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Transcript of Talk with Richard Stallman

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the something-to-read dept.

220

An anonymous reader writes "This is the transcript of the talk with Richard Stallman, the father of GNU in the background of the 4th International GPLv3 Conference being held at Bangalore where RMS is a prominent delegate. He answers questions related to GPLv3, DRM and a couple of other queries."

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220 comments

Very historically significant (0, Flamebait)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016041)

A transcript of a talk with the father of free software is something that will forever go down in history as a very meaningful talk. It will be remembered long after Abraham Lincoln's State of the Union Address is forgotten.

Re:Very historically significant (4, Funny)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016081)

Poppycock!

I will never, ever forget the way I felt when I first heard Lincoln's immortal words: "Be excellent to one another, and party ON, dudes!"

[ /me wipes tear away. ]

Can I have a moment, please?

Time to burn karma (-1, Flamebait)

Masami Eiri (617825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016050)

Richard Stallman is a dick.

Re:Time to burn karma (4, Insightful)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016078)

Yes, he is, but sometimes that's what it takes to get the job done. He doesn't let people walk all over him: he is self-assertive because he believes what he believes so strongly. If it weren't for him, free and open source software wouldn't exist the way it does today. I'm sure it would exist, but we'd be very far behind the power curve.

Re:Time to burn karma (1)

xiando (770382) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016183)

If it weren't for him, free and open source software wouldn't exist the way it does today.

This is very important to remember. If you are using Linux then you're using his The GNU Operating System - http://www.gnu.org/ [gnu.org]

Remember, the "Linux" part of GNU/Linux only refers to the kernel, which is made by Linus Torvals... that's just one piece. The rest was pieced together by mr. Stallman.

Re:Time to burn karma (3, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016259)

When he says (without the careful wordsmithing) that developers shouldn't be paid, and that they should just either be independently wealthy or find other means of supporting themselves, he demonstrates an almost willful disconnection with/disdain for many of the very people who praise his efforts.

If you are a paid programmer, RMS is not your friend.

Re:Time to burn karma (4, Interesting)

UserGoogol (623581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016408)

He's not actually saying that developers shouldn't be paid, but rather that they don't have to be paid, which is an important distinction. He doesn't mind if people do get paid, but he thinks if they don't get paid it's not that big a deal as long as software still gets made.

But yeah, Stallman really doesn't care that much about the interests of the professional programmer in particular. His goals are for the freedoms of computer users in general, (people in general, ultimately) and if proffessional programmers have to take a paycut or enter a new field entirely, so be it. Making proprietary software is (as he sees it) unethical, so why should they feel entitled to make money that way? Of course, if you asked him, I imagine he might say that programmers are (ultimately) better off with free software but small paychecks than they are with decently sized paychecks but unfree software because unfree software is just that bad.

Re:Time to burn karma (2, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016509)

It's the classic head-in-the-clouds, hippie mentality that making money is evil and that your "freedom"--or, rather, Stallman's particular personal definition of freedom (in which somehow the BSD license is less free than the GNU license)--is more important than functionality, technological progress, or simple economics in which people make money for their efforts.

For some reason, he has a following in which he's revered as a "hero" and a "patriot." Apparently, using the word "freedom" over and over in interviews and insisting that proprietary software is evil and should be abolished makes you a genius.

Re:Time to burn karma (1)

ltbarcly (398259) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016670)

He doesn't say this, and you are intentionally lying or are just completely misinformed.

He says people shouldn't be paid to write software that is then sold under a non-free license.

He has no problem with people being paid to write custom software, so long as other people get a chance to add on to it or modify it.

He specifically recommends that programmers would be paid to maintain and operate, and modify software for business and other entities, by selling support plans and so on.

Writing code is wealth creation ... (3, Insightful)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016760)

> If you are a paid programmer, RMS is not your friend.

A lot of people are paid to create software - custom software for some particular customer's needs. For me, the act of writing of software is the process of creating wealth, not the act of selling it. Enough companies make their living just producing code rather than licensing the same code over to a million customers.

Now, when I create something out of nothing, I expect to be paid. But that doesn't go against any Free Software concept to be remunerated for work, but it does go against a few of mine if you merely sell licenses instead of the work done. Proprietary firms do exactly that, they sell you the use of some code, but not the code itself. And RMS might be a hardliner, but we need those in moderation too - because otherwise the rational people among us will accept compromises which might be harmful in the long run ... (yes, I'm talking about ESR).

In short, with free software, you get what you pay for and sometimes a few developers whom you didn't pay for.

Re:Time to burn karma (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016431)

Let's just play with your statement a little to illustrate that just because someone's a "self-assertive" kook doesn't make it a good thing:

Yes, Hitler is, but sometimes that's what it takes to get the job done. Hitler doesn't let people walk all over him: he is self-assertive because he believes what he believes so strongly. If it weren't for Hitler, anti-semitism and the Aryan movement wouldn't exist the way it does today. I'm sure it would exist, but we'd be very far behind the power curve.

(just a joke, but also making a point)

Re:Time to burn karma (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016485)

And so did Gandhi. Mother Theresa. The founding Fathers of the US. Stalin. Bill Gates...

So nobody should be assertive, because bad things can happen (see the Inquisition) when you are? And how the fucking donkey-jesus hell is your response in any way detracting from the statement that the free software movement would not be as it is without RMS?

You have merely started with the conclusion that RMS is evil and worked from there.

To paraphrase another poster: why is it whenever RMS talks, some people treat it as the Word of Satan?

Re:Time to burn karma (0)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016573)

I merely made the point that someone being self-assertive isn't automatically a good trait. I never started with the conclusion that RMS is evil, nor did I say nobody should be self-assertive.

As for the "fucking donkey-jesus hell" comment, just because I insulted your god, Stallman, doesn't mean I want to read you wigging out. Please calm down.

Re:Time to burn karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016500)

For a joke, there is no funny. And there is no point in your comment.

Re:Time to burn karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016646)

So, has Stallman shipped your golden star patch yet for being such a good defender? I'm still waiting for mine.

Is this some kind of... God ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016053)

Now, this is something I do not get: are Linus, Richard Stallman some kind of Gods ?

Everytime they just say something, it appears as if it was God in person speaking...

No matter what they did (I mean: how many people wrote their own kernel ? be it Un*x or not), I don't understand why they always appear as Gods...

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016080)

Misplaced hero worshiping. Also the more you prop up the celeb-de-jour and try to be a part of the scene the cooler you are by association.

Like if I'm a linux nazi, and I praise Linus in all his glory, then obviously I'm "with it" for being a linux nazi. Basically these people have to realize that you either are or are not cool. You can't make yourself cool by association.

Well that and people should REALLY take a look at who actually works on Linux and GNU software. It ain't Linus nor RMS.

Tom

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016110)

I guess thats why Tux, a penguin, was chosen as the face of Linux. Penguins remind us of the polar regions and cold temperatures giving those that use Linux and love Tux a feeling that they, themselves are "cool".

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (2, Insightful)

Guaranteed (998819) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016146)

I suppose if you set aside the fact that Linus wrote the base for Linux in the first place and that Stallman wrote Emacs and the GNU C compiler you're right, they haven't worked on Linux at all....

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016185)

Tell you what. You go pick up Linux 0.95 and GCC v1 and tell me how useful they are.

Sure they had the fortitude and forsight to stick with and bring to life the projects.

*golf clap*

But they are NOT the reason the respective projects are of any use today. That'd go out to the COMMUNITY. If you want to praise anything, praise the scene. Without the 1000s of developers involved in free software we'd still be using WinXP as the only kernel.

Tom

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016202)

You don't have a community without those who seed it!

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016224)

And those seeds won't grow without liberal application of fertilizer...

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016231)

Ok, but where is the hero worship for K&R the inventors C which both are written in?

Or the worship for the inventors of the hardware which C originally was developed for, or the computer in general, transistor, etc... It's all a fad. Personally I'd rather let the community as a whole know that their work means something than just Linus or RMS.

Not that I don't think they're not important. But given the current situtation, today, they're less important now than ever.

Tom

No value to history conveys no real value now. (3, Insightful)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016532)

There is no need to be parsimonious with your gratitude. You say that as if we must choose between giving thanks to both the community and RMS and Torvalds. By the standard you endorse we end up essentially saying "what have you done for me lately?" instead of valuing both the community including both men for their work in the past and their continued work on things that matter.

After all, even by the silly logic of valuing what is and not what was, Torvalds and RMS both deserve thanks; Linus Torvalds is still involved in Linux kernel development, despite not writing all of the code in his fork of that kernel. Richard Stallman is the author of the most widely used free software licenses—the GNU GPL, the GNU LGPL, and the free documentation license the GNU FDL. And when it comes to the GPL [fsf.org] (the subject of the talk at the heart of this /. thread), Eben Moglen says "there is no other copyright license in the world that is so strongly identified with the achievements, and the philosophy, of a single public figure".

Re:No value to history conveys no real value now. (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016608)

My point is that poser wannabe asshats idolize them for all the wrong reasons.

It takes smarts, courage and persistence to go counter-culture. For that, I praise the two.

However, they are NOT why the scene is so cool. Look at Hurd. mmm dead duck. How many people work on that? Right. And yeah, LT may maintain the master 2.6 branch but he's not the one contributing the neato features that make Linux worth knowing about.

I think being ignorant and just [incorrectly] blabbing that without LT or RMS that the scene would be dead is just plain stupid, wrong and does the whole mass of people involved an injustice.

First off, RMS is not the first person to think about free software. He's just well organized. At the time he thought that up [83] software was still a new concept and barely a household word. Given enough time other people would have came to the same conclusions, which btw, is why he's so well supported.

Similarly, LT is not the first person to write a homebrew kernel. He's just well motivated. He did a LOT of the original work going upto v1 and v2. But as we moved to 2.2, 2.4 and 2.6 more and more the scene took over.

So yeah, great, I thank them for getting the ball rolling. But moreso, I thank the scene for participating. Because I'm not an ignorant fanboi and I realize that there is more to the OSS scene than two middle aged hackers.

Tom

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016386)

Well... are GCC & Emacs that good ? I mean: I never used anything as big & slow as GCC is... And the directory structure is really a mess...

Some people which name I don't remember also wrote entire compilers that are a lot smaller & faster than GCC...

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (1)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016096)

What would God need with an Operating System?

[ /me cringes as I absorb lightning bolts from RMS' eyes. ]

No, seriously: what would God need with an Operating System?

[ /me turned into a pillar of salt. ]

Salt, anyone?

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016177)

> What would God need with an Operating System?
>
>[ /me cringes as I absorb lightning bolts from RMS' eyes. ]
>
>No, seriously: what would God need with an Operating System?
> [ /me turned into a pillar of salt. ]
>
>Salt, anyone?

RMS: That's GNU/salt to you, puny mortal!
Deb, Ian: And no fair starting with anything but sodium and chlorine.

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016276)

God IS an operating system.

Join your hands in prayer (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016161)

Now, this is something I do not get: are Linus, Richard Stallman some kind of Gods ?

Everytime they just say something, it appears as if it was God in person speaking...

No matter what they did (I mean: how many people wrote their own kernel ? be it Un*x or not), I don't understand why they always appear as Gods...


O Lord Stallman, forgive this unbeliever for his foolish words of blasphemy. We, your true believers, will shun him and send him out from our fold. Once he could visit Slashdot and bask in the glory of (transcripts of) your wisdom, but now he will live on the streets and fight over garbage with alleycats.

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (3, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016187)

They are the leaders of a large community.

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016791)

I think you meant to say 'cult' rather than 'community'.

Re:Is this some kind of... God ? (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016810)

I understand what you mean in general and I've seen some blatant hero-worship in the Free Software Community over the years.
But how did you get any of that out of either the TFS or TFA? I felt that that was a very down to earth chat with RMS and, although I didn't really learn anything new, felt refreshed after reading it.

I could see maybe the initial writer who introduced the article being slightly guilty of what you speak of but it seems to me you are taking the worst examples of people's, for lack of a better word, zealotry over the years and tying it into today's article and subsequent posting on /.

At the end of the day /. is basically a technology site with a nod toward Linux and Free Software in general so I guess it's always going to bring out the extremists on both sides of the argument for and against Free Software but I hardly think this article showed any signs of God worship.

Why a blog? (2, Informative)

shreevatsa (845645) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016092)

The original interview (which the blog has just copy-pasted, inexplicably introducing errors) is here [hindu.com]. There is also another interview (another newspaper, another Indian city) here [financialexpress.com]. Both of them are short and say the usual things, and not much info on GPLv3 itself (naturally, as they are newspaper interviews).

No need to read the article... Yet good form RMS. (3, Informative)

buffoverflow (623685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016101)

Just a heads up. The article contains nothing new, interesting, or provocative (which many of RMS's interviews tend to be). It's very much a fluff piece.

Although, I was interested to see how an interview that takes place outside of the mainstream tech media unfolded. There was no discussion of a FSF/RMS vs. Linus Torvalds/Linux headbutting. Nothing at all about why there is much contention of v3. That being said, I found it admirable that he did not take the opportunity to express his opposing views in this one-sided piece. Many would take such a chance to bash the oppositions arguments.

Re:No need to read the article... Yet good form RM (1)

rathehun (818491) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016633)

I was at a talk that he gave at our college. He was quite irritated by people referring to GNU as Linux, and made the distinction very clear. He did get rather irritated with people, and he did have to ask the crowd (completely uninformed students for the most part) to keep quiet.

Alleluyah (2, Interesting)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016119)

I've seen the light. I mean STALLMAN has spoken! Let's create a Stallmanic Bible so we all, oh, believers can use and adore every minutes of our, oh, so insignificant life. Alleluya the holy trinity, Father Stallman, Son Linus and Holy Jobs (yeah, notthing to do with freeware but he **IS** a saint indeed, isn't he?)

My HERO (2, Funny)

xiando (770382) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016134)

Richard Stallman is, in my humble opinion, A HERO and even a true american patriot.

He has been protesting evil surveillance technology such as RFID for years. And there are few other people who have contributed more to free software and humanity in general as he has.

Take a look at his past speches: http://www.fsf.org/events/past-rms-speeches.html?b _start:int=0 [fsf.org]

And remember his protest at the UN Summit: http://www.secureidnews.com/weblog/2005/11/21/rich ard-stallman-protests-at-un-world-summit/ [secureidnews.com]

(as you may or may not be aware, the UN are evil. They openly admit they want the UN to be a one-world government and that they want to destroy the sovereignty of any existing nation. Richard Stallman is a hero for protesting against UN evil)

Re:My HERO (4, Insightful)

WankersRevenge (452399) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016268)

Is it just me, or are other people getting a bit wearied of people distilling this rather complex world into the rather simplistic ideas of good and evil? My god - the world is not a comic book.

Re:My HERO (2, Interesting)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016292)

What makes the goal of one world government evil? In todays envirmonment it may be about impossible to bring about, but the end result of a unified single world governement is probably the best chance of world peace our messed up specices has.

Re:My HERO (1)

qray (805206) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016383)

Then why are people so against Microsoft's monoply? Wouldn't the same happy nervanna happen in the computer world if there was only one OS.
--
Q

Re:My HERO (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016484)

What is there currently competition? Can I decide I like the Cayman Islands tax structure and social programs better so I want to partake in those instead (without moving my entire family all over the worl of course)? Goverments are already a monopoly! Your point is possibly the worst attempted analogy I've yet seen on /.

Re:My HERO (1)

DG (989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016317)

I agree with you about RMS being a hero, but you're completely off base about the UN.

The UN isn't evil. It isn't about world domination or any other such tin-foil-hattery.

It is, however, a HUMAN institution, run by real people - which means that it is far from perfect, and not everything it does is optimal.

There is much room for reform in the UN, but "evil"? No way.

DG

Ones man Hero is an others Dictator. (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016336)

I Find RMS to be to far Left to be a Hero and I for one would fear a world ruled by him and his ideas. His views are based on conspericy concepts. Like TFA about DRM he assumes DRM is out there for the sole fact that people cannot make players, while the real reason is that DRM is there because it is to easy to copy and share the data, the way the creators of the data don't want it to be spread. He has a complete lack of understanding why anyone shouldn't want to share data, and any attempt to not share data is part of some large conspericy or corruption. People want to protect their property, and some people but value in their property. Their Code is there property, they have the right to choose who should view it and how it is viewed.

The Devil will come to you when you are looking for it. RMS is in the practice of finding all the evils in the world and spends little time incorageing the good in the world. A true Hero in my book is someone who is willing to commend people for what they are doing right, and less nagging on what they are doing wrong.

Re:Ones man Hero is an others Dictator. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016576)

Ohhh. It seems like someone modded this down. It was 2 a little bit before. I find it odd that people who stand up for RMS ideas policy of freedom of ideas, will use software moderation (an attempt at censoring people) to censor anyone they dont agree with. It is like figthing a war over Jesus ideas for peace.

Re:Ones man Hero is an others Dictator. (3, Insightful)

Stradenko (160417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016746)

. He has a complete lack of understanding why anyone shouldn't want to share data, and any attempt to not share data is part of some large conspericy or corruption. People want to protect their property, and some people but value in their property. Their Code is there property, they have the right to choose who should view it and how it is viewed.


He doesn't have a lack of understanding. He knows why people don't want to share. He merely disagrees with them at a very fundamental level. He disagrees with the concept of information as property.

Re:My HERO (A call to arms!!) (1)

buffoverflow (623685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016584)

Patriots Unite!! Our fearless, selfless, demigod, true American HERO, has granted those hedonistic job-stealer's an interview.. This was no ordinary news piece, but a call to arms... The GPLv3 is not a license, it's the 21st century version of Paul Revere's Lantern... RMS gave us this coded message.. er, ah.. interview, to let us know that the time draws near..

NOW! Fellow FSF Patriots, dawn your hand-crafted, aluminum battle helmets.. For the stealth RFID mind control satellites are powering up as we speak (Which are rumored to be controlled with.. Gasp!! OSS Software that has had the GPL...REMOVED!!!) General Kofi Annan has been briefed and has notified the Illuminati and Skulls & Bones.

Harden those Apache installs, remove those Flash plugins that you swore you'd never use, and get ready... Our leader needs us..

Mod me down if you must... It only shows us where your loyalties lie.

Ok; you opened the door... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016763)

as you may or may not be aware, the UN are evil. They openly admit they want the UN to be a one-world government and that they want to destroy the sovereignty of any existing nation. Richard Stallman is a hero for protesting against UN evil
Explain me this: if they want to destroy the sovereignty of any nation how come that the UN strongly opposed the US invasion of both Iraq and Afghanistan and are still officially against the occupation of both countries? If you call that evil then your whole tyrade suddenly starts to fit into a most peculiar spot don't you agree?

So Stallman is now a hero because he's against an organisation who strongly opposes countries who illegaly occupy other nations under false accusations? I think you should lay down the crackpipe now, you've had enough. Not even Stallman is that stupid.

One sentence told me all I needed to know (-1, Troll)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016152)

RMS: "First of all there are many people who don't have to make money. Importantly even if a person has to make a living, he doesn't have to make a living from everything he does."

In other words, software developers aught not be paid for their efforts; it should be something they freely contribute to some global software collective. Software developers should instead find another way to make a living.

It has never been more clear to me that Stallman has zero perspective on the average working human being.

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (3, Informative)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016238)

In other words, [Stallman is saying that] software developers aught not be paid for their efforts.

You didn't consider the context. Stallman was arguing against the belief that "if people aren't paid, they won't write code". He was mentioning the fact that most FLOSS code is written by nonpaid volunteers, while only a minority are paid.

He did not say that developers shouldn't be paid for their efforts. In fact, his GPL says the opposite: you can write free software and make money from it - by selling warranties for it, or media with your software on it.

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016323)

RMS: "I want to ask you why that question is worth asking."

In other words, "Why should anyone considering FS be concerned about money?" Afterall, "there are many people who don't have to make money."

Sure, he didn't come out and say that developers shouldn't be paid, but his angle on that is (to me at least) crystal clear.

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016526)

Sure, he didn't come out and say that developers shouldn't be paid, but his angle on that is (to me at least) crystal clear.

I agree that there is something in his manner that implies 'money isn't important'. He is an idealist; it makes him seem out of touch with the need to make a living sometimes. I would NOT go to him for career advice, I'm with you on that (which does not contradict the fact that I value his ethical stance and I agree with much of what he believes in).

Still, he doesn't say "developers don't deserve money". And I do not think he believes that (just my guess, of course). I am betting that he would e.g. be very happy if governments paid salaries to FLOSS developers.

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016588)

Fair enough; I'll refine my earlier statement by saying Stallman doesn't think people should be paid to write non-free software.

I wonder how many RMS admirers either make a living developing non-free software or even use non-free software at work. RMS considers both immoral.

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016402)

I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. He was asked about the economic impact, and his immediate question is "why are you concerned about economic impact?" Well the simple answer is that most of us live in capitalistic societies in which we need money. Pretty much everyone needs money. Now, who are the developers who can afford to work for nothing? They have to be in pretty special situations. I'm thinking the disabled are high on the list, but if they have a salable skill, why should We The People pay for them to sit around and write programs all day unless the legislature gets to decide what they spend their effort on?

Or then there's the people who already made their nut programming... they already made money at it, so clearly their ability to contribute without additional income is based on the fact that they were able to make money at it.

Who else is out there writing code full time for free?

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (1)

lynx_user_abroad (323975) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016291)

In other words, software developers aught not be paid for their efforts; it should be something they freely contribute to some global software collective. Software developers should instead find another way to make a living.

Um. those are your words, not his. RMS is pointing out that not everyone who works on free software makes money from doing so. Some people do get paid for the specific task of writing free software (it's in their job description, so to speak) but many others do so without direct compensation. RMS is responding to the interviewers fallicious assertion (that because not everyone gets paid to develop free software, there can exist no reason to develop it by pointing out the falsity of the argument.

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016394)

You have your interpretation, and I have mine. I saw no such "fallacious" assertion on the part of the interviewer, and I think Stallman's dismissal of a (IMHO) reasonable, pertinent question spoke volumes of his opinion of paid developers.

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (1)

hamfactorial (857057) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016312)

That would be true if we assume that the people working on free software are programmers by profession. This simply isn't true for a number of people. Also, who's to say that an open source programmer can't work for a private software company during the day? I believe that many FOSS contributors are programmers at their day job, which is a means to an end.

Either way, Stallman isn't saying that software developers shouldn't be paid for their efforts. It sounds to me like he's being realistic about things. I play in a band with friends, though I'm not a musician by trade. I make no money from it, but I enjoy it along with those I play to (I hope). I also program, though I'm not a programmer by trade. My limited skill hasn't produced any quality free software, but I've written some ebuilds for Gentoo and fixed a few bugs here and there. It's all in the spirit of collaboration, dig?

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (1)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016320)

It has never been more clear to me that Stallman has zero perspective on the average working human being.

He is talking about the 1.000.000 angry penguins who just like to code in the afternoon. Not about the average human.

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016350)

If that were true, he would be content to let like-minded programmers/hobbyists produce and distribute code however they want. His crusade against commercial software suggests otherwise.

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (2, Interesting)

johnlittledotorg (858326) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016369)

In other words, software developers aught not be paid for their efforts; it should be something they freely contribute to some global software collective. Software developers should instead find another way to make a living.

Stallman has never suggested that software developers should not be paid. In fact he's said many times that FLOSS creates economic opportunity. He's even detailed how its earned him some decent consulting fees.

You can see him discussing that on Google Video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-164762631 4188526128&q=stallman [google.com]

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (2, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016440)

Is that so?

From http://kerneltrap.org/node/4484 [kerneltrap.org]...


JA: What about the programmers...

Richard Stallman: What about them? The programmers writing non-free software? They are doing something antisocial. They should get some other job.

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016533)

I don't think that contradicts anything. This discussion is not "Should programmers work on proprietary software", it's "Should programmers be able to be paid for programming".

Next time, find a relevent link.

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (1)

johnlittledotorg (858326) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016583)

The non-free software he refers to is closed versus open. Cost is not relevant to the discussion.

You might want to read the free software definition at the GNU Project's website.

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html [gnu.org]:

"You may have paid money to get copies of free software, or you may have obtained copies at no charge. But regardless of how you got your copies, you always have the freedom to copy and change the software, even to sell copies. ``Free software'' does not mean ``non-commercial''. A free program must be available for commercial use, commercial development, and commercial distribution. Commercial development of free software is no longer unusual; such free commercial software is very important."

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (1)

qray (805206) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016461)

In other words, software developers aught not be paid for their efforts; it should be something they freely contribute to some global software collective.

That's all fine and good. I'll do that as soon as someone volunteers to come and clean my house and mow my lawn. If someone's willing to free up my time I'll be more than happy to donate the software I create with that time.
--
Q

Re:One sentence told me all I needed to know (1)

Peaker (72084) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016631)

He is saying that being able to make money on software is not an important aspect, question or prerequisite for the importance of Free Software.

And that is true. Without the monetary incentive, many will undoubtedly leave the field, but many will still stay - and Free Software will still propsper.

Richard Stallman or Bill Gates? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016168)

Quoted from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/10/15/the_bofh_q uestionnaire_how_geeky/ [theregister.co.uk]
2. You're locked in a room with Richard Stallman and Bill Gates and have only a gun with two bullets in it (which you normally secrete on your person in case you ever get locked in a room with Richard Stallman, Bill Gates, etc). They both clear their throats to speak. What do you do?

A. Shoot Bill, hoping he hasn't got a tablet device (or the XP Security Vulnerability notes) crammed up his blazer
B. Shoot Richard, hoping he hasn't got the notes for his speech in front of his heart
C. Shoot Richard AND Bill and take your chances
D. Shoot yourself, twice, for getting into such a contrived situation

Re:Richard Stallman or Bill Gates? (2, Funny)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016222)

E. You shoot Stallman for the good of mankind, then you threaten to shoot Bill Gates until he gives you a wad of money and a means of escape. You use part of the money to buy the best defense team and get yourself transferred to Texas, where you can use the famous He needed killin' defense. You're declared innocent of any crime, and Bill is so impressed by your stunning ingenuity that he hires you at Microsoft for a fat paycheck. You ride the gravy train for the rest of your life.

RMS dodged the question (4, Insightful)

debilo (612116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016180)

You may find this disturbing, but I actually read the interview and I find this tidbit quite revealing:

Q. There are a lot of misconceptions about free software. What kind of an economic model does an entrepreneur look at when he starts out with free software ?

RMS: I want to ask you why that question is worth asking. First of all there are many people who don't have to make money. Importantly even if a person has to make a living, he doesn't have to make a living from everything he does. [snip]
To me it seems like RMS totally dodged the question. What is "...there are many people who don't have to make money" supposed to mean in this context? I'm sure there are people that don't have to make money, but most people do have to make money, and I wonder why RMS is so opposed to economic acceptance. It seems that he believes F/OSS's noble goals will be corrupted if Linux gains momentum in the corporate world, but don't we have the GPL to prevent just that? Ultimately, corporate support will help secure the foundation of F/OSS -- I'm thinking of IBM and Sun, and the corporate support behind OpenBSD and FreeBSD.

Re:RMS dodged the question (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016280)

He dodged the question because he, like so many others of us, are tired of being asked to explain how FOSS can be used by businesses.


Why on earth anyone feels like it is up to the FOSS community to provide them with some kind of framework for building a successful business around FOSS is beyond my ability to comprehend. FOSS does not need to support business models, it does not exist to do so, and most of us do not care if anyone is ever able to turn a profit using it in any way at all. We are all tired of the implication that somehow FOSS will evaporate unless we can put together a plan for making money off it.

Oh yeah, that and FUCK COMMERCE!

Re:RMS dodged the question (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016421)

The simple fact is that if you want the mainstream world to join your movement they need to be able to make money at it.

Re:RMS dodged the question (2, Insightful)

stewby18 (594952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016566)

The simple fact is that if you want the mainstream world to join your movement they need to be able to make money at it.

What makes you think that mainstream acceptance is what people who are part of the FOSS "movement" want? I've done open source software development, and I couldn't care much less about whether it goes "mainstream". I like the software more than the other options out there, so I got personal satisfaction out of working on it. As an added bonus, I knew that other people were benefiting as well. End of story.

The idea that if others benefit from something you do as a hobby for fun, you suddenly need to start charging money for it and/or "win", is not one that everyone subscribes to.

Re:RMS dodged the question (1, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016296)

I wonder why RMS is so opposed to economic acceptance...

Because he knows that's a road to failure. If people have to depend on free software for money, then the whole thing will eventually collapse, because there just won't be enough money to pay enough people to support a software industry based on free software.

Given that, he has to push a (pardon the use of the word) Communist model based on unpaid volunteers.

It will be interesting to see if in the future people will grow weary of their work being exploited for free, or will each successive generation of programmers continue to volunteer their time.

Re:RMS dodged the question (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016542)

It will be interesting to see if in the future people will grow weary of their work being exploited for free, or will each successive generation of programmers continue to volunteer their time.

(snicker) As opposed to being exploited by their corporate overlords? (see EA, intellectual property laws, NDA's, outsourcing, etc.)

Besides, with the GPL, I can't be exploited any more than any other free software contributer.

Re:RMS dodged the question (2, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016622)

How do you exploit somebody without coercion? If Free Software somehow goes all Darth Vader and "alters the deal", people who disagree with the alteration will stop volunteering.

How do you get from "People freely choose to contribute effort to this project" to "COMMUNISM!"?

What economic model for jagsaw puzzle solvers? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016347)

You make money by doing something *else* than software development. In RMS's World, software development is a *hobby*, just like solving jigsaw puzzles. Selling sloved jigsaw puzzles shouldn't cross your mind as a way of making a living, even if you're good at it.

Re:RMS dodged the question (4, Insightful)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016368)

To me it seems like RMS totally dodged the question. What is "...there are many people who don't have to make money" supposed to mean in this context?

I believe that Stallman believes that making money by doing bad things isn't acceptable. To him, morality (remember that Free Software is a moral issue to him) sufficiently justifies a Free Software approach.

I wonder why RMS is so opposed to economic acceptance.

I don't see evidence that he's opposed to economic acceptance as a whole any more than antislavery folks are opposed to economic activities as a whole. They're only opposed to economic activities that they consider morally wrong.

Re:RMS dodged the question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016444)

RMS is a true believer. Writing software for him, is more akin to, say, creating art simply for art's sake than creating art for a commercial purpose like advertising. If I have to have a job to make a living, and I like to compose music in my free time, it doesn't necessarily follow that my vocation should be a musician. Free software is, in itself, an end and doesn't require that it be the means to a financial goal. Basically, RMS probably should have stated that he couldn't care less about an entrepreneurial approach to free software because it is incidental to the philosophy of free software.

Re:RMS dodged the question (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016569)

Perhaps, Stallman is the new Gandhi.

Re:RMS dodged the question (2, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016605)

To me it seems like RMS totally dodged the question.

RMS is the wrong person to ask such a question, Free Software never was about money and never will be, its about Free Software and little else. Its a philosophical concept and not an economic model, especially not one that could make you more money then closed sources. Its kind of like asking a free speech activist how to make a profit from that kind of activities, which is however simply not the goal of such doings.

The OpenSource movement started with talking about money and how about OpenSource could lead to more success in the business world, the OpenSource movement however has nothing to do with the FreeSoftware one and RMS is pretty clear on that one.

That doesn't means that RMS is oposed to making money with FreeSoftware, quite the oposite, he has done that himself, he however doesn't advocate FreeSoftware because you can money with it, but simply because its The Right Thing[tm] to do.

How better to convey that the question was silly? (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016627)

How should he have better conveyed that the question was unimportant and how should he have better conveyed why it was unimportant?

Most people already know how to make money and they do it without programming computers. People already know that not every activity they take on needs to make them money. When computing was young, people in computing made money by selling their expertise just like plumbers, mechanics, electricians, and carpenters do (just to name a few expert professions). I can see how you would think his answer was a dodge if you are under the impression that indeed all of your computer-related work must make money. And if you think that's so, it's your job to come up with ways to make that happen. It isn't someone else's job to come up with a business plan for you.

Rich people (3, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016667)

The fact is that RMS is loaded, and he hangs out with other such people (you know the kind.... they come up with a concept, hype it to venture capitalists, run the company into the ground or simply never produce a product, but they walk away with millions), and he is completely and totally out of touch with those of us poor souls that (God forbid!) have to WORK in order to earn money and pay our bills. Not all of us can be a blowhard that gets paid for spouting nonsense like "First of all there are many people who don't have to make money. " He sounds like a smug, pretentious asshole to me.

Re:Rich people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016799)

You sound like a miserable slob who lacks the creativity, ambition, and social skills needed to succeed in life. Your little rant comes off as nothing but a pathetic display of envy over people who are, well, better than you. I pity you.

That's the whole story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016182)

I cannot believe that those 5 tiny questions were the whole interview...

India and Open Source (5, Informative)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016200)

FYI, President APJ Kalam [wikipedia.org] is quite literally a rocket scientist, who was formerly with the Defense Research and Development Organization [wikipedia.org]. He's met with Richard Stallman a number of times to talk about OSS, particularly with it's importance to a developing country like India, and stressed it's importance to domestic software organizations a number of times.

A collection of miscellaneous links about OSS developments in India.

Indian President Advises Open Source Approach [slashdot.org]
President Of India Advocates OSS [slashdot.org]
Indian President Advises Open Source Approach [slashdot.org]
Stallman Goes to India (and meets the President) [slashdot.org]
and finally, more recently...
Indian State Logs Microsoft Out [slashdot.org]

I'm hoping to see more active participation in OSS development from India, as more of it's educated masses come online. Computer and internet usage has surged among the middle-class only in recent years, with improvement (albeit gradual) in infrastructure.

When the plane landed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016370)

When Stallman landed in Bangalore all of the locals were heard saying, "Whoa.. what's that smell?"

A raw treatment to RMS ... (4, Interesting)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016443)

From what I hear from a lot of people who attended the actual GPL v3 conference, the audience was quite uninformed and rude (RMS also lost his temper, but what do you expect). Here's the blog [livejournal.com] of somebody who was on the DRM panel.

This is neither the time or place for people to ask a Why? to RMS about free software. Sure, it was a place to ask a Why GPL v3 or about DRM licensing or patent protections, but the questions that were asked was almost total bullshit. Yet again, I'm not speaking from personal presence there - I've just talked to people on irc and read their blogs.

Was one of those weeks when I wasn't in Bangalore ... but RMS was in Kerala (where I am now) and the discussions here were more practical than those quoted from Blr. The ones here were really about the freedoms and mostly by students or political decision makers versus the armchair activists from the software industry.

RMS is always to the point... (1)

pfz (965654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016496)

Why doesn't RMS watch movies? Why does he not like Linus? Is RMS a pessimist? How does RMS feel about the record companies? Does he care about their profits?

Learn the answer to these questions and more in the new documentary "Alternative Freedom". The documentary is as independent as RMS himself!

http://alternativefreedom.org/ [alternativefreedom.org]

Also features Larry Lessig, Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley), and others...
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