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How <em>Psychology Today</em> Sees Richard Stallman

After our article about Richard Stallman’s new video interview, Slashdot reader silverjacket shared this recent profile from Psychology Today that describes Richard Stallman’s quest “to save us from a web of spyware — and from ourselves.”

By using proprietary software, Stallman believes, we are forfeiting control of our computers, and thus of our digital lives. In his denunciation of all nonfree software as inherently abusive and unethical, he has alienated many possible allies and followers. But he is not here to make friends. He is here to save us from a software industry he considers predatory in ways we’ve yet to recognize… for Stallman, moralism is the whole point. If you write or use free software only for practical reasons, you’ll stop when it’s inconvenient, and freedom will disappear.

Stallman collaborator Eben Moglen — a law professor at Columbia, as well as the FSF’s general counsel — assesses Stallman’s legacy by saying “the idea of copyleft and the proposition that social and political freedom can’t happen in a society without technological freedom — those are his long-term meanings. And humanity will be aware of those meanings for centuries, whatever it does about them.” The article also includes quotes from Linus Torvalds and Eric S. Raymond — along with some great artwork.

In addition to insisting the reporter refer to Linux as “GNU/Linux,” Stallman also required that the article describe free software without using the term open source, a phrase he sees as “a way that people who disagree with me try to cause the ethical issues to be forgotten.” And he ultimately got Psychology Today to tell its readers that “Nearly all the software on our phones and computers, as well as on other machines, is nonfree or ‘proprietary’ software and is riddled with spyware and back doors installed by Apple, Google, Microsoft, and the like.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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