D. Lyons Rips RMS
I would like to extend a welcome to Simon G. Best's new Sinking Point blog, which debunks many of the imaginations found on the Floating Point blog of Dan Lyons. Mr. Best is a frequent poster at Groklaw. Mr. Lyons is a reporter for the Forbes.
Recently, there was an interview featured on Groklaw with Richard M. Stallman of the Free Software Foundation.
Dan Lyons pulls a section out of that interview to try to paint RMS as one of those "bomb-tossing loonies" he likes to sneer at. One problem, Mr. Lyons: it is already well known that RMS believes that Free Software is a moral choice and not just a way of getting free programmers and free distribution.
It is important to note that many buyers eventually begin to long for a more open system when the manufacturer decides that it is time to abandon the console game field or to drop support for their older systems in favor of newer ones. There are a number of us that played Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System games, or maybe the earlier Nintendo or Atari games, but were left behind when the companies moved on to something else. In fact, it felt like I was the only person in the country to buy a 3DO console.
Amazingly, people spend hundreds of dollars on these systems and then decide to try to install other operating systems (e.g., Linux, NetBSD, ReactOS, Haiku) on them. While I would never waste my money buying a known closed system just for the challenge of finding a way to open it up, it does show that purchasers and end-users of those systems are craving more openness than manufacturers have granted up to this time.
I personally do not consider it a moral issue that the Wii, for example, is a closed system. This is mostly because I currently have a choice of fairly open systems available to me. If the general PC market were to move toward this closedness, I would certainly be a loud and vocal advocate against this process. Having said that, I believe RMS is a forward-thinking person who is attempting to head off such problems before they arrive.
Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Mr. Stallman, there was no cause to try to make him look foolish. If you take off your corporate blinders for a moment, much of what he is saying makes sense if you read it in the context in which he says it. I guess journalists have forgotten what English teachers used to tell us about interpreting things in context.
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