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RMS Calls to Liberate Cyberspace 578

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 @01:37AM (#15603644)
    You spend half of your post saying that anyone who criticizes RMS is stupid, immature, etc. Can you say 'insecurity'?

    RMS can and should be criticized. While his original work was helpful, he has been more of a thorn in the side of free software than a help. With RMS as a de facto leader, nothing has been done. What would the world look like without free software? Mozilla wouldn't exist and we'd be running IE 6 (without any upgrades). NT derivatives would have a larger market share. UNIX systems like AIX and Solaris would have a larger market share. X would suck ass without desktops (we'd still be using motiff wm's).

    In short, not an enormous change. When I started using Linux in 95 I didn't think we'd still be this pathetic 11 years later. Granted, Linux has evolved leaps and bounds from the 1.1 kernel I started with, but it hasn't dramatically changed the world like everyone hoped. It's not because of Linus. He's the man and always has been. It's not because of ESR. He knows our limitations. It is because of RMS. He won't budge. Ever.

    Where will we be 11 years from now? I'm guessing the same place because we refuse to admit our problems. The free software community has created some amazing software. People don't use the software because the GPL is so rigid. If we used Perl's Artistic License instead of the GPL we'd finally have progress. Who cares if others change your software? It's at least being used and improving the world.
  • Don't buy it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joebert ( 946227 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:46AM (#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 TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @01:50AM (#15603674) Homepage
    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.
  • Copyright is a very recent notion. Only in the last 400 years or so has it been enforced by government, and really only in the West until it was forced on the rest of the world. Look to other places and times. Take, for example, Rome and ancient Greece: there poets, dramatists, and orators created works of art that have lasted through the ages, and they weren't concerned about people freely copying their work. Martial, for exmaple, makes reference to free copying of his epigram in the marketplce, with no payment getting back to him, and he suggests he's fine with it as long as no one who copies it tries to claim they themselves wrote it. In India, there has always been a long tradition of copying and adapting previous material without payment, and yet it hasn't stopped a vibrant art scene. Copyright holds back the creation of art more than it spurs it.
  • Place for the truth (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hackwrench ( 573697 ) <hackwrench@hotmail.com> on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:06AM (#15603717) Homepage Journal
    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 AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:12AM (#15603728)
    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 make any progress.
  • by ABeowulfCluster ( 854634 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:18AM (#15603746)
    Michelangelo was paid for his work. Painters and artisans are paid for their garments and paintings. Shakespeare was paid, he was part owner of the theatre company. In the India example you cite, the craftsmen who copy art get paid for their goods as well. The Roman Circus also had an admission fee, what they did not have was digital copies downloaded for free. With the digital revolution, nobody gets paid when you download.
  • Re:DRM education (Score:3, Interesting)

    by senatorpjt ( 709879 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:31AM (#15603775)
    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.

  • by Soong ( 7225 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @02:31AM (#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 @03:16AM (#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 Helldesk Hound ( 981604 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @03:21AM (#15603912) Homepage
    > The idea that you have to match extremity with extremity
    > in politics finds no home with me.

    The thing with extremists, if you do not counter that extremism to an equal degree, then the center point is skewed towards the extremist and the whole ground moves in the direction of the extremist.

    Thus it is vitally important to counter to an equal degree the extremists - that is if you value what those extremists are trying to destroy.
  • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @03:42AM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Monday June 26, 2006 @04:17AM (#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.

  • by ABeowulfCluster ( 854634 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @04:21AM (#15604050)
    DRM is an artist's perogative. If an artist wants to give away free music, they can still upload mp3's to the net. If anything, the open source group should come up with an Open DRM which lets the artists determine how their music and films are used. If you have a closed DRM, then you don't know what's in it (such as the Sony rootkit). If you have an open DRM, then the artist can release content in varying forms of protection. Developers could write utilities that let the public know what rights are in the product before they decide to buy.
  • Having NO drivers versus proprietary ones - which is better?

    And this is the standard false dichotomy that opponents to the GPL like to ask. Of course given only those choices we would rather have proprietary ones. But even better would be free (libre) drivers. And to get those we have to convince the people making the drivers that everyone wants their drivers to be Free. To do that you have to stop accepting the non-free drivers that the companies give you. One we have free drivers, the entire community benefits from better driver software. So the answer to your question is "NO drivers for a little bit leading to free drivers forever is better than proprietary drivers forever."

    That's the theory, in any case. But don't make it look as though FSF is trying to cripple your computer for its own lofty ideals. The ultimate goal is to make it so everyone will see it as a mistake if people don't release their software under a free license. There are two major methods to acheive this goal so far: try and win through superior software alone, or, in addition, use your rights as a software writer to make sure your software isn't used against this goal.
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @04:25AM (#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 node 3 ( 115640 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:07AM (#15604129)
    If you cannot profit from your work because people upload your tv shows and music to usenet
    Hrm.... People currently do upload shows and music to usenet, yet studios are able to make a profit. You're not making any sense here.

    then it will not make economic sense to make tv shows any more
    That's not true either. Have you heard of PBS or the BBC? While I'm not advocating the elimination of for-profit, private entertainment/media, your assumptions are flawed.

    So the money making scheme is. Produce shows. Encrypt with DRM. Profit.
    "Encrypt with DRM" is wholly unnecessary in that equation.
  • As for what Stallman promotes, if he had any poltical power, it would probably be seen as extreme rather than just an idealistic alternative.

    Note that while in the US, any politician which isn't in the two siamese parties is mostly ignored, in the rest of the world, while they aren't typically in a position to be elected, they do provide input to the general debate and are listened to.

    The point of "extremists" is typically to go "over the top" on a given subject so that some more moderate view can be considered by the majority. That's the way it often works in Europe.
  • by 10101001 10101001 ( 732688 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:30AM (#15604179) Journal
    >Someone has asked them a question and given them a chance to put their message across and they've just blown it cause they feel it is more important to redefine the lexicon.

    Answering a question in a sufficiently short statement that satisifies an interviewer does indeed put one's message across, but it is unlikely to get one's message across. Few movements (or politicians, for that matter) avoid redefining the lexicon as they feel is necessary. If what one describes is a new idea or a sufficiently complex idea and that idea is stated many times, it is simpler to use a word or phrase for it. If people are unwilling to accept this, then clearly trying to use them as a platform to communicate to others will fail. I don't consider that in itself extreme.
  • by The Cydonian ( 603441 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @05:39AM (#15604205) Homepage Journal
    Oh, absolutely, and I believe this manifests itself in a subtly different way. Time was when there was at least one article a day on Slashdot on how to hack (in the traditional, SICP-isque sense of the term) things; you know, people doing really cool hacks with Wi-fi antennae, Lego bricks, case-mods and what not. Now all the hack-articles we get to read about are on how change defective MacBook batteries. Or, as a poster so gratitiously wrote, fashion advice for RMS.

    While I'm not a diehard OSS fanatic by any means, (closer to MS professionally than to OSS), I think your broad point is extremely valid: OSS/Software Libre is less about political ideologies, and more about actual tinkering around with technology. Extremely saddening that the community here is increasingly losing sight of this basic truth.

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday June 26, 2006 @06:26AM (#15604318) Homepage Journal
    Far from being an outsider, he is now seen as being the ethical heart of us all, even those in the Open Software community

    You mean the Open Source community? The one he rejects? I don't think you read my post at all. He continues to declare himself an outsider of the Open Source community. As for this "Open Software" community you speak of, perhaps you're thinking of the Sun community? That's how they refer to themselves. And I assure you, they do not think of RMS as anything approximating a "heart".. although I can think of some other parts of anatomy they have used to refer to him.

    Yes, RMS makes a strong ethical stance, but the problem is not with his message - the problem is with him.

  • by CoonAss56 ( 927862 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @07:46AM (#15604489)
    I guess that hot rodders of my ilk have been just reverse-engineering cars that we have shaped and molded for the last 40+ years invisible by your standards. Cars simple? Not so my young friend. Have you ever seen a Top Fuel dragster run 320+ with their complicated air/hydraulic timer clutch management system? I think not. All of these were "engineered" by hot rodders from the original systems and then took off on their own. Stallman is doing the same with software and computers. You might not like the "car" analogy but until you understand it fully you shouldn't use it as an analogy.
  • Re:More of the same (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nbahi15 ( 163501 ) on Monday June 26, 2006 @09:34AM (#15605054) Homepage
    I clicked on the link to the ogg file and it started playing (Movie Player) as soon as it downloaded... Lo and behold the magical dapper drake knows what to do with Ogg files without me telling it. Now be honest, are you using Windows?

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.