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Q&A: Open-Source Backer Eben Moglen Says Software A 'Renewable' Resource

Dec 03, 2007, 18:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Todd R. Weiss)

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"How did you get so passionate about free and open-source software? When I went to law school in the fall of 1980, I thought that I was in all likelihood, like my mother, going to be a university professor. I didn't think I was going to be either a practicing lawyer or a practicing programmer. I also thought, however, that the technical environment around me was changing in unfortunate ways. I believed then as a technical matter--and I still believe--that the linguistic interaction between human beings and computers afford human beings better ways of knowing and solving problems. [In the early 1990s, after Stallman heard of Moglen's work] he got in touch with me to tell me that he had a legal problem that he needed some help with. Stallman, knowing I was available to do that sort of work for him for free, sent me some more work to do. And I realized that he had the best listening post on the planet. And everybody who had problems concerning the technical embodiment of control or freedom, everybody who had an interest in the philosophy of freedom in technology, they all knew one e-mail address [Stallman's], and I realized that if he forwarded to me everything that to him seemed to need a lawyer's attention, I would be able over time to gain a really thorough knowledge of what needed doing..."

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