A *must read* book on the future of free software

  DieSse 00:07 10 Sep 05
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Free PDF download on the page

  Forum Editor 00:30 10 Sep 05

although certain aspects of Richard Stallman's philosophy are interesting. The book was written three years ago, and that's quite a long time in the computer business.

Richard is a very well-known campaigner in the free software world, and he's been around for quite a while. He started out as a hacker, but for a long time now he's concentrated on campaigning and making speeches. I've been present at one of his talks, and although I found him interesting I came away with an overriding impression of a man who can't bear to be contradicted or questioned - something of a bigot in fact. He even tries to stop people using the term "intellectual property", and refuses to be interviewed by the press unless journalists use the language that he likes. In his presence you mustn't use words like "commercial" or "consumer" because he doesn't like them. There are many other words which are unacceptable to him.

Frankly he's a pain.

  Pesala 06:37 10 Sep 05

Anyone who holds a strong opinion that is different to mine.

  CMN 10:07 10 Sep 05

Mr Stallman always speaks highly of you Mr FE - is this forum the place to publically berate this man? - it is only your opinion and not really relevant.

  Sir Radfordin 10:46 10 Sep 05

Last year at the end of my degree I wrote a "paper" against Stallman's approach to 'free' software which if I remember correctly found a number of flaws in his approach. Anyone who is interested in reading this can drop me an email...!

  Forum Editor 14:29 10 Sep 05

I think you need to do a little more research on Richard Stallman before you come here voicing your thoughts on relevance - you'll find I'm far from being alone in my view, and at least (unlike you it seems) I have some personal experience from which to draw a conclusion. Surely DieSse's thread title is itself an expression of his opinion in any case?

This forum is here for the very purpose of allowing opinions to be expressed, and I'm its editor - I'll express mine if I wish. If you think that my comments amount to 'publicly berating this man' I'm afraid you haven't read some of the other comments about Stallman's attitudes that abound on the Internet. I'll stick with what I said, thankyou.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 15:37 10 Sep 05

May one enquire as to when you are starting up your company to write and distribute software freely? next step distributing free food and beer? I tend to note that those that advocate free items tend to be, errrmmmmm..... rather well off already. The man is an ex-hippy that needs to get a grip of the REAL world, stop acting like a pretentious Z-list celebrity and lay off the wacky baccy. Knowing idealistic fools like him I doubt whether he could even spell 'the real world'. /sigh

G

  DieSse 15:40 10 Sep 05

"Surely DieSse's thread title is itself an expression of his opinion in any case?"

Personally I beleive in reading on many sides of opinions before making my own view - which is usualy a synthesis of what I've read and added my *world view* to.

In this case, I have concluded I am in sympathy with much of Stallman's thinking.

In many years in business I have come into contact with businesses with very different business ethos'. Some I've admired, some I've hated. One thing I have concluded, though - it can't all be left to commercial interests - there is an overriding public interest which is these days all too often sidelined.

  DieSse 15:43 10 Sep 05

He even tries to stop people using the term "intellectual property".

Only because he draws a distinction between copyright and patents - which he has believes are distinct, and doesn't like to see lumped together under a single heading.

In fact he uses the IP phrase many times in the book.

  DieSse 15:49 10 Sep 05

Rants like that do your views no favours.

You *should* know the difference between FREEdom and FREE beer.

And since you raise the point - there are many people who produce and distribute software free (even as in free beer) - you are even a staunch advocate of some of them.

  Pesala 19:38 10 Sep 05

This forum is provided free of charge, and all those who come here offer their knowledge, as well as their views and opinions, free of charge. I am grateful for that, even if some of the advice and opinion is worthless. You must take your chances when it comes to seeking free advice, but at least free advice has the advantage of being free from commercial self interest.

We all recognise the need for people to make a living, but there are companies and software authors who live by a different ethos: focusing more on trying to make the best product and rather less on making money. I know which type I prefer, though it is not easy to be sure of others' motives. As soon as you think that commercial interests have gained the upper hand, it is time to start looking elsewhere.

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