Stuff Richard Stallman Said on the Linux Action Show

We just wrapped up our interview with Richard Stallman (aka “RMS”) for the 200th episode of the Linux Action Show

And it was not what I expected.

You see, I make software for most of my living.  And I talked with Stallman (in email) before the show, about how I would love to get any ideas he has on how a developer, of proprietary software, can move that software to a Free and Open license… while still keeping food on the table for his family.  From a practical standpoint.

This is a topic that has come up time and again.  And I really wanted to get Stallman’s thoughts on the matter.

So, near the beginning of the interview, I ask him about that.  How does someone like me make the move to working on only Free Software and still support his family?

The end result was that he feels that all developers and businesses of proprietary software should fail.  And that it is more important for there to not be proprietary software… than it is to be able to feed your children.

I’m not kidding.  I’m not exaggerating.  I’m not putting words in his mouth.  I even asked him, point blank, to verify his stance.

He did not say that having Free Software is more important than kids having food to eat.  I repeat: He said that it was more important that non-free software be gone… than for you to be able to feed your kids.  That’s how evil he thinks non-free software is.  Evil enough to justify causing significant harm to your family to do away with a small amount of it.  (Of course this isn’t the first time Stallman has been anti-children.)

He also talked about how nobody should have children, and all software developers working on proprietary software are unethical and should quit their jobs and “go work in factories”.  Seriously.

Good at making software that helps people and brings joy to others?  Don’t do it.  Go work “in a factory” even if you are going to do a terrible job at “working in a factory” and couldn’t support your family that way.

This whole interview really blew me away.  (I know, I know… perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised.)

Yes.  I expected to disagree with him on many things.  But here’s what I expected to happen (roughly):

Me: What are some ideas you have on how we can all move our software to a good Free license and still pay the bills?

Stallman: Here’s a few ideas I have. [Insert ideas here]

Me: I disagree with those ideas and here’s why.

Discussion ensues.

Then, my plan was to take those ideas and run with them for at least one of the pieces of software I work on.  Kick the tires and see how his ideas work, you know?  Make a good case-study for how Stallman’s ideas could play out.  You know: Practical application of Free Software ideas and concepts.

Instead he attacked me and all other developers that have ever made non-free software (even if we use that fund Free Software development).  Then he attacked our children.

I want to say this: I do appreciate his viewpoints and want to thank him for taking the time to talk his ideas over with us.  But… wow.

Before you label me as being biased or of putting words in his mouth… before you declare me anti-freedom… watch the interview.  (I was being a good boy… I didn’t even make a joke about eating toe stuff or anything.  Though I really wanted to make a “you really put your foot in your mouth there, Richard!” joke near the end.  Will power!)

The youtube version of the show is below.  You can grab the downloadable version (in a slew of formats) over here.

(Maybe I’ll take the time to pull out a few key quotes later on today just to have them here for reference.)

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  • Michael Stephenson

    RMS’s statements have no impact on whether your statement is hyperbole.

    For the sake of argument lets just take it as read that Stallman hates children and want’s them all to die in a ditch.

    Does that mean that you need to develop proprietary software to prevent your children dying of malnutrition? Rather than doing whatever you did previously?

    Does that make everything else I said not worthy of rebuttal?

    I am not against Illumination Software Creator, or you choosing to release it as proprietary software I wish you every success with it, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to blindly congratulate you on a bogus argument.

  • Michael Stephenson

    Hell I even paid $15 for a license for ISC when it was pay what you like, even though I had no real desire to use it, and still haven’t used it, just to support Indie software for Linux.

  • Kristian

    RMS is not a great representative of the FSF; he doesn’t understand diplomacy or tactical response and walks right in to trolling “interviews” such as this.

    Of course, none of this undermines his incredible contribution to free software, or the general value of the GPL.

    Bryan: it is implausible that you didn’t anticipate his response to your questions. Unless you have been living under a rock you understand that RMS consistently draws an ethical equivalence between writing non-free software and other unethical activities such as stealing. Inviting someone to an interview and then feigning offense to the answers that they would inevitably give is intellectually and morally indefensible. Shame on you.

  • Bryan

    Kristian: I knew completely what RMS’s stance was. But, what I did not realize, was the fact that he valued it above the well being of humans. That… that kinda took me aback. It just makes no sense.

    If you don’t put value on human life and wellbeing… why put value on a tool that can be only used by those humans? Unless, of course, you are trying to make sure SkyNet gets up and running.

  • Daniel

    I agree with him.

  • Erik

    I don’t consider myself to be anywhere near as extreme in my viewpoints as RMS, but I have to take issue with your (seemingly) willful misrepresentation of his stance with regards to putting a value on human life and well being.

    What he said was true: you don’t HAVE to make your living writing closed-source software. You choose to do so, because A) you are good at it, and B) you enjoy doing it. You don’t find doing so to be unethical, and for what it’s worth, neither do I. But RMS does. You know this. He’s one of the most idealistic people you’re ever likely to meet, I don’t know what it was that possessed you to think you could change his mind.

    You two clearly disagree, but please don’t slander (libel?) the man by saying that he doesn’t put a value on human life and well being. This is simply untrue, and I think you know this.

  • Michael Stephenson

    For what it’s worth, just re-watched the show. Still think you’ve completely misrepresented what he is saying about children. He never said anything about hating them.
    He made a comment about having kids has a massive impact on the ecology of our planet, and the necessity as a parent to feed your children doesn’t legitimise the means you find to do so. I completely agree.
    This is true and I agree with strongly.

    I do not agree that proprietary indie software does not have any place as a stop gap solution.

    But I find you dismissing without justification his arguments, and refusal to respond to mine and other’s arguments very telling.

    All I see is defensiveness and unwillingness to consider any one else’s arguments on your part.

    What you have done to try and attack Stallman’s character here is wrong, the assertions you claim he made about children were wrong, and are not substantiated by the recording.

  • Bill

    Like many ultra-extremists, Stallman is not a judicious thinker. He is like a lot of extremely-accomplished, highly-specialized people who have a constricted view of the world. And as an extremist, he has attracted a lot of cultists, fanboys, and other people of similarly-limited mental talents to rally around him and provide support and adulation.

    His views are patently preposterous. It is generally agreed among human societies (those that don’t have slavery) that people are due a reward for their labor, and some institutionalize this with things like patent and copyright protections. So if I’m an artist in Stallman’s little universe, I produce an original painting, it belongs to everybody? WTF?! Needless to say, this would put a big damper on human creativity! Unless you’re supported by a patron, that is. Oh, wait a minute, like Stallman, who comes from academia and from that world of professional patronage, grants, non-profits, and gullible venture capitalists?

    How he equates proprietary software with unethical behavior is also a mystery. Sure, we all would like free software. Who wants to be held hostage by The Man ()? But if it wasn’t for people getting paid for their efforts and keeping proprietary control of their product long enough to make a profit (thus patent laws, e.g.), we would still be flipping toggle switches to enter our data. Linux would not be where it is without Windows (ugh; I know, that hurts.)

    Again, Stallman’s whole world view is formed by his life in academia. Essentially he has been paid for all his efforts by the taxpayers, and his philosophical stance is as phony, unworkable, and self-serving as any extremist’s.

  • Bryan

    Michael Stephenson: “the necessity as a parent to feed your children doesn’t legitimise the means you find to do so”

    Ok. Right there. This is fine. But this means that a value judgement is being made.

    If you are saying that it is more important to NO use proprietary software than it is to feed your children… a value judgement has been made. (I’m not saying *you* said that… but RMS *did* say that.) He made a clear judgement on human well being where he seems to value a specific type of license for a piece of *software* above that well being.


    No slander. No libel.

    I am not saying that the man does not value human life. He may value it a great deal more than any other human on the planet for all I know.

    What I *am* saying (and what RMS is saying… so really I’m just agreeing with him in plain language) is that human wellbeing has less value than software that he feels is licensed properly.

  • Lance hirdler

    I watched the episode twice and still i am trying lets just take the word Free for a moment Verb
    free (third-person singular simple present frees, present participle freeing, simple past and past participle freed) why use the word free how about unlicensed software. Free has to many meanings. whats not to say sense its free i used and said it was my own and sold it O wait apple already did that. with out hardware there would not be software so hardware should be free also. if all hardware and and software were contained by the free hardware software wouldn’t that itself make it a propitiatory solution in itself. its seems to when he refers to free software its a reflection of himself. Were overpopulating the planet the last time i check the average family in the us has 2.1 kids and that’s if both parents are working. i would rather be loved then free. Raising a child makes life worth living. In order for something to be free it first must be contained . how can it be free when you convince some one to make it free the way you want it. if there was only the free way we wouldn’t be free. you have to have balance its not what you know its who you know .

  • Michael Stephenson

    Bryan, now you are confounding USE of proprietary software and CREATION of proprietary software. He never said using proprietary software was unscrupulous, he said creating it is unscrupulous.

    Just as he never said letting your children starve is a better alternative than to making proprietary software. He correctly stated that it isn’t an “Either/Or” situation because you could feed your children without creating proprietary software.

    He never suggested you should let your children starve, you are the one bringing up children seemingly in an attempt to bait a trap for him. He hasn’t fallen into that trap, not if you actually listen to what he says.
    But you seem to be eager to twist his words into creating the appearance that he did.
    Anyone with a decent comprehension of the English language can see that he patently DID NOT say what you are claiming he said.
    You’re argument is bogus!
    Your children are in no danger of starving!
    It was hyperbole and FULL of FAIL!
    Stop flogging a dead horse and do better next time!

  • Michael Stephenson

    Another thought on where the debate went wrong.
    All the way through, you allowed Stallman to derail your line of questioning and re-frame the debate.

    At the end you asked Stallman about what potential funding methods and Indie developer such as yourself could try for Free Software.

    You should have forced him to answer the question, instead he shifted the debate, you lost your cool and started talking about your starving kid, he kept his cool.

    And now you’re stuck trying to win the argument after the fact by characterising Stallman as a baby hater.

    You could learn something from Paxman, stick to your guns:

  • Erik


    “I am not saying that the man does not value human life. He may value it a great deal more than any other human on the planet for all I know.”

    Contrast that with your earlier statement:

    “If you don’t put value on human life and wellbeing… why put value on a tool that can be only used by those humans?”

    You most certainly did say so, whether it was your intention or not.

    And it’s not just this, it was your comments at the close of the show about RMS not wanting kids to eat (or some variation of that). You don’t honestly believe this, do you?

  • Bryan

    Erik: Both statements stand.

    Do I believe RMS wants all children to go hungry? I have no clue what he thinks in this regard. I would certainly hope not.

    But what RMS *did* make clear, was a value judgement he has made where he feels it is more critical that particular forms of licensing be used for computer software… than to feed a child. This much he confirmed, more than once, on the show.

    If you do not like that statement… take it up with Stallman. These are not my views. The fact that these views exist makes me sad. But these are what he claims his views are.

  • Michael Stephenson

    The reality distortion bubble around your head Bryan is completely unfathomable.

    You are equating making money with feeding children… directly, no intermediary step. Almost as if coding proprietary software actually directly generates sustenance for your child and if you take your fingers off they keyboard she goes hungry.

    Dude, you completely failed debate club the SECOND YOU AGREED with Stallman that proprietary software was UNETHICAL. There was no coming back from that, you are WILLING to DO UNETHICAL things FOR MONEY.
    Debate fail!
    End of story.
    You got SCHOOLED by Stallman.

    No money = baby food is going to cut it because you AGREED!! that YOU do UNETHICAL things for MONEY!

    The main point here is that you AGREED IT! you lose!

    Sometimes there is more nobility in admitting defeat than whatever the hell this blog post and thread is.

    Remember in debate club it doesn’t matter what you side you are arguing for or who is correct, but who doesn’t FUCK UP their argument big time.

  • Bryan

    Michael Stephenson: I never agreed that proprietary software licenses were unethical. They are licenses.

    Also… please watch the massive amount of derogatory attacks and foul language.

  • Frederik

    You are not even debating the issue anymore, Bryan. You are twisting Richard’s words to say that he took a stance on your constructed premise of “children starving vs. coding proprietary software”. As Richard correctly identified, this is a false premise. The situation is not a real one; there are other jobs. Richard stated the opinion that a job coding proprietary software was an unethical one. He refused to answer on your constructed situation of letting children starve vs. coding proprietary software; he instead said that such a job was unethical, and that you should either attempt to earn money coding libre (not necessarily gratis; learn the difference) software, or find another job. You saying “proprietary programmers should find factory jobs” is an appeal to ridicule. And yes, I did watch the interview. Twice.

    I even agree with you that it should be up to the developer to decide what license he wished to release his software under, and if the user doesn’t like it he can choose another piece of software, like with any other product that he is not happy with. Focus on this, not the ad hominems. Cut the fallacious arguments and your viewpoint will seem a lot more credible.

  • Bryan

    Frederik: “You saying “proprietary programmers should find factory jobs””

    I never said that. Stallman did.

    Frederik: “You are not even debating the issue anymore, Bryan.”

    I’m not debating anything at all at this point. I am merely pointing to what he said and saying “Look at what he said”. I have thoughts on it (obviously)… but I don’t think my thoughts are at all important on this. What *is* important is what Stallman said.

    Also, this isn’t a stance for or against two concepts. Stallman made a value judgement between two things (“not making software in a license other than one he approves of” and “feeding your child”). I repeated it back to him for verification. Then stated the results here.

    Whether you like that this value judgement was presented to him at all is something I simply don’t care much about (that isn’t to say I don’t value your opinions… but at this point the value judgement is already made).

    There are many (many!) areas that would be fascinating to discuss in relation to “Free” (using the Stallman re-definition of the word) software and how one can generate a sustainable income from it. Stallman and I emailed prior to the show about how this would be a core part of the interview (specific, real-world, practical approaches). Once on the show, he went on the attack (of both “non-Free” developers… and then children).

    If you don’t like what Stallman said, take it up with him. I didn’t like what he said… so I took it up with him directly. And then talked about it here to shed a little more light on his statements.

  • Frederik

    “I never said that. Stallman did.”
    You deliberately reworded what he said in an appeal to ridicule, i.e. “look how silly this man sounds; he must be wrong”.

    “Stallman made a value judgement between two things (“not making software in a license other than one he approves of” and “feeding your child”).”
    No, he did not. He correctly identified it as a false premise, and stated that you should instead earn a living doing something ethical. Trying to present the situation of “children starving” vs. “proprietary software” is an appeal to emotion (think of the children), a false dichotomy (presenting these two as the only two choices, when there are in fact many more), and a false premise (claiming your children would starve to death if you switched to another occupation). I can’t think of a more fallacious argument.

    “Once on the show, he went on the attack (of both “non-Free” developers… and then children).”
    You are again attempting a character assassination by implying that he “went on the attack against children,” clearly a ludicrous statement. What he said was that having children is bad for the environment (which is a debate in and of itself, but don’t try to rephrase it into “rms attacks children”.

  • Bryan

    Frederik: “No, he did not.”
    Watch the show again. He was very clear. I’ll use a clip on next weeks show that shows *exactly* him saying what I am talking about him saying.

    And this is in no way an appeal to an emotion. This is practicality. The whole point of this interview was supposed to be about practical applications of Stallman’s ideas. I tried to hold him to that. He went on the attack.

  • Frederik

    “Watch the show again. He was very clear. I’ll use a clip on next weeks show that shows *exactly* him saying what I am talking about him saying.”
    If you do use clips on next week’s show, make sure you don’t further weaken your argument by quoting him out of context. All in all, I would suggest moving on from the whole “rms attacks children” angle and argue the real issues you have with his beliefs (lack of practicality and wanting to stop voluntary trade between developer and user).

    “And this is in no way an appeal to an emotion. This is practicality. The whole point of this interview was supposed to be about practical applications of Stallman’s ideas. I tried to hold him to that. He went on the attack.”
    Then why not stick to the argument, saying something along the lines of “how can developers who are currently releasing proprietary software make the switch to libre software while still earning a living?” You instead decided to derail the argument by purposefully invoking images of starving children as a purported direct effect of Stallman’s philosophy. Constructing your arguments that way might be tempting, but it’s dishonest and unfair. If you plan on continuing this debate on next week’s show, please refrain from resorting to references to starving children and instead focus on Stallman’s ideas not being practically viable/him being too idealistic.

  • jay

    I can respect the freedom of releasing your software how ever you want. If its not free I am not going to bully you into making it free. Thats your choice and I respect it. I don’t think it is unethical to release it in that way at all.

    Thats all I have to say.

  • Michael Stephenson

    Not one derogatory attack, and one use of foul language used as a turn of phrase.

    It seems your debating tactics are to misrepresent what someone said, then dismiss, you used it on Stallman, and now are using it on me.

    List the massive amount of “massive amount of derogatory attacks” copy and paste them, not your usual waffly BS and twisting of words. List every single attack.

  • Michael Stephenson

    “Watch the show again. He was very clear. I’ll use a clip on next weeks show that shows *exactly* him saying what I am talking about him saying.”

    Which show’s exactly will no doubt be.

    Chris: OK, Bryan let’s watch the clip
    Bryan: “There! RIGHT THERE! that’s where he said that children should starve”
    [Bryan goes on for ages rewording what Stallman so it fits his twisted argument.]
    Case closed.

    Just repeat the same BS over and over again and ignore any questions that threaten to invalidate his argument.

  • Hitfan

    Bryan, you already contribute a lot to the open source movement: you host the Linux Action Show which is FREELY available. That you create proprietary software to pay your bills is NOT immoral.

    I view free software as an alternative to proprietary software when it is inadequate. Free and open source software forces non-free software to be better.

    I’ve been listening to your show for 5 years. I mostly listen to it when I do chores like landscaping and mowing my lawn. RMS enraged me to the point where I delurked and decided to say something about that pompous and arrogant hippie.

    RMS is far too rigid in his ideology to have civil discourse with. I wanted to slap his “I am holier than you because I am so pure” halo from around his head.

  • Hitfan

    That being said, I actually agreed with some of the things RMS said. He is an interesting character nonetheless, and he has a point about the patent and copyright system. While I support copyright and patents as incentive for creators to innovate and make artistic works, they should expire a lot sooner than they do currently.

  • http://Google+ Charlie Ebert

    I’m generally in favor of Free Software and the GPL license and all the support the FSF give us.

    So, I have mis-understood you then. You are not against the GPL license at all.
    The GPL license is not what’s keeping you from feeding your kid but rather, somehow, it’s RMS.

    You suggest Linus take over RMS’s slot. Well, I don’t think Linus would want to.
    Another candidate would have to be found until Linus retired from coding.
    But the idea of Retiring George Washington here is legitimate. I must admit, the FSF election of his Presidency is something like what goes on over in Syria or Russia or Libya perhaps…. yet he is elected…

    So, now that you’ve cleared this all up that it was about your dislike of RMS all along, then when he doesn’t go and there is no alternative to the FSF in site, then what will be your next move?????

    I mean, your going to have to introduce something or someone. People will feel you just pulled a media ratings stunt if you don’t.

    I hate to say it, but I don’t think you really like the GPL anyway and that was the whole issue. Your just saying you like the GPL to pacify us.

    But, if I’m wrong, and your definitely certain, then there is a mountain of work which must be accomplished to not only replace RMS but the FSF in general as they are hell bent on RMS being their leader…

    My big thing is I want attorneys on OUR SIDE, invoved and under contract. And the FSF provides this legal assistance where nobody else really does. Just look at the BSD side. Berkely isn’t going to do shit for them now that they’ve split.

    Having said all that and realizing the goal and how much it will take, I get more reasonable with RMS’s bullshit over time. Because while RMS dishes it out, he is providing us with a service.

    And besides, RMS is an American Tradition. Just look at Patton or MacArthur or FDR or Nixon or Reagan or any of the other power lollypoopssss.. They were all full of shit.

    I just think your anger at RMS is okay, but somewhat out of control.
    You assume there is something as a NORMAL level which you expect from a human before they deserve your respect and I’m afraid there is no normal level of standards anybody follows in this country.

    I will bet that when you read my message you won’t even respect me for instance.
    I respect you for your beliefs Bryan. But, beliefs are like trips to disney land.
    Beliefs, no matter how well intentioned, are not reality….

    Just think of the software battles the FSF helped us win to save Linux so far….
    We must have this fighter umbrella above us or MS will eat our asses…

  • Joe

    I would like to believe RMS is just being overly dramatic and taking the extreme approach with no room for compromise. Like an environmentalist who decides to live off the grid and hide up in the mountains.

    His conversational style sure leaves a lot to be desired; considering that even his biggest fans can’t seem to create a smooth two way dialog is a shame.

  • http://Google+ Charlie Ebert

    I admit I’m a sick evil commercial programmer per RMS, and I’ve just made a pile of money thanks to Apple!

    Thanks Apple!

    Wonder when your going to pay off your developers?

    If I could have a Linux Action Show T-shirt made,
    “Charlie C. Ebert”
    Evil corporate programmer asshole

    Then maybe you could sell that T-shirt and make some money that way.

    I like being a asshole. I wish we had more asshole like me…

  • Mason

    I’m going to weigh in here.

    1. I support the FSF in various ways, including monetarily. I think RMS has done a huge amount of good, and I suspect he’ll continue to do so, extremist or not.

    2. I am a father and I understand and agree about supporting one’s children being a parent’s primary responsibility as a human. (Anyway, where are we going to get new programmers if we don’t breed now and again? Any worldview that requires humans to not reproduce is best enjoyed from a padded cell.)

    3. Doing what you’re good at is the best way to support your family. If this is programming, then it’s programming. If the best way for you to feed your kids is to write proprietary software, then do it. If someone wants the equivalent in free software, then they can sit down and write it and release it as free software.

    4. Write free software yourself, in addition to your proprietary software. Enrich the free software community through your contributions. I’ve thought about this often, and I’ve never managed to come up with a solution better than “do additional work that benefits your community in addition to your paid work.” And by all means make sure your software works smoothly in an otherwise free-software environment. Encourage people to use your software on GNU/Linux or FreeBSD. Maybe even offer incentives to those who do, to encourage wider adoption.

    What you’re really asking is, “how can I make the world a better place without giving up the career I love?” The simplest, best answer is to not indulge in hand-wringing overmuch – just do it in every way possible.

  • Bart

    Hate to say it bro, but Stallman ate your lunch. He basically made some real sense and you didn’t have rebuttal. No doubt he’s a smart man and had an iron tight position. I’m a Stallman fan now.

  • ballPointPenguin

    RMS makes his argument about Ethics. Non-free software = unethical.
    How unethical is non-free software?
    Is it just a necessary evil?

    I love free software, and the principles behind it, but I cannot see the work, creativity and entrepreneurship of software developers, who ship products under various non-free licenses to be pure evil. By definition. No gray areas.

    RMS absolutely conflates software licenses with essential human freedom. That idea harmonizes with a lot of us. But where are the edges of the ideal? Are we willing to let the perfect be the enemy of the good?

    If you sell your game for $5 and I pay $5 for it, are we destroying freedom?
    (I don’t think so)

    If I get free software which I never ever look at the source or even think about modifying, would it have mattered that it wasn’t non-free? (Only a little bit)

  • Tony

    If you go to a backery and buy a cake, is it unethical if you don’t get the recipe as well?
    If you buy a radio, is it unethical if you don’t get the construction plans for it?
    If you buy some software, is it unethical if you don’t get the source-code?
    If you buy a processor, is it unethical if you don’t get the “hardware description language”-description of the processor?

    Stallman sees it as an ethical issue. Maby he is ultimately right. I simply don’t know.
    He’s right that sharing is a good thing.
    But is it really an ethical issue whether or not you get some recipe, construction plans or source-code??

  • Adam

    Richard Stallman is a hypocritical lunatic, who looks like 300 pounds of dog shit covered in pubic hair. Richard Stallman says cell phones are “Stalin’s Dream”, yet his ideologies closely resemble communism. If Richard Stallman stood on a street corner espousing his beliefs on sex, children, and well, pretty much anything, he would likely be institutionalized. The strangest thing about Richard Stallman is he has a cult following. People actually believe the shit that he spews out of that hole in between his giant jowls? God have mercy on us all. Ugh, he sounds like just like my neighbor, and shes a 80 year old woman.

  • YaroMan

    I don’t know why people bother interviewing RMS these days. He spends his days either in attack mode on people who don’t live his philosophy, and either claims credit for Linux (Because in his world if you use GNU apparently that magically means he created whatever you use GNU for.) or blasts Linux for not kissing his ass and doing only what he wants (Because he comes to the rude realization that despite his claim to have created “all that is Linux” no one actually buys it since so many other people deserve credit before he does.)

  • billiebob

    Are you kidding me “He attacked our children”? How incredibly childish of you. You were the one who brought children into the
    discussion. You already know he thinks proprietary software is
    unethical, but then you proceeded to ask him if he thought that was okay
    if it is to feed your daughter. You also completely failed to grasp the
    fact that RMS is not against making money as a programmer, just against
    selling proprietary software. Many people get paid to write free
    software. And you can even sell it. You failed miserably at interpreting
    the answers of the guest you invited, and then you made it about your
    children and it completely derailed from there.

  • billiebob

    “Good at making software that helps people and brings joy to others? Don’t do it.”.

    You are so incredibly short sighted. He is saying don’t sell it as proprietary software. You know you can sell free software as well right? Free != Gratis, but I thought someone inviting RMS for an interview would already know that…

  • Bryan Lunduke

    Lol. Where did you come from where you found a 2 1/2 year old post that is part of a (rather long) dialog and story based on a small portion of that story… to which you opted to interject yourself in the middle-ish in an aggressive way? :p

    Because of that there is really no way to respond to you other than to say “jeeze dude… catch up”.

  • billiebob

    Was watching old episodes of your show and I found the interview very hard to watch. I guess that provoked the need in me to give my (admittedly somewhat agressive) feedback on your posts.

  • Martin

    I hardly ever made money on “software” or for that matter programming in general. All money thta I ever made wad from selling stuff. Programming is more of a non moneymaking support activity like writing newspaper articles. Even newspapers make their money from selling adds, not selling articles themselves. So in a newspaper case, all of their articles that they write are “open soure”.

  • pahool

    I’d be interested in what your current stance on the issues are. I just stumbled across this as well, and honestly, you put forth a lot of false equivalencies and attacks on Stallman’s character in your interview with him that you then go on to revive in your responses after the fact, I’m curious if you’ve changed your opinions since then. Is there a more recent follow up article?

  • Bryan Lunduke

    This is a pretty old interview — and both my and RMS’s views have changed since then. But I don’t think either of us did any character attacks or false equivalencies at all (if you disagree, feel free to point to specific examples).

    The topic of that interview was supposed to be practical examples of how to help a close-source company convert to open-source while maintaining income. I was prepared for that topic. RMS was not and opted to focus on the core message of “closed is always evil”. Which is fine… but it made for an interview with the two sides wanting to talk about different things. Which was a real bummer. (Gotta give him props for staying on-message, though!)

    But, and I’ll be clear, I never said a single thing about RMS that wasn’t factually true or simply repeating his own exact words.

    My current stance on the general topic: It is absolutely possible to earn an income building FOSS software. I did it. RMS did the community a disservice by focusing on how “evil” closed source is but refusing to talk about practical steps to move people to FOSS (which was always my personal goal). I’ve heavily documented my struggles to move an existing software company to FOSS over the years — a struggle that completely successfully before I left software development with a sense of accomplishment. :)

  • kyleagronick

    I just found this post. Man I wish you were still on the Linux Action Show. I just said the same thing about RMS on Reddit and got flamed the fuck out for it. Dude is a creep with no social skills. The guy made some very wierd comments about pedophelia as well. I can’t wait to watch this episode. It seems LAS lost its “action” without you around.

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