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Panorama of Richard Stallman: The P Series (2013)

Posted in Site News at 3:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman

Photo from Stallman.org

Summary: Upcoming series of discussions with the founding father of Free (as in freedom) software and the GNU project

The ‘P’ series, as one might call it, explores the opinions of Dr. Stallman and documents a concise version of them in TechBytes Video. It is subdivided into short segments so as to make it easier to follow a long interview. It is split into distinguishable parts that are quick to download (or stream), link to by topic, and generally share without over-encumbering the recipient (a downside of public talks on the Web, sometimes with informal Q&A sessions appended). Not many people have the patience and the time to watch over an hour of video, let alone listen to hours of audio alone (at least not consecutively).

Each part in this series is summarised by a word starting with the letter P, based on an outline I wrote on the train to Oxford (where I met Stallman). All parts were filmed in Wolfson College at Oxford University and they were never edited to embellish, remove or alter the context (maybe just to crop out completely irrelevant chat). This is not a staged interview (some groups do stage their interviews) and Stallman was not shown these topics in advance. This is being stated upfront because all individuals have some weaknesses when they cannot prepare for questions and cannot rely on editing to remove sneezing, pauses, interruptions, etc.

Videos were filmed using Android 4.0, which is Free software. These videos are made available in free formats (codecs) as Stallman wishes for people to get Free software and not be required to install proprietary software in order to watch him.

Over the next few months we will release segments touching on the following topics, all starting with the letter P. Those topics are:

Privacy – NSA surveillance, ECHELON, storage/network backbones

Progress – On transparency/accountability in government, petitions and popular action, independence from political parties

Piracy’ – Copyrights as censorship, war on sharing using copyright as pretext, inadequacy for digital age economics

Press – Corporate ownership, involvement with secret services (confirmed in the UK)

Proprietary software – Firmware, compilation from source and assurance, freedom aspects (for developers and users)

Plutocrats – Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or plutocrats in general

Price hikes – Inflation, LIBOR, banking institutions, trade agreements

Poverty – High child poverty levels (among Western nations), minimum wage policy, part-time/temporary worker loopholes

Protectionism – Lobbying, subsidies from taxpayers, bailout assurances, government contracts (no tender)

Public health service – Number one cause of bankruptcies in the United States, where around 1.5 million families file for bankruptcy every year

Prisons/penal system – Privatisation as root cause for high incarceration rates. Swartz, Hammond, ‘Weev’ and the fight against (non-government-employed) hackers.

Protest – Sit-ins, boycotts, whistleblowers

Politics – drone warfare, torture, indefinite detention

Power versus those who speak truth to power – Obama’s journalists-targetting crackdown, Hastings’ death while working on a massive NSA/CIA story (then having people whom he knew harassed by the FBI, Wikileaks’ lawyer contacted a few hours before a suspicious accident), no-fly lists or flagged passengers (GAP manager says meeting Assange leads to that and a microphone was recently found planted in the Ecuadorian embassy in London)

Police – Strategy of group infiltration (especially notorious in the United Kingdom), secret courts/laws/interpretations

Patents – UPC (unitary patent in the EU), scope of patents, expansionism (e.g. export of laws to New Zealand)

Parenting/Censorship – Racism, child abuse, political dissent, state secrets, passwords leak, threatening messages (e.g. threats of violence)

Potentially also (at a later point):

Peace – Motivations of the arms industry, divide-and-rule strategy, class warfare (or race and sexuality as sources of friction), multiculturalism

Prose – Poems and other writings

Pets – Cats and dogs, parrots, appreciation of nature, including flora

Public relations – Reputation damage to the Free Software Foundation, the GPL, and people who are associated with these

Peer to Peer – Infrastructure of networks, centralisation, so-called ‘cloud’ computing

Profiling – Facebook tagging by automated face recognition, geographic tagging, graphing of connections, data-mining browsing habits and content composition, automatic uploading of device-stored data, and the long-term impact of these developments

Polarisation – Status as ‘controversial’, why it is essential to think outside the box and persist even if it may inadvertently offend someone

Personal – Influences (television, radio, books, intellectuals) when growing up

Partner – Personal ad targeting a suitable lady, dedication to the GNU project which is akin to a child

Predictions – Something along the lines of Orwell about the boot crushing us, what we can expect to see happening to our freedom in the future

Stallman has been reading Techrights for quite some time, so we hope he and his work will become a regular feature in this Web site. My full-time job, my family, and dedication to sports generally leave with with minimal time to dedicate to Techrights, so it sure helps when others contribute. I’ve been corresponding a lot with Stallman recently and I understand how he feels rarely to receive credit for his sacrifices and achievements.

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