[linux-elitists] hard to find RMS interviews

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Sun Feb 29 23:32:45 PST 2004


Raghavendra, thanks for the post, but note that elitists take the few
moments necessary with vim/emacs to reflow text such that it's easily
readable.

on Fri, Feb 27, 2004 at 01:41:07PM +0530, Raghavendra Bhat (ragu@asianetonline.net) wrote:
> Steffen Beyer posts:
> 
> > $ nc puggy.symonds.net http
> > puggy.symonds.net [66.92.42.136] 80 (www) : Connection refused
> >
> > Got mirror?
> 
> Try again, it is up and working!  Anyway ....
> 
> 
>                             A Q&A session with Richard M. Stallman.
> 
>                                         January 23, 2004
>    RMS' answers to questions put forward by Samuel Abraham of `The Week'. 
> 
>    These questions were mailed to RMS and he patiently answered them in
>    great detail. He was asked these questions after his talk at the
>    CUSAT campus in Kochi, January 23. 
> 
> 
>     1. What is your philosophy in life? What shaped it? Any single
>     event,person, book? Or was it evolutionary?
> 
>        I can't describe my philosophy of life in a nutshell because I do
>        not follow any particular system or leader. We should be on guard
>        against thinking that "the answer" is to be found in any one
>        place. So I am not a follower of any single person, or any single
>        school of thought. I have been influenced by many people, and
>        many books.  The philosophy of freedom that the United States is
>        based on has been a major influence for me. I love what my
>        country used to stand for, so it breaks my heart to see what Bush
>        has done to it. Science is also an important influence. Other
>        campaigns for freedom, including the French and Russian
>        revolutions, are also inspiring despite the ways they went
>        astray.
> 
>        When we learn about the facts of the world, we should do it
>        scientifically, which means that we should continually
>        cross-check our views for errors. Science fiction is also an
>        important influence for me-from it I learned to imagine worlds
>        different from our own. The movement that opposed the Vietnam War
>        was also important; from that, I learned how to see my own
>        government as a possible oppressor. At the same time, I learned
>        from seeing the errors of the antiwar movement, such as when some
>        Americans foolishly supposed that if the US side in the war was
>        wrong, its enemy (North Vietnam) must be right.
> 
>        Overall, I think that the goals worth striving for are truth,
>        beauty and justice.  Goals such as success and fun are not bad,
>        but they are not everything. To adopt them as one's primary
>        goals, as many people do, is a fundamental error: it is to aim
>        too low, to have too small an ambition in life. One you have
>        taken care of your needs for survival and some basic comforts,
>        it's time to try to put some of your effort into making the world
>        a better place. The better off you are personally, the more you
>        should focus effort on helping others, instead of enriching
>        yourself.
> 
> 
>     2. I heard someone mention you as the Gandhi of the software world
>     and you taking objection to it. Do you consider your movement
>     similar to what he did to gain freedom from colonisers? What is your
>     impression of Gandhi?
> 
>        Our movement has much in common with Gandhi's; both are movements
>        for freedom and to end a form of oppression. Gandhi sought to end
>        the rule of the British over India, and we seek to end the rule
>        of the software developers over cyberspace.
> 
>        However, I feel uncomfortable when people compare me with Gandhi,
>        because I have not earned such praise. I have not had to face the
>        hardships that Gandhi had to face. And where Gandhi and his
>        movement succeeded in ending British colonialism, we have not yet
>        succeeded in freeing computer users from the domination of
>        non-free software. We have only made a beginning.
> 
>        I hope that by the time my life is over I will deserve such a
>        comparison.
> 
> 
>     3. Any other person or movement you consider is close to your
>     movement or you hold dear to your heart?
> 
>        Along with Gandhi, I admire others who have fought for justice,
>        such as Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Aung San Suu
>        Kyi. And I admire Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill,
>        even though I criticize some of the things that they did. Today I
>        support the movement against business-dominated globalization,
>        which is also the movement for democracy, since corporate power
>        reduces democracy to a fiction. I also support the rationalist
>        movement, which fights for clear thinking against superstition. I
>        support the movements that oppose various forms of bigotry (based
>        on race, religion, caste, gender, sexual orientation, or
>        whatever), and I support the movement for sexual freedom, birth
>        control and abortion rights.
> 
> 
>     4. Traditional knowledge in countries like India have been patented
>     in the US. Is it not akin to restricting knowledge as in cyberspace?
> 
>        Patents raise different issues in different fields. The old
>        Indian patent law was wisely designed to encourage progress in
>        fields that would be useful in India.  However, foreign countries
>        have forced India to adopt a new patent law that is not good for
>        progress in India at all.
> 
>        This requirement was imposed through a part of the World Trade
>        Organization, called "TRIPS", but I think that TRIPES
>        (Trade-Restricting Impediments to Production, Education and
>        Science) is a more appropriate name for it. The World Trade
>        Organization's overall aims are to drive wages down world-wide,
>        and to make democratic governments powerless against global
>        corporations. Every country should try to escape from the WTO.
> 
> 
>     5. Should not intellectual property rights be protected?
> 
>        It is a mistake to use that term at all. The term "intellectual
>        property rights" is fundamentally misleading, because it lumps
>        together disparate laws, such as copyright law and patent law,
>        which have little in common.
> 
>        This blurred picture leads many people to imagine that copyright
>        law and patent law are instances of one general principle, and
>        that they exist as natural rights. The fact is, copyright law and
>        patent law developed independently. Copyright and patent apply to
>        different entities, have different rules, and have different
>        effects, so they raise different public policy issues. Far from
>        being natural rights, they are artificial restrictions, imposed
>        for the sake of indirect benefits that it is hoped will result
>        for the public.
> 
>        But do copyrights really benefit the public? And do patents
>        really benefit the public?  Those two questions are important,
>        and they are separate. Each one may have different questions in
>        different areas.
> 
>        To think about these various issues intelligently, the first step
>        is to avoid blurring them together. I have no opinion about
>        "intellectual property", and I hope you will also decline to have
>        one. Let's inquire which copyright policies are good for society,
>        and separately, let's ask which patent policies are good for
>        society.
> 
> 
>     6. Do you think your movement will be successful in taking the fight
>     of the non-free software movement?
> 
>        It is a mistake to ask me this because the outcome depends on
>        you. If you join in and help, we will win. So instead of asking
>        me whether we will win, you should be asking yourself, "Will I do
>        my share in the fight?"
> 
> 
>     7. You were at the World Social Forum. Some critics say it was a
>     Babel of ideas. Your comments.
> 
>        Activists from many different social movements were present
>        there, but I was focused on my work, which was to inform them
>        about free software. With my speeches and the FSF India's booth,
>        and especially because the WSF's web site and media center were
>        run entirely on free software, we showed other social justice
>        activists the ethical importance and practical readiness of free
>        software. Professor Nagarjuna of the Homi Bhabha Institute, one
>        of the FSF India leaders, said that many activists who are trying
>        to spread IT to the poor now understand why it is necessary to do
>        this with free software.
> 
>        I also enjoyed eating pudla, which is a Gujarati pancake made
>        from gram, flavored with tomato, onion, and spices.
> 
> 
>     8. Could you give us some personal details, your childhood, family,
>     early education, etc.
> 
>        I was the only child of two parents who divorced when I was 3
>        years old. My childhood was filled with emotional pain, so I
>        don't have many memories of it; I took refuge in studying math
>        and science.
> 
> 
>     9. I heard you speak of the consumption pattern in the US and you
>     mentioned about how you developed inexpensive habits. That included
>     children. Why?
> 
>        Which does more good: spreading freedom for millions of computer
>        users, or raising a few extra children in a world that is already
>        suffering from an excess of them? The question answers itself.
>        Why in the world would I do the latter, when I have the chance to
>        do the former?
> 
>        Human overpopulation is the often-disregarded factor behind many
>        social and environmental problems, including global warming and
>        habitat destruction, which together threaten extinction of a
>        quarter or more of the species of life on Earth in this century.
>        Population growth also makes it harder to end human poverty. In
>        such a situation, social pressure to have children is insane. I
>        encourage everyone who has doubts about wanting children to make
>        the decision to have none.
> 
>    ______________________________________________________________________
> 
>    Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are
>    permitted world wide without royalty provided this notice is
>    preserved
> 
> 
> Hth.
> -- 
> ragOO
> 
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> 

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
    Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
    A: Top-posting.
    Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?
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