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Not Free at Any Price

Nov 06, 2008, 15:05 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard M. Stallman)

"Teaching children to use Windows is like teaching them to smoke tobacco—in a world where only one company sells tobacco. Like any addictive drug, it inculcates a harmful dependency. (Bill Gates made this comparison in a 1998 issue of Fortune Magazine.) No wonder Microsoft offers the first dose to children at a low price. Microsoft aims to teach poor children this dependency so they can smoke Windows for their whole lives. I don’t think governments or schools should support that aim.

"The OLPC was supposed to avoid that harmful result by using the free operating system GNU/Linux. Even more exciting for me, a lower-level piece of software, the startup program or "BIOS," was going to be free as well. There were many laptops capable of running a free GNU/Linux system, and I used one of them; there was already a free BIOS, but no manufacturers had ever published the information a developer would need to make the free BIOS run on their laptops."

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