Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Electronic Freedom


Originally uploaded by chrys.

While enjoying my newfound love, podcasting, I suffered through what was perhaps the worst interview in history with the famed Richard Stallman, the founder of the free software movement, the GNU project, and the Free Software Foundation. Everyone running a copy of software bearing a GPL license or those using Linux should pay some sort of homage to this dude. His extreme views on freedom of information with regard to software, although intreaguing, went largely unexplored by the interviewers at the Linux Link Tech Show. After declaring the use of non-free (as in speech, not beer) software to be amoral, the amazingly unprovocotive podcasters at Linux Link had riveting follow-up questions such as "hmm", or "ok". I gained respect for the guy not for his beautifully explained views, but for his restraint in dealing with these morons. Why do these brilliant guests spend time on horrible shows?

This morning I listened to portions of the Stallman interview again, hoping to figure out where he was coming from. I believe he feels that constricted information, especially with regard to commercial interest, is amoral because it drives the corporate interest rather than the "public good". Anti-social is a term that freely flows in his explanation of why software should be free. He continually mentions the denial of essential freedoms, but I have to believe that these freedoms are determined "essential" because of some unstated presumably "moral" end. Could that end be the dreamy equality and social well-being that Marxists write of? The anti-capitalistic mentality is still alive and well.