En legende i Danmark - Richard Stallman

En af de største legender indenfor "GNU plus Linux"-verdenen er Richard Stallman (RMS). RMS har i en menneskealder ledet an i fri software-projektet GNU og han har været en af de største udviklere til GNU Emacs, GCC, GPL og meget andet. Han har dedikeret sit liv til fri software ud fra hans ønske om frihed for brugere og udviklere. Han er en ener, og absolut ikke nem at arbejde med. Jeg har kendt RMS i en del år nu, og har stor faglig og filosofisk respekt for ham - men som menneske er han krævende.

RMS gav lørdag den 31/3 to foredrag - først på BEC Business i Ballerup hvor PROSA inviterede og dernæst holdt han et kanon godt foredrag på DTU om problemerne ved software patenter for en fyldt sal af tilhørere.

Illustration: Privatfoto

Jeg fik muligheden for at interviewe RMS mellem de to foredrag. Jeg overværede lige ComputerWorlds udsendte rapporter få klar besked om at nu gad RMS ikke at høre mere på ham, fordi RMS mente det var "ubehageligt" for ham. Jeg blev ikke chokeret - jeg kender det :) Man kan bare sige "Linux" en gang, så er RMS klar med at det hedder "GNU/Linux" eller "GNU plus Linux".
RMS er bare ikke "poleret" og "nem", som I kan høre i interviewet - men har har alligevel så mange gode pointer, at jeg altid ser frem til at mødes med ham.

Over til engelsk...

This interview covers five topics:

  • GPLv3
  • Where are we with free software today?
  • Free and Open Standards
  • How to influence our freedom?
  • ODF vs. OpenXML

Below you will find each of the questions, the replies, as well as video for each of the topics. Enjoy :-)

**Question:*** GPLv3 is due this summer - Linus, Hewlett-Packard have raised voice against it - while SUN seems to favour GPLv3 over GPLv2. And the latest draft of GPLv3 releassed it seems that at least Linus Torvalds is no longer totally against GPLv3. Would you care to comment shortly on how GPLv3 will change the existing GPL projects.*

which RMS wants shorted to ... what will GPLv3 mean for us?

RMS:
The reason for revising the GNU General Public License is mainly to protect users from new methods, of trying to take away their freedom.

The overall purpose of the GNU GPL, what distinguishes the GNU GPL from other free software licenses, is that it is designed to defend freedom for all users.

All free software licenses have to recognise freedom, but many free software licenses allow middlemen to take away the freedom from the software, before the software reaches you.

The GNU GPL is designed to make sure that can't happen, to make sure that every user that get the software gets the freedom.

When I wrote version 1 of the GPL, I knew of two things that middle men might do to take away the freedom. One was don't release the source code. The other was add other license restrictions, so GPL version 1 said you have to release the source code and you can't add other license restrictions. For GPL version 2 I blocked another possible attack on your freedom which was using patents. In GPL version 3 we aimed to block two other ways of denying the users the essential freedoms. One method is called Tivoisation after the product in which I first heard about it, and that is making a machine which contains a binary of a free program, and which refuses to run modified versions, so that normally people have the freedom to change the source code, and install their changed versions, the machine just wont run anymore if they do. So GPL version 3 does not allow Tivoisation, it says if they distribute these binaries they have to provide you with what it takes to install your modified version and make it run in your machine.

The other new attack that we found out about is the one in the Novell-Microsoft deal, that is a deal where a distributor coins with the patent holder. And the distributor pays the patent holder for distributing copies, and the customers of that distributor get a limited patent license from the patent holder, so this is a way that patent holders can try to use those patents to make the software effectively proprietary. Because the patent license doesn't allow them to redistribute the way GPL says they are supposed to be able to. So we are blocking that as well --- to see the details look at gplv3.fsf.org you can see the text you can see the explanations of all the changes we have made.

There are other improvements in GPLv3, for instance it is designed to be more internationally uniform. We have avoided using certain terminology such as the word "distribute" who's meaning varies more between countries, so we found other words to use that don't vary between countries so that the requirements of the GPL will be as close as possible to the same everywhere. And we have things to negate various unjust laws such as the digital millennium copyright act and the EU copyright directive. So that GPL covered software will not be able to be used as the excuse to forbid somebody else from distributing software that does a related job. The procedure for terminating the licenses changed, with GPLv2 if you ever violate the license your license has been terminated automatically, and you at that point have to ask for forgiveness from all the copyright holders who might be thousands. With GPLv3 only the ones who send you notice have a valid objection now any of them could sent you notice, suppose you correct the problem and then most of them don't bother to complain, then you only have to ask for forgiveness from the one who actually did tell you they objected.

PT: So it would be easier for the guys who ...

RMS: Who make a mistake, and want to correct it --- yes.

PT: Version 3 is due this summer right?

RMS: Yes.

The plan is 60 days of comment period starting with last Wednesday then another draft and then 30 more days of commenting on that.

PT: Exciting.

Click to hear Richard Stallman.

                                                        [![Eksternt billede](http://blip.tv/file/get/Ing-stallman1334.flv.jpg" border="0" title="Click To Play)](http://blip.tv/file/get/Ing-stallman1334.flv)  

Click To Play

**Question:***The Free Software Foundation has always been fighting for the freedom of developers and users. If you look back, where would you say we are doing now' Is your vision of more freedom about to be come through with GNU/Linux, KDE, Gnome, Beryl, OpenOffice.org and various other good software program out there' Where are we?*

RMS: I can't foretell the future, my crystal ball is cloudy, and the reason I can't foretell the future is it depends on you. We are fighting for freedom, if a lot of people join in we are more likely to win. If few people join in we are more likely to loose. So you have to defend your freedom, you can't just leave it up to other people, and assume they will be enough.

PT: I fully agree.

Click to hear Richard Stallman.

                                                        [![Eksternt billede](http://blip.tv/file/get/Ing-stallman2899.flv.jpg" border="0" title="Click To Play)](http://blip.tv/file/get/Ing-stallman2899.flv)  

Click To Play

Question: I wanted to ask...."The term of "open standards" is hot this year in the European countries. The term "open standards" is trying to describe formats for data interchange in a open way. In the Danish government it has been agreed to work with a defition of an open standard by three clauses:

  • *Fully and well-documented*
  • *Can be implemented freely*
  • *Standardised and maintained in an open forum*

Will you comment on the ideas of open standard, and where do you see this discussion is going."

RMS: I call those free standards, and I think it is very important.

PT: Yes. We have actually gone through the government with this and what we want, and got all the parties to signing a bill for that in Denmark.

RMS: Whoah! Congratulations.

PT: This is being implemented this year. How do you see the struggle for free standards.

RMS: Well it's a vital part of the campaign for free software. When people are communicating using a language that is a proprietary secret then we can't implement free software that talk that language, so essentially free software is prohibited by that arrangement. So use of free standards will remove a major obstacle, and it's the right thing to do on general principals anyway, so it's very good.

Click to hear Richard Stallman.

                                                        [![Eksternt billede](http://blip.tv/file/get/Ing-stallman3547.flv.jpg" border="0" title="Click To Play)](http://blip.tv/file/get/Ing-stallman3547.flv)  

Click To Play

Question: My last question I have for you today is that freedom is clearly a main theme of both your and my mind. How do you think can we best influence our own situation in this very turbulent IT-society this year.

(note: it ended not being the last question...)

Where should we get active?

RMS: I don't know. I'm not an expert on that and different countries are different. You are in a better place to figure out an effective tactics than I am, I know something about tactics that have been used for various courses in the US, but politics work differently in different countries, and they may not be effective here -- or they might, I don't know. But the point is if you have activists here, they are more likely, such as perhaps you are more likely, to see a good answer to that question than I am. I focus on convincing people to get active, rather than on trying to try to tell them precisely how.

PT: Could you name a few of these areas, where you very strongly believe that we should get active these years.

RMS: Migrating the schools is very important. The state should migrate the state school system to free software, and cease teaching proprietary software, that is very important. That is the responsibility of every government. Migrating government agencies to free software is also important, it is important for several reasons, first of all because these agencies should have control of their own computing, in fact they have a responsibility always to maintain control of their own computing, which they do on behalf of the citizens. They may not legitimately allow the control of their computing to fall into private hands, but using a proprietary program is exactly that. They must never use proprietary software, they must never give a private entity control over the states computing. But also because it's good for the state to create a market for free software support, when public agencies migrate and thus create this market that will mean they are support providers, and that means any company or other organisation that wants to migrate will find support is already available, and that there is various providers to choose from, so that will make it easy for them. And the governments overall mission is to make sure that society respects the freedom of the citizens and encourages their cooperation -- promoting free software is an obvious part of that, so all parts of the government should be helping to do this, at the same time as they do their own specific missions. Another thing we need to do is get active against laws that forbid free software, get rid of them if they exist, and prevent them from being adopted if they are proposed.

Click to hear Richard Stallman.

                                                        [![Eksternt billede](http://blip.tv/file/get/Ing-stallman4541.flv.jpg" border="0" title="Click To Play)](http://blip.tv/file/get/Ing-stallman4541.flv)  

Click To Play

Question: Another issue which is clearly a "top-one" - especially within Denmark at the moment - is that we have another struggle about which format to use for documents like you have the Word .doc format.

The next line of the discussion seems to be between the ODF vs. the OpenXML format.

RMS: Right. You shouldn't use Microsoft's format. Microsoft's format is designed ... is so complicated that in practice nobody will be able to implement it except Microsoft, and besides it's patented, at least in some countries, maybe not here, but in many parts of the world nobody but Microsoft will be allowed to implement it -- or at least not in free software, I should say. Microsoft has made a statement granting a limited patent license whose conditions do not allow free software. So I should say more correctly that free software in many countries will not be allowed to implement Microsoft's format.

PT: So it will be quite exciting the next few years.

RMS: Well you know fighting for freedom is not something we do for excitement. Freedom is important to it's own right.

PT: I fully agree.

Click to hear Richard Stallman.

                                                        [![Eksternt billede](http://blip.tv/file/get/Ing-stallman5767.flv.jpg" border="0" title="Click To Play)](http://blip.tv/file/get/Ing-stallman5767.flv)  

Click To Play

Hele interview-filen f.eks. om OGG-fil (lyd) eller AVI (video) kan I downloade fra min server http://petertoft.dk/rms/.
Bemærk at interviewet i den form bærer en copyright notice:
Copyright 2007 Richard Stallman
Verbatim copying, distribution and public performance of this entire speech recording is permitted in any medium provided this notice is preserved.

Tak til Georg Sluyterman og Casper Thomsen for hjælp til kodning.
Ligeledes tak til Anders Porsbo som har afskrevet hele foredraget ud fra OGG-filen og Dennis Krøger som har rettet trykfejl i dette.

Bemærk at man kan finde Flash-afspilleren Gnash på http://www.gnu.org/software/gnash/

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Anders Porsbo

Kristian Thy: Ja det kan kun gaa galt, at forsoege at oversaette saadan noget (imho).

Jeg var meget imponeret over hvor velovervejet, og praecis RMS er i sine svar og overvejelser. Det var en ren fornoejelse at hoere en der har saa skarp sans for at formulere sig, paa et omraade, som er saa vigtigt.

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