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An evening of freedom and Richard Stallman

by | Oct 20, 2010 | blended learning, Creative Media, Erin M McCuskey, Michael Gwyther, yum studio, yumproductions

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So I’m still coming down from the crazy William Wallace “Fight for our FREEDOM” moment, I backed it up by paying for some open source software. Seems strange that I’m paying for it. You may think that it’s strange that I’ve paid for open source software but what I really paid for was for some nerd to modify some open source software for me.

The Free Software Foundation turned 25 on the 5th of October and has been a very different group to the Linux/Open Source group. The free software foundation believes in pure freedom. As the FSF quotes… it’s Free as in Freedom not Free “No Cost”. The different levels of freedom when it comes to truly “free software” are:

    • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (Freedom 0, nerds like to start at 0)

 

    • The freedom to study how the program works, and make changes to make it do as you wish (Freedom 1)

 

    • The freedom to redistribute copies to anyone (Freedom 2, if you really own that piece of software you should be able to hand it out like a book!)

 

    • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (Freedom 3), by doing this you can give the whole community to benefit from the changes that you have made. Sharing is caring people! Richard’s stance on “I own this piece of software it doesn’t do everything I want, I should be able to fix it” line stuck.

Using examples from a few well known companies (*cough Adobe cough*) Richard discussed how restrictions have been put on on the user’s rights have contributed to the lack the advancement in software development. Knowledge is meant to be shared, not licensed and Richard advocates for the removal of all software patents in the industry. Richard also mentioned that there should be a push for Free Software to be used in schools to educate people from a young age. Micro$oft currently has deals with quite a few countries, specifically governments and schools to purchase Windows and other Microsoft products at a heavily reduced “Education” & “Government” prices so that it creates a dependence on these products in the future.

He then quickly moved on to the issues of copyright. He went on to say that copyright made sense when the age of the printing press came about but now that it’s used to regulate the digital age everything is every outdated. Richard spoke for a while about how devices like the iPhone, iPad and Kindle (nicknaming them the “iMoan”, “iBad” and “Swindle”) and how they stop a person being able to share their favourite book or their favourite music between their friends and family . You can no longer go to someone’s house to borrow a book purely because no one is stupid enough to lend out an iPad or doesn’t want to go without using their iPhone for the 6 months it takes for someone to return a book. I do have to note at this point that I my heart did sink when he called the devices the iMoan and iBad… My Apple loving heart just broke a little.

So overall in the standing room only talk there was laughter, shock (well from me anyway because of my love for Apple) and he left people with something to think about. Do we really want to be locked down by a piece of software? or should we be able to do what we want with it now we have paid 000’s of dollars on a piece of software which only lets us do what they want us to do?

Other Information is also included here:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/philosophy.html

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