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Richard M. Stallman

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Why is it bad to use an unauthorized copy of a proprietary program? Because itís proprietary! So an unauthorized copy is almost as nasty as an authorized copy of the same program. They are both nasty because they are proprietary. The users donít have control over them. If they pay developer Ė that makes it worse, because they are rewarding this delinquency. Thatís why the authorized copy is worse. But they are both bad because they are both proprietary software. If you want freedom, you have to get rid of them both, because they both control you.
--
Richard Stallman - Facebook IS Mass Surveillance, RT 2011

 
Richard M. Stallman

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Isn't it ironic that the proprietary software developers call us communists? We are the ones who have provided for a free market, where they allow only monopoly. Ö if the users chooses this proprietary software package, he then falls into this monopoly for support Ö the only way to escape from monopoly is to escape from proprietary software, and that is what the free software movement is all about. We want you to escape and our work is to help you escape. We hope you will escape to the free world. The free world is the new continent in cyberspace that we have built so we can live here in freedom. It's impossible to live in freedom in the old world of cyberspace, where every program has its feudal lord that bullies and mistreats the users. So, to live in freedom we have to build a new continent. Because this is a virtual continent, it has room for everyone, and there are no immigration restrictions. And because there were never indigenous peoples in cyberspace, there is also no issue of taking away their land. So everyone is welcome in the free world, come to the free world, live with us in freedom. The free software movement aims for the liberation of cyberspace and everyone in it.

 
Richard M. Stallman
 

To have the choice between proprietary software packages, is being able to choose your master. Freedom means not having a master. And in the area of computing, freedom means not using proprietary software.

 
Richard M. Stallman
 

The programmers who write improvements to GCC (or Emacs, or Bash, or Linux, or any GPL-covered program) are often employed by companies or universities. When the programmer wants to return his improvements to the community, and see his code in the next release, the boss may say, "Hold on there--your code belongs to us! We don't want to share it; we have decided to turn your improved version into a proprietary software product."
Here the GNU GPL comes to the rescue. The programmer shows the boss that this proprietary software product would be copyright infringement, and the boss realizes that he has only two choices: release the new code as free software, or not at all. Almost always he lets the programmer do as he intended all along, and the code goes into the next release.

 
Richard M. Stallman
 

The GNU GPL is not Mr. Nice Guy. It says "no" to some of the things that people sometimes want to do. There are users who say that this is a bad thing--that the GPL "excludes" some proprietary software developers who "need to be brought into the free software community."
But we are not excluding them from our community; they are choosing not to enter. Their decision to make software proprietary is a decision to stay out of our community. Being in our community means joining in cooperation with us; we cannot "bring them into our community" if they don't want to join.
What we can do is offer them an inducement to join. The GNU GPL is designed to make an inducement from our existing software: "If you will make your software free, you can use this code." Of course, it won't win 'em all, but it wins some of the time.

 
Richard M. Stallman
 

At present, we have plenty of "keep quiet", but not enough freedom talk. Most people involved with free software say little about freedom--usually because they seek to be "more acceptable to business." Software distributors especially show this pattern. Some GNU/Linux operating system distributions add proprietary packages to the basic free system, and they invite users to consider this an advantage, rather than a step backwards from freedom.

 
Richard M. Stallman
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