RMS interview

Rainer Trusch rainer.trusch at students.uni-mainz.de
Tue Jul 2 20:43:24 UTC 2002


I was afraid geting basically these answers. Here are some comments on

My concerns are more about the individual user, who are mentioned as
well and not so much about companies. I read the argument quite often
as a general user advandtage.

The argument about everybody can learn to programm ist nice in theory,
but the reality is different. Writing macros or helpful scripts is a
skill a lot more people can aquire, but this can be done with
proprietary software as well and we are looking for arguments, why
free software is better. Even aquiring this skill isn't that easy and
apealing for many people. People in this list have a very deep
relationship to computer technology and most likely a way of thinking
that is suitable for it, which makes it a lot easier for you. Don't
project this on other people.

Working the whole day in front of a computer doesn't increase the
interest for many people to use their spare time aquiring programming
skills. There is still a world beyond computers and free software isn't
the meaning of life.

Talking about control implies to me changing the source code of a
programm or fixing bugs, but this needs even greater skills. The
number people with such skills will increase, but for a long time it
will be a small minority.

The examples you gave aren't that good. Riding a bike for example is
like using a programm. Repairing or even improving a bike is more
adequate, but not as complex as programming is. Many nonprofessional
skills we use are more like ordinary using of a programm than doing
real programming. The comparison of a 'real' language with a
programming language is poor as well. Comunication between each other
is one of our most essential skills and has a long evolution. Learning
a language is a basically a subconscious process, espcially children
are good in that, but even adults are more likely to learn a language
by speaking with someone else or reading books in the desired language
without any conscious reflection. Learning a programming language is
an intelectual process, which makes a big difference.

I agree with the arguments about a better chance to find someone else
being capable to do the job for me. I can hire someone, which is more
suitable to companies. On an individual level I can find a friend
doing that and there is a community, which is more likely to listen to
my wishes, but it isn't a guaranty. This is absolutly okay, because
you can't have everything you want.

Coming back to the original argument, which was about having
control. All the arguments are for the majority based on an
"if...then...could" construct and a long tail of indirect effects,
which aren't obvious from the phrase. I picked on it, because the
argument is used quite often and without all the additions. If your
aren't into the issue you aren't likely to draw these conclusions and
these are the people I'm talking about. They have a different
perception of it and you shouldn't underestimate the fact.

We are comming to the difficult task to convince all these people and
moreover to make them appreciate it as a value and not just running
free software because someone else is running it. You are really into
the computer stuff and it is your passion, giving you a completly
different relationship to the issue than people who aren't. They have
many indirect effects like stability, security, etc. and a bunch off
somtimes very intellectual ideas and that makes the big difference. We
are talking about the world in our heads and this is a very complex
subject. I can't present a solution, but the issue has to be tacled to
make free software a really great thing. In my eyes it is one of the
greatest challanges.

By the way, you don't have to convince me about it.



More information about the Discussion mailing list