Free Software – Free Society! Interview with Richard Stallman

Newsforge recently cited the interview, “Free Software – Free Society!” with Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman. In the interview, Stallman provides his unique perspective on various issues, notably:

1) The Free Software movement vs. capitalism – “Well, we are not against capitalism at all. We are against subjugating people who use computers, one particular business practice. There are businesses, both large and small that distribute free software, and contribute to free software, and they are welcome to use it, welcome to sell copies and we thank them for contributing. However, free software is a movement against domination, not necessarily against corporate domination, but against any domination.”

2) Differences between the Free Software movement and the Open Source movement. – “The Open Source Movement was founded specifically to discard the ethical foundation of the free software movement. The Free Software movement starts from an ethical judgement, that non free software is anti-social, it is wrong treatment of other people.” … “Open Source movement, which is designed specifically to distract the users attention from these ethical and social issues while talking about our work. And they have been quite successfull, there are many people who use our free software, which we developed for the sake of freedom and cooperation who have never heard the reasons for which we did so. And, this makes our community weak. It is like a nation that has freedom but most of its people have never been taught to value freedom.”

3) FLOSS vs. Open Source vs. Free Software – “There are many people, who, for instance, want to study our community, or write about our community, and want to avoid taking sides between the Free Software movement and the Open Source movement. Often they have heard primarily of the Open Source movement, and they think that we all support it. So, I point out to them that, in fact, our community was created by the Free Software movement. but then they often say that they are not addressing that particular disagreement, and that they would like to mention both movements without taking a side. So I recommend the term Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) as a way they can mention both movements and give equal weight to both.”

While Stallman (always) takes a harsh stance on these issues, there’s probably no one that knows this topic better. This interview will appeal to anyone heavily involved in understanding the philosophical underpinnings of these unique movements.

The full interview is available at:, and it is also available as an ogg (audio) download here.

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