Richard Stallman's new article: Overcoming Social Inertia

Sam Liddicott sam at
Tue Nov 6 12:51:20 UTC 2007

I don't mean to spam the list, but there are some additional thoughts
maybe worth sharing.

I put up with my own non-free use because I know my escape route is
already planned and being developed.
My data isn't stuck in proprietary systems. Although my some of the
hardware is, I'm willing to sacrifice it.

While I suspect I'm not in the situation of most people RMS was speaking
of, I think the root in both cases is that non-free systems appear to
offer more liberty (in the users own terms) than available free systems.

I suspect this also relates to many users not able to see or affect
their employers wider interests. "Proprietary systems may be in the
employers best interests but it will make my job harder now."; like my
council IT department.

Some local council employees wished to help publish our community
newsletter. I indicated that they would need to use open office; they
tried to get the software but their response was:
"I have had many discussions with our IT department and they have
decided not to download Open Office on to my system as it is similar to
word and will cause too many problems to my system."

How can you deal with attitude like that? In the IT department too! "Too
many problems" is very subjective and often means "it's too much trouble
to find out" or "too much trouble to think about change" and depending
on IT policy maybe it is.

So in the matter of freedom, the efforts to be free sometimes clash with
existing loyalties. An individual may cut those ties to avoid taint but
also lose the chance to bring the organisation "with them" later.

Freedom always comes down to politics.


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