RMS interview

Alessandro Rubini rubini at gnu.org
Tue Jun 25 21:38:01 UTC 2002

> 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

I agree with  the other replies, but I'd add the following point.

Most people can't program, and they don't care about because it's not
their job. Similarly, most people aren't lawyers nor doctors.

But what if lawyers and doctors would solve (or not solve, sometimes)
their client's problems without telling them all the information? What
if all legal decisions and laws would be held secret; what if no
doctor would state what the medicines are, and all medical
publications would be classified material subject to NDA and
industrial secret?

I don't care if most users are not programmers. They are free to pay
their programmer of choice to fix troubles.

But freedom is twofold: freedom of the user doesn't mean less freedom
for the producer. Delivering Free Software to my clients, I'm free to
*not* offer long-term support; I couldn't do that if I used a
proprietary model.  Sometimes I'm even free to *not* document my
solution to problems, when it is small enough it is self-documenting.

Free Software lowers the barrier to entry, both by allowing anyone to
easily get skilled, *and* by allowing SME's to offer long-term
credibility to their customers.

> On a business level you are more likely to
> have someone being capable to give you this control or you can hire
> someone.

You can't do that with proprietary software. Or you can do that only
to a limited extent, with no control of *what* extent.

> On a private level that doesn't work and you are one or another way
> "controlled" by someone else.

You can choose your lawyer and your doctor. You'll be able to choose
your programmer as well, and pay her too.

> If I tell many of the ordinary users about this they are most likely
> rolling their eyes or burst into laughter.

First you must make them see that programming is done by people (and
not by companies as most of them think).  Missing that, they'll laugh
at you.


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