How to promote free software

Wim De Smet fragmeat at
Tue Dec 3 19:54:28 UTC 2002

On 03 Dec 2002 15:32:38 +0000
Nick Mailer <nickm at> wrote:

> 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).

Parliament has limited power in the EU. And politics tend to follow the
way of the money. I think there's a chance at defeating software patents
(at least partially) and I'll do everything in my power to stop that
(which is not much atm) but that doesn't mean I'm not overall
pessimistic about the matter. Software patents are still being support
at government level in different eu countries and in the commission,
there's still lots of work there.

> 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.

As I said: money, money, money. I believe politicians are honest people
but when the economy goes through a slump they'll try any retarded means
to get on top of it (which they normally only do because of natural
causes, not the laws they approved). Sorry if this again sounds cynical.
I can't help feeling that's a realistic approach. In though economic
times (which some people seem to believe we are in now) protectionism
makes sense in politics. Software patents, to me, are related to those

> >      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 ;-)
You very much misunderstood me (mr stallman). I enjoyed listening to it
because I found it intellectually engaging and interesting. Not because
I found it funny. Good point about entertainment though...

> > 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.
very right.


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