I got a chance to meet Richard Stallman and hear him speak about the FSF and it’s views and beliefs for computer users. I have always thought of the open source movement as a part of the free software movement. Boy, was I wrong! The Free Software Foundation is more about the rights of computers users and their freedom within the computing world. This is a very good cause and makes more sense than the open source movement since they seem unconcern about our digital rights.
Both projects seem to have somewhat similar views but it clearly stands out that the FSF stands for the moral and ethnical rights that computer users should have and they have fought for since 1985. The open source movement is not concerned with your digital rights or your computing freedom though they are aimed at similiar goals, which may or may not be in the interest of your personal freedom within this computer age.
To fully appreciate the principles of the Free Software Foundation, let’s get a better understanding of it. Think in terms of a cooking recipe your friend gave you. Now that you have the recipe you can use it. You’re free to change or modify the recipe to your liking or taste. But what if you were restricted to where you could not change the recipe at all and if you did you could get sued or you could not share that recipe with anyone else for whatever reason. The FSF believes it’s your right to change that recipe or customize it to your liking and share it with others, whether it’s the original recipe or your customized version, the choice is yours.
The proprietary person or friend would call you a pirate and try to prosecute you for sharing this recipe with others. The same is true of proprietary software companies such as Microsoft and Apple even though you bought the software you truly do not own it they do. That’s why you can’t share your copy of their programs or any other programs you buy that do not give you the exclusive right to share it with others. So in essence it’s their software on your machines and not yours and they can prosecute you or your friends if you share it with others. This gives them exclusive rights over you and your god given rights of personal freedom.
You as an individual or a community should enjoy these freedoms, which the open source movement does not advocate. As a programmer, I believe in the movement of the Free Software Foundation and think that you as a user of computer software should not be restricted to using software that you cannot share or have the software advance in a direction that will be beneficial to you or your business.
This is what a democracy is all about: “Freedom”. Will you continue to be dictated to by proprietary software companies? Will you stand up for rights and freedom of free computing? “Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.” as stated by Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation.