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RMS Calls to Liberate Cyberspace 578

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the waving-the-magic-wand dept.
Henri Poole writes "In an interview with Groklaw's Sean Daly at GPLv3 Conference in Barcelona, RMS talks with passion about the dangers of DRM. From the article: 'the point is, we shouldn't be passive victims! We should decide that it will not happen! And the way we decide that is by activism. We have to do everything possible to make sure that those products are rejected, that they fail, that they give bad reputations to whoever makes them.' He closed the interview with a far reaching goal for the Free Software Movement: 'the goal is to liberate everyone in cyberspace.'"
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RMS Calls to Liberate Cyberspace

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:25AM (#15603615)
    I always enjoy it when Richard Stallman gives interviews. He was probably the first person--many, many years ago!--to fundamentally understand that we have a CHOICE of whether we want to preserve freedoms to do whatever we want with our software, or whether we're going to let other parties take those freedoms away from us.

    Also, he had the guts to stand up for his freedoms and everyone else's, to be able to do what they want with their software. He's done more than just about any other single person to try and protect those freedoms for regular folks like you and me.

    Can you imagine what the software landscape would look like today without the GPL, without the FSF and without all the free software that has been licensed under the GPL (both by the FSF and by many other open-source contributors)? Even if many of us continue to use non-free systems such as Windows XP, it is nice to know we have a choice. And we WOULDN'T have that choice anymore if Richard and many others had not stood up when they did.

    Lots of people criticise Richard Stallman, but in my view nearly all of those people are either (1) immature kids who wouldn't pass a real civics class if they were ever put in one, (2) people who don't understand the real issues and how fundamental they are, or (3) shills or trolls or other people with an anti-freedom agenda.

    There are a small number of people who understand the issues but aren't particularly concerned about them; extreme pragmatists like Linus probably fall into this category. Still, I don't often hear Linus or others from this category criticising Stallman.

    The people who criticise Richard Stallman are those who are afraid of his message.
    • The people who criticise Richard Stallman are those who are afraid of his message.

      In the same way that I am sympathetic to the animal rights movement yet think PETA is counterproductive, I am sympathetic to the Open Source movement yet think Stallman is, generally, overshrill for his/our own good. The idea that you have to match extremity with extremity in politics finds no home with me.

      • there isn't any place for the truth then?
        • Place for the truth (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hackwrench (573697)
          There's my side, there's your side, and there's the truth. Just as from a conservative perspective the truth has a liberal bias, from a liberal perspective the truth has a conservative bias.
          • by tm2b (42473) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:58AM (#15603993) Journal
            Bah. The facts have a well-known anti-Bush agenda.
          • by Froobly (206960)
            This is the equivalency fallacy.

            Usually, it's stated in terms of the relatively uncontroversial, "well there are radical extremists on both sides of the issue." While this is usually true, it doesn't necessarily mean that the truth lies directly in between them. In addition, it's generally implied that the radical extremists are both equally wrong, which is usually not the case. Michael Moore is not Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly is not Al Franken, and Jon Stewart is not Dennis Miller (not that I've heard th
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Stallman advocates Free Software, not Open Source Development (or at least not the latter without the former).
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:23AM (#15603757)
        In the same way that I am sympathetic to the animal rights movement yet think PETA is counterproductive, I am sympathetic to the Open Source movement yet think Stallman is, generally, overshrill for his/our own good. The idea that you have to match extremity with extremity in politics finds no home with me.

        I don't think you know what extreme is.

        Communism as a solution to the problems of proprietary software would be extreme, but that isn't even close to what Stallman promotes.

        Stallman's position is to the proprietary software industry as the expectation of being able to open the hood of your car is to the automobile industry. No reasonable person would argue that the hoods of all cars should be welded shut and only openable by the manufacturer, so why is it extreme for Stallman to make the same argument about software?
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @03:17AM (#15604038)
          Stallman's position is to the proprietary software industry as the expectation of being able to open the hood of your car is to the automobile industry.

          No, no, no. Source code is step-by-step instructions for building a product, it's not (usually) the product itself. (The exception would be for stuff like teaching/educational programs, such as Minix, where the source code is part of the product.) To get the "source" for a car, you need all the blueprints, design schematics, assembly line instructions, etc. to build one yourself from very small parts.

          Now you may, from looking at the finished product, be able to deduce some or even most of how the car was made. But that's just reverse-engineering, which you can do with software too (well, less and less these days). All those books you see at your local auto parts store, like the Haynes manuals? They're the result of reverse-engineering the car. Manufacturers have their own manuals which they sell (for big money), but they are more like MS's MCSE books than source code.

          Sorry, but the analogy you made is kind of a pet peeve of mine. I think so many people make the same error because cars are so simple (compared to major computer programs) that a regular Joe can look at one and figure most of it out. It's frustrating that we can't do the same with software, but even people who do have the source code can't keep it all straight in their heads. It's why we have APIs.

          • There's a difference though in the way cars and software are both made. However, I feel the original analogy is correct. If I want to know how mozilla works, I can look at the source and try to figure it out. Since I'm a coder, I have an idea of what does what and it makes sense to me. The same way a mechanic can look inside a car's hood and find out how a car works.
          • > Source code is step-by-step instructions for building a product

            No. I can look at the Linux kernel source code, but I wouldn't have a clue on the thought processes that went into it. There are no specs, blueprints, or design schematics provided with it. There's just code that's assembled for me in a particular configuration that I can modify to my hearts content (if I had the knowledge) or even combine it with other GPL code to create whatever I want. If I didn't have the knowledge, I could hire a consu
        • by javilon (99157) on Monday June 26, 2006 @03:59AM (#15604118) Homepage
          "No reasonable person would argue that the hoods of all cars should be welded shut and only openable by the manufacturer"

          Right now, you are allowed to sell a car where the hood is welded shut, but police wouldn't stop people from opening it.
          On the other hand, with DRM if you manage to open it up, the RIAA will call the police, and at the expense of taxpayers, police will come and take you to jail.
          I don't have anything against DRM except the police enforcement. If they can come up with a technological measure that stops me from making a copy of digital information, so be it. The less of my worries will be music or movies. But if they don't, I don't know why the goverment has to protect them and not me.
      • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:39AM (#15603801) Homepage

        Then when you get around to reading the transcript of the interview or listening to it, you should be pleased to learn that Stallman is not with the Open Source movement. He takes pains to tell people that his movement, the Free Software movement, is older than the Open Source movement and pursues a different philosophy [fsf.org]. Stallman doesn't speak for the Open Source movement.

        In this interview he points out one of the differences between the two movements:

        Now, this is an interesting example of the difference between Free Software and Open Source. Some people promote what they call "Open Source DRM". Now, recall the difference in fundamental values between Free Software and Open Source. In Free Software, our values are freedom and community. We want to be part of a community of free people. Whereas, in Open Source, they talk about making powerful, reliable software and they promote a development model. Now, for us, the question of how a program is developed is a secondary issue. I mean, if some models work better than others, fine -- use them. But that's not what's really important to Free Software, to people who value -- who support the Free Software movement and value freedom.

        So, there are people who say that they could apply that development model to developing software designed to restrict us. And maybe it's true; maybe if people study and share and collaborate in developing software designed to take away our freedom, it might become more powerful and reliable in taking away our freedom. But that's a bad thing. That's evil. It's -- in spirit, it's similar to collaborative development of a virus. If something is evil, we don't want it to be done well. We want it to be done as badly as possible.

      • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:27AM (#15603927)
        The extremists founded the US government. Read up on Samuel Adams as the best example, he was a propagandist that, among other things, helped organize the Boston Tea Party and generally rally people around the idea of revolution through his 1-sided newspaper. He was as extreme as you can get.

        Like it or not, but moderates stir no one to action exactly because they have no defining ideological principles. It is simply a relative marker of the "middle ground." Extremist serve their purpose by marking the extreme (the edge).

        A moderate today is different from a moderate yesterday but sets of principles are more firm. If there were no Richard Stallman setting up his extreme, the current leftist (or what have you) extreme would be moved closer to your middle, and you'd be the extremist, unless of course, if you don't stand for anything, then your stand would be significantly pushed to closer to the status quo and away from what Stallman stands for.

        In fact, being a moderate is much of an deceit on people to appear "reasonable" when it really is just a way not to ruffle anybodies feathers by having a stance. Their opinions change with the tide.

        If moderates were the flag bearers (which by definition they are the exact opposite of), would there be slavery in our country still? What about woman's suffrage? Or the civil rights movement?

        None of these were started by moderates nor advocated by moderates until the "extremists" stood up and then moved the "middle position" away from the status quo.

        My point is, people like RMS are exactly what's needed because the whiny people in the middle don't want to obstruct the flow and, in the absense of two extremes but having only one to follow, would tend to sway toward that group.
        • by janzen (932060) on Monday June 26, 2006 @03:54AM (#15604108)
          George Bernard Shaw made this same point very eloquently: "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
        • Moderates stir no one to action because they have reasonable expectations of what people will do, and get them to do it no problem, no stirring necessary. Likewise, they aren't catalysts for revolution because they are competent enough to change the system without breaking it.

          With moderates left in charge of things, slavery would definitely be gone by now (because there isn't any reason to keep it around at this point), and Civil rights probably wouldn't have been an issue because the effort to deal with
      • by LuYu (519260) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:46AM (#15603972) Homepage Journal

        As is typical with Stallman, his proposal predates the current debate by about a decade.
        -- Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture

        The accusation of fanaticism has been levelled at Stallman for more than two decades now, and it is still absurd. It is typical that whenever Stallman sees a new threat to freedom, one that most or nearly all other people in society do not see, he his called names and people say he is hurting Free Software. However, Free Software, and Open Source software for that matter, would have died long ago if Stallman had not been defending it. In fact, if Stallman had listened to his critics in the past, Microsoft would still be the only choice, unless it could be imagined that a broken rewrite of MacOS could have posed a serious challenge to Microsoft -- which really is hard to imagine.

        I think the main reason for this freqent and unfair criticism is the outlook of those trapped in the Emerald City, those with green glasses locked to their faces forcing them to everywhere see green. They are the same ones who think the "free" in Free Software means "free of charge", which is indeed a limited view of the word free. For those who live in a world where there is only green, that seems to be the only freedom.

        This could not be farther from the truth, of course. The freedom to speak freely and the freedom to think for oneself and the freedom to learn what one wants are certainly beyond pricing. There is a reason that selling oneself into slavery cannot be allowed in a Free Society. There is also a reason that the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America protects one's right to free speech. Rights are priceless. Their value is unlimited. Rights should not be curtailed based on the whinings of some crooked entertainment industry executives.

        DRM directly threatens the right to free speech. It will allow third parties to control which computers communicate with which computers. It will allow authorization of all speech by third parties. It will control whether you can or cannot alter or copy any file on your computer. Hardware implementation of this will mean that the cost to free oneself of this will be the cost of fabrication of chips to alter the code for this. In fact, it would be possible to eliminate Free Software altogether with hardware DRM. This will leave 1984 style control of free speech in the hands of the likes of Microsoft, Intel, and a handful of other companies that will be able to basically control all of your communication with the outside world.

        Richard Stallman has seen this future, and he understands the implications. Does it matter if Free Software is in the majority of computers and devices if we do not have the freedom to modify it? What is the difference between Linux and Microsoft when someone can tell you what you can and cannot do with your computer, with your software? If DRM wins, everybody, all six billion of us, loses.

        I will leave this with another quote from a much darker book, nothing less than 1984 (Book I, Chapter IV):

        Comrade Ogilvy, unimagined an hour ago, was now a fact. It struck him [Winston Smith] as curious that you could create dead men but not living ones. Comrade Ogilvy, who had never existed in the present, now existed in the past, and when once the act of forgery was forgotten, he would exist just as authentically, and upon the same evidence, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar.

        DRM makes Winston Smith's job convenient.

      • Stallman isn't extreme. He has a goal, (computers/devices always doing what the user wants, guaranteed via Free Software) and works towards those goals in quite productive ways. In just 22 years, he has created a movement that has so much momentum that proprietary software seems doomed.

        I like to think that this will eventually become something larger than just Free Software. I want to see society working together for the benefit of society, rather than individual profit.
    • Lots of people criticise Richard Stallman, but in my view nearly all of those people are either (1) immature kids who wouldn't pass a real civics class if they were ever put in one, (2) people who don't understand the real issues and how fundamental they are, or (3) shills or trolls or other people with an anti-freedom agenda.

      Wow. Pre-emptively demonizing those who might dare disagree with the great RMS. I'm sure all those people won't post now!

      I think you've illustrated the RMS cult of personality far

      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:32AM (#15603779)
        Wow. Pre-emptively demonizing those who might dare disagree with the great RMS. I'm sure all those people won't post now!

        I think you've illustrated the RMS cult of personality far better than you realize. Keep that mind closed! It's much safer that way!


        You are way over-stretching your example. Anyone who has been on slashdot very long has heard all the complaints about RMS, by now its just a litany of repitition - nobody has come up with anything new to complain about RMS for long, long time.

        So the guy posts first and says, "yeah, yeah, yeah, we've heard it all before and most of the arguments against RMS break down as either A, B or C." That doesn't mean he's close minded, it means he's tired of hearing the same well refuted drivel over and over again.

        Anyone who wants to criticize RMS should take that as a declaration that they need to do better than they have in the past, that same tired old specious arguments aren't worth the effort to type them in.

        By the way, your "cult of personality" bit - that's one of the referenced specious arguments that nobody cares about.
      • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday June 26, 2006 @03:25AM (#15604061)
        The strongest Christians are those who are able to hear what others believe, accept what those people feel without belittling them, and somehow manage to still find their faith to be a rock-solid foundation.

        Of course, anyone could respond with snarky comments about religion, but that would miss the point. The parallel is what is important here. Mr. Coward is promoting the same sort of head-in-the-sand thinking that so many of my fellow Christians unknowingly endorse -- "a contrary opinion must be stupid, don't even entertain the thought!"


        So, the strongest Christians are those that hold onto their faith (and are not swayed from it) no matter what they hear? Isn't that also head-in-the-sand thinking?

        I'm sorry, I don't mean to attack you, but I always had this extraordinary fascination with people who thought holding onto faith was the most important thing and that faith itself was the most sanctimonius and unassailable of emotions (enough tyrants also have complete faith in themselves or their value systems). I mean that assumes so many things, like that the religion they happened to grow up with (in most cases) is the correct one. As opposed to the myriad of others out there.

        But wouldn't the strongest Christians be open to new ideas just as they were open to their parents (presumably) faith and that it may actually sway their stance because they personally find more truth in it (it resonates with them more)? What is so magical about the first version of religion they hear that they shouldn't contemplate others?

        I'm sorry, I just have to ask as I find blind faith as a version of head in the sand thinking and I have to ask as someone who has some (converted) gnostic friends.

        I don't mean to insult or offend:)
      • by eraserewind (446891) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:49AM (#15604761)
        Yes and whatsmore, unlike RMS, Jesus actually existed!!
    • So, because RMS had a good idea many years ago, he can never ever be wrong, is that what you're trying to say?

      I call bullshit... no one is correct, 100% of the time. RMS is an idealist. In a utopian world perhaps all of his ideas would work. But that isn't the world we live in, I'm afraid.

  • by Henri Poole (645047) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:28AM (#15603623) Homepage
    The FSF has recently launched the Defective by Design [defectivebydesign.org] campaign. This campaign is an initiative to provide activism opportunities for free software activists and is 'new territory' for the FSF. In the last 30 days, DefectiveByDesign has received press in Reuters, Financial Times, BusinessWeek, US News and World Report, BBC and over 40 publications in the tech space. The project was launched in response to the most recent FSF members meeting earlier this year, where many FSF members discussed ideas about bringing the fight for free software into the mainstream.
    • Unfortunately, their website needs a major overhaul. They need to have a BIG FREAKING LINK right at the top that explains just what the hell they are talking about. We all know what it is over here, but the general public doesn't have a clue.

      Ever try explaining free software to someone by saying "its free as in liberty not free as in beer" -- they just look at you with a big "what the fuck?" expression on their face. Same thing happens when you say that DRM is "defective by design" - all you get is a big
  • Interesting read. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mikachu (972457) <jjburke@@@hunter...cuny...edu> on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:29AM (#15603624) Homepage
    I really can't say it gave all that much new information, but he definitely made some points. DRM, in any shape or form, is essentially incompatible with the idea of Free Software. When your goal is to restrict the public, there's really no room for compromise. Richard Stallman = smart man.
  • DRM education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by remembertomorrow (959064) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:30AM (#15603625)
    I think the biggest problem is educating the public about what DRM is.

    In my experiences, after explaining what DRM is to people that I know, they think it is the dumbest thing that they have ever heard.

    I am sure the public would reject it, but the problem remains then: how do we educate the public? :/
    • Re:DRM education (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoonFog (586818) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:53AM (#15603678)
      Most people know about region coding on DVD's, but they don't really care much. There are now DVD players that are region free, and the CSS thing has bascially just been forgotten. People have a short attention span, and if they are going to stand up for something, they need to see it happen to them regularly I guess.

      Educating them would also mean that they would have to give more thought in technology, and from my point of view, it seems most of them just want it to work. Perhaps we can hope that the DRM makers make DRM so incredibly hard to work out that people will actually pay attention to it. Until then, we're trying to swim uphill while picking up a couple of people here and there.
      • Re:DRM education (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:16AM (#15603739)
        A big part of the problem is that the hyperbole about the terrors of DRM seen at Slashdot and other places doesn't correspond to the reality of how people perceive their DVD players and iPods.

        Admittedly, DRM could have terrible consequences, but right now a key part of the next generation DRM is the "managed copy" bits which the consumer ironically perceives as granting them *more* rights rather than less because the copying features are integrated into the product. You see this already in Apple's Fairplay system.

        Actually convincing people that DRM is worse than their nifty new consumer products is a difficult problem. Arguments about pubic domain and (academic) fair use don't have much traction among consumers. And the "boiling the frog", "road to fascism" arguments honestly come off as over-the-top and kooky, even if they are plausible.
        • Re:DRM education (Score:3, Interesting)

          by senatorpjt (709879)
          Maybe iTMS hasn't been out longer than the life of a hard disk. I know I was pretty irritated when my HD crashed, and purchased music backups became useless. It would affect anybody the same way.

    • Maybe make a movie about it... call it "An Inconvenient File Format"
  • Education? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MostAwesomeDude (980382) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:31AM (#15603627) Homepage
    Before liberation, shouldn't we educate the public first? Most people today know nothing about DRM, FSF, or that MP3 is a patented format. We all remember the Sony rootkit scandal, but the average consumer does not. The average consumer uses proprietary Windows formats and never considers the dangerous problems that closed systems present to free information. As long as the ignorant masses stay complacent and docile, and as long as consumers obsesquiently gobble up DRM-laced products, there is no chance that free software will win.
    • Well i dont expect Sony to be selling Xvid and OGG videos/music on store shelves... They WILL NEVER use an open format ever. It will never happen.
    • Re:Education? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BoldAndBusted (679561)

      As long as the ignorant masses stay complacent and docile, and as long as consumers obsesquiently gobble up DRM-laced products, there is no chance that free software will win.

      I sympathize with you, but does Free Software have to win, or just merely have and maintain a strong niche to be successful? If one thinks about it that way, perhaps it has already "won". Just having a strong Free Sofware movement around is enough to influence purveyors of other software ecosystems to look over their shoulders to see w

  • what of the Indian peasant who, thanks to his cellphone, now has more up to date market information and, because of this, is better able to provide for his family? Should he be "liberated" from that technology because it is proprietary, non free, non gratis, owned by the evil corporate horde?

    RMS says our goal should be to liberate everyone in cyberspace (whatever that is). I say our goal should be to liberate everyone on earth - from poverty and disease and whatever else needs fixin'. It may never happen, b
    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:45AM (#15603661) Homepage
      Uh, maybe you haven't noticed that a lot of GNU activists outside of the United States are interested in the concept of Free Software because they think it might liberate them from the technological domination of a handful of firms in the U.S.. For example, Miguel de Icaza founded the GNOME project because of concern for the disadvantaged in his native country of Mexico. It's no secret that most of the world's most powerful propietary forces are based in the U.S., while GNU software is a cooperative endeavour that is international in scope. And it's not just the elite who take part; many GNU hackers in the former Soviet Union are using ancient hardware and have poor Internet connections. At least with Free Software, everyone is allowed to contribute, whereas with proprietary software it's hard for the rich and simply impossible for the poor.
      • Sorry, but every one of thos gnome developers is the elite. Every one of those gnome users is part of the elite. Less than 1 in 5 humans is "on the net" in any meaningful way, and a great many of those 1 in 5 are connected via things like cellphones and shared terminals.

        The poor need money - they need jobs, they need health, they need hope. They don't give a shit whether the internet runs on oil or gas or whether it runs at all. Making the blanket assumption all DRM = evil is just one more extremist, unprov
        • You are contradicting the post I responded to. That post was speaking of the poor who were just adopting technology, like cellphones. My response was that there are already poor people who, in using technology, use free alternatives.
        • Most of the poor working class people I've met in the U.S. and overseas are very capable of understanding the interconnected-ness (did I make that word up?) of things even if, for them, the internet is only a concept. Making a blanket assumption that it's just beyond them is just one more extremist, unproven dogma.

          Think of why it is important to not "abridge" freedom of speech, the ramifications of ideas like "free speech zones". If supported by legislation, DRM = evil for similar reasons.
    • >Should he be "liberated" from that technology because it is proprietary, non free, non gratis, owned >by the evil corporate horde?

      It depends on whether you're using 'liberate' in the RMS sense or the G. W. Bush sense.

      If you mean it in the Bush sense, and are liberating him by taking his technology away from him, then no, definately not.

      If you mean it in the RMS sense, and are liberating him by giving him a free, gratis alternative that isn't owned by the corporate horde, that he's free to us
    • what of the Indian peasant who, thanks to his cellphone, now has more up to date market information and, because of this, is better able to provide for his family? Should he be "liberated" from that technology because it is proprietary, non free, non gratis, owned by the evil corporate horde?


      No, he should be "liberated" so that he has the choice between proprietary and free cell phones.
    • I rather doubt RMS would disagree with any of that. He has just chosen his part of the battle to be software, which best leverages his strengths. One person can't do everything, and ignoring one front of a war because another exists is idiotic. Claiming software is unimportant and shouldn't be fought because other battles exist is dooming yourself to failure on both fronts- there's always something more important you should be working on, you need people to dedicate themselves to one battle in order to
  • by Broadcatch (100226) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:42AM (#15603655) Homepage
    I couldn't agree more.

    The fact that machines are being built to suppress what people can do with them rather than to enhance our abilities to grow and perhaps go beyond their intended purposes makes them defective by design [defectivebydesign.org]. Imagine not being able to make a copy of your music for use in your car because you already have one at home, one at your office, and three that were made for iPods (the first two of which were lost or broken). What if you wanted to include it in a mix tape [sic]?

    Or it's like buying a computer that will only run M$ software - software that purposely spies on everything you do so that M$ can "protect" you from doing something their contract (that you signed when you turned the machine on) disallows.

    It's FUBAR.
  • by RexRhino (769423) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:44AM (#15603659)
    DRM isn't dangerous... DRM is simply encryption, and encryption isn't bad. I don't think anyone here wants encryption restricted in any way. Everyone has the right to encrypt any data in any way they want, period!

    What IS dangerous is the government requiring DRM or giving it special legal protection. It is dangerous if the government mandates DRM, and makes it illegal for me to circumvent DRM. If I can crack the DRM on media, and convert it to an unprotected format for myself, without any fear of legal consequences, then my rights are not being restricted in any way.

    What is also dangerous is people thinking that the government should act against DRM. Seriously, that is just as bad as DRM. It is going to come back to bite people in the ass when those anti-DRM laws start restricting how you are allowed to encrypt your own data. If I create data, I want to be able to encrypt it in any way I choose... just because you find it annoying that it takes 10 seconds to run your itunes music through a utility to convert it to mp3, doesn't mean you have the right to restrict me from encrypting my data however I want.

    Basicly, keep all the legal restrictions out of it, and let people do whatever the hell they want want... that is the only truly safe thing to do.
    • DRM isn't dangerous... DRM is simply encryption, and encryption isn't bad. I don't think anyone here wants encryption restricted in any way. Everyone has the right to encrypt any data in any way they want, period!

      You're talking about RMS here, who has previously been against the idea of even having passwords for computer access... (http://mannu.livejournal.com/10626.html) ... you think he's going to be all for people encrypting their data? :D

    • by zelzax (895104) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:14AM (#15603895) Journal

      What is also dangerous is people thinking that the government should act against DRM. Seriously, that is just as bad as DRM. It is going to come back to bite people in the ass when those anti-DRM laws start restricting how you are allowed to encrypt your own data. If I create data, I want to be able to encrypt it in any way I choose... just because you find it annoying that it takes 10 seconds to run your itunes music through a utility to convert it to mp3, doesn't mean you have the right to restrict me from encrypting my data however I want.

      That kind of thinking is wrong on so many levels...

      Encrypting files for personal use has almost nothing to do with DRM. If an RIAA exec wants to encrypt his music, good for him, but he has no business encrypting music I PAID FOR. If I've bought the music, no one has any right to restrict how/where/when I use it, especially if it's well within my fair use rights.

      And yes, government has every right to restrict DRM. It's not about regulating files encrypted for personal use, it's regulating business transactions, something that governments have legitimately long been involved in. One party in the business transaction is being very deceptive and insidious about what it is selling.

      Essentially, consumers expect certain rights when they purchase things. When I buy a car, the car manufacturer has no right to restrict things like where I take the car, whether I can sell the car, and whether I put Chevron or Exxon gasoline in it. When they buy music, they expect that they own the music, and can play it on any device they own, and put it on any playlist or mixtape they want, and maybe even sell the music to someone else when they're done with it, or at least archive the music in an easily accessible format so they won't ever have to repurchase it. All in the full quality they purchased it in too, not downsampled or recompressed to a different lossy format.

      No DRM I've seen yet gives consumers all these rights, or even close, hence the need for governments to get involved.

    • by arose (644256)
      DRM is simply encryption, and encryption isn't bad.
      False, encryption restricts access to information, DRM restricts (or at least tries to) what can be done with information after they have access to it. DRM often uses encryption, but if it were just encryption we wouldn't have another name for it.
      • DRM restricts what you can access, how to access, functions and copying features of data (information).

        Traditionally, data is just data, but with DRM, some read-only meta-data will mandate what you can and can't do with that data. Then freedom is lost.

        Using legislation to disallow DRM could have impact on security methods like: filesystem permissions, serial codes for products, SELinux, encrypted filesystems, trusted computing, etc. Some of these are very liberating and gives the user freedom to express per
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:44AM (#15603660) Homepage Journal
    Anyone know where can I get this GNU Flash player that rocks? Anyone know where I can get a GNU Flash editor?

    Thanks.

  • Don't buy it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joebert (946227) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:46AM (#15603665) Homepage
    We should decide that it will not happen! And the way we decide that is by activism.

    I was thinking don't buy it.
    But if you want want to give an aspiring journalist somthing to write about, feel free.
    • by Subacultcha (921910) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:01AM (#15603869)
      I was thinking don't buy it


      In general, I'm ambivilant to this topic. I tend to think there's extremists at both sides. I like my Tivo, and my mp3s, but I also feel people gotta be paid for their work.

      However, when I see this response, I think--Are you kidding? The only way people against DRM are going to change anything is by making a stink about it. Saying "Don't buy it" is about as productive as vegitarians boycotting McDonald's because they serve meat. If you're not the target market, your opinion doesn't matter.

      If only the anti-DRM crowd stopped buying the products, it would be a statistical glitch on balance sheet. It's not going to make an impression when most consumers are unaware of the DRM issue.

      The Anti-DRM campaign has to make itself heard, while at the same time not coming off as shrill and fringe like PETA does.
  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:50AM (#15603674)
    I live in the United States. I spent yesterday looking at other countries and what qualities of government they have, because I am just plain sick of it here. Every week, I read at least one story about our rights and how they are being taken away through the back door. It was difficult to find a country where there weren't any drawbacks - all forms of government seem fundamentally flawed in (at least) one way or another. We don't NEED it on the Internet.

    This world-wide network has gained a momentum, and there are people in power that are AFRAID of that momentum. With no REAL commercial core, with free speech and architecture giving itself power and stance... These people feel threatened that they will be disregarded. So they start fighting it in their world.

    MPAA/RIAA lawsuits. DRM. Internet taxation. F*CK THAT.

    How about open standards. Open SOURCE CODE. Open practice and ethics. These are all the backbone of the Internet, such as the Tier 1 Internet providers, Internet exchanges and other entities that share information freely. We *KNOW* how to govern ourselves. It's actually very inspiring, isn't it? No real central authority (except for standards and protocols, like the IEEE and DNS root servers)... These people who don't see how it works right now intend to change it so THEY are the ones calling the shots.

    No thanks, I think we can do it ourselves.

    He's right. We need to fight. Keep it in the hands of everyone, not a just a few corruptable, power hungry mother f*ckers who want to either make money from it or pat themselves on the back knowing that they are in control.
    • I think it takes more than a day to determine whether or not other countries are more based in your personal politics and priorities. Keep looking. May I suggest Canada, where our high rates of taxation only make you sad if you honestly believe that your before-tax earnings are a real indication of what your salary is.
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Monday June 26, 2006 @12:56AM (#15603683)
    Obviously, denouncing DRM and the products and companies that sustain it is what any fair use advocate should do. But such a strategy will never work unless the unwashed masses are also made aware of how DRM negatively impacts their lives. The anti-DRM slashdot type accounts for such a small piece of the pie compared to the workaday single mom who wants to record her soaps in HD, or the 13-year-old girl who wants to record Britney's new trailer trash offering off of the radio, or the recent business school graduate who wants to save what he hears on his new XM or Sirius radio for later. All those folks will be seriously impacted by the encroachment of DRM as the digital entertainment age emerges, but none of them are aware that their fair use liberties are in danger.

    Now, if each of us told our parents and siblings about the imminent mainstream DRM fiasco, and all of them told their coworkers and fellow students, and so on, then maybe - just maybe - the public outrage would reach the critical point where Congress and the electronics companies would finally see the light and tell the copyright cartels where to cram it. Until then, the nerdiest of us will just have to sit and watch as our fair use rights are taken away one by one.

  • by Maelwryth (982896) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:17AM (#15603741)
    We need to stop this now. If every slashdotter joins then we can.

    http://defectivebydesign.org/join/fsf [defectivebydesign.org]
  • BINGO. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:26AM (#15603765)
    "the goal is to liberate everyone in cyberspace."

    He's right. Now what?

    Time to start Anti DRM webpages that top search engines when you search HD-DVD, Blue Ray, Vista, and Itunes?

    What does one do?

    Hang around best buys all day and inform people?

    Obviously the media, by that i mean CNN, Fox News, SONY, etc will not be getting the word out. Its in their interest that this goes through.

    The people dont really have a voice anymore. The government is worthless in the matter.

    Do we stick to slashdot.org and rant to like minded people? Who will see it? Who will care?

    Frankly we LOST this years ago when corporations took interest in the internet and the computer boom took foot.

    We're all 30+ now. The kids today all talk like we used too when we were the minority computer geeks.

    Frankly its a world where we do not have a voice. Did the war protests have any effect on stopping the war? Did you see how many people showed up to the protests world wide? MILLIONS.

    We dont have those numbers... and even if we did... it wouldnt make a dam difference.

    Showing up to protests, writing people, writing articles... ranting on slashdot... DOES NOTHING.

    The law trickles down... not up.

    There isnt much anyone can do in todays world. We should get used to it.I know we wont, and we'll tell everyone about how much DRM sucks and they'll say "Well that sucks" and then we'll all buy the products despite our beleifs.

    Its the way it goes.

    The only real alternative is criminal. Support the hackers... and you're a criminal... Frankly thats the only real protest option left. The brilliant minds that liberate software, DVD, music... must go on.

    Let the media giants push hard, and the coders have to push back harder.

    Protesting, and writing your congressman is worthless. They do not care about you. That is the simple truth. They pass laws written by lobbiests paid for by the media giants. They have access and we the people do not.

    Revolutions come from wars... not silly get togethers on the capital lawn.

    • ... why not just talk to people?

      Look: the population of Planet Earth have all characteristics required to qualify as a chaotic system - which is to say there are too many too consider all of them individually, and that their behaviour at any given time depends both on their inputs and their state.

      This has a couple of interesting implications when it comers to activism. One is that macro-scale attempts at control (which in this context would be corporate and government manipulations) are unlikely to wor

  • by Soong (7225) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:31AM (#15603777) Homepage Journal
    Shouldn't we be more worried about the telcom lobby lying to and/or buying congress so that they can get the law changed to allow them to extort more money out of an Internet redesigned in the image of their maximum profit?
  • by scb2 (983525) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:16AM (#15603904)
    There are 3 (video) talks at http://www.rehash.nl/hollandopen/ [rehash.nl] from Eben Moglen (rms lawyer) on these topics (license_drm.mp4 too). I submitted these a few days ago but they got rejected.
  • by jandersen (462034) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:42AM (#15603964)
    I'm not quite sure what to think about Mr Stallman. He certainly doesn't seem to be weighed down by self-doubt; but it is true that he has done a lot for those of us who enjoy computing and believe it shouldn't be yet another way for big corporations to make us pay though our noses. In that sense he is a true revolutionary: he is utterly convinced about the wrongness of the status quo and goes flat out to kick things over. When he started on the GNU project I don't think he was thinking about getting rich or famous, he just wanted to do something about what was and still is wrong. I respect that - a lot.

    It's a funny thing though. He is an American, and what he does is seen as a fight for 'American values': freedom, fairness, equal opportunities etc. But to me as an un-American, this is socialism. A funny, old world, really; to you, as an American, socialism is either cruel totalitarianism or a stoned hippie-dream, but to many elsewhere it is about exactly those freedoms that you Americans value more than anything else. When I was young I used to think of it as 'Cristianity without God'; but of course the ideals are shared by most other religions. Wouldn't it be nice if people could put aside the labels of 'Christian', 'Communist' or whatever and see the person inside?
    • by node 3 (115640) on Monday June 26, 2006 @04:40AM (#15604208)
      As you've described it, most Americans are socialists. There are very few Americans who would strip all socialist programs from our country (examples: public schooling, fire departments, depts of transportation, farm subsidies, libraries, anti-pollution laws, car safety laws, etc).

      Unfortunately, the far right has been able to control the language, and make us think that the word "socialist" means "communist" or "fascist". That leaves your average, moderately socialist, American with a sense of morality and reason who knows that capitalism must be tempered with socialism, yet can only speak intelligently about capitalism, while any discourse in favor of socialism is hampered and limited to emotional pleas because the rational words are off-limits or misrepresented.

      The death knell for any public debate of a socially beneficial program is the question, "but isn't that really socialism?" The honest answer ends the debate right there. The only political acceptable answer is, "no, because..." followed by an attempt to hide the fact that it is socialism, which puts the progressive and liberal proponent at an obvious rhetorical disadvantage. That's why you have no difficulty finding people who will say and believe silly things regarding how DRM is necessary to be able to produce television shows, or how private industry should replace NASA today, when private industry can barely place two people into a short, sub-orbital trip to the closest reaches of space.

      What really needs to be made known to every American is that socialism is not a bad thing. It is a necessary part of the Western world. Capitalism is also necessary. It's not an either-or choice. Capitalism for a fluid economy and personal freedom, Socialism to keep Capitalism viable, and promote a healthy society.
  • In other news... (Score:3, Informative)

    by cazzazullu (645423) on Monday June 26, 2006 @03:50AM (#15604103)
    Belgium decided today to adopt ODF for all goverment-related documents, starting from September 2008. Microsoft Office will no longer be allowed to be used, unless it fully supports ODF by then.

    Being able to read ODF has to be implemented on all federal computersystems a year earlier.

    I would provide a link to an article, but I don't find anything in english. Here is a dutch [standaard.be] article
  • Reminds me of 1983 (Score:3, Informative)

    by paj1234 (234750) on Monday June 26, 2006 @04:20AM (#15604157)
    DRM is bad and we don't need it. Amazing how much it reminds me of what was said about the MSX computer in 1983. It was seen as trying to impose an unwanted limitation on the public (ie: mostly sprite based games). Just like DRM today trying to impose other limitations that are also unwanted. Here's an interview with Design Design from Crash magazine. See the MSX section - how similar the arguments are!

    http://crashonline.org.uk/08/rebirth.htm [crashonline.org.uk]

    I know it is a bit different today, what with legal stuff and all, but still.
  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:49AM (#15604367) Homepage Journal
    Now, for us, the question of how a program is developed is a secondary issue.

    While RMS is to be admired for many things, basic project management may not be among them.

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