Stallmann, Free Software and Responsibility

, Jan 7, 2005

While I don’t agree with his views very much, I really admire Richard Stallman’s consistency. It must surely be great not to be plagued by even the slightest doubt about one’s own views as RMS is … it’a also very interesting to consider his opinion regarding the use of free software and the expectations as to what a company would be expected to give back to the community in the light of the recent discussion between Adam Bosworth, Krzysztof Kowalczyk, Dare Obasanjo and others

A: Back to my earlier question, as a specific example do you use tools such as Google when attempting to locate online content?
Richard Stallman: I have nothing against communicating with Google’s network server, but for Google’s sake I hope they have the freedom to study, change and redistribute the software used on their server. Having the freedom to do so does not imply the obligation to do so; Google doesn’t have to change or redistribute the software they run. But they ought to be free to do this, just as you and I should be free to do this with the software on our machines.

Then again, free software is not the same as open source software, so RMS’s view is not necessarily universal.