How to promote free software

Nick Mailer nickm at
Tue Dec 3 15:32:38 UTC 2002

On Tue, 2002-12-03 at 14:58, Richard Stallman wrote:
>     I think we definitely got a message out at the european parliament
>     recently. Although I do feel that most parties will be moving to
>     harmonize with the US markets, no matter what we tell them.
> Please do not be defeatist--since you see it will be a hard fight, the
> right conclusion is that *you need to join in*.

Believe it or not, being realistically cynical is not mutually exclusive
with joining in. I am joining in, but am sufficiently realistic to
appreciate that there are economic and political forces at work that
will ensure this gets through, by hook or by crook (with, of course,
particular emphasis on crook).

My hope is that we, as a culture, will realise through painful
experience the dangers of allowing corporations such heggemony and will
resolve it in a Hegelian sense. Until then, I will fight the fight. But
I know windmills when I see them.

> This is not really a matter of "harmonizing with the US market".
> That is a misleading way to think of the issue.

Maybe so. But it's the propaganda that's used within Europe to justify
it. It's seen as if we're just agreeing to some shared protocol;
naturally, the reality is far more iniquitous.

>      Great speech there on tuesday btw, I much enjoyed listening to it. :-)
> I am glad you enjoyed it, but it was not meant to be entertaining.
> The point here is to stop software patents in Europe.

And one of the most effective ways of energising people is by
entertaining them. So don't apologise if that was your effect ;-)

> We need your help!

And you'll get it. But you won't get it from hopeless idealists thinking
that "We The People" can make sod all of difference in these matters.
You'll get it from people who are realistic enough to realise that this
fight is going to be very, very drawn out, and won't be won simply by
winning the argument. If that were all that there was to it, we'd have
done so already.

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