Balancing accessibility and software freedom
Posted Aug 9, 2010 10:35 UTC (Mon) by rsidd
In reply to: Balancing accessibility and software freedom
Parent article: Balancing accessibility and software freedom
Really, this is not a matter of opinion. Stallman wants to ban proprietary software, and he would if he could. This is laid out in The GNU Manifesto: "Low-paying organizations do poorly in competition with high-paying ones, but they do not have to do badly if the high-paying ones are banned." And similar language elsewhere. In fact, in the very same thread under discussion here, he says "Proprietary software is digital colonization, unjust and evil. Our goal is therefore to eliminate proprietary software."
If it is silly to expect moral guidance from the FSF (and I agree it is), it is silly for RMS to rant about ethics as he does in most of his writings (good example here). RMS declaring proprietary software evil doesn't make it so, but try telling him that.
So, when you say,
>the fact that the FSF doesn't endorse the use of a proprietary tool doesn't mean that people can't use them if that's what they think it's best for them
it doesn't mean that to you and me: but RMS does consider it unethical (and indeed, being a willing accessory to evil.)
Actually, the entire GNU movement, it seems to me now (though it may not have been obvious 30 years ago), was based on a misdiagnosis. RMS's original problem was being unable to change the control program for a printer: but the problem was not the closed-source program, but the opaque interface. If the printer standards had been open and documented, RMS could have written his own driver program.
Likewise, if makers of nonstandard devices the world over suddenly decided to open-source their opaque and unintelligible drivers, we would not be much better off. If they opened their device documentation and specifications, we would be better off.
OpenBSD understands that open standards in hardware are the most important thing for users. RMS, despite his original motivation that illustrates this point, still doesn't seem to get it.
(And if proprietary text-speech programs were "banned", or if blind computer users are dissuaded from them because they are "unjust" and "evil", it is hard to say who would be better off. Certainly not the blind users! Even if it is an evil, allowing such a tool to plug into an otherwise free platform surely is a lesser evil than forcing such users to all-proprietary solutions? No, not to RMS. Not only is such software "evil" but there are no shades: it is all irredeemably evil regardless of quantity or context.)
to post comments)