“‘Richard Stallman’ is just my mundane name, you can call me ‘rms'”. These famous words spoken from the American software freedom activist and computer programmer, Richard Stallman, are just one example that shows he is anything but ordinary. Richard Stallman is currently fighting against something most Americans do not even realize could be infringing upon their freedom, licensed software. Richard Stallman believes that it is a ‘crime against humanity’ to not allow users the  ability to share and make changes to the software that they use. This injustice led Stallman to create the GNU project, which invented the GNU software that is compatible with UNIX. Stallman went further in creating the non-profit Free Software Foundation which promotes the ability to freely create, distribute and modify computer software. While there is no denying the genius of Stallman, he does prove to be a very controversial man. Many people still adamantly believe that free software is little more than stealing the cumulation of other people’s hard work. Stallman has even gone as far to insult today’s great American hero, Steve Jobs. Stallman was quoted saying, “Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died”. However, regardless of the controversy and people’s stance on free software, Richard Stallman would make an amazing speaker. Stallman is clearly a smart and thought-provoking man who would give us incredible insight to many of the issues effecting today’s technology users. In a time when government is pushing the Piracy act and Apple’s app store is allowing people to “purchase” photoshop and other software for free, who else would be a more appropriate speaker than Richard Stallman? This is a man we could learn from and it would truly be an honor to have him speak at Bucknell University.

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6 responses »

  1. scoutberger says:

    I think that Stallman would be an incredibly interesting person to come to Bucknell’s campus and I believe he would be thoroughly enjoyable to listen to. The fact that Stallman is such a controversial figure could spark a very passionate discussion among the students in our class. Some people may agree with Stallman that it is “a crime again humanity” to not allow users the ability to share and make changes to software that they use. From what little I know about Stallman, I have somewhat disagree with his beliefs. I personally believe that free software is somewhat like stealing the cumulation of other people’s work that they have put time and dedication into. After reading about several different possible speakers to come to school, I strongly believe that Richard Stallman would be the most interesting and thought provoking person to come to speak at Bucknell.

  2. hannahglos says:

    I agree that Stallman would be a great speaker at to come to Bucknell. Given his insult to Steve Jobs, he is clearly a passionate man, and that kind if passion transmits well to an audience. I believe he would be a captivating speaker and, like Brooke said, would give us an insight into the issues regarding today’s technology. Similar to Mitch Kapor, he would be able to address today’s popular issues regarding online privacy laws and acts of piracy. Brooke also addressed something that I was previously unaware of; that Apple’s software is allowing its customers to purchase some software for free essentially. I think it would be interesting for Stallman to elaborate on this subject, and enlighten us about the inner workings that we are unaware of.

  3. smz006 says:

    To be honest I had no idea about the issues with licensed software. Not having a computer background I don’t really understand software, its creation and distribution. Is Mr. Stallman saying people should be allowed to share and change purchased software such as Windows 7 and OS X? If so wouldn’t that be considered piracy as people have worked hard to develop these operating systems and rightfully deserve the money consumers spend to purchase the software? Just like other industries where people can’t freely distribute and modify products or intellectual property, the computer software industry falls into the same category. Never the less Mr. Stallman would provide an interesting point of view and controversial thinkers can help broaden people’s perspectives.

  4. Connie says:

    Just based on the first sentence of this entry, it seems as if Stallman is an eccentric man, which is a trait that usually translates into dynamism as a speaker. His opinion on software and its availability to the masses isn’t one that is often argued for in today’s discussion on technology, so it would be fascinating to hear more about his reasoning. To continue, I’d like for Stallman to elaborate on why he thinks not allowing users the ability to share and make changes to a software is considered a “crime against humanity.” Those words seem like an over-exaggeration to me since I usually think of genocide, slavery, rape, etc. as crimes against humanity. I believe it’d be valuable and exceptionally thought-provoking to hear about his uncommon stances on these issues, particularly piracy of computer programming.

  5. ts036 says:

    Even though I don’t necessarily agree with everything that Stallman says, it is rather difficult to ignore him and his views. Up to this point, I hadn’t heard much about him and his movement towards the free software. But with internet independence constantly at jeopardy from the government, now might be the time that people stood and listened to what Stallman had to say. To some degree, Stallman could be even associated with the Occupy movement that has been happening all over the world, as a means of standing up to large corporations. But no matter how contrasting your ideas or beliefs are on the new technological age, an hour of Stallman’s ideas will surely not “cloud” anyone’s minds.

  6. mwh011 says:

    I think Stallman would be a very interesting speaker, especially given the current turmoil surrounding piracy issues. As a free software advocate, it would be interesting to see his stances on the SOPA and PIPA issues, and to hear how he sees the future of the internet playing out should censorship legislation pass. He seems like a passionate and interesting speaker, so I see no reason why he would not draw and nice crowd should he come to Bucknell.

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