Found myself at a radical mind today. Maybe it’s all the dealing I had to do with GNU/Linux in light of the new installment, or perhaps just an overall feeling. I’ve been reading this ZNet interview with Richard M. Stallman regarding software freedom. Several interesting ideas there. For instance the following segment:
RMS: When I webcast a speech, I have to ask which format it is going to be webcast in. I am not going to go along with a webcast of my speech about freedom that you have to give up your freedom in order to hear or watch. Once I put my coat over a camera before giving my speech, when I learned it was webcasting in RealPlayer format.
JP: Gandhi, in his “Hind Swaraj’, which was originally a series of newspaper articles, asked himself and answered a similar question. He was talking about how India had to get rid not only of British control, but of all of the bad attributes of “western civilization’. He asked himself: “How can one argue against western civilization using a printing press and writing in English’? His answer was that sometimes you have to use poison to kill poison.
RMS: But knowing English doesn’t subjugate — you didn’t have to give up any freedom in India to know English. (…)
JP: When you say there was no better language than English, are you suggesting that it becomes an ethical issue when there is an alternative, but not before?
RMS: It becomes an ethical issue when there is a restriction. The use of English might be good or bad for India, but knowing it doesn’t take away your freedom. (…)
By contrast, to put RealPlayer on your computer, you actually have to give up some of your freedom.