What Richard Stallman�s Hateful Eulogy to Steve Jobs Really Means

Don Tennant

Richard Stallman, the outspoken advocate for the free software movement who since the early �80s has branded proprietary software and those who produce it as �evil,� made it into the news last week when he directed his hatefulness at the memory of Steve Jobs. In the process, he demonstrated why he�s no longer anything more than a carnival sideshow on the technology circuit, and why his movement has sunk under the weight of its own intolerance.

In case you missed it, this is what Stallman wrote in his blog following Jobs� passing:

Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.

As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone." Nobody deserves to have to die - not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Jobs' malign influence on people's computing.

Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.

A lot of people were shocked by that. I wasn�t one of them. It was quintessential Stallman, an ode to obliviousness that only he could write. I conducted an extensive interview with Stallman in 2008, followed by a lengthy series of email exchanges, and I learned a lot about the man in the process. My first impression was a largely positive one. Here�s an excerpt from a column I wrote shortly after the interview:

I found out just how adamant Stallman is on the matter [of non-proprietary software] when I met with him at MIT. On the table in a small room outside his office was a laptop that could easily be mistaken for a toy. I recognized it as the product of One Laptop Per Child, the Nicholas Negroponte project to provide very-low-cost computers to schoolchildren.


"I decided to switch to one of these last November because it has a free BIOS program, and no other laptop in the world that I knew of was available without a proprietary BIOS program," Stallman said. "It took several months to arrange for us to get a machine, and then for me to switch to it. As I was switching, in April, the head of that project announced his betrayal of our community."

That "betrayal" was Negroponte's decision to run Windows on OLPC laptops. "The machine's supposed to lead millions of children to freedom," Stallman said. "But instead I fear it will lead millions of children under the dominion of Microsoft." When I suggested that adopting Windows was likely to make the OLPC machines more pervasive, Stallman bristled.

"It's completely misguided to try to make something a big success if it's doing a bad thing," he said. "Proprietary software subjugates the user. It's an injustice. And the idea that it's good to get people using computers regardless of everything else is shallow and misguided. It's better not to use computers than to use proprietary software."

Most everyone who would ever read or hear that statement would find it a little over the top, or maybe even over the top and way down the other side. I, for one, have no problem with proprietary software, and I'm comfortable that the remarkable accomplishments and benefits that have been achieved by computers running proprietary software speak for themselves.

Yet I find myself unwilling to write Stallman off as some anachronistic zealot. In fact, I respect him.

He went on to say that he's switching from the OLPC unit to a machine made by Chinese company Jiangsu Lemote Technology that can't run Windows because of the chip it uses. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a suspend-and-resume capability, which Stallman called "somewhat inconvenient." Nor does the battery charge while it's running, which he called "an annoyance."

"But it's worth it to you," I said.

"For freedom," he responded, "I will make a sacrifice."

Not enough of us are willing to truly sacrifice for the principles we believe in. If for no other reason than that, Stallman has earned the admiration he has inspired.

Most people would read a column like that about themselves and feel that they�d gotten a pretty fair shake, wouldn't you say? Not Stallman. His response to the column came in an email, with �Hostile article� in the subject line. Here�s the thrust of it:

I read [the column] and was struck by the hostility of it. Its main topic is that you think my views are �over the top.�

That prompted me to write a follow-up column the next week. After sharing Stallman�s response to my previous column, I wrote about my subsequent exchange with him and what that exchange compelled me to conclude:

What I actually wrote was the rather obvious statement that most everyone would find his "better not to use computers" contention to be over the top. The theme of my column, in fact, was that Stallman is a man who stands by his principles.

Yet Stallman was so blindly focused on the perceived challenge to his views that he couldn't see that. A subsequent e-mail exchange indicated to me that Stallman equates nonendorsement of his views with hostility.

Stallman needs to recognize that the singularity of focus that built the free software movement must now give way to the accommodation of other views. Otherwise, that movement will collapse under the weight of its own intransigence.

So here�s what I have to say directly to Richard Stallman: Your hateful eulogy to Steve Jobs testifies with stark clarity that the collapse I wrote about three years ago has now taken place. Just as assuredly as you created the free software movement, Richard, you destroyed it. The free software movement is dead. Eulogize that.



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Oct 10, 2011 3:33 AM Jake_Leone Jake_Leone  says: in response to Wakjob

Wakjob,

The communism you speak (I assume Marxist Communism) of is an illogical concept, having no unit base.  It cannot be equated, except in the broadest terms, even then the equations are fundamentally unsound.

Frankly Karl Marx was a jerk, it appears he didn't believe in freedom of religion.  Even if I were a Satanist, or played one on T.V., I couldn't believe in Karl Marx.

And he didn't see the love that occurs when people have choice.  Is choice love?  I often wonder?  After seeing "In Pursuit of happiness." I think it may be the case.  I find that sweetly ironic, and I grow horns thinking about it.

I prefer a more logical definition of communism, that being "Together with belief".  Under this definition we can discuss all government programs (not just those that conflict/endorse some particular belief) as being communist.  We don't even have to use the word communism (if you are uncomfortable with it, I just find the word to be sweetly ironic).

Frankly, I work under the precept (assumption, notion, belief...) that all government programs are communist.  Even paper money is communist.  The only thing that is not communist is personal self-interest and personal-immediate-gratification.

The military, most certainly is communist, if not just plain Orwellian.

I don't agree with Stallman, I don't believe any one should consign them selves to totally free software.   Because, doing so, doesn't maximize your freedom.

I do believe in copyright, for software, no problem there, limited to an original work.

I don't believe in Software patents, yet they have already legally occured (despite their ridiculous nature), (Conspiracy of the MAC-toting judges, heh! and I'm serious) Software is just speech (you command the machine in this case instead of command someone else, yes it's just speech and should not be patentable).  And frankly you can't patent a recipe, there would be a huge riot if home-makers (or munch-o-philes) couldn't make toll-house (A name most ironic, given the subject) cookies without a license.

But patent law and copyright law can be a great motivator (so can money).  It usually motivates those that have money, to spend it getting someone else to work 100 hours a week in order to produce intellectual property.

And sometimes (far more often then would be the case without copyright (we believe), and maybe patent law on software (though I have extreme doubts and we must err on the side of freedom, till proven otherwise, so prove it in court what is the real nature and the reason, let it burn there for all to see)

Property is communist.  The opposite of communism, is not capitalism, it is anarchy.   The anarchy of our minds cannot find full expression without some communist arm (literally, physically, and logically).

For that reason, totally free software doesn't work.  Because literally for Stallman to express himself he must use something that is owned.  His mind cannot express itself without property (or is it just another form enslavement?). 

The only logical statement of the dead, is if they were repaired, their sole would resume in the same body.  Therefore the simplest explanation is that the sole resides in the body, the sole is the body.  The dead body has the same properties as a turned off machine, therefore machines may possess consciousness (we just don't know), and enslavement is a fact of life, even for the Stallman (a name most ironic).

Welcome to Hell.

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Oct 10, 2011 3:55 AM Jake_Leone Jake_Leone  says: in response to Jake_Leone

BTW, I liked Steve Jobs. 

He made a real dent in the Universe.

Or was it a vibration?

Anyway he worked hard, and got others to also work hard (in fair deals).  And he gave (in fair deals) a good quality computer system.

For some, the MAC is the only computer system they want to use, and for good reasons underlying the frustration that people have with more open systems.

And I love my IPod (It plays MP3's hoorah! for freedom, it has at least just enough for me).

Steve Jobs was good-guy, and if you can't see that you just aren't willing to even consider someone else's opinion (sound's like Stallman's real  problem).

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Oct 10, 2011 8:38 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says:

I haven't agreed with Jobs on many Earthly issues, but the man did some amazing things during his life.  There are things I could say critical of him  but it just seems disrespectful, so I'll pass. 

I'll reserve my criticism for the living and for those who can (if they so choose) respond back.  Like Mayor Bloomberg, as an example

If there is another side, I have no doubt that Steve Jobs will be transforming that realm as well. 

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Oct 10, 2011 11:22 AM Chris Chris  says:

Thanks for the article in response to Richard Stallman. RIP Steve Jobs. I have used Apple's since the early 80's and they changed my life. Those of use who were educators or artists truly appreciated your tenacity, elegance, and visual/pragmatic acumen.

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Oct 10, 2011 11:50 AM Gavin H Gavin H  says:

"The free software movement is dead. Eulogize that." This site is probably running on Linux/Apache; does the author have the faintest idea what he is talking about?

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Oct 10, 2011 11:59 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Gavin H

Linux/Apache is open-source software, which isn't the same thing as free software. If you had said that to Richard Stallman, he would have blown up at you. He hates it when people confuse free software with open source.

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Oct 10, 2011 12:05 PM Wakjob Wakjob  says:

Don,

Stahllman has been known for years (even decades) to be a die-jard, committed, radical communist. Even Bill Gates said "Open source is tantamount to communism".

The communists hate ANYTHING which creates high value. High value might create class envy and class warfare because some people can afford luxury products, and some can't. Plus high value like Apple creates strong economies, which communists seek to destroy since defense depends on a strong economy, as we witnessed in the former Soviet Union.

So communists naturally hate Apple. Not just Stallhman but the entire media is already out in force with their "Apple is doomed" stories. They can't wait to see Apple die, becacuse 1) Apple represents American exceptionalism, 2) Apple creates economic booms, 3) Apple produces very high value products.

Communists would rather see NO value in computing and in software. They envy like mad the attention and money that Silicon Valley and companies like Apple provide. This is also one reason why they love globalization and flooding American tech companies with foreign workers so much.

Stallhman hates Apple and hated Jobs not because of their closed architecture, but because Apple is a roadblock to the cheapening and commoditization of IT and software. All communists would naturally hate Apple because Apple proves the capitalist system does work and communists don't want that - they seek to destroy anything that is uniquely American and successful.

Stallhman is just a rabid communist. Like so much in the rest of our computer industry, they want the industry dead, or at least to remove it presitge and attention. And Apple prevents them from doing that.

Anyone who cannot see that we are under economic attack by communists is not paying attention. Look into Stahllman's past and his beliefs and statements and you will see he is essentially a communist.

The Cold War never ended, the communists just changed their tactics in order for us to drop our gaurd. And drop it we have.

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Oct 10, 2011 12:26 PM Wakjob Wakjob  says:

Stahllman is also probably just jealous that Apple dumped GDB in favor of the newer (and better) LLVM. LOL. Stallhman has become an irrelvant washed up has-been.

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Oct 11, 2011 2:03 AM John W John W  says:

I've never heard of this Stallman guy, but he's an irrelevant loon who chooses bizarre battles. Now he has the bonus of being a jerk.

He seems to despite anything proprietary. "Proprietary software subjugates the user. It's an injustice," he says. Proprietary software allows programmers to earn a living and get rewarded for their effort! I'm not repressed when I use iTunes on my Mac. It's a rather pleasant experience. I fail to see how my freedoms have been violated. Amazing.

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Oct 11, 2011 5:51 AM Ryan Donahue Ryan Donahue  says: in response to Don Tennant

Don't you think it's a little hypocritical to respond to Stallman's mean-spirited (I suspect it's more emotionally unintelligent than mean-spirited) hyperbole with your own? 

Free Software isn't dead, GNU tools are still used liberally, and the share-alike mentality has encroached into other areas of IP (CC, for example). 

Eulogize this?  Rolling. My. Eyes.

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Oct 11, 2011 7:44 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to John W

I've never really understood the open source business model.  Every major open source platform that comes to my mind was later acquired by a corporation and had enterprise editions sold for profit.

In short, people work for free building a foundation for others to later profit from. 

The bottom line is that humans need basic resources to survive - like food, shelter, and water.  If you are writing software you need more resources - like electricity, software, and hardware.  All of that cost money.  If you don't own the software, then the rest of your life is spent renting your time while others see the rewards.  No thanks.

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Oct 11, 2011 8:02 AM ian ian  says:

Stallman is a pioneer and in 100 years we will look back at all these corporations an laugh at their oppressive practices. And laugh at ourselves that we let it happen.

It's a shame only 1% of the populate seem able to comprehend what most companies are doing.

Also, the author is clearly biased from the very start, and just seems to go on trying to convince us otherwise.

I've had amazing experiences with free software, but it's a shame when good code gets "bought out" by corporates - it always happens eventually when the $$$ is but on the table.

I think people are scared of stallman's personal strength. People look to leaders when their principles are easy to comprehend and follow (eg "click to buy the itune", or "lets kill the evil people"). But when things such as the FSF are spoken about things are much more complicated, then people fear this and become clouded in thought. They back away and see it as a bad thing because they dont understand it properly.

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Oct 11, 2011 9:00 AM richado stallmanu richado stallmanu  says:

Some people just can't understand freedom and some people just can't appreciate it.

Big news.

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Oct 11, 2011 9:26 AM ulzer ulzer  says: in response to Don Tennant

I don't aggree with Stallman either, but you are speaking as much nonsense as him.

Just think of the fact that Mac OS X, the iPhone/iPod IOS and a lot of other Apple staff are built with GCC (the GNU C Compiler). How can you say "free software" is dead?

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Oct 11, 2011 11:32 AM jake_leone jake_leone  says: in response to R. Lawson

The open-source model has some motivational benefits.

But it pays-off like the California Lottery (rarely).

An important motivation (in my opinion, maybe a few others) is that the originators are first off the block with the technology.  For example a guy involved in creating Selenium (a open source web-software test tool), landed an excellent position (was it pre-IPO, not sure) at Google.

Linux a similar story.

But the primary reason, get some documented experience, slave (excuse me, intern).

But it points to a fact about computer software engineering.  There is an over-abundance of talent out there, that is willing to work for free in order to gain some kind of advantage.  Sometimes it pays off big, but more often it doesn't pay squat.

And it is a sick situation, that will only lead to less people motivated to enter the profession. 

Companies have inflated job requirements, sometimes for skill levels that are not even possible (unless you can warp time).  Further companies are unwilling to train, this was not the case when I started.

Managers are unwilling to do interviews.  I've seen this first hand recently.  It's easier to do a visa (and possible more professionally profitable) than it is to interview 12 candidates, review the 100 resumes you'll recieve.  Again a sick situation.

So these people are just trying to do an end around the virtually closed hiring process that occurs at many companies.

You won't end open source by opening up the hiring process, but you might curb it some as more of these guys get a job.  But of course that would just a side affect of correcting an already bad situation.

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Oct 13, 2011 2:44 AM Michael Michael  says:

I am a fan of open source and a fan of Apple.  The comments Stallman said about Jobs, being in poor taste as they were, are hardly Stallman's biggest sins.

For that, in my view, look at what Stallman says about sex and children; about how it should be fine in public schools for kids to have uncensored access to porn.  Stallman even goes so far to say we should relabel such porn as "educational material" and that blocking kids from this is harmful to them. Just utterly repulsive stuff.  For more, do a Google search for the words: stallman sex children

He is a repulsive man who does more harm to open source than good those days.  Linus Torvalds and Mark Shuttleworth are much better faces of open source, even if you do not use Ubuntu.

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Oct 13, 2011 4:48 AM Scott Scott  says: in response to observer

The free software movement is dead, funny my copy of GNU/Linux - doesn't seem to be that dead over here.

So not everyone was kissing Steve Job's ass, get over it and get on with your lives. Apple is proprietary and very expensive, like wise with the William Henry Gates the Third Empire. If you like being slaves to your choice then your the ones that have to live with that decision.  Is everyone out there going to be praising Gates when he's dead too calling him a revolutionary and a visionary? Or will they remember him for the rich nerd that he was and then suddenly remember that the only piece of software he wrote was in college and it was tick-tac-toe?

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Oct 13, 2011 5:34 AM observer observer  says: in response to Scott

Agreed, all versions of Linux that I have used and I have used many perform better and faster than any other OS of the time.  Sure I have run into a few bugs and the like, but I run into those all the time while using proprietary OS's.  In my experience bugs in Linux are worked out more quickly than with it's proprietary brethren.

Linux gives me the ability to be in control of my system and there are versions for people with different skill levels.  It truly is a representation of a community, with users of different levels contributing in there own way. 

I believe RMS is a proponent of personal growth, accomplishment and self reliance. He understands that for our society to excel,  we have to take initiative. By not just drinking the kool aid or accepting the next mass marketing technique as our savior. 

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Oct 13, 2011 5:55 AM Scott Scott  says: in response to observer

I concur, I would say most of the comments that decry stallmans perspective are from Apple or Windows Users, who have no grasp of the concept of the ideals that stallman happily gives voice too.

If they're happily downloading tracks on iTunes & Buying software that they could obtain freely that could or would perform far better thats entirely their prerogative and simply reflects their narrow perspective on the subject as a whole.

Quote: Linux gives me the ability to be in control of my system and there are versions for people with different skill levels.

It does at that.. Dare I say it, I can even get an iPod to work under Linux and whilst I am no fan of either Apple or Microsoft, I'll confess I'll happily buy one of their products if it means I get to hack it and shovel Linux on it later!

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Oct 13, 2011 6:42 AM Scott Scott  says: in response to Scott

What is food for thought to some is to others bitter poison.

Yet, none of them have quite grasped the concepts of Digital Rights Management and how that means your busy selling out your freedom along with your personal details to the mass marketing machine.

But of course Apple & Microsoft have no hidden agenda, google is not evil, google is of course everyones friend as is face-book and twitter. Carry on your lives, as the unwitting advertising & marketing slaves that you are.

Just ask yourselves one thing, do you control your computer system or does it control you.

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Oct 13, 2011 7:28 AM Scott Scott  says: in response to Scott

In order to view this site I have to temporarily allow the following outside systems to access my machine:

quantserve.com

googlesyndication

adsafeprotected.com

atdmt.com

adjuggler

addthis.com

serving-sys.com

doubleclick.net

Those are just some of the advertisers and data miners, people out to harvest personal information that you Apple & Microsoft users operate happily oblivious of.

So sad to see Jobs die, yes.. I would say a little as no-one deserves to die the way he did, but sad that he's gone.. No not really!

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Oct 13, 2011 8:11 AM Scott Scott  says: in response to Scott

I was never on a one to one basis with the man, where you?

If I told you I was dying, would you be sad when I was gone?

I would call you an idiot!

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Oct 13, 2011 9:22 AM observer observer  says: in response to Wakjob

The free software foundation is not the same as open source, though open source software does use the GPL as its license.  Open source software encourages the collaboration and input of society as a whole with the goal of producing software that benefits society as a whole.  Initiatives that do not choose to discriminate or pick and choose who can or cannot be a member, tend to attract some colorful people.  Those same initiatives benefit from broader contributions.  This is evident all over the United States of America.

To quote another colorful open source proponent, Eric Raymond.  Open source is not communism, communism is an ideology that forces people to share, often at the end of a gun.   In the end, Linus Torvalds may have said it best.  Kids don't do drugs or you will end up like the Hurd people. In case you aren't aware, GNU/Hurd is the official OS / product of Richard Stallman.

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Oct 14, 2011 1:48 AM Andrew McIntosh Andrew McIntosh  says: in response to Don Tennant

Linux is free software, and Stallman recognizes it as such.  The FSF even recommends a number of GNU/Linux distros on its site.

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Oct 14, 2011 4:26 AM George Alexander George Alexander  says:

Hope Stallman has something nice to say about Dennis Ritchie!

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Oct 14, 2011 5:57 AM Scott Scott  says: in response to Andrew McIntosh

If Stallman turn's around and says to Apple, you know what, I am sick of your developers using my GCC compiler for the continued development of your Operating System whilst you've been busy monopolizing on the death of Steve Jobs to gain public sympathy, I therefore request that you cease using my compiler which is not in the interest of free software development and I reserve the rights to allow its use only for Linux, BSD, Hurd and other such variants who have requested my permission for its use first! How do you suppose apple would feel about it?

Their whole empire hinges on the ability to use his Free Compiler!

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Oct 14, 2011 7:34 AM Scott Scott  says: in response to Scott

Can I buy apples OS X and stick it on my PC at home, no... It would violate their license agreement and likewise can I stick Windows on my apple Mac? Nope.. Can I stick Linux on the Mac or on the PC.. Yeap, it'll pretty much run on anything and ships with some far more liberal and accommodating licensing..

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/WTFPL

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Oct 14, 2011 8:24 AM Scott Scott  says: in response to Scott

It'll run and power the following, the sony PSP, the sony PS3, the xBox 360, various Mobile Phones, Laptops, Notebooks, Netbooks, PDA's, it is so robust and rock solid, huge enterprise IT sectors use it for Banking, Security, Swipe Card and Access Control enforcement. Is it any wonder apple happily borrowed bits of it and re-branded it as theirs?

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Oct 14, 2011 10:39 AM sam sam  says:

How nice is Apple...here is a sample...

After accumulated $75billion still Apple won't move those jobs in China to US....some call Apple is one of the best company in US...may be best innovator but not the best in all sense

Hope iphone_rocks has something to add here!!!

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Mike-Daisey-goes-after-Apple-apf-2036183637.html?x=0&.v=1

Mike Daisey goes after Apple, the late Steve Jobs

Normally, the launch of a new Apple device such as the iPhone 4S would make Mike Daisey salivate. But not this year.

Daisey, a monologuist in the vein of Spalding Gray and a recovering "Apple fanboy," hasn't upgraded his phone since flying to China to investigate how those smooth, beautifully designed hand-held gizmos are made.

What he found was horrific labor conditions, impossibly long hours and the use of crippling, repetitive motions. He met very young factory workers whose joints in their hands were damaged because they performed the same action thousands of times a shift.

"I was woefully ignorant most of my life. Even though I love the devices deeply, I never had any idea how they were made and never thought about it in the least," says Daisey, who had assumed robots put together his iPad and iPhone.

"I know that people in charge know about these things and chose not to address them," he adds. "And that's hard to swallow when you see the damage it does and you know how little it would take to ameliorate a high degree of human suffering."

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Oct 17, 2011 1:59 AM P.Asselin P.Asselin  says: in response to sam

When the messenger kills the message...

I would say that Stallman took aim at Steve Jobs by pointing the gun thru his own mouth... But Mr Stallman does not own, or control, free software, and free software will not disappear because of an ugly faux-pas.

Indeed he deserves all the flack he's getting, but that should not prevent us from asking tough questions about Apple's growing dominance, or their practice,  as Sam reminds us.

Apple is now a much greater threat to free software (and/or open source...) than even Microsoft was during its reign.

I have the highest respect for Job's technological vision and achievements, his dedication, the spirit he showed in fighting cancer, and I think we must show empathy considering the pain he and his loved ones have gone through.

Unfortunately, empathy is as foreign to Richard Stallman as free software was to Jobs. And the latter seems more worrisome to me.

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Oct 21, 2011 4:26 AM Wakjob Wakjob  says: in response to ulzer

Not anymore they're not. Now they're built with LLVM. Bye bye GNU!

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Oct 23, 2011 6:12 AM Free HR Webinars Free HR Webinars  says:

You're correct, the free software movement has ended at the hand of Richard Stallman.  Jobs, his technology, and his company, however, will live on.  Jobs did more than revolutionize the way we use technology, he, as the owner and CEO of Apple, has revolutionized the technology industry and the way business is conducted within the industry, forever.  RIP Steve Jobs.

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Nov 1, 2011 2:29 AM Markus Markus  says:

Sir, please be assured of one thing: 100 years from now, after you've been completely forgotten about by everyone including your descendants, "carnival sideshow " Stallman and his contributions to IT will still be discussed in lectures and history books.

On a side note, as a former Mac fanboy I find it interesting how Jobs is being gushed on with so much praise now, considering how despised he was 10-15 years ago. The stories of how he screwed Steve Wozniak of out of his bonus when they worked at Atari, rooked early Apple employees out of stock options, etc, etc, don't seem to be getting much press these days.

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Dec 11, 2011 4:59 AM Jon Mason Jon Mason  says: in response to Markus

Richard Stallman is a good man with a good heart just like Bill Gates is a good man with a good heart.  I suspect that both of them are slightly autistic.  Bill Gates can afford consultants to make sure he projects a good image.  Stallman can not afford the same luxury.  Thus, Stallman sometimes makes the occasional public social blunder.

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Dec 22, 2011 7:46 AM buddha statue buddha statue  says:

i'd say this is the usual dynamics from someone with high ideals to someone who will defend his past ideals at any cost and be ruthless about it!

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Nov 1, 2012 5:49 AM adam adam  says: in response to R. Lawson
In between all the "sound bites" and "knee jerk reactions" is the fact that no one really seems to understand Stallman's position. I'm not a Stallman apologist, but I understand him to object to proprietary software on the grounds that it makes it so the end user is unable to 'customize' the software in order to make his work more efficient. This violates Stallman's 'hacker ethos,' in that in order to make software work 'for you, not against you,' one would have to essentially 'reinvent the wheel' to get the software to do what you want it to . Making the software proprietary means it is limited to the least common denominator, which means, of course, that it is not going to satisfy every customer. In essence, in order to get the software to do what you want/need it to do, you would have to write your own program without violating so and sos patent/copyright/intellectual property rights. So Stallman beleives that the software should be 'free' in the sense that everyone should be able to have access to the source code for the purposes of 'tweaking' the software to his or her liking/needs. In order to have this capability, the software could not, by definition, be proprietary Reply
Feb 21, 2013 8:09 AM plasmaborne plasmaborne  says:
I'm sure sir that you would find Thomas Paine's defense of freedom equally uncompromising. I'm sure you would be insulted and appalled by Patrick Henry's statement, "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death". You sir are a traitor to freedom and a collaborator of tyranny. Suggesting their is compromise is full out treason. Reply
Nov 4, 2013 2:31 AM twoCents twoCents  says:
On that logic, one should reserve criticism for Hitler, Constantine, Stalin, etc.. to their fan base, they were considered great men, and to others (which is also my opinion) are considered great evils of history. Death is no barrier for the truth of people's deeds. If Jobs did bad things, it's fair gain to criticism like anyone else. However, that isn't to say I accuse him of any evil, though others clearly feel differently. Reply

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