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NewsForge: Free Software leaders: We'll beat the proprietary system, but we need your help

Oct 12, 2001, 15:01 (65 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Grant Gross)
"Moglen said the 21st century is defined by idea-driven products -- software, music, art, knowledge -- that have a fixed cost of development but little cost of copying and distributing. The cost to the creator of providing those products to the 100th person is no more than providing the products to the first person, he said.

"In that world, how is it moral to exclude anybody?" he asked. "There is no other moral side. There is no claim that excluding people from things is good, that depriving people from knowledge and culture and technical education and the opportunity to improve their lives and the world around them is good."

It often appeared as though the speakers were preaching to the choir, with the crowd made up of many Free Software developers, students, and some businesspeople. But Stallman and crew were challenged by some unbelievers during a Q&A session at the end of the afternoon-long conference, not so much in the form of philosophical questions, but with practical questions about how Free Software fits into the real world. Stallman and Stanco even got into an argument over the importance of Free Software developers being paid for their efforts. Stanco argued that it's necessary for developers to be paid to increase the number of Free Software programs available, while Stallman said the philosophy of freedom is more important than pay. It's nice if developers can be paid, he said, but plenty of good Free Software has been developed by volunteers."

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