Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Will Stallman ever stop tilting at windmills?

yes, yes, I realize that RMS is much more interested in software being Free than he is it being Useful.  That's a valid ideology, and he pursues it relentlessly -- but it's fundamentally irrelevant to the industry as a whole.

Why?  Because people don't care whether the software they use is free.  People can't even be bothered to care about their own personal freedoms -- witness the Patriot Act and the general lack of uproar over the NSA's domestic spying!  Given the choice between software that works, but is proprietary and software that is Free, but hard to use (and therefore doesn't work), they'll choose the former every time.  Perhaps, if two products were identical in their use and one was Free and the other wasn't, they'd choose the Free one if they knew there was a difference.  But usefulness trumps license every single time for most people, and RMS' assumption that it doesn't hurts him, and his crusade, every time he opens his mouth in public.

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