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The Register: Free software would have prevented foot and mouth, BSE, Hatfield rail crash - RMS

Apr 06, 2001, 12:04 (30 Talkback[s])

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"Foot and Mouth, BSE and the Hatfield rail crash could all have been avoided if the British government had the right approach to information sharing, at least according to Richard Stallman. He reckons that all three disasters were largely to do with bad attitudes to data, and that if ministers understood how free software works then they would not be in such a mess now, writes Bill Thompson in Cambridge."

"Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and the man who created Emacs, was speaking on the first day of the CODE conference at Queens' College, Cambridge. Not, as you might reasonably expect, a programming-fest, but instead the acronym for 'Collaboration and Ownership in the Digital Environment', CODE has brought together an unusual mix of participants to reflect on the impact free software and open source has had on creativity in the arts, industry and the sciences."

"The tension between intellectual property rights, the urge to creativity and the capitalist system certainly needs to be explored, although there was a definite sense in the morning sessions - somewhere amidst the sociological, anthropological and linguistic bullshit that passes for analysis in the more rarefied corridors of the academy - that the hardcore programmers had gone out and built a brave new world of free software and now the academics and lawyers wanted to move in and check out the view."

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