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Q&A: Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation

Nov 18, 2008, 19:35 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rosalie Marshall)

"Clearly there's a cost saving element - but how about the people that had jobs with commercial firms, but are then made redundant because customers decide to go with free software instead and no longer need support from commercial suppliers?

"This scenario seems to be based on a misconception. Migrating to free software doesn't reduce the market for support. Users that bought commercial support when they used proprietary software generally continue wanting commercial support when they switch to free software. One of the advantages of free software is that it permits a free market for support.

"But there's something more fundamentally screwy in this scenario: confusion about values. It seems to presume that users will - or is it should? - let a company have unjust power over them for the sake of increasing that company's income. When you are collecting for this perverse form of charity, you can count me out. I see no positive value in a program that requires people to cede their freedom as a condition of use."

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