[FSFE PR][EN] [GNU/FSF Press] "Free Software: The Free Market/Free Speech Solution to the Microsoft Antitrust Problem" on October 10, 2001

Bradley M. Kuhn pr at gnu.org
Mon Sep 24 14:52:02 CEST 2001

There is an HTML version of this press release at:


Media Contact: Cyberspace Policy Institute
               Tony Stanco <Tony at FreeDevelopers.net>
               Phone: +1-202-994-5513

               Free Software Foundation
               Bradley M. Kuhn <pr at fsf.org>
               Phone: +1-617-542-5942

   Richard Stallman and Eben Moglen to Speak at GWU's Cyberspace Policy
                   Institute's Free Software Conference

  "Free Software: The Free Market/Free Speech Solution to the Microsoft
                  Antitrust Problem" on October 10, 2001

Washington, D.C., USA - Monday, September 24, 2001 - Dr. Richard Stallman,
founder and President of the Free Software Foundation, and Eben Moglen,
Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and General Counsel for the FSF,
will speak at George Washington University's Cyberspace Policy Institute
in Washington, D.C., October 10, 2001 at the CPI's Free Software
Conference: "Free Software: the Free Market/Free Speech Solution to the
Microsoft Antitrust Problem."

The Free Software Foundation promotes the development and use of Free
Software - particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux
variants - and Free Documentation for Free Software.  GNU/Linux is the
integrated combination of the GNU operating system with the kernel, Linux,
written by Linus Torvalds in 1991.  The various versions of GNU/Linux have
an estimated 20 million users worldwide.

"If code is law, then the real question we must face is: who should
control the code?" says Dr. Stallman.  "Can it be left to a few companies
to secretly do whatever they please with the code, regardless of the
interests of the public at large?

"Software today can control the way the world lives, communicates and does
business," Dr. Stallman continues.  "Proprietary software is typically
secret - you can't change it, or even see what it really does.  You can't
tell if it has back doors, or sends your personal information to a server
on the net.  You cannot even prevent changes that are detrimental, such as
a future version unable to access the files you are saving today.

"A choice of proprietary programs is just a choice of masters.  Should the
code you use be under the control of Microsoft, or any other private
company? Or should you control the software you use?

"Free Software provides a democratic alternative.  The GNU General Public
License, or GPL, was specifically designed to make sure the public's right
to the software freedoms we feel are vital in a free society are defended
and upheld for everyone.  I use the expression 'free society' deliberately
in this context, so there will be no misunderstanding about the meaning of
the word 'free' in 'Free Software'.  It refers to freedom--the freedom to
use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs.  We are not
opposed to profit or to business, but business must respect the public's
freedom and community if it is to be legitimate."

Dr.  Stallman will explain what Free Software means, briefly give its
history, explain how software freedoms are currently being threatened by
software patents, the DMCA, and the Hague Treaty, and show how Microsoft
can use such tools to create a new monopoly, as well as make clear how
government agencies, researchers, schools, nonprofit organizations,
businesses, and all users can benefit by switching from proprietary to
Free Software.

Professor Moglen will speak about copyright and patent law and how
proprietary software restricts the freedoms of software developers and of
users, as well as speaking on the impact of the Free Software Movement.

"Free Software is an ethical movement that establishes the constructive
alternative to corporate globalization," says Professor Moglen.  "It is a
technical movement that has changed the software industry and can make
monopolization impossible forever.  And it is the centerpiece of the New
Economy.  Microsoft and its allies will spend tens of millions of dollars
this year telling lies about Free Software.  On October 10, you can learn
the truth about Free Software from the people who made it happen."

Eben Moglen holds a Ph.D. in history and a J.D. from Yale
University.  Moglen is currently a professor of law and legal history at
Columbia University Law School and serves as general counsel for the Free
Software Foundation.  His homepage is http://moglen.law.columbia.edu/.

Tony Stanco, Esq., Founder of FreeDevelopers.net and Senior Policy Analyst
of the Cyberspace Policy Institute says, "The moral question between Free
and proprietary software ultimately revolves around this issue: Is
software more like law? (Which ought to be Free and open to public
inspection, so that the public can participate in the formation of the
social contract by which they will be governed).  Or is it more like
literature? (Which has been traditionally viewed as the creator's private
property).  It's increasingly clear that with the Internet, software has
begun to supplement the traditional function of law and that digital
machines are fast becoming a nonhuman, cyberpolice force watching and
directing everything people do.

"The Cyberspace Policy Institute decided to sponsor this conference so
that policymakers in Washington, their staff, the press, students, and all
who are interested in how software can affect them, can be introduced to
Free Software and meet those who began the Free Software Movement.

Tony Stanco will also say a few words on: Why the world's richest company
is attacking the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) by calling it a
"cancer", a "destroyer" of innovation, "anti-American"? Whether this is
true, or whether Microsoft dislikes the GPL because the four freedoms it
establishes for computer users make monopolies hard to sustain? How Free
Software created products, like the GNU/Linux operating system, that
compete with Microsoft's Windows on heavy-duty servers in the back office?
Why the principles of the new Intellectual Age are fundamentally different
from those of the previous Industrial Age? Whether Software Freedom can
restore innovation and creativity to the software industry and provide a
way to solve the Microsoft antitrust question? Whether Microsoft's .Net
initiative will inevitably continue its monopoly? Or will Free Software's
DotGNU project break the Microsoft stranglehold and liberate computer
users to control the software they use?

Tony Stanco said, "We invited Microsoft to send a representative to join
in the conference, because it seemed unfortunate that Craig Mundie, VP of
Microsoft, has not yet had the opportunity to debate on the subject of the
GPL face to face with Dr. Stallman, the man who created it.  He has not
accepted our invitation to date, but he is still welcome.  It's an open

The event will be held Wednesday, October 10, 2001 in the George
Washington University Marvin Center Ballroom (800 21st Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20052), beginning at 12:00 noon and ending at 5:00 PM.
There will be a break at midpoint, with light refreshments served.

For more information and to register for this free event, please go to the
Cyberspace Policy Institute website [http://www.cpi.seas.gwu.edu/].

About GNU:

GNU is a Free Software Unix-like operating system.  Development of GNU
began in 1984.  The site, at http://www.gnu.org, explains the GNU project
in detail.

GNU/Linux is the integrated combination of the GNU operating system with
the kernel, Linux, written by Linus Torvalds in 1991.  The various versions
of GNU/Linux have an estimated 20 million users.  Some people call the
GNU/Linux system "Linux", but this misnomer leads to confusion (people
cannot tell whether you mean the whole system, or the kernel, which is one
part), and spreads an inaccurate picture of the system's history and
origin.  Making a consistent distinction between GNU/Linux, the whole
operating system, and Linux, the kernel, is the best way to clear up the

About the Free Software Foundation:

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting
computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute
computer programs.  The FSF promotes the development and use of Free (as
in freedom) Software - particularly the GNU operating system and its
GNU/Linux variants - and Free Documentation for Free Software.  The FSF
also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of
freedom in the use of software.  Their web site, located at
http://www.fsf.org, is an important source of information about GNU/Linux.
They are headquartered in Boston, MA, USA.

About Cyberspace Policy Institute:

The Cyberspace Policy Institute is a center at George Washington
University to promote the analysis of policy problems that have a
significant computer systems component.  Inside GW, the Institute brings
together researchers with interests in these areas, bridging discipline
barriers, much as the new information age is bridging cultural and
geopolitical barriers.  Outside of the University, it works with government
and private organizations to examine important issues in computer and
communications systems policy.  The Institute carries out studies and hosts
seminars and conferences that move society towards rational and informed
discussion of these critical changes.  CPI's mission is to encourage,
promote, facilitate, and execute interdisciplinary research in areas
related to the nexus of society and the Internet.  The site is

About DotGNU:

DotGNU, a joint FreeDevelopers and GNU Project, will be a complete Free
Software replacement for the Microsoft .NET initiative.  Unlike the
centralization of important Internet functions on Microsoft-controlled
servers, DotGNU will use a decentralized paradigm with personal
information and authorization/authentication functions on the user's own
home or corporate machines, or other distributed network of trusted
intermediaries, like existing Internet service providers or financial
institutions.  The site is http://www.gnu.org/projects/dotgnu/.

About FreeDevelopers.net:

FreeDevelopers is an international self-regulatory organization of Free
Software developers for the development of Free Software.  The purpose of
FreeDevelopers is to create a viable, for profit, business model for Free
Software development.  The commercial principles of the new Intellectual
Age are substantially different from those of the Industrial Age, because
intellectual products are most efficiently produced by an inclusionary
paradigm, not the exclusionary one of the previous epoch.  FreeDevelopers
was founded by Tony Stanco, Esq., a former Senior Attorney with the
Securities and Exchange Commission, Internet and software group.  Tony
Stanco has a LL.M.  in securities regulation from the Georgetown
University Law Center.  He is also a Senior Policy Analyst with the
Cyberspace Policy Institute at George Washington University.  The site is
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