Free Software

As I mentioned earlier, I interviewed Richard Stallman earlier this month. Just published the interview and set up a forum (linked at the bottom of the interview) where folks can introduce themselves if they’d like to help begin the exploration on possibly converting ZNet to free software.

The whole discussion and Stallman’s work was of great interest to me, with implications that go beyond software that I would like to explore if I get the chance. Meanwhile, take a look at the interview!

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.

4 thoughts on “Free Software”

  1. Just read this. Very
    Just read this. Very intresting stuff. I think the ramifications of Stallman’s work push towards a rejection of capiltalism, not only the neoliberal version. That hasn’t quite happened with Stallman but he seems very sincere and well intentioned. I get the impression that eventually he will.

  2. Having read Stallman for
    Having read Stallman for more than a decade, I would advise you not to hold your breath on him changing his mind. He’s always been very consistent throughout.

    I think the main point that a lot of people fail to take note about Stallman is that, unlike many who keep “talking” about what to do, Stallman went right to work and did what he tought was right.

    To be honest, I signed on the zmag, and started browsing and got disinterested rather quickly about people “talking” about participatory economy.

    Noami Klein had to go to south america to find actual real example of what can be done (The Take). Down there, they did it because they had no choice. In north america, life’s rather good, so people aren’t going to risk much. So “talk” is the way to go. I think it’s all the more impressive that Stallman did what he did, because he could have gone on making a fair amount of money.

    Talking about his view of capitalism is missing the point by a mile and a half wrt to the guy.

    PS. no offense intended to anyone. I’m not any better.

  3. I think his work is valuable
    I think his work is valuable and pushes in the direct of rejecting capitalism – as does public health care and various other reforms. I think that is true whether or not any particular individual who works for a reform becomes more radical.I’m sure his work is valuable for other reasons too – again like other reforms.

    I’m not sure about your point that us comfortable people talk too much and don’t do enough.
    I guess it depends on how you distinguish between “talking” and “doing”. I would agree though that our comfort level tends to lull us into not doing enough – however you define “doing”.

    Why is the News Standard struggling to survive?
    There is an emample of progressives putting great effort and sacrifice into creating progressive news reporting – not just opinion. I assume that would qualify as “doing” rather than just “talking” by almost anyone’s definition.

    Are progrssives really too stingly to divert $5 towards such a valuable project? Might the problem not be that progressive don’t talk enough about alternatives to generate interst is supporting them – that instead we tend to talk endlessly about the corporate media’s deceptions.

    Is the problem too much talk, or too much that doesn’t inspire action?

  4. > I think his work is
    > I think his work is valuable and pushes in the direct of rejecting capitalism

    Not so clear. IBM has invested quite a lot in free software. They didn’t do so to put themselves out of business.

    Behind the facade of the Apple computer is an operating system called BSD. It’s free software.

    In both cases, free software has enhanced rather than diminished the viability of the companies.

    > I guess it depends on how you distinguish between “talking” and “doing”.

    My point is that stallman didn’t spend all his days trying to convince the software companies to change. There wouldn’t be much free software today if he had spent a lot of time marching down the street demanding change. Rather than demand, he instead put in practice what he had in mind, and those who wanted to join, did so. The free software community was very small when he started, but he started “doing” from the word go (i.e. he started writting software immediately).

    It’s great, and it’s REQUIRED to have good reporting/journalism to cover what’s going on in the world, but that remains “talking”.

    How long have people been talking about participatory economy? How long has it been put in practice? In the case of Free Software, the “talking” and “doing” started about at the same time.

    Anyways, enough talking from me.

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