essential for a person to be free and to be in control of the device they are using. A computer is a general purpose device, shouldn't a user/owner be able (within their technical bounds) to make it do what they want?

Now, you may or may not agree with his stance (I don't agree with all of it, certainly), but for him and people like him this is not a question of utility.

Saying "where's the software" is therefore totally irrelevant to RMS and people of his views, because it becomes a moral issue. They wish to control their computing devices, they believe that it is their right to do so. Therefore they will not give money or time to those that promote a different agenda. Just like some people don't buy DRM, or Sony.

So yes, for them, being open source is enough reason. Or rather the reverse, something being closed source is enough reason to avoid it.

As I say, I do not necessarily buy into his stance, the guy has some views I don't agree with, but if you're going to rubbish him at least try to understand it instead of mindlessly bleating about how proprietary software is better. That's may be so, but it isn't the point.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (3, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489984)

FOSS games suffer from one big problem: Graphics. For some odd reason it's fairly easy to find good programmers who are willing and able to contribute to free software, but finding a graphics guru that doesn't want more money than he's worth is like pulling teeth.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (5, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489898)

If only quality were the determining factor. It's not and rarely ever is. MS Office is a frustrating and infuriating product for my users. I have to teach them how to use it and advise them of its limitations daily. MS Office is not "the best thing" out there. In many cases, I find OO.o (and now LibreOffice) to be quite sufficient for the vast majority of tasks out there except where 100% compatibility is required and that's the catch -- only one thing is 100% compatible with MS Office... that's the exact same version and patch level of MS Office. And it's "viral" by MS's definition of the word because when one user goes to a new version, eventually they ALL have to go to a new version or else that nearly 100% compatibility gets lost.

Quality is NOT the determining factor -- in the case of MS software, it's "critical mass."

Re:Open source vs proprietary (3, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490152)

The funny thing is MS Office isn't 100% compatible with itself. Older document versions don't always open the same. Usually it is formatting issues.

I use open office because I dont have $300 for a license for software that gets used occasionally.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (4, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489806)

When he is cooking his tv dinner, he just wants a microwave that works.

I doubt his TV dinner is open sourced either. Most people would be (or, at least, ought to be) more concerned about what's in their food that what's in their software.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489858)

Yea, that's why Stallman eats nothing but the fungus that's growing between his toes. Open Source, Open Sores, it's basically close enough.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489884)

Some people do care. At least in Europe the information is not far: it's obligatory to list the contents on food packaging.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490022)

In the states, ingredient listing is mandatory, but I don't know if listing requirements are as strict as those in Europe.

The Stallmanist open source food equivalent is him cooking his own food or going to establishments that give him the recipe along with the food. The first is easy, the second is a lot harder, I don't think there are a lot of restaurants that share recipes.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (1)

Shinobi (19308) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490140)

It's how chefs truly compete. Any skilled chef can cook well, but the master chefs can successfully come up with entirely new courses on a whim, and combining them in new menus, without having a culinary catastrophy on their hands. And that competition is what keeps the world of culinary delights from stagnating.

I myself brew beer. And unlike many Free Software/Open Source adherents, I don't want the exact recepies for Guiness or Innis&Gunn Rum Cask ale or anything. There is nothing creative about that. The real joy of brewing is to come up with my own recepies, to actually be CREATIVE.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (4, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489808)

Tracking people is a matter of supply and demand. The supply side (mobile phone vendors, and networks) are only too happy to get a few extra euro/dollar for nearly nothing. In our capitalist world, it's the only goal of a company to maximize profit. If it's therefore necessary to screw all citizens and track them all, the company will do it.

It's the governments, on the demand side, which should not want the information. It's governments who can (and should) regulate it. But they don't.

Don't blame the mobile phones for a side-effect of an otherwise practical invention.

The constant spying by governments on its citizens is the real problem... not the inventions that enable it.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489876)

Nice to see the latest reincarnation of devxo.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490032)

You are correct.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489964)

Cell networks could be more like the Internet. Although every router knows roughly how to reach a specific IP, it's only the final and often small operator who knows exactly who's behind that IP. More and smaller operators would be good both for privacy and competition.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490006)

I doubt Stallman cares about...

Oh, come on. We've been here before. Stallman loves to talk shit.

He's a hoot.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (1)

i-linux123 (2003962) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490012)

You are comparing two completely different things that can't be compared.
Ok, take a car analogy, for instance; Each time your car breaks down, would you care if it's a minor problem that you could easily have fixed but MUST take it to the repair shop because it's all a box that can't be opened? In the case of Microsoft (Which is usually the first thing that comes to mind), they would have taken your car and said "We might fix it in two months, or maybe in a few years, or maybe never, we'll contact you when it is ready.".

Similarly, you don't have electricians creating addons to microwaves and ponies, where it would sometimes help to know the internals for better integration. It seems you don't know what you're talking about.

Re:Open source vs proprietary (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490154)

trying to get everyone to stop using mobile phones is a little bit far fetched

You can't blame Stallman for trying, I mean it's easier goal than getting everyone to use linux on the desktop. /joke

This time of year already eh? (0, Troll)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489756)

I was expecting something a little less sane for his yearly fanatical rant, like revealing that Larry Ellison seeks control of the fires of eternal damnation (using non-free software) or something. This is still a fanatical rant, but definitely not RMS fanatical.

I’d like to note that I do have a lot of respect for RMS and what he has done for "free software"; however the man can be a fanatical lunatic, and I think at this point this does the cause more harm than good.

Re:This time of year already eh? (5, Informative)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489958)

You know, he may be a fanatic, but he is quite realistic with the "tracking" part. If you understand german, check out this animation [phpscripts.zeit.de] (you can still watch the animation if you don't understand german and get the overall idea though).

Basically, some politicians asked for the 6 months of basic data about his phone useage ( which towers he was near to, with whom, when and for how long he was on the phone) mobile phone providers are required to keep in germany, and journalists at Die Zeit combined those with publicly available updates from his twitter and FB account and his party's website to reconstruct where he was and what he was doing in those 6 months.

They were not only able to track him, but also to build quite a detailled profile of his everyday life and personality that way

Re:This time of year already eh? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35490144)

Now substract everything you know only because he himself chose to publish it on twitter, facebook and his blog, and all you're left with is the surprising revelation that he's in his office a lot.

Re:This time of year already eh? (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490054)

Well, I think it is because of this fanaticism that he was able to do what he did.

He cared enough about the issues to do something it.

What other programmer do you know who cares so deeply about the license restrictions/freedoms/rights of end-users ?

Because that is what the GPL is about, it is not about Open Source for developers.

Anyway I think the FSF and friends might be on the right track with the freedombox idea.

Ugh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489778)

Too many zealots and not enough free thinkers getting air time.

It is a pity (1)

NtwoO (517588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489784)

They are so handy. I guess the best tools of evil sucker the users in with their unmissable features.

Re:It is a pity (2)

Sardak (773761) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489836)

Eh. I don't own a cell phone either, but for a much different reason. People tended to call me when I used to have one, and I didn't like that at all.

Re:It is a pity (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489924)

So you had a cell phone, but you got rid it because people you know were expecting you to use it for its intended purpose?

Re:It is a pity (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489986)

I totally empathise with that.

I resisted getting one for years because there was a phone in the house, and if I wasn't in the house I didn't want to be called.

Of course later I realised it was useful for calling other people too. And sending/receiving SMS. And then everything else a mobile computer can do because where I ended up (N900) is basically a computer with an antenna.

Re:It is a pity (0)

228e2 (934443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490104)

^This.

Re:It is a pity (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490074)

You could probably get away with one these days. Cell phones featuring an 'off' button have gotten much cheaper.

Re:It is a pity (1)

Crookdotter (1297179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490100)

I simply keep mine turned off, and turn it on when I need to use it. A mobile is for my convenience, not other peoples.

Re:It is a pity (2, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489936)

>>>They are so handy

What is needed is not to give-up the tool (cellphone, printing press) but limit the ability of government to abuse the tool by guaranteeing the right to use the tool Freely without restriction.

Governments should not be able to use Cellphone data unless first obtaining a warrant, and informing the person that the search has taken place. The EU has such a "law" codified in its Fundamental Rights document, and the US needs something similar but with stronger effect.

Gone off the deep end (2)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489786)

I'm not going to carry a tracking device that records where I go all the time, and I'm not going to carry a surveillance device that can be turned on to eavesdrop.

Legit privacy concerns aside, this sentence reads "silence of the f* lambs!!!" .

Re:Gone off the deep end (5, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489868)

the 'turned on to eavesdrop" is very real.
http://www.zdnet.com/news/fbi-taps-cell-phone-mic-as-eavesdropping-tool/150467 [zdnet.com]
"functioned whether the phone was powered on or off." "a cellular telephone can be turned into a microphone and transmitter for the purpose of listening to conversations in the vicinity of the phone."
"remotely install a piece of software on to any handset, without the owner's knowledge, which will activate the microphone even when its owner is not making a call."
That was a few years about past cases.

Re:Gone off the deep end (3, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489940)

The FBI could have planted bugs in my apartment. They could bug my landline telephone. They could point a laser device at my window and pick up voice via the vibrations. They could be following me. They could have planted a tracking device on my car.
Am I worried about this? No. Because there is no reason for the FBI to have any interest in me, and I'm not paranoid. It's certainly within the bounds of possibility, but then so is dying today by being struck by lightening. It's nothing to worry about and certainly not anything to inconvenience myself over by hiding in a cave.

RMS has mental issues.

Re:Gone off the deep end (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490120)

The FBI could have planted bugs in my apartment. They could bug my landline telephone. They could point a laser device at my window and pick up voice via the vibrations. They could be following me. They could have planted a tracking device on my car.

All of those except the landline require actions in the physical world, where resources are limited and distances are real. Those natural limitations will prevent large-scale invisible abuse. You can do it on a limited scale, or you can do it big scale but then the country turns visibly into a police state.

Bugging your landline or your phone, or reading your GPS coordinates remotely requires a computer and being the FBI so you can tell the telco to go and do it. Running it on 1000 people is only marginally more troublesome than running it on 100 people. And that's a very important difference.

Re:Gone off the deep end (5, Interesting)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490130)

No. Because there is no reason for the FBI to have any interest in me

You are probably less relevant than RMS. But there are many powerful interests which would have interest in tracking and eavesdropping on him, so his argument is sound.

But your point of view leads to the more worrying conclusion that, because most people lack the talent or the courage to take a stand, it shouldn't matter that those who do make a difference may be prevented from doing so. Essentially, you're scared of freedom and you resent those who want to enjoy it.

Anyway, as a matter of routine I take out my cellphone battery when I don't need to use it. It probably cumulatively wastes an hour a year of quick hand movement, which is less than I waste in a couple of weeks on.. err.. masturbating? I know I'm less relevant than RMS, but being the activist type (in the sense of organisation and publication) I'm probably slightly more interesting than the average lady or gent. I know for certain by questions I've been asked at US immigration that at least someone's paying attention to what I'm doing.

You have the right to be boring. I shall celebrate my freedom not to be.

Re:Gone off the deep end (1)

228e2 (934443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490146)

^100% agree with everything he just said.

I wish people would stop being so paranoid over every new foreign concept. If BB wants to know what you had for lunch, or how your weekend went, they will find out.

Re:Gone off the deep end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489926)

He is just afraid Richard Hanson will ask him to have a seat. Pedophile means before puberty. http://www.stallman.org/archives/2006-may-aug.html#05%20June%202006%20(Dutch%20paedophiles%20form%20political%20party) [stallman.org] Dutch pedophiles have formed a political party to campaign for legalization. I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.

D'jever Notice... (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490018)

...that the guys most paranoid about people listening in on their conversations are the ones with the least interesting things to say...?

RMS = Unabomber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489788)

Seriously, that's what he sounds like. I would beware of listening to any more of what he says.

Um, turn it off? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489790)

Carry it, but turn it on when you need to use it to make a call? You don't have to be tracked all the time, because it doesn't have to be on all the time. It's still useful to have for emergencies when you're traveling, for example.

"Turned on to eavesdrop"? I mean, seriously. Wrap it in tin foil if you're that paranoid. :-)

Re:Um, turn it off? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489912)

How do you know it's truly off?

Unless you remove the battery, cell phones always have the capability to transmit information.

Citation: US law dictates that phones must be able to call 911 in an emergency, for free, if physically possible.

Re:Um, turn it off? (1)

Polybius (743489) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489962)

Doesn't need to be off, just make yourself a nice little Faraday cage for it.

Re:Um, turn it off? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489976)

Nowhere does US law dictate that it must be able to dial 911, while turned off.

Re:Um, turn it off? (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489950)

Actually, there has been a history of this, some phones can indeed enter a listen and transmit mode even when switched off. Google it.

Removing the battery, of course, would mitigate that. No iPhones then...

It's easy (1)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490024)

  1. Turn phone off.
  2. Put phone in foil-lined pocket (perhaps a pocket attached to, say, a hat)

Re:It's easy (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490092)

Certainly, just slip it between the fourier-cage and the inner foil layer of your standards-compliant tinfoil headgear!

Then all you have to worry about is metal oxidation from any unfortunate protocol leaks of overhead RFC 1149 carriers.

Re:Um, turn it off? (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490096)

tinfoil doesn't work. at least not with the motorola milestone i have.

i know because i tried. a faday cage, maybe. have to build me one.

You always need a (5, Insightful)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489792)

harbinger [wiktionary.org] .

RMS is seen as crying wolf, but many of his weirdest predictions have come true.

Viz. The Right to Read [gnu.org]

And we're already there with Amazon's action's regarding remote Kindle book manipulation.

Cell phones? Remember the article on government snooping while the phone's turned off? The fact that cell phones can and do track you is blindingly true, but for some reason, people don't even want to hear it.

Re:You always need a (2, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489882)

RMS is seen as crying wolf, but many of his weirdest predictions have come true.

Viz. The Right to Read [gnu.org]

And we're already there with Amazon's action's regarding remote Kindle book manipulation.

Except that article has not come true. There's nothing to stop you lending your kindle/computer to someone else to read your eBooks. You're just not allowed to copy them without permission - same as with paper books.

RMS is no George Orwell. He's just a crank.

Re:You always need a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35490162)

And there's nothing to prevent amazon from discovering that the eBook has been lent. You're the crank.
 

Re:You always need a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35490072)

I am recently aware that my call and my location are being tracked by the people of my government, someone I know gave me the record of my calls via my cellphone. So now I am turning off my cellphone whenever possible.
Posting anonymously for an obvious reason.

Re:You always need a (1)

djinfected (1994156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490124)

Hasn't anyone ever seen the spy movies where people buy disposable, prepaid phones to avoid being tracked? If Jason Bourne is concerned about it, isn't that good enough for the rest of us? ;)

Re:You always need a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35490150)

No, because none have them are available under a free license such as Creative Commons.

Attention Whores (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489802)

It'll take a lot more than this to upstage Charlie Sheen.

#tigerbeard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489948)

n/t

tackling that social problem (2)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489824)

The existence and use of non-free software [which] is a social problem. It's an evil. And our aim is a world without that problem.'

This problem will only be solved or approached once
  (1) citizens can program, and once there is a language intuitive, useful and easy enough to pick up for non-programmers.
  (2) programs can be changed on-the-fly -- like in OLPC/XO where you can switch to the source mode and edit the python code for each activity

As long as programming is not understood by users, the source might as well be not open, because they can not read and make sense of it anyway.

Re:tackling that social problem (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489872)

As long as programming is not understood by users, the source might as well be not open, because they can not read and make sense of it anyway.

If you can't program, you can get someone else to do it for you -- either with money, or with some other persuasion technique.

Re:tackling that social problem (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489956)

So girls will sleep with me if I can program their phone?

Re:tackling that social problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489920)

The existence and use of non-free software [which] is a social problem. It's an evil. And our aim is a world without that problem.'

This problem will only be solved or approached once

  (1) citizens can program, and once there is a language intuitive, useful and easy enough to pick up for non-programmers.

  (2) programs can be changed on-the-fly -- like in OLPC/XO where you can switch to the source mode and edit the python code for each activity

As long as programming is not understood by users, the source might as well be not open, because they can not read and make sense of it anyway.

I agree. Someone needs to come up with a language that is understandable to the masses. I'm sure everyone on her hates MS Access / VBA, but the fact is that it is understandable by business folk, and it allows them to create in their spare time systems that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace using a more robust architecture such as .NET. I am currently converting a bunch of MS Access applications to .NET and as I am doing the work, sometimes I don't think that it is helping anyone. Sure the .NET stuff is easier to manage from an IT perspective, but I don't know if it is worth the coding / testing / business approval effort. What do you guys think?

Re:tackling that social problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35490070)

Why draw the line at programming? Why not assembly and reverse engineering? Most programmers don't understand the latter, and yet both are equally incomprehensible to the average person.

Nothing is as infuriating to me as unpacking and rebuilding a PE file, and listening to my idiot friend explain how he could do it if only he had studied enough -- and in the next breath he's become speechless at writing a hello world program in C.

Re:tackling that social problem (2)

Tom (822) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490088)

(1) citizens can program,

This will never happen. Look at what is happening instead - as computers grow more powerful, and programming becomes easier due to better languages (who still remembers manually allocating memory in C?), all those gains are offset by higher complexity.

Some developers have families to feed (3, Insightful)

nikomen (774068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489840)

Some of us who do software development have families to feed. All software can't be free. Not all developers can be paid to do open source development and research at MIT. I support open source, but open source isn't the savior of humanity to bring world peace. Free software is like some FSM for RMS. He practically worships it.

Re:Some developers have families to feed (-1, Troll)

FreeAsInFreedoooooom (1992096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490042)

Some of us that sell heroin to schoolchildren have families to feed.

Re:Some developers have families to feed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35490132)

good point. exactly the reason drugs should be legalized and regulated.

Re:Some developers have families to feed (1)

jacinda (1875592) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490044)

There's often great confusion in what free means when discussing free software. When Richard Stallman uses the term free software, he doesn't mean that it necessarily comes free of cost.

From the free software definition: “Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.” http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html [gnu.org]

For instance, the Mozilla Corporation is for-profit (unlike the Mozilla Foundation, which is non-profit), but their software falls under the definition of free because anyone can analyze it, modify it, etc. Similarly, you can analyze, take apart and rebuild your toaster. You might break it in the process, but when you buy it, there is nothing preventing you from taking a screwdriver to it.

He is missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489842)

Most all technology can be used for both good and evil. If you want to do something that you don't want big brother knowing about, just take the battery out of your cell phone. Or buy a throw away phone. And don't buy a cell phone that you can't take the battery out of.

Re:He is missing the point (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490058)

A cell I can't take the battery out and replace it (because it will invariably NOT last for long) is the definition of a throwaway cell. Best to throw it away right away.

Tracking not related to free software!!! (1)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489844)

The issue with tracking where you go isn't the use of free or proprietary software in the cell phone. The tracking is done thanks to the fact that your provider knows what cell tower you are connected to. I don't see how this issue could be solved, even with a fully free software phone.

Re:Tracking not related to free software!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489944)

If you've ever triangulated someone's position using a signal like that before, you must realize it isn't anywhere near as accurate or reliable as GPS, which is on your phone and could (I don't know if this ever actually happens) be turned on remotely so they can track you. Using the towers is highly dependent on the number of towers in the area as well as any potential interference, not very reliable as opposed to GPS. And I think the reason proprietary software is the target is that we don't really know what's going on in there without seeing the code, so we can't actually say what they can or can't do.

Re:Tracking not related to free software!!! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490086)

Position tracking is one thing. But a cell being able to eavesdrop on you even while turned off is another.

Hiden ads? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489860)

I bat there are few hidden tinfoil hat ads somewhere in there...

Freedom (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489874)

The freedom to record all that is around me or said to me is basic. The freedom to know where I have been and be able to offer a proof as to where I am is also basic. Imagine that a crime takes place and the criminal looks a lot like you and also drives a white Toyota. Instead of being half way to a conviction in the legal system you have proof of where you were when the crime went down. Also imagine the cops being able to do a sweeping search and being able to find witnesses and criminals who were within the same area at the time of the crime.
                    The idea that others may know does not imply a loss of freedom. It does create restraints upon criminals.

Re:Freedom (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489932)

Imagine that a crime takes place and

Imagine that you're innocent of all crimes. It's nice to imagine, isn't it?

But that's all it is. Any man claiming pure innocence is naive and has never taken a look at our many, varied and woefully open to interpretation laws.

Re:Freedom (1)

Volguus Zildrohar (1618657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490056)

Instead of being half way to a conviction in the legal system you have proof of where you were when the crime went down.

I would say you only have proof of where your phone was when the crime went down.

Making money to support living (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489878)

It's an evil. And our aim is a world without that problem.

Padded room for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489880)

There have been some really far-fetched claims made in recent years, but this one beats most of them. Next he will be claiming he knows all about Nibiru.

He's watched too much CSI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489892)

His fears are the kinds of plot devices used to make the crime TV shows easier to swallow. My phone's GPS is turned off until I need it, and I've never heard of anyone turning on a phone remotely to eavesdrop.

Stallman sounds like a loon.

Exageration? Not that much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489896)

You might not be aware, but lot 'monitoring' products already exists in the mobile space, for both comsumer-level and business...

http://www.mobile-spy.com/
http://www.spectorsoft.com/

http://download.cnet.com/windows/monitoring-software/

Easy to install, easy to use, VERY HARD to find or remove.

Have to agree..Facebook too! (3, Interesting)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489910)

I own and operate a fairly famous restaurant, and see a lot of people every week. Just this past week on Friday evening an older guy and I began chatting about Big Brother and the eaves dropping nanny state we live in. He told me that one of his friends and him would talk about "things" down in his workshop on his property, but that he made anyone that came there take the batteries *out* of their cell phones, because they can record and transmit conversations even when you think they are off. He said we learned this little intelligence hack from the Chinese who have been doing it for a few years now. I have no idea, but have manually disabled the GPS tracking feature in the phone, however any picture I take with the phone still has the lat/lon data in the photo. I don't want the latitude and longitude dammit!

More than a few times I have told my wife that I wanted to throw our phones in the fireplace, but she is the trusting type, and doesn't seem to believe me when I tell her how her phone can violate hers and our privacy. I honestly hate cell phones on so many levels, but they are still one notch below my hatred of Facebook. To me the two go hand in hand. It is so easy to post things that may seem innocent on Facebook, but they end up being used against us. Facebook is number one in the privacy violation department, and we do it to ourselves. That is why both my wife and I have deleted our Facebook accounts and thankfully moved on over the last month and a half. I never liked Facebook anyway, but was on there to try to protect her. There is something gossipy and just plan creepy about it. Hell, i had customers who weren't even my friends on facebook coming in and asking me about posts i had made because they had been gossiping i guess with some of my Facebook friends in real life. JUST WIERD! My wife had her co-workers on there and supervisors on there. It was a recipe for disaster, and it almost ruined our marriage, and it definately creeped us out really good. Anyway, hopefully for my wife and I our cellphones will be the next to go... We aren't being luddites, but rather trying to retain at least a semblance of privacy in a nosy, gossipy, and evil networked world...

Re:Have to agree..Facebook too! (2)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489946)

I own and operate a fairly famous restaurant

McDonalds?

Re:Have to agree..Facebook too! (1)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489974)

Yeah.. Im Ronald.. :=) I was meaning that I meet thousands of people a week... I just see a lot of people, and the vast majority of folks out there are clueless..

Re:Have to agree..Facebook too! (2)

laejoh (648921) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490040)

I often whisper 'I know you're listening' to empty rooms. (http://xkcd.com/525/).

Re:Have to agree..Facebook too! (0)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490060)

I think you are a nut.

Re:Have to agree..Facebook too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35490066)

Great, what does any of this rambling have to do with? You own a restaurant, and your wife likes to gossip. Woohoo. Weird, btw, not wierd.

Re:Have to agree..Facebook too! (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490102)

You should get fitted for a tinfoil hat ASAP. So should Stallman.

Maybe you should get rid of your car? Traveling around freely is a tool of the devil and leads one down the path of sin. This new-fangled technology is bad for you.

I remember as a kid seeing a man on the TV telling me that the gubbament is watching us using the TV in our house. So no more TV either.

What else? Books! They may have RFID tags in them, so the CIA is tracking you too. I am sure they want to keep tabs on your penchant for pulp romance novels.

How about, we don't put anything online that you wouldn't say in public to strangers?

Stalin's dream? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489918)

Maybe, but he's dead.

Karl Rove on the other hand, is still alive.

Zach Galifianakis (1)

dunsurfin (570404) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489922)

My vote is for Zach Galifianakis to play rms when "Richard Stallman - The Movie" is filmed.

Possible? Yes. Gonna Stop? Probably Not. (2)

gfmartin0926 (2017394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489952)

Stallman is right in the sense that we're all carrying around tracking devices and it's a scary concept when you put it that way but are you really going to knock down the reality door to the mobile phone users and get them to stop using the phones? Probably not. While I respect Stallman to the highest degree, immediately after reading this comment, I couldn't help but think of John Malkovich's character in Red.

RE: Proprietary software (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489982)

I'm fairly certain rooting your phone and installing a new OS removes most of those nice proprietary apps. That's part of why I rooted mine. The rest was to fix the bluetooth stack, but that hardly counts as spying.

Sta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35490010)

In order for Stallman's dream, that is the global use of free software, to become a reality, people everywhere will have to be educated in basic digital concepts in the same way that are educated in reading, writing, and arithmetic. This is not going to happen, at least not anytime soon.

Uninformed people can deal only with the "do it all for you" proprietary software model, and this will remain the status quo for some time to come.

Hitlers dream (4, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490064)

Affordable motorcars are Hitlers dream. What's his point?

How Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35490106)

... that Stallman talks about Big Brother when the very same communist mentality he advocates was the first to carry out the very acts he is warning against. Let's be honest: Big Brother can come from Communism, Capitalism, Proprietary or Open-Source software. There is no guarantee that one or the other will protect our rights at large. Open-source does not guarantee that people (at large) will be smart enough to protect their rights. He's barking up the wrong tree.

just the right mix (1)

z_gringo (452163) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490110)

He has just the right mix of genius and batshit crazy.

Why the Stallman hate? (1)

FreeAsInFreedoooooom (1992096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490114)

I find it hard to understand why people bash Stallman and his views on software. I get the impression they have never even tried to understand where he is coming from and simply dismiss him because he looks and sounds a certain way. He is caricatured as a loony preaching foreign concepts and people don't try to get past that.

I used to be an open-source advocate until I learned about rms and the FSF. I read a collection of his essays* and never looked back - my life has changed. Whenever I see people spout flawed arguments such as "Programmers will starve!" or "Nobody will write software!" I can't help but look upon them in a negative light.

I ask all of you, be open-minded and digest the arguments.

*http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/fsfs/rms-essays.pdf

Stallman is out of touch (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#35490122)

Even the open source Android is dangerous because devices ship with proprietary executables...,

I guess Stallman has never heard of Cyanogenmod or any of the multitudes of other totally open AOSP roms available? Despite what they want you to think you DO NOT have to run the software that ships on your phone.

As far as tracking goes, it is a bit of hyperole. If you are doing something and don't want to be tracked, take out your sim, put in a paygo sim, boom you are anonymous. Bonus points by putting the original sim in the trunk of a friends car.

If terrorists can be anonymous using paygo sims, so can the avg. joe.

who cares what this dumb hippy thinks? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35490160)

The guy is a fucking idiot. Who cares about his latest drug induced whinings?

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