RMS interview

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at intevation.de
Tue Jun 25 20:09:56 UTC 2002

On Tue, Jun 25, 2002 at 09:38:00PM +0200, Rainer Trusch wrote:
> I decided to join the list, to bother you a bit with my comments ;-)

Welcome Rainer! :)

> > OfB: What are some of the advantages of Free Software for businesses?
> > 
> > RMS: Free software means you control what your computer
> > does.  Non-free software means someone else controls that, and to
> > some extent controls you. Non-free software keeps users divided and
> > individually helpless; free software empowers the users. All these
> > reasons apply just as well to business users as to individuals.

> I read this argument quite often and think it's pretty useless in
> a broader few. The vast majority of users can't programm and is still
> depending on someone else. On a business level you are more likely to
> have someone being capable to give you this control or you can hire
> someone. On a private level that doesn't work and you are one or
> another way "controlled" by someone else.

You recognised the argument for business settings which it aimed at.
Even for private users that cannot programm Free Software raises 
the chances to have more control significantly. 

> I'm picking on that, because we are talking about a greater idea 
> and such an argument isn't really approachable for the majority of users.

Sometimes I compare this to the rights you have as a citizen of
a democratic country. Usually you do not take these right to the
limits but having them keeps everybody and especially the government 
more honest. Without everybody executing these rights they still are 
an important foundation of our society.

> Another point is the separation from some of the less free
> licenses. Even the beloved yast licence gives you the complete
> control. The problem is the distribution issue.

The yast license renders yast to be non-free software.

The freedom to redistribute the software and use it for any purpose
is crucial. Without it, peer review and further development
is effectively prohibited. Every user profits from the freedom because 
they and other developers depend on the proprietor of the software.
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