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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90 Responses to “Stuff Richard Stallman Said on the Linux Action Show”

  1. Christoffer "cjva" Andersson says:

    I was just done watching the show (work keeping me for being here when you filmed it =/ ) and in the show I feel that I found somewhat of an answer to your main question. “What are some ideas you have on how we can all move our software to a good Free license and still pay the bills?”

    I fully agree with you that solving this problem are one of the main problems the Open Source / Free software community needs to solve in order for it to grow much outside of the nerdy community’s, even if I agree with Stallman on the general principle (Its unethical to code proprietary software), when ideas crash into reality we end up in a grey zone and people need to commit unethical acts in order to have a roof above their head and food on their table. Doesn’t matter if your a programmer, flipping burger on McDonalds or work in a factory.

    Anyway, what I could find him talking about as some what of a solution was crowedsource and I guess crowedsource funding.

    So, maybe you should try it out using

  2. Len says:

    So, Bryan, what you’re saying is that you really didn’t know who Richard Stallman was before you interviewed him?

  3. mangolok says:

    freedom is a noble pursuit, however no amount of freedom will justify his anti children attitude. that was truly absurd . i wonder if he know that many of the men behind the whole climate change propaganda are the same corrupt corporate evil people he the Enron guy.

  4. pell says:

    Hey Bryan,

    I watched the show live and was in the chatroom(1). I was looking forward to the show with Stallman ’cause he’s an extraordinary figure. But I was pretty aware of how this episode was going to turn out. I want to explain why and why I’m on your side on this.

    I appreciate Stallman’s work. He created a free Unix-alternative. He pushed GPL. And that’s just a freckle of his accomplishments. I also praise his ideals. He’s willing to make huge sacrifices for them(2). But I praise them as I’m impressed by every fundamentalist’s strength. Unfortunately that’s the point: Stallman is a fundamentalist. To him the idea is meant in every logical aspect: In any circumstance no non-free software.

    The problem is that the world doesn’t work like this. It’s not just logical. It’s also very emotional. Human beings are not like their computers.(3) Stallman would like you to rather give up your job and work somewhere else (even if that means not finding work for a long time (or ever)) than create non-free software. The fact that you might be a good developer and not good at most other things isn’t important in that calculation. Ideals above personal problems. We need idealists in this world. But they’re the extremes and we can’t all live in extremes.

    Well, because we just aren’t extreme. Extreme means no compromises. But we need compromises in a society. And that means that I can create non-free software if that’s a way to make a living and if I want to help free software I can donate to projects or opensource parts of my code. It means that creating something good which isn’t 100% idealistic isn’t bad. Compromise means “good enough”.

    Fact is that there’s just no universal definition of “good”. And Bryan if you’d stopped coding and put your ideal over your daughter I would fucking punch you in the face.(4) Here’s the destructive thing about extremes, you have to give just everything up for them. And that’s destructive. We see it every day, open any political web page, there’s one fundamentalist story (if not a lot more). Stallman wants you to stop creating software if it’s non-free software. To me that’s not the way to go. Even if your work is non-free it might inspire someone. Even if your code is not open other people are still able to create an alternative to it. As a creator your always giving away one thing and that is the impression. If I like it but I don’t want to use it ’cause it’s non-free I can code it myself (yeah, I know, not everybody can code but believe me, most people who care about free software that much do or no people who do.). If every non-free software would not exist today there wouldn’t be a lot of the free software that is out there today.

    Stallman, to emphasize again, is someone whose work I do appreciate. But to me he’s not the right person to be the spokesman for free software. He’s not looking for any road in the middle, he doesn’t want any compromise. That’s okay but he shouldn’t be the name of free software. “This way or no way” can’t be the only way or to quote the Steppenwolf(5): Do we fight to win?

    I’m writing this ’cause I saw how upset you got at the end of the conversation with Stallman. And I could relate to that a lot. I don’t have kids myself but if my parents would have told me they’re gonna leave their jobs now ’cause they don’t wanna create non-free software anymore (just an example, friends, they weren’t developers), I don’t know how I would’ve reacted.(6)

    Alright, and the footnotes, well I’m sort of in the middle of Infinite Jest(7) right now.

    Well, take care and great that you stayed as calm as you could.(8)



    (1) which was so full that no one could talk to each other anyway. Like the Justin Bieber-hashtags on twitter.

    (2) Did you know, how he surfs on the web? “For personal reasons, I do not browse the web from my computer. (I
    also have not net connection much of the time.) To look at page I send mail to a demon which runs wget and mails the page back to me. It is very efficient use of my time, but it is slow in real time.” And I’m not quoting that to make fun of him, I just want to point out the degree of his idealistic sacrifices.

    (3) And if they were, their code would be closed as well. :D

    (4) By the way, that’s my take with every ideal. If you’re a vegan and pregnant I would highly recommend to consider eating everything that your baby needs as long as it isn’t born.

    (5) I’m a big Hesse-Fan.

    (6) Before some idiot tells me people like that would’ve supported Nazi-Germany or something – NO, I just don’t think free software is the biggest issue in this world.

    (7) David Foster Wallace is such a great author.

    (8) Oh, and please don’t check my spelling or any grammar mistakes. It’s not my native language.

  5. passstab says:

    er, here’s to 200 more?
    rms is probably the only reason i don’t support the fsf

  6. TooFarNorth says:

    Just a thought. If you were working in a factory wouldn’t you be making proprietary products still? They would just be physical. I can’t see coke giving up their secret recipe. That doesn’t mean that other people cant produce a cola. Just can’t produce coke. Anyways just a thought.

  7. Darren says:

    I am also getting a little tired of the same old song and dance from RMS.

    To his credit, so much of his message is on target when it comes to DRM, and delivery of media and what should be the mutual respect of copyright and fair use. But, I did notice when he told you about custom software being where “the money” is… you respect the client, he respects you.. he pays you money, and you give him everything he needs. The problem with this though is it glosses over the whole break down of respect and paying for content on the client’s side when on the internet. It’s human nature for a lot of people to do stuff they wouldn’t normally do when they believe someone is not looking… i.e. stealing software and music.

    I think that at the end of the day, he just does not have a rational answer that will satisfy the needs of small businessmen to make money, and continue to offer their products and services. At the end of the day – people like you are doing the EXACT right thing… by offering services and software over multiple platforms at a fair price that does not wrap the end user in unfair policies – that’s what makes the platform and the “eco-system” way of business irrelevant. That’s what ultimately brings greater freedom.

    Let’s face it, if everyone was as noble and principled as RMS – this wouldn’t even be a hard question to figure out.

  8. Anish Tondwalkar says:

    You were complaining about RMS not giving you a solution, but he did. He said you could make money off FREE versions of your game and stuff if you charged BEFORE you made the game; charged for your labour to DEVELOP the game (as is possible with, for example) , AND even accept donations after the fact, like the HiBs.

    Keep making cool shit ;)

    [reposted from g+ for visibility]

  9. Dringus Drungul says:

    I have to be honest. I feel that you completely missed what he was trying to say. Not once did he say you couldn’t make money by developing free software. You can support a family with free software. You can fuel the development of free software through the sale of proprietary software. Eventually, if you put enough effort into it, free software will prevail, and that kind of “injustice” will no longer be needed.

  10. willy says:

    “Destroying your freedoms is justified if I make a dollar.” – Bryan.

  11. post header says:

    Stop hiding behind your kid, it’s obnoxious and you act like a robot with your mentality that what you do now is the only way how you can possibly make money.

  12. Len says:

    You knew that the interview was going to be weird when he started out saying we’re in a dire economy because of ‘decades’ of right-wing policies. I wonder how he’s splitting the decades?

  13. Bryan says:

    Now that’s just silly.

    That’d be like me making a quote of RMS saying…
    “Children starving is better than if someone releases a puzzle game in a non-free license.”

    Which, interestingly, that quote actually *does* agree with what he said on the show. (But, to be clear, he never said those words.)

  14. Bryan says:

    post header: Anyone who’s followed me for long knows that I change my mind often about the best way to accomplish a task and, often, take big risks to go about things in a way I feel is right. But welcome. :)

  15. Jesse says:

    The compromise between proprietary and open-source that I’ve longed to see is the birth of licenses that open the code after a given period of time.

    Creative works are supposed to enter the public domain after the creator’s exclusivity rights expire. Since software has such a short shelf life on its marketability, perhaps licenses that donate the old, deprecated software to the community when it’s no longer current could work.

    There is a wealth of proprietary software that is ten years old that would be a godsend to the open source community. The vendors have rewritten much of that code in the past decade anyway and it couldn’t compete with their latest and greatest offerings.

    A professional studio wouldn’t be caught dead running Final Cut Pro 3 or Photoshop 7.0, but the open source community would be eternally grateful for having stuff like that to build off of.

  16. Fredo says:

    It really just devolved to a philosophical debate towards the end there…

  17. FenrirIX says:

    keep doing what your doing, cause you are awesome.

    its like friends: you have somethings in common and there are things you won’t agree with. personal preferences.. in away.

    but honestly your craft is developing and if it puts food in your table then you are lucky enough to actually love what you do. total support on you.

    although i couldn’t stop laugh at the part where you :o and flipped just because how ridiculous it got. sorry bout that.

  18. Corey says:


    I can think of one way of reconciling free software and the need to make a living. I use this example from my own area of work: academia. Academics typically make no money from their intellectual work. They spend years researching and writing books from which they earn practically nothing. That is because they derive their income from teaching, not their actual research. Most academics publish books because they’re passionate about the topic and want to contribute to knowledge, not from the pecuniary incentive of selling the book.

    Academics earn their bread and butter not from their research but from providing a service: training in their profession. They teach and advise students. When they’re not teaching, they engage in their own intellectual work: researching, keeping up with the latest publications in the field, attending conferences, writing articles and books, etc.

    You’re obviously a very skilled programmer. If you want to reconcile the ideals of free software with the need to make a living, then you would have to supplement your income from elsewhere. That’s what I do: I teach, but my passion is research. I am not saying you have to be a teacher. This might entail freelance programming for others. It also might entail teaching others how to do what you do. That’s what I spend a lot of my time doing: initiating others in the “secrets” and “arts” of my trade.

    If you think that it sounds crazy to spend years working on something and then put it out for public use and receive little if any monetary compensation, that’s what most academics do. They’re most interested in getting their ideas out there and getting others to read their work, not earn a lot of money from it–there’s just not much money to be gained from academic writing.

    Sure, I’d prefer to spend more of my time doing research than I do. But that’s the only way to make money doing the kind of work I do: unless you are David McCullough, you just can’t make a living just being a historian alone. You have to provide other services, too.

    And academic work does resemble the open-source software model in a lot of ways. Academic work is building on the work of others. It’s an inherently cooperative enterprise. The greatest reward in academia is to be the most cited author and to inspire others, not to derive a fortune from it. Of course, there are fundamental differences: academic works are copyrighted, after all. And academic presses are quite evil these days: they’re interested in restricting access to academic work in the interest of profit.

  19. Michael Henriques says:

    Go with me on this. He is ok with people making custom software for money. Well Bryan if you think about it, you do make custom software. You have developed a custom way for people to develops programs without writing code.

  20. Roman Geber says:

    Hi all,

    I must admit, I didn’t expect it to turn out so bad. Sure, RMS is a man of his principle but I had no idea how far he would be willing to go implementing those principles. I think we all agree on the fact that free software has come a long way. Its a fundamental part of computing and sure enough we all benefit from it in one way or the other. Sharing ones own code among society is nothing wrong and I wish there would be more sharing in general going on.

    Besides the fact that reality works a little difference, I don’t believe in total extremes. Both of these latter words usually lead nowhere but to suffering. No matter how well meant a particular course of action might be, no matter how beneficial and idealistic it might sound, no single idea must ever be allowed to dominate totally. Why not? Well, there is a name for it: Dictatorship.

    Is it possible? A dictatorship of freedom? Isn’t freedom the one thing we all hope to achieve and preserve for ourselves and if possible for others? I guess for the most of us that’s true.

    But lets face reality for a moment. We are free to make choices. The choice of licence for example. As a developer I can choose to share my code under the GPL. I love doing that. But I may also choose to sell licences in order to generate some revenue keeping me going.

    How free can someone be without cash? For those of us who can’t wonder of into the wild, having no cash means being NOT free at all, no matter how much free software we may use or create. How free does somebody feel while waiting in line at an unemployment office just to talk to some unfriendly office worker forcing you into jobs you won’t like.

    The world we live in does require us to have some cash at our hand in order to stay independent and therefore free.

    Richard Stallman lives in a dream world. Its a nice dream. All of us living in Utopia, sharing everything, enriching society with our contributions. Right now however the suggestion that developers like Bryan (who’s stuff I really enjoy!) should work on a factory floor instead of doing what they do best, is not helpful!

    The “have no kids part” doesn’t really bother me, simply because I don’t like kids much myself. Still, I would never suggest to anyone to abandon the job they are good at in order to implement some idealistic idea. Furthermore I don’t think it speaks for RMS to suggest not having kids at all. I mean, how free is that? Isn’t that a rather personal choice anyone can make for themselves?

    Lets take this another step. If RMS rejects all non free software, how does he get around. On a bicycle? Cars are packed with proprietary chips and software. Same goes for planes, ships, etc. Or lets have a look at the internet. Its not like the internet works just by installing a few apache webservers. There is serious propriatary soft- and hardware in use for ISPs to route traffic. In theory RMS could not even use the internet if he would really reject all non free software. Of course thats far fetched, but sometimes to picture another man’s extreme one needs extreme examples.

    I respect RMS for what he has done and is doing. I respect his opinions and values. I even agree with RMS in some points. But from there on I value my freedom of choice over his ideals.

    Just my 2 cents.


  21. Dave says:

    Bryan, you are right and RMS is a dick.

    I was about to go into a long and meaningful diatribe but I think the above line covers my feelings entirely.

    Long Live Radical Breeze, Long Live Linux Action Show and Long Live paying for software to improve the quality and diversity of development!

  22. Mel Sheen says:

    I wonder if RMS realized how much propriertary software was involved in bringing us that interview, from the telco’s equipment to the routers to the editting software. He’s like that dirty, unwashed hippy friend who calls you evil for driving a car, but then asks you to help him move with your gas-guzzling truck.

  23. Julian S says:

    I love the LAS. You and Chris are excellent, talented presenters.

    If I was trying to support my family writing software, and Richard Stallman told me that what I was doing was wrong, I’d have a hard time keeping my cool. I’d find it very difficult to be objective–I’m only human.

    As I see it, Stallman looks at the issues from an idealistic and simplified angle. This viewpoint has its advantages, and has produced a very clear and powerful attitude towards writing proprietary software–it’s “unethical”. He believes his ethics would make for a better world. You seem to think it’s nuts. People differ.

    Regardless of his ethics, I do agree with him that free software is very important, now and for the future. What can I do to support that? Give money to open-source developers to help them produce free software I want. Help them transition away from writing proprietary software. The economics of it all are going to take time to develop, but if we keep trying we can surely get there. If we don’t try, it won’t happen.

    I hope you don’t let Stallman’s uncompromising ethics get you down. You’re doing a great service to the free software community already, and I hope you keep going.

  24. sajborg says:

    There’s nothing wrong with earning money through doing what you know best. If rms is so concerned with “freedom” he so loosely comments on, why doesn’t he take a damn cruise through Africa, the children there don’t give a rat’s posterior about gnu nor his Marxist philosophy. What they do care however is for food, which food is by the way sometimes ensured through donations from people like Bill Gates. Who’s “evil” now?

  25. Da_n says:

    Although I am usually averse to *’what about the children’* arguments you had a genuine case with this one Bryan. I cannot say that I agree with RMS and his philosophy that any art is free to share, this is an extreme position. Why is software art anyway? And what about the freedom of an artist to **not** share their work? WTF does freedom mean anyway? Am I free to believe my own definition of freedom?

    If I suspended my beliefs and was living in a utopian future where money doesn’t exist etc, I can see the point of view possibly working. But we don’t live in such a world.

    Bryan, maybe you need to go full circle on this, get some DRM rootkits in your software and put restrictive license saying anything made with your program is your property, and you also own the creators soul. Say it was RMS fault because he doesn’t offer solutions, just condemnation.

  26. JavaJake says:

    Stallman’s a wacko… I like free software, but c’mon. I only use M$ when I “have” to, but that’s because It’s crappy & expensive… I don’t condemn them for selling it. And I’m sure the heck not going to condemn someone for having children.

  27. gnuLinux Newbie says:

    I haven’t heard the entire interview, and I’ve tried to read my stallman however much using gnuLinux as a software bothers me (slow, X is garbage, etc). We should be taking these ideas and restarting. But, that is difficult. Back to point.

    He’s right on most accounts regarding Freedom. However, we are far down the rabbit hole. The internet is one ‘event’ away from being locked down. A couple more IPAD sales and we’re screwed by those of us who know the least about computing. Oh well.

  28. gnuLinux Newbie says:

    Also, all software is Free software and respects the user. I can decompile whatever I want, however inconvenient. As long as corporations can’t sue me for doing so all is well. so you creating a software and selling the binary is not against the letter of stallmans law theory.

    Basically, Stallman just wants companies and governments to get out of the business of corporatizing software.

    You can make software and sell the binary with a license key perfectly fine knowing I have the right to purchase and decompile and do as I please. Your source code is your business. But try to fight nature (which ultimately is sharing and freedom) tooth and nail. Because you will lose. That’s what R. Stallman is instictively trying to protect.

    But really, his problem is more socio-political.

  29. Giovanni capalbo says:

    “The unsufferable bearer of a wonderful dream”.

    Hey , here is my thoughts on yesterday’s interview. I hope someone reads it, because it’s heartfelt and full of personal references, and super-long. Don’t know if LAS is ready for all this philosophy , but you and Chris brought it upon yourselves by inviting rms.

    I think you got angry because you agree with rms on principle (as you said many times). The principles of freedom of technology, personal enpowerment, free access to knowledge.
    i was born in 1976, and was really into astronomy at age 10, starved for information, material , knowledge. Had a book and 5 magazines I read over and over.
    A kid born in 2000 has celestia, stellarium, Hallo northern sky , videos, pdf’s , the entire internet. That’s progress.

    We all understand and love that. Without free programmers, universities working for the collectivity, FSF and linux, all the free stuff would be a lot less, and the spirit of independence weaker.
    Your question to rms was informed by a aspiration to better your contribution towards this movement. When rms told you that there are no solutions to your questions and that your life choice was just wrong, that surely pissed you.

    just because rms can’t find a solution it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    For example, from a “contribution to society” point of view :
    a) you sell and support your family with ISC, at version 10 you give it to the world and make it free. (that would put food on your table AND give out a contribution to humanity, and it would do it waay faster than starting free)
    b) sell support for ISC after making it free.
    c) start a custom sw business and then make ISC OSS when the business is going.

    They aren’t perfect, but at least i’m trying.

    I worked writing and drawing patents allmost 2 years. I already understood freedom and used linux, and was just sick to my stomach observing what was going on in that field. After 24 months i left a 6k/month job.
    Why did I stay for 2 years? In retrospect, it was the 6k (in euros!). period.
    We’re human. And i’m not ashamed, or at least i live with my shame and forgive my selfish self who loves to own a car and pay for electricity.

    After yesterday I lost a hero, RMS, and it’s not for his reasoning.
    What really scared me about the guy was his absence of human feelings/empathy.
    I saw him live twice. But all he got where fanboys. It was the first time I heard him in an informal setting and with some contradictory. rms does not do well when someone contradicts him.
    When he talks, it looks like he’s executing an algorithm, surely asperger syndrome going on there.
    The man does not understand degrees, my patent writing was NOT good for freedom , but it wasn’t drug dealing or stealing.

    Not understanding degrees is the mark of dictators, religious zelaots , serial killers, psycopaths. Also the mark of some great good people of history , who died for their ideas. These people can’t compromise, reasonably interpret reality and find sensible solutions to go towards our ideals, go towards what’s better. That’s the stuff progress of humanity is made of.

    I’m religious. I believe only God has the truth. all men are very limited.
    Every time a man (like rms) thinks he has the absolute truth he is on a crash course for disaster.
    He manifested a sign of this through the freaky coldness when analyzing your personal situation, no empathy towards kids, no empathy towards day to day survival. Just the cold logic of a political theorist.

    The patent system is broken, the economic system is broken, our whole world has got really big problems. Information is a key battle to plan a better future, but if we loose our humanity and we don’t proceed by degrees towards our dreams , those dreams have no meaning.

    Was it merit of rms envisioning those dreams? In part yes.
    But sometimes a dream can fuck your brain up.
    Never be too reverential towards an authority figure like rms, respect to him for holding stongly in a world that seems to devolve towards a 1984 scenario.

    It must be said that rms developed his programming with a MIT salary, I would like to see him figuring rent and food out. Linus himself said that he made linux because he had the chance to stay 8 years in college fooling around and writing linux, and college in Finland is FREE (as in free beer).

    in conclusion:

    Do we love rms? yes.
    Do we need rms? yes
    Is rms dangerous? yes
    Does rms seriously have an empathy deficit? yes
    should rms NEVER get power? yes
    Should we sometimes treat rms as dumb and not listen to him? yes
    Is rms the unsufferable bearer of a wonderful dream? yes

    Next time , ask Linus for a solution, he’s gonna answer with a smile and say smart stuff. Or at least admit calmly he has none.

    I hope for myself I can have a daughter like yours someday.

  30. Josh S says:

    Emotional appeals, and character attacks have no weight in what RMS handled as a strictly philosophical argument. Jabs like the silly quotes you are using are as petty as his comments about the Amazon “swindle”.

    That said, I did like your overall line of questions. I hoped that he would break from his abstract ideology and make some form of useful suggestion. It is a shame that he does not seem willing to put forward anything but a cold, rehearsed philosophical rant.

    Moving past Stallman, do you think that selling a product with a clear plan in place to move it toward open source at a set point in time or profit is a reasonable strategy? Someone with your visibility (through LAS) could even begin the project through kickstarter and have 10-20% of your costs already secured up front.

  31. gnuLinux Newbie says:

    I read your views Giovanni. Great points. Your ideas about empathy and such make me have hope for the future !!

    Let’s remind these thinktanks and wealthy funders about h+ before that gets away from us, lest we all become algorithm processing machines like the dictators you speak of.

    And yes, 100% right about the freedom (as in college or beer) of being able to create kernels and such…

  32. veritanuda says:

    Hey Bryan,

    I feel your confusion and that is why Richard Stallman is such a good person to talk to. It makes you really re-evaluate your understanding of what is ACTUALLY meant by free software. The best way I have of understanding the ideology it to take a leaf from the Debian book where free means freedom and not free beer. There is nothing wrong with you selling truly free software but it only free if I can then take that software and do with it what I will, including re-writing it and selling it to someone else who in turn can re-write it and sell it on etc etc.

    The trouble is we have all been corrupted by the idea that software has to cost not just monetarily but ethically as well. It is akin to selling a t-shirt and then saying only people names Chris can wear it. Even if you give the t-shirt away for no money the act of sharing that is not free.

    Richard can be very hard line and uncompromising but he does make some very very valid points. Freedom is a state of mind and if you want to be free of restrictions you need to not sign up to self inflicted chains.

    Of course what I would have said to Richard myself is I also have the freedom to choose and so if one day I want to be free and the next I want to be in chains so long as I can go back to being free I am not locked into chains. I suspect he would not agree but he would also not criticise such thinking. :)

    Best of luck feeding your kids I did buy some of your software so my conscience is clear :P

  33. Santos says:


    Even though I admire Stallman’s devotion to the ideology of free software, I have to say that you did a great job of pointing out how absurd and extreme his opinions are. Somebody really had to do that.

    Keep up the good work!

  34. basjuh says:

    Hey Bryan,

    Some really interesting points throughout the comments, and I’d have to agree that RMS really lives in an ideology that sadly does not fit in with the real world.

    Being an ideologist myself RMS makes some really good points, however we just don’t live in a world like that, and its not gonna change anytime soon. He sadly does not see a middleground. That middleground would be like you’re doing, making DRM free games and even Free software (Lunduke-SDK) but still have a Illumination as a backup to get some food on the table. Sadly RMS only sees devils making propietary software and the angels making free software, which is not how it works.

    Nevertheless, RMS is a man that sticks to his principles, that might not seem right in everyones eyes, but that still keep us thinking about what we’re doing.

    Apart from suggestions like kickstarter, maybe dual licensing your software would be a solution, although not perfect. A good example would be the Qt Framework. This way you could still make free software, and let people build on top of your software as long as its free. If they don’t agree with that they should fall under a commercial license. Not sure how RMS feels about this though, but it would be a more “ethical” solution.

    Take care

  35. WindPower says:

    How about a license with a “timebomb” clause?
    Release the software as proprietary, and have a clause in its license that says:

    90 days after (insert software release date here), this entire license will be invalidated and this software will be made open-source under the (insert open-source license here).

  36. e.t. says:

    I think you are misinterpreting what he said. Stallman obviously feels very strongly about the Free software movement; life-serious about it. Now you come along and look at things from your perspective.

    “That’s how evil he thinks…” is your comment, not his … did he use the words “evil”?.

    “…enough to justify causing significant harm to your family” is again your interpretation, not what he actually says.

    Things such as freedom of human rights, and in this case — for Stallman and those who agree with him — freedom of software are huge things, that determine the future of humanity. Saying something like “but what about my kids” — not that you said that literally, but the gist of it — is out of proportion. Of course you have to feed your kids. But have you ever felt so strongly about something that you would even live under the bridge for it … or not make kids — that’s how Stallman feels about free software.

  37. Jeffro Tull says:

    I know that Stallman is important, and I agree with a lot of what he has to say, but…

    Damn, it’s hard to listen to this episode!

    I got 33 minutes in, and I just had to stop. It’s bad enough that he doesn’t seem to want to have a dialog – he doesn’t want to debate – he just wants someone to provide initial context for his rants. And then calling it the Amazon “Swindle”, and Digital “Restrictions” Management… I get it. I understand what he’s trying to say, and I agree with plenty of the points he wants to make. I just can’t stand to listen to him try to MAKE those points.

  38. jarav says:

    I saw the entire video and I think you are exaggerating.

    Now you are for proprietary software because you do not want someone to steal your idea and code and make money of it for himself without giving you any credit or compensation. If someone were to do that, you wouldn’t call it ‘sharing'( because sharing is what you would do with close friends and relatives ) and it would be unethical. You are worried about such unethical practices and in defense you condone and accept the unethicality of locking down your code and making proprietary software. So what is wrong is this model of software production and consumption. That, I think, is what Stallman means.

    Now your comment about him being anti-kids was totally unfair. What he said was that with American consumption of world resources being so wasteful and much more than that of the rest of the world, it would be better if Americans did not beget any more (such wasteful)kids.

  39. klkl says:

    I make a living from non-free software, so I’m with you on that argument, but I can see RMS’s position, *given assumptions he stated*, as logical and consistent.

    The key is he calls proprietary software creation unethical.

    Now, put yourself in this position, but with something else to fight that you consider unethical, e.g. physical enslavement.

    “I need to enslave people in my cotton plantation to feed my daughter”.

    and suddenly the counter argument that unethical worker should rather find another job or starve makes more sense.

    Of course non-free software is not as serious as lack of personal freedom, but *if* you accept non-free software as unethical, you can see why RMS does not want to compromise on it.

  40. Anonymous Coward says:

    Perhaps this has already been said in many different ways.

    However, it seems to me RMS was simply saying that non-free software takes away freedom and any reason to take away freedom is just an excuse to be unethical. I don’t think he has anything against you feeding your kids. He just sees it as another excuse.(not surprising since he has none)

    That said, as you and many have stated, his alternatives seem limited, which was surprising. I also think they’re counter productive because the more time is spent in a factory or creating custom software, the less can be spent on free software. The result is less selection and capability forcing greater use of non-free software.

    Don’t let it get you down you’re on the right track.

  41. Eric says:

    I think you had a fundamental disconnnect in communication, you’re a father and you want him to understand that nothing is more important to you than taking care of your family. Assumedly if you were completely useless other than as a thief, you would steal to take care of your family also. This is completely irrelevant to people that don’t have children (I am one) because we just don’t really care what you’ll do to feed your kids.

    We consider it just another excuse no more or less valid than wanting to snort 8 balls off hookers. Ok, maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea. There are fundamental underlying things which you *should not do* regardless of the benefit to yourself. You probably agree with this, for example becoming a hitman, running for political office, raping children or flying spaghetti monster forbid, becoming a lawyer.

    I do however completely sympathise with both of your positions.

    He wants the freedom to use software in a bunch of predefined ways, one of which includes sharing that software with anyone he chooses without limit, which fundamentally impose on the business model of proprietary charge per copy software.

    You want to make a living in software development, and you don’t think the proprietary software business model is anything near approaching the same kind of moral hazard as becoming a hitman.

    I think you’re both right, so perhaps the correct path is innovation with business models? Imagine crowdsource funded development teams consisting of everything necessary to get production done.

    1) Pitch a project to the entire world (via the net) at large with a funding goal, hit it, the project is funded, the funds are split amongst the creative team along an agreed upon basis (up to the project administrators to sort this out amongst themseves). And on completion the project is free and clear to the entire world as free software.

    Software developers (and everyone involved in such an undertaking) get paid, software freedom is maintained, we all live happily ever after.

    What is wrong with this simple plan?

  42. Erik says:

    I believe there’s some sort of misunderstanding and some wrong enunciation of standpoint by both parties.

    I believe RMS’ view on the issue is simply: go get a more respectable job, as a worker maybe, rather than develop proprietary stuff. Proprietary development is unethical therefore, it should simply be viewed as something so nasty that nothing justifies it, just like (as he pointed out) thieving. As for the matter of feeding your kids, I can only suppose that a worker’s salary should be enough for feeding them, therefore you’re only using them as a disputable means to defend the unethical activity you’ve been pursuing so far.

    My 2 eurocents.

  43. Richard Stallman Interview on the Linux Action Show | Cerebrux says:

    […] As he posted on his blog: …This is a topic that has come up time and again.  And I really wanted to get Stallman’s thoughts on the matter…. 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… [via Bryan Lunduke] […]

  44. Michael Stephenson says:

    I watched the full interview and you are misrepresenting what he was saying.
    I agree with you largely and some projects are more about content than they are about software. Games for example, particularly your game.
    But your claims that he is anti-children are off the mark.
    When you say you want to feed your kids, you mean you want to raise your kids to a certain standard. You claiming you need to feed your kids, like merely providing them food is a hyperbolic exaggeration, and claiming you couldn’t do that working at McDonald’s or a factory is also an exaggeration.
    You are choosing to have a job you enjoy doing, working from home with your wife being close to your kids (& goats). Supported by working on proprietary software, with some sideline vanity projects you like doing as hobbies.
    This is clearly a lifestyle choice more to do with your enjoyment of life than it is feeding your kids.
    You we doing more consultancy work before right? Was the reason you chose to stop doing it because it wasn’t paying enough and developing proprietary software would offer a more secure income?

    Misrepresenting your personal circumstances and creating hyperbolic examples to try and argue against Stallman doesn’t add weight your argument, it belittles it.

    As I said earlier in the post, I agree that Stallman’s extremism is sometimes very harmful when it comes to GNU/Linux adoption.
    And in some circumstances such as games has completely failed. I would like to see Adobe CS in the Software Centre.

    But your argument was pure B.S. basically unless you can genuinely answer yes to the following question, you (in your parlance) seriously screwed the pooch, there Bryan.

    “Did switching your job to work full time on proprietary software offer more or less income security?”

  45. Alexander M. Batishchev says:

    He is total moron, I wish he will die soon.

  46. Fredo says:

    I thought it was really childish of him to say “swindle” instead of “kindle” and “Digital Restrictions Management” instead of DRM. And I thought it was MOST childish of him to ignore a sentence that had the word “Linux” instead of “GNU/Linux” in it.

  47. Michael Stephenson says:

    Some further thoughts:

    I think that I have shown the dishonesty of your argument Bryan, but there is an honest argument for your stance, that perhaps you don’t want to say in public, as it may offend your users, but is the real valid argument for why you feel you need to release Illumination under a proprietary license.
    That while you feel that you can create something useful and provide a reasonably comfortable life for you and your family from that user base. You don’t feel like you could TRUST that user base to voluntarily support you and your family.
    The real people you believe to lack the empathy to support your kids are your users.
    If you were to make the argument to Richard Stallman that fundamentally free software users don’t value their developers enough to make free software worth developing for indie developers, then your truthful argument would have been a positive addition that may well have resulted in a more reasoned debate.
    However hyperbole breeds hyperbole.

    Anyway so you were asking what a way forward could be for you to try and go free software, I’m not exactly recommending you do this because I think you may be correct in thinking your users may just prove that they do dine and dash on free software.

    But my suggestion is this:

    So you have a new release of Illumination coming up, with some major changes. (I’m not following your development that closely but perhaps you are going to release the first Illumination that supports the Lunduke SDK) You say, right I am releasing the current and all previous versions of Illumination under the GPL. Here is the Source tree all the way back to the first initial commit.
    I have this cool new features in the pipeline in the next release, but it’s going to proprietary unless you can prove that free software works for indie developers. I need to make a living. Next release is in three months, prove I can make a living doing free software.

    I know you will be afraid of forks, but come on, we both know any forks will run out of steam.

  48. Bryan says:

    Michael Stephenson: I’m not claiming anything about RMS’s stance. I took what he said, repeated it back to him to verify his stance, and remark upon it here. The fact is, RMS *is* anti-children. He said so. Repeatedly. In this one interview alone. (You can also look up many more interactions he’s had with the same stance elsewhere.)

    RMS made a value judgement. He made it *crystal* clear that the value of having a specific license on an individual piece of software (even one he has never heard of) is more important than feeding children.

    He said this (in different words… but the meaning is completely, undeniably clear). These are his opinions. This is not me being extreme or misrepresenting anyone.

    Watch the interview again and listen to his words and my words carefully. He could not have been more clear.

  49. Michael Stephenson says:

    I have to admit to being quite disappointed about that response. I made a variety of points that your argument doesn’t hold water and you glossed over them and instead focussed on the “Stallman eats babies” angle.

    I even made a suggestion of what possible things you could try out to go FOSS which you claim was the entire goal of your confrontation with Stallman.

    What you have completely failed to do is engage in the debate at all and just resorted to character assassination of Stallman.

    If you are going to attempt to be a public promoter of this cause you’re going to have to up your game dramatically, because you’re preaching to the converted here and I’m less convinced now than I was before watching the show and reading this blog post.

    The real question is not whether you should create proprietary software so your children don’t starve, that is just loaded with emotive hyperbole.
    It is why do you believe your community of user’s, given the opportunity would choose not to support you and instead dine and dash? Is it not better that software can exist in proprietary than not at all?

    These things should have been discussed on Sunday. Not “Stallman, seriously, you want my kids to starve?”
    Which as I have previously demonstrated is hyperbole and not factual.

  50. Bryan says:

    Michael Stephenson: “Which as I have previously demonstrated is hyperbole and not factual.”

    You have demonstrated nothing of the sort. All you have done is ignored RMS’s own statements on the show.

  51. Michael Stephenson says:

    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.

  52. Michael Stephenson says:

    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.

  53. Kristian says:

    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.

  54. Bryan says:

    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.

  55. Daniel says:

    I agree with him.

  56. Erik says:

    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.

  57. Michael Stephenson says:

    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.

  58. Bill says:

    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.

  59. Bryan says:

    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.

  60. Lance hirdler says:

    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 .

  61. Michael Stephenson says:

    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!

  62. Michael Stephenson says:

    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:

  63. Erik says:


    “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?

  64. Bryan says:

    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.

  65. Michael Stephenson says:

    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.

  66. Bryan says:

    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.

  67. Frederik says:

    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.

  68. Bryan says:

    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.

  69. Frederik says:

    “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”.

  70. Bryan says:

    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.

  71. Frederik says:

    “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.

  72. jay says:

    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.

  73. Michael Stephenson says:

    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.

  74. Michael Stephenson says:

    “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.

  75. Hitfan says:

    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.

  76. Hitfan says:

    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.

  77. Charlie Ebert says:

    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…

  78. Joe says:

    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.

  79. Charlie Ebert says:

    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…

  80. Mason says:

    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.

  81. Bart says:

    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.

  82. ballPointPenguin says:

    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)

  83. Tony says:

    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??

  84. Adam says:

    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.

  85. YaroMan says:

    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.)

  86. billiebob says:

    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.

  87. billiebob says:

    “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…

  88. Bryan Lunduke says:

    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”.

  89. billiebob says:

    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.

  90. Martin says:

    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”.

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