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Richard Stallman Looks Back at 25 Years of the GNU Project

Sep 26, 2008, 18:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

"In Stallman's estimation, free software has reached the state where it is starting to be considered a serious alternative. Unfortunately, he says, people 'still consider proprietary software as an alternative, too. In fact, most of them still use that. Even most users of the GNU + Linux system still use proprietary programs, because there are free software developers who don't care about the ethical ideals of free software. Probably they describe themselves as open source supporters, and they let in non-free software. They don't see it as unacceptable. They see it purely as a matter of what is convenient.'

For example, he cites the existence of drivers in the Linux kernel that require proprietary firmware. 'For a long time, I just went on thinking that, even though Torvalds doesn't agree with the free software movement, at least we have a free kernel. But then I found that proprietary firmware was being put into the source code of Linux. So, in fact, Linux as released by Torvalds is not free software.'"

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