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back to article Stallman: Jobs exerted 'malign influence' on computing

Veteran free software firebrand Richard Stallman has upset the apple cart by speaking out against the international canonisation of Steve Jobs Citing 1980s Chicago Mayor Harold Washington talking about a one-time rival, GPL licence author Richard Stallman reckons while he's not glad Jobs is dead, he is glad Jobs is gone. …

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Wager.

i would bet any sum of money that he get more heat about this than he's gotten for his views on pedophilia.

Much, much more.

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Anonymous Coward

Unfortunately, you're right.

The iTards are going to come down on full force against him. I might not like some of his hard stances, but he's spot on with these comments!

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Stop

Well, let's see....

a) Totally crass comment which has been repeated and spewed across the web.

b) Views on pedophilia that most people don't even know about, because they only get quoted and bandied about in VERY geeky circles.

Yeah, I'd say he's going to take more heat for this (choice a) without a doubt. But I'm not at all certain it's about the comment, rather, more about the number of people who have heard it.

-d

P.S. - Fair disclosure: I dislike Stallman, but that long pre-dated Steve Job's death, and all this incident has really done is add "ill-mannered" to my list of negative qualities the man displays in abundance.

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Anonymous Coward

+1 to Mr Stallman

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Coat

Shouldn't that be Stallman++

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Anonymous Coward

Nah, you want to see the result of your own vote so it should be ++Stallman

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Thumb Up

Finally, someone not afraid to speak out...

Stallman is 100% correct on this. Jobs created a very huge walled garden, where idiots are tempted in to spend money and have to hand it all back at the gate if they ever want to leave..

It's the reason why people keep iPhones, they spent a crap-load of money on apps that don't work on anything but Apple products.

It's also the reason why anyone with a brain will steer clear and stick to Android. You buy your content once, and it works on your current devices, it also works on your devices next year, regardless of who makes them.... (aside Apple of course).

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Oh please...

Slate Apple all you like, but don't pretend Android is the perfect product. It's not. It's flawed, just as IOS is flawed, just as WinMob is flawed, etc etc.

What you *should* have said is "anyone with a brain will do their research, then weigh the pro's and con's before deciding on their device". Otherwise you just come across as a rabid fandroid, no better and no more credible than the fanbois.

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Gold badge

I don't see how Apple is any different to Microsoft?

Proprietary complex office file formats and lots of lock in there.

What about Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft games consoles? We all know they're computers that could do more but you can only run the software they have licenced and approved.

The world simply isn't interested in free open source software on the desktop. The market share is simply minuscule. Less than 5% and closer to 1% probably.

Stallman can bleat on about it all he wants. Just like socialists can dream of an end to evil big businesses and have a 4 day week with huge pensions.

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WTF?

Oh please...part 2

And what's this crap about content lock in?

It's funny but all my books and audio are DRM free and in 'standard' formats, and both are playable on both Android and IOS. I *didn't* have to buy them from itunes/kindle etc either. Which mean everyone doesn't either.

How do I know? Because I use both devices.

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Unhappy

Not many people understand the DRM lock-in of iTunes purchases. Especially most of the non-tech people who buy into iOS eco system.

Apps, you can play games / use apps and then grow out of them. Serious apps give you a way of migrating data from iOS to elsewhere if they are cross platform. But progress in games cannot be migrated as far as I know. (I completed all levels in angry birds and got the golden eggs in iphone 3 GS but now have a android and am stuck on a earlier level and not have enough time to play and move on!)

But media - songs and video, I know of a number of people who bought from iTunes as it was 'very convenient' and 'cheap' and now are not even able to think about moving from iphone even though they like big screens and Android tablets. Just media.. and not able to move out. That is the biggest walled garden and if not what else it is?

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Anonymous Coward

Android is a walled garden

You buy your apps on android and if your lucky they will work on your next android phone but they wont work on any non Google OS phone.

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Slate Android all you like...

...but don't pretend he pretended it is the perfect product.

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@Android is a walled garden

I'm not sure you understand what a computer is.

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

Errm no,

You buy an App, you can can use it on all your device you have registered to your account, and it's not locked to a single hardware manufacturer, so as long as it runs Android (which everything note-worthy does these days), it's not in any walled garden any more than buying Microsoft Office For Windows means you are tied to only using it on Windows.

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Facepalm

For Geeks Only

He may be correct but he doesn't speak for the vast majority of Apple users. Most users do not care about the 'walled garden'. They only care about their devices working properly.

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Megaphone

I was a user that cared about their "'walled garden",

I loved my 2nd Gen iPod, and bought my daughter a iTouch because of it. I tried using iTunes, but found it slow and buggy, so we used Winamp on both (which was great), then one day, Winamp stopped working with my daughters iTouch. After looking around, I found out why, it was because, for no good reason, Apple decided to encrypt the database on her iTouch (without asking), and therefore it would no longer work with Winamp or any other non-Apple product.

That was the moment I stopped buying Apple's crap, and vowed never again to buy another Apple product. I had purchased something, and they decided to removed functionality from it after the fact without my permission. There was no reason to start encrypting it, it worked fine before, they just wanted to "lock" me into using their substandard iTunes, and that was wrong.

Apple does this sort of thing on all their products, from proprietary connectors, to OSes that look for a non-needed TPM chip, to encrypted databases, and ending in a App store that only Apple can add Apps to, but expect the rest of the world to write apps for, and then hope Apple will let it in (Skype). Don't forget about how "unstable" they claim Flash to be, I'm sure it has nothing to do with people being able to use web-based apps instead of their App store. ;)

I use android now, and yes their open Marketplace might let me pull down the occasional malware, but at least I have choices, and if I want to install an app that lets me read and write to MY phone over wifi, I can.

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Android apps also work on Meego and WebOS

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Facepalm

They won't work if you don't have a phone, either, funnily enough.

I take it you aren't a very 'techy' person.

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Anonymous Coward

re: Errm no,

Unless you use an Android Fire. Until Amazon reverses its policy, users will only be able to install apps that they purchased from the Amazon App Store - Android apps acquired by other means will not be able to be used with the Fire, unless it's hacked.

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Go

and it will be.

Given the price point for the Fire and the fact it's using android means it's going to be jail broken before most people even see one in the flesh!

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Anonymous Coward

@ and it will be.

Sure, but that doesn't change the fact that the user isn't free to instal what they like, how they like out of the box.

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@Barry Shitpeas

"so as long as it runs Android (which everything note-worthy does these days)"

Not trying to defend the original poster (who seemed a little confused), but this response is... well... in context... stupid. After all, we're talking on a forum about an article that covered Apple products far more than Android. Do you think those iPhones just disappeared in the time between when the article was written and you wrote your post? What about RIM's infamous crackberry? Or even the winmo phones? (Ok, I'm giggling at that one too, but it technically still counts.)

Sorry, Android has NOT completely eliminated all other phone platforms, no matter what you may think. Taken off like a rocket, yes. Eliminated the competition? Not even close.

-d

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Ditto.

I bought my daughter a charger and an A/V cable for her iPod Touch - both non-Apple variants. With the charger, she gets an annoying message on her Touch, and the A/V cable doesn't work at all with the newer firmware. Like you, I'm done with Apple products. I'm not paying $50 for an A/V cable so we can watch videos from her iPod on the big screen. $5 I would, yes, $50, no.

My Archos 43 (Android) is quite promiscuous, it'll take and work with any old plug. It's not picky at all.

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Paranoid much ?

According to Wikipedia:

"Also, Stallman avoids use of a key card to enter the building where his office is. Such a system would track doors entered and times."

Stick to writing software.

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Here, I fixed that for you

Stick to <strike>writing</strike> copying software.

Stallman has made a career of copying other's work in the name of "creative" freedom, usually subsidized by the people he was complaining about (DEC, Sun, Microsoft). The man's never had an original thought; no wonder he feels threatened by Jobs.

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Keycards

The purpose of keycard and wirelessly trackable, more convinient RFID enabled nametags is -exactly- that. To track people, to group them, make statistics and in some cases, help a computer program decide who to fire.

In what kind of fantasy land you live? Really think "good bosses" thought it was inconvinient for workers to carry keys?

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FAIL

Re: Here, I fixed that for you

"The man's never had an original thought"

Erm, well what about the concept of a free software movement?

I don't know of anyone else that was thinking seriously about this idea at the time.

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Gun to Head

Nobody held a gun to my head and forced me to buy an iMac.

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The old "Nobody is forcing to you buy Apple" bollocks

That old argument always pops up straight away.

1) The problem is most people are ignorant. They do not realise that they are getting locked in to the walled garden. Does the sales staff in John Lewis explain the long term consequences of storing and buying all your media in iTunes before they flog you an iMac? Of course not.

2) Apple often changes the rules AFTER you've bought your shiny iWhatever. Usually very cynically after they've sold a couple of million of whatever it is (changing the rules on how you are allowed to buy epublications 6 months after launching the iPad, for example). So whilst they don't hold a gun to your head when you purchase your shiny plastic, they sure as hell do later on.

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Anonymous Coward

Check your facts

@Neill Mitchell : "Does the sales staff in John Lewis explain the long term consequences of storing and buying all your media in iTunes before they flog you an iMac?"

I have a large media collection on my Macs - music and video - and only a fraction of it was purchased through iTunes. And only a handful of my films are stored in iTunes. You can purchase, store, and enjoy media any way you like on a Mac - there's a vast array of software out there. iTunes is strictly option.

I'd save the rants for the movie industry - that's a walled garden if ever I saw one. I've had many instances where a friend overseas sent me a DVD as a birthday or Christmas present, and I can't watch it (wrong region). Handbrake can't always cope with them either. And don't get me started on how they are trying to lock down the playback of movies on devices... or the way they seem to wrangle laws for copyright infringement with harsher penalties than violent crime... or the way you're forced to endure a "you're probably a thief" tirade when all you wanted to do was watch the film you just bought...

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FAIL

And...

"1) The problem is most people are ignorant."

...you demonstrate this beautifully.

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Anonymous Coward

Got proof for that? Nah didn't think so.

1) who buys an iMac to use itunes when it's a free download? the only people asking for DRM are the record companies but it's more fun to blame apple.

2) What! They bring in a way to buy eBooks then change it as publishers complain, at no time making it harder.

Seems like just the normal ravings of a fandroid, devoid of fact but full of friction.

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Anonymous Coward

and YOU

Prove your ignorance beyond any doubt, thank you!

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Gun to Head

"Nobody held a gun to my head and forced me to buy an iMac."

Strike that and change it for

"Nobody held a gun to my head and forced me to snort cocaine."

Do it for 6 months, then try to lay off the coke.

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LOL

@Ralph 5

Yes, there are other music programs available on the Mac, but come on, iTunes is what everyone uses and you know it. You may use it to store your free music, but that is not its purpose. Apple didn't invest so much time and effort on iTunes because they want to ensure you enjoy your free media, it's a sales portal. So my argument stands, if you buy media you are locked in and Apple can change the rules at any time.

@Frank Bough.

Well reasoned argument you got going there.

@AC. You are confusing DRM with proprietary software. If I have my bought all my music in iTunes and I decide I don't want to go the touchscreen route after my classic iPod, can I plug in my Creative Labs device and iTunes work with it? No, I'm stuffed.

The stunt Apple has pulled with the publishers is indefensible. I can't believe Apple die hards can even try to defend what they did. What do you think happens when you squeeze the publishers? They pass the cost on. So who is the loser here? It's you.

What makes you think I'm a fandroid? I'm a fan of true multi platform. Over the last 15 years or so I've owned Windows PC's, Linux PC's,Pocket PC's, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Maemo, Archos, Sony eReaders, Android and even iPods. I can play all my music on all of these devices and read my eBooks on everything except the iPod. How have I achieved this? By avoiding proprietary software and platforms.

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FAIL

Re: Gun to Head

No, but Apple are holding a gun to my head to try force me to buy an iPhone. What I want is a Galaxy Tab but I can't get one because Apple have paid off some judge to have it banned from sale in Australia. So those bastards are most certainly holding a metaphoric gun to people's heads by systematically exterminating the competition. Which is why Apple products and software do not come onto my property.

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Anonymous Coward

Have any of you guys actually bought any music from iTunes recently? I normally shop around for music downloads and purchase from the cheapest place. So I have tracks from most download stores, including iTunes, Amazon, etc.

No music I have purchased from iTunes in the last three years has had DRM. I have been able to play the tracks on Linux, Mac and Windows without problems. I've also been able to convert them to MP3 for use on my crappy old Creative MP3 player without any restriction. I am in no way locked into using a Mac/iPod/iPhone to play my music just because I purchased some of it via iTunes. OK, I can't plug my Creative into iTunes and sync, but why the hell would I want to, or even think that would work?

It's the record companies that force DRM into music, so saying that it is part of Apple's 'walled garden' lock-in is disingenuous. It's the same for the movie industry, it's them demanding DRM.

The app lock-in is different though, and I'm sure it's a way that Apple do gain a lot of repeat business. However, I don't think most people are as 'ignorant' as you think. It's only us techy types that see the iPhone as a computer that is capable of more than we are being allowed to do with it. Your average non-techy person sees it as a consumer device that does or doesn't do what they want it to do, and have very little expectations beyond that. When I point out to my non-technical friends that they're stuck with Apple forever as the apps they purchased won't work on anything else, they just say "of course they won't, my XBox 360 games won't work on a Wii either!". It's been the same since the earliest home computers, and I think people understand that if you purchase a game or app for one device it will not work on something running a different OS.

The app lock-in is no different than Commodore, Spectrum or Amstrad back in the day, and it's exactly the same as the current situation with PS3, XBox and Wii, even down to the locked down hardware and license fees payable if you wish to produce/publish content on the system. To your average punter an iDevice is a consumer device, not a computer that they own and are being locked out of. When it stops doing what they want it to do they will buy something else, the same as when everyone stopped buying Sega when something better came out.

If Apple locked down the Mac the way they have the iPhone then we would all have something to shout about. It would be removing rights we used to have. But complaining about locking down a device that was never meant to be an open platform, and was always designed from its very first day as a closed consumer device is ridiculous. We all have minds of our own, so if you want an open phone platform, don't buy an iOS device because it is not one. Don't complain that it isn't one either, just pick something that is (best of luck finding that as Android certainly isn't!).

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Stop

My tech-addled Grandma won't use iTumes for music, what's the point here?

"Yes, there are other music programs available on the Mac, but come on, iTunes is what everyone uses and you know it. You may use it to store your free music, but that is not its purpose. Apple didn't invest so much time and effort on iTunes because they want to ensure you enjoy your free media, it's a sales portal. So my argument stands, if you buy media you are locked in and Apple can change the rules at any time."

Wrong, wrong, wrong. (Maybe if I say it three times someone will actually listen.) I know people who are as geeky as they come and people who are just getting comfortable enough with their computer to put their credit card number in over "the big bad internet." Not ONE person I know has bought music from iTunes in years. Amazon seems to be the place of choice for a lot of my less techie friends, but it doesn't really matter - even 60+ year old grandmas know enough that they want "EM-PEE-THREES." If some of the people I'm thinking of are this aware, I have a hard time believing that this hasn't crossed a cultural line.

-d

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Alert

@AC 07:26 - Computers are hard drugs now?

Really? You think 6 months with a mac is like 6 months on a highly addictive drug? Do yourself a favor. Get out, find a soup kitchen. Talk to a social worker about volunteering with recovering drug addicts. Maybe just spend a few lunches with a real junkie.

In other words, get some perspective on the world. You DESPERATELY need it.

-d

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Coat

Apple and openness...

I'm mostly into Linux, but I have scrounged an old PowerMac G5 and it is a beautifully put together piece of hardware - both inside and out.

That said I'm dismayed about the Apple app store Police, and will almost certainly not buy another iPod because (as others have already said) managing it is all but impossible without iTunes. This is a shame really. I do believe Apple could still succeed, as a company, purely on the design of its products, if they started using open standards. Please note: this doesn't mean they have to *support* use of iPods/iPhones/iPads under Linux, but they could at least make it possible by either using an existing open communication protocol, or documenting the protocols they use.

And yes, I know... Not strictly on topic. I'll stop waffling and leave now.

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Trollface

Job's has gone but

unfortunatly he has left behind his Genius staff, which at the weekend when i contacted them about purchases missing on my iTunes account.

They sent me about ten different links to Disney, Universal and other film production company's.

Saying that i should take it up with them as they are the content providers!

To which i pointed out that i had purchased the films through iTunes and that they are providing me with the content and that i wasn't about 2 email universal saying (hey their in lar lar land my purchases on itunes have disappeared! its your fault! GRRRRRR! )

Genius's i think not...

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If they give you any more shit

Point out that the Sale of Goods Act makes them responsible (Apple) and that they therefore need to deal with it.

Given how stubborn Apple can be, still wouldn't hold your breath!

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> The open-source movement can only challenge this by

> coming up with compelling ideas that count rather than

> polemics.

And maybe a way of making a sustainable ROI might also help -

the creators of content tend to be a bit keen on that bit, one way

or another.

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Linux

Services

99.99999999..% of the population on the planet make income from services. (Ie. their labour). Making money from restrictive licensing and monopolistic patents is ignoring the reality of the digital age.

The future of most content consumption and software usage is going to be tied to online services. Open source is perfectly suited to this upcoming model. Its the old media monopolies and bloated proprietary desktop software vendors that are refusing to stare reality in the face.

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FAIL

I used to have a lot of respect for Stallman, for his enthusiasm in the early days for making open source viable, but lately I'm beginning to tire of his attitude.

Yes, walled gardens are bad if you're closed minded enough to say that anything that isn't absolutely-and-truly-completely-irrevocably-open is inherently bad. (Remember, this is the guy who critiqued OpenBSD for having *links* to non open projects in their repository, as apparently that's endorsement for not using absolutely open software.) In any case, this is really an attack on walled gardens, per se, but on the notion that some software can't be free; Stallman would be perfectly happy for every piece of software to be free and developers all to be hippies like him. (Case in point: the GPL of which he is so fond allows for charging for work. Except that after the first copy is sold, it can be freely redistributed legally, which would put a lot of developers out of business.)

What Stallman forgets is that the rest of us have to live in the real world. We don't all live in his cloud of idealism. If I need a piece of software to do a job, I'm faced with a) writing it myself, or assuming such options exist, b) finding an open source tool to do it for me, or c) buying a tool to do it.

That's me. I'm able to have all three options for a lot of things. But there's plenty of times that only b) or c) are options for me, for things I can't write myself without vast, vast amounts of effort. I couldn't, for example, sit and write a DVD burning package. There are open source ones and there are paid ones, which is cool.

Here's the point though: most people who live in the real world do not actually care about the idealism of free/open source software. They want a tool that gets the job done, with the least fuss possible. Makes no odds to me whether I use a F/OSS DVD burner package or a paid one - as long as it does the job.

Now, most F/OSS tools I've seen haven't yet reached the ease of use and approachability that the paid counterparts have. I'm one of the people who has the time and resources to play around and try and make things work, but plenty of people don't have the time, resources or flat out skill to do it, and will quite happily pay for something to do it for them.

Jobs understood that. Gates understands that. Stallman... not so smart.

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Flame

"Case in point: the GPL of which he is so fond allows for charging for work. Except that after the first copy is sold, it can be freely redistributed legally, which would put a lot of developers out of business"

I was starting to wonder if I was the only one to notice this. The GPL licence even has the audacity to specifically claim it does not mean "free as in beer" and that you are encouraged to charge for your software. Utter crap. There is a reason why the documentation for commercial open source software (which does not have a "sugar daddy" sponsor at least) is often utter shite, it's so that they can legally (by the GPL) sting you for support costs as it's the only way of getting money back. See the ridiculous state of affairs where some companies are obfuscating their updates as others try to supply support in their place. Completely unsustainable.

A horribly misleading licence with disasterous consequences for the quality of software using it.

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Silver badge

Stallman's smart enough, probably on par with Gates and Jobs. The problem is that he's more narrowly focused in his intelligence. That and he believes that proprietary software is inherently evil.

To be fair a lot of companies that sell proprietary software have exploitive business practices and Apple's one of the worst. That kind of thing is what helped form his opinion of proprietary software. Stallman goes too far the other direction in my opinion with his view that all software should be free. As far as I'm concerned there is a place for both FOSS and proprietary software.

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"Here's the point though: most people who live in the real world do not actually care about the idealism of free/open source software."

Very true, however it's important that some people do care about these things, and that is something RMS does very well. Basically he's being a dick so that we don't have to.

Benjamin Franklin said "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." - and you could easily substitute 'convenience' or 'usability' for 'security' in that sentence. The benefits of free and open software are not as immediately obvious as those of a convenient and well-designed user-interface - but that's not to say that they are not, in the long term, of greater importance.

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