Friday, 8 November 2013

Happy Birthday

Free Software Foundation Turns 30

Richard Stallman, recognized worldwide as free software guru, president of the Free Software Foundation and a person who started the development of the free software operating system GNU nearly 30 years ago.
As you know, the GNU/Linux system is used on tens of millions of devices these days. Stallman also established the League for Programming Freedom. The latter campaigned against legal threats to programming.

Richard Stallman explained that it is now thirty years since he started the campaign for freedom in computing. According to his words, since he started, the IT scene has changed dramatically – today most people in advanced countries own PCs and smartphones which can be like computers.

However, he is still worried that non-free software makes users surrender control over their computing to someone else. Actually, the situation has become worse because of Service as a Software Substitute (SaaSS), which means allowing someone else’s server do your own computing activities.

This was all highlighted by the PRISM scandal, revealing that non-free software and SaaSS are able to spy on the user, shackle the user, and even attack the user. Stallman admitted that malware was common in services and proprietary software apps because people don't have control over them.

In the meantime, free software is controlled by its users. Therefore, freedom means having control over their own lives. Nevertheless, Service as a Software Substitute leads to the same injustices as using a non-free app.

In case someone uses a SaaSS translation service, their text is sent to the server. Then the server translates it and sends the translation back to the user. In other words, users are entrusting all the relevant information to the server operator. The latter may be forced to show it to the state under the current law. The scheme is simple: if the users don’t control the software, the software controls the users.

Richard Stallman was also talking about another difficulty: non-free software forces other people to use it as well. For example, if you use the non-free Skype app, another person has to use it as well, thus surrendering their freedoms along with yours.

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