EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

12.03.13

GNU is Not Linux: Richard Stallman Explains the Origins of GNU

Posted in Site News at 10:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another series of interviews coming…

Richard Stallman on chair

Summary: Stallman tells Techrights/TechBytes lesser-known details about the birth of GNU in the early 1980s

Freedom is appreciated by more and more people who now understand how freedom gets covertly derailed, either by corporations, by authorities, or both. The NSA leaks have helped people reassess their views.

A lot of the digital oppression that we now suffer from was vaguely foreseen decades ago. Back doors and other malicious features were only a few years or decades away back then; trust in computers was maintained owing to secrec; behind the scenes computers and networks turned from instruments of enablement to instruments of control (restriction, surveillance, and more). The trend we are seeing was predictable to pessimists. As times goes by the words of warning from Richard Stallman find support from a wider audience of former optimists.

Stallman’s life as a freedom activist mostly began 30 years ago. Our readers regularly ask for him to come back and share his views. Iophk pointed out that GNU’s anniversary was an opportunity to speak about the past. “Any kind of interview, either via e-mail or via SIP,” he said, “would be great.”

“I don’t think I’ve seen any retrospective yet covering where progress has actually been made. There are a lot of things that have become so common that we almost take them for granted or forget their origins.”

The interview with Stallman tries to focus on GNU as a movement and as a software project. It does cover some topics outside the area of software, but any topic other than software is not the main topic this time around. Some questions came from readers, giving an opportunity to receive a video response. Others were written in advance in order to address contemporary issues. The overview is as follows:

Part 1: the Origins of GNU

- – Can you recall the text/code editor (amongst other tools) used to initially create GNU and over time render proprietary software non-obligatory for development work?

- – What was the first GNU program?

- – How did the number of active participants vary over the years back in the 1980s?

Part 2: the Achievements of GNU

- – What is it among the goals of GNU which has not been fulfilled yet (if any)?

- – If the GNU operating system was widely preinstalled on restrictive hardware and preloaded with binary blobs, would that, in your view, be better than lesser ubiquity for GNU?

- – What will it take to break the desktop monopoly and tackle the OEM bundling trap?

Part 3: the Future of GNU

- – Do you believe that GNU receives as much credit as it deserves?

- – To what extent does attribution to GNU (which usually accompanies understanding of its principles) contribute to its sustainability as a long-term project?

- – Are you optimistic or pessimistic with respect to the future of computing as increasingly free/libre?

The interview took a short time compared to the 2.5 hours I spent with Stallman, mostly speaking off the record. Questions were also taken from readers and then answered. Someone asked me to ask “Richard what he thinks about Google? is it evil? is it lesser evil, just like in RMS’s example of lending a copy of software to your friend, even though this copy should not be copied?”

Questions were also asked about darknets and such. One person sought Stallman’s opinion on “i2p, freenet and the meshnets that are rising like Hyperborea with the altDNS deal.”

One reader wanted to “ask him to join Diaspora!”

For all those questions and much beyond them be sure to keep an eye on Techrights.

Among the topics covered we also had trolls, or those who focus on reputation damage to the Free Software Foundation, the GPL, and people who are associated with these. The interview will get split into segments and then edited as before, probably to be released over the span of the next 3 months (I work full time, so I must pace this editing process accordingly).

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 1/8/2015: Steam Sale, blackPanther OS 14.1

    Links for the day



  2. Vista 10 Inherently Criminal: Vandalising the Competition (Dual Boot, Rival Web Browsers, Online Services)

    Vista 10, the latest incarnation of Windows, takes its anticompetitive aspects to a whole new level, betraying even so-called 'partners' in the process



  3. As Microsoft AstroTurfing/PR Budget Runs Dry, Vista 10 Truths Come Out

    The media manipulation by Microsoft (to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars spent on 'marketing') grows thin as a growing number of growingly angry early adopters of Vista 10 publicly rant



  4. Links 31/7/2015: Lennart Poettering as 'Linux Hero' and systemd Conference Coming

    Links for the day



  5. Links 30/7/2015: Apache Spark on Z System, Elive 2.6.8 Beta

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft's Mouthpiece Mary Branscombe Tries to Shoot Down Free Software, But Fails Miserably

    At the CBS-owned ZDNet, which is Free/Open Source software-hostile, new FUD surfaces, but the FUD is so flawed that a full rebuttal is easy and almost imperative



  7. People of New Zealand Must Rise Up to Defend Sovereignty and Stop Software Patents

    The TPPA serves to override (launder) the law of New Zealand, allegedly legalising patents on software in the process



  8. Microsoft Illegally Evades Billions of Dollars in Tax, Says IRS

    The criminal enterprise known as Microsoft finds itself embarrassingly exposed in the courtroom, for the IRS belatedly (decades too late) targets the company in an effort to tackle massive tax evasions



  9. Vista 10 Very Buggy Upon Release, Just as We Have Repeatedly Warned for Weeks

    Vista 10 is prematurely pushed out the door (to meet a deadline) way ahead of it being stable, even remotely polished, and supported by hardware companies (there is a serious drivers issue)



  10. Surveillance Machine With a Keylogger: Vista 10 Will Spy on the User (Over the Internet) Even While Playing Games

    Microsoft is making it clear that even playing a simple game like Solitaire on Vista 10 will make one subjected to spying (for targeted ads); other serious violations of privacy revealed upon release



  11. Links 29/7/2015: Akademy 2015 Ends, NetBSD 7.0 RC

    Links for the day



  12. MPEG-LA is Preparing New Patent Obstruction (Called DASH) Against Free Software, OIN Grows

    A new conspiracy against free multimedia software, set up by the MPEG cartel, is called DASH



  13. New Zealand's Media Gets History Wrong on Software Patents

    Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand



  14. Not Only Vista 10 Crashes a Lot, Any .NET Application Does Too (Updated)

    Microsoft software is quickly becoming synonymous with crashes as any piece of software developed with Microsoft's tools, not just the underlying platform, crashes chronically



  15. The Government of Bulgaria Sells Out to Microsoft, Again

    Despite some promises and reassurances that Bulgaria will consider Free/libre software, the Bulgarian government hands out a lot more of taxpayers' money to the Mafia



  16. Corporate Media Finally Finds Out That Vista 10 Crashes a Lot

    Stability issues of Vista 10 are belatedly reported to be a major catastrophe, leaving it unusable for many early adopters



  17. Links 28/7/2015: Linux 4.2 RC4, New Logos and Bug 'Branding' for FUD

    Links for the day



  18. Patents Roundup: Technicolor, Alice, Voip-Pal, Fitbit, Marijuana Patents, and JDate

    A look at some of last week's patent news, with imperative responses that criticise corporate exploitation of patents for protectionism (excluding and/or driving away the competition using legal threats)



  19. Corporate Lobbyists Including Koch-Connected Front Groups Attack Real and Perceived Patent Reform in the United States

    Looking at some of the latest propaganda for and against a bill which is already too watered-down to actually fix the US patent system



  20. Patents in the Android World Further Complicate Freedom in This Linux-Powered Platform

    A survey of last week's news with special focus on Google and Android, which are trying to coexist and thrive in a world full of patent maximalists



  21. The 'Unitary' Patent Trojan Horse Rammed Down the Throat of Europe

    Under the guise of 'unification' or 'unity', existing patent systems are being abandoned and more power gets passed to corrupt EPO officials



  22. HEVC Cartel is Not News, Only the Names of Backers and the Costs Are New

    A few remarks on and a roundup of recent articles about HEVC, which we first wrote about in spring



  23. IRC Proceedings: July 12th, 2015 – July 25th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  24. Links 26/7/2015: Purism Librem and Freedom, Akademy Updates

    Links for the day



  25. Vista 10 (Windows 10) Has NSA Back Doors and Front Doors

    Vista 10 to bring new ways for spies (and other crackers) to remotely access people's computers and remotely modify the binary files on them (via Windows Update, which for most people cannot be disabled)



  26. Vista 10 Not Ready, But Released Anyway

    Despite severe technical issues in the rushed-out-the-door Vista 10, Microsoft decides to stick with the deadline, only days after reporting billions of dollars in losses



  27. Links 25/7/2015: Plasma Mobile, Linux Mint 17.2 OEM

    Links for the day



  28. Links 24/7/2015: openSUSE Leap 42.1, Intel With Rackspace for OpenStack

    Links for the day



  29. Links 24/7/2015: GNOME 3.17.4, Mozilla Developer Network Turns 10

    Links for the day



  30. Microsoft Has Run Out of Attempts and Vista 10 Will Definitely Fail

    As Microsoft admits billions of dollars in losses just days before Vista 10 is pushed as a 'free' upgrade, there is no concrete sign that financial recovery is imminent, for the bigger cash cow (Office) suffers a similar fate


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts