"In 1983 Richard Stallman found himself at a moral fork in
the road and decided to take the less-traveled route. It is a
journey which turned out to have significant economic
implications. Otherwise, it would not have garnered much
attention outside a small core of computer intelligentsia.
Stallman had started the process that gave birth to the
"Linux/GNU, an essentially free OS, has hastened the
proliferation of Web servers, e-commerce applications, and all
things e-business, a fact that Stallman says does not particularly
interest him. "It is not an important issue," Stallman says. "I
know this aspect of Linux/GNU gets a lot of attention, but this
just shows how people can so easily misunderstand things and miss
what is truly significant."
"The significant thing, according to Stallman, is the freedom to
cooperate. And this is what he was thinking about 17 years ago. "I
looked closely at the practices of software development and decided
that non-free software is anti-social," Stallman says. "It divides
people, and when you divide you can more easily conquer. The user
who cannot get free software is essentially helpless."