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103880647 story GNU is Not Unix Microsoft Apple

Richard Stallman Calls Open Source Movement 'Amoral', Criticizes Apple And Microsoft For 'Censoring' App Installation (newleftreview.org) 237

Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday October 27, 2018 @09:34PM from the not-coming-along-and-sharing-the-software dept. Richard Stallman recently gave a 9,000-word interview in which he first reminisces about his early days at MIT's AI Lab where he "found something worth being loyal to" -- and then assesses how things have played out. Open source is an amoral, depoliticized substitute for the free-software movement... [I]t's not the name of a philosophy -- it refers to the software, but not to the users. You'll find lots of cautious, timid organizations that do things that are useful, but they don't dare say: users deserve freedom. Like Creative Commons, which does useful, practical work -- namely, preparing licences that respect the freedom to share. But Creative Commons doesn't say that users are entitled to the freedom to share; it doesn't say that it's wrong to deny people the freedom to share. It doesn't actively uphold that principle.

Of course, it's much easier to be a supporter of open source, because it doesn't commit you to anything. You could spend ten minutes a week doing things that help advance open source, or just say you're a supporter -- and you're not a hypocrite, because you can't violate your principles if you haven't stated any. What's significant is that, in their attempt to separate our software from our ideas, they've reduced our ability to win people over by showing what those ideas have achieved...

For a long time, Microsoft was the main enemy of users' freedom, and then, for the past ten years or so, it's been Apple. When the first iThings came out, around 2007, it was a tremendous advance in contempt for users' freedom because it imposed censorship of applications -- you could only install programs approved by Apple. Ironically, Apple has retreated from that a little bit. If a program is written in Swift, you can now install it yourself from source code. So, Apple computers are no longer 100 per cent jails. The tablets too. A jail is a computer in which installation of applications is censored. So Apple introduced the first jail computer with the iPhone. Then Microsoft started making computers that are jails, and now Apple has, you might say, opened a window into the jail -- but not the main door.
Stallman cites free-software alternatives to Skype like Linphone, Ekiga, and xJitsi, and also says he's In favor of projects like GNU social, a free software microblogging server, and the distributed social networking service Diaspora. "I know they're useful for other people, but it wouldn't fit my lifestyle. I just use email." In fact, he calls mobile computing one of the three main setbacks of the free-software movement. "[P]hones and tablets, designed from the ground up to be non-free. The apps, which tend now to be non-free malware. And the Intel management engine, and more generally the low-level software, which we can't replace, because things just won't allow us to do so....

"[P]eople in the software field can't avoid the issue of free versus proprietary software, freedom-respecting versus freedom-trampling software. We have a responsibility, if we're doing things in the software field, to do it in a way that is ethical. I don't know whether we will ever succeed in liberating everyone, but it's clearly the right direction in which to push."


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