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Richard Stallman ‘ Why Software Should Be Free’, in  Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard Stallman , ed...
Software <ul><li>Should the decision to share software be left up to the individuals involved or an “owner” </li></ul><ul>...
Free  Software <ul><li>Owners have a detrimental effect </li></ul><ul><li>Free  software – “The word “free” in “free softw...
Justification - Bluffs, Lies and Empty Threats <ul><li>Emotional argument :  </li></ul><ul><li>It’s my work, it’s mine - “...
Inherent fallacy <ul><li>The fallacy here is in comparing only two outcomes—proprietary software vs. no software—and assum...
1- Obstruction of use <ul><li>“ Each potential user of the program, faced with the need to pay to use it, may choose to pa...
2 – Obstruction to adaptation <ul><li>Software only available as it is, not available for modification, a black box. (Prin...
3 – Obstruction to development <ul><li>And Obstruction to Education </li></ul><ul><li>Evolutionary process. Programs “cann...
Why people will develop software <ul><li>Why it’s a bluff </li></ul><ul><li>Programming is fun! </li></ul><ul><li>Need to ...
<ul><li>Developers of free software CONTRIBUTE to society. They are beneficial. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a fair and in the ...
<ul><li>Productivity </li></ul><ul><li>Competition </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralisation & Voluntary cooperation  </li></ul><...
Discussion <ul><li>Owners also have  more  responsibility and accountability? </li></ul><ul><li>Assumption Stallman makes ...
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Richard Stallman - Why Software Should Be Free2

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Richard Stallman - Why Software Should Be Free2

  1. 1. Richard Stallman ‘ Why Software Should Be Free’, in Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard Stallman , ed. Joshua Gay (Boston: GNU Press, 2002), pp. 121-133.
  2. 2. Software <ul><li>Should the decision to share software be left up to the individuals involved or an “owner” </li></ul><ul><li>Assumption Maximise profits + Political power of the business = Software has owner </li></ul><ul><li>Law should conform to ethics not the other way round. </li></ul><ul><li>We have to judge who benefits; who is helped and hindered by ownership - cost-benefit analysis </li></ul>
  3. 3. Free Software <ul><li>Owners have a detrimental effect </li></ul><ul><li>Free software – “The word “free” in “free software” refers to freedom, not to price” </li></ul><ul><li>Share, redistribute, study and improve </li></ul>
  4. 4. Justification - Bluffs, Lies and Empty Threats <ul><li>Emotional argument : </li></ul><ul><li>It’s my work, it’s mine - “blood, sweat, and tears” </li></ul><ul><li>Only when it suits them. It suddenly vanishes when they ‘sell out’. </li></ul><ul><li>Economic argument : </li></ul><ul><li>“ I want to get rich (usually described inaccurately as ‘making a living’), and if you don’t allow me to get rich by programming, then I won’t program. Everyone else is like me, so nobody will ever program. And then you’ll be stuck with no programs at all!” (p.122) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Inherent fallacy <ul><li>The fallacy here is in comparing only two outcomes—proprietary software vs. no software—and assuming there are no other possibilities… …To formulate the choice as between proprietary software vs. no software is begging the question </li></ul><ul><li>Road construction, “toll booth” analogy. </li></ul>
  6. 6. 1- Obstruction of use <ul><li>“ Each potential user of the program, faced with the need to pay to use it, may choose to pay it, or may forgo use of the program” (p.124) - pay: zero-sum transfer - don’t pay: negative, no benefit to anyone </li></ul><ul><li>Divisive - Each time we refuse to share we damage social cohesion and the public spirit </li></ul><ul><li>“ Since the age of Reagan, the greatest scarcity in the US is not technical innovation, but rather the willingness to work together for the public good. It makes no sense to encourage the former at the expense of the latter.” (p.126) </li></ul>
  7. 7. 2 – Obstruction to adaptation <ul><li>Software only available as it is, not available for modification, a black box. (Printer example) </li></ul><ul><li>Giving up, detrimental to the spirit of self-reliance </li></ul>
  8. 8. 3 – Obstruction to development <ul><li>And Obstruction to Education </li></ul><ul><li>Evolutionary process. Programs “cannibalized” to form other programs </li></ul><ul><li>But the concept of owners means programmers have to start from scratch each time & they can’t learn. </li></ul><ul><li>“ In any intellectual field, one can reach greater heights by standing on the shoulders of others”(p.128) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Conflict for profit has destroyed what international conflict spared” (Ibid) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Why people will develop software <ul><li>Why it’s a bluff </li></ul><ul><li>Programming is fun! </li></ul><ul><li>Need to change the attitudes and motivations for going into the programming industry. Once you overcome the high rate of pay (i.e. bring it down to a more reasonable level) it becomes easier to develop an alterative funding source for software developers. - Hardware manufacturers - Universities - Selling services related to software - Free Software Foundation </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Developers of free software CONTRIBUTE to society. They are beneficial. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a fair and in the long term interest of the users to give them funds. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Paradox: the developer of useful software is entitled to the support of the users, but any attempt to turn this moral obligation into a requirement destroys the basis for the obligation. A developer can either deserve a reward or demand it, but not both.” (p.131) </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Productivity </li></ul><ul><li>Competition </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralisation & Voluntary cooperation </li></ul><ul><li>“ We must start sending the message that a good citizen is one who cooperates when appropriate, not one who is successful at taking from others” (p.134) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Discussion <ul><li>Owners also have more responsibility and accountability? </li></ul><ul><li>Assumption Stallman makes is that the development of a program/software is beneficial to society. Consider malicious programs (intentional or otherwise)? </li></ul>

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