Saturday, August 2, 2014

Rendezvous with St. iGNUcius

WINDOWS = Where I Never Do Operations With Security

The mail said,
On behalf of TISS, we cordially invite you to a public lecture BY RICHARD STALLMAN titled "FREE SOFTWARE, FREE SOCIETY", ON THE 21ST OF JANUARY 2014, at the Old Conference Hall, TISS Main campus (Time: 5pm-7pm).

Richard Stallman is the founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project. Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft and is the author of the GNU General Public License (GPL), the most widely used copyleft license, for free software. He will also talk about the relevance of software freedom in the era of networked computers.

A vehicle was arranged from IIT Bombay to TISS to attend this talk.

He gave a riveting talk on the following topics:

There is an ideological difference between the proponents of the terms "Free Software" and "Open Source".
The term FreeSoftware was introduced in the early 1980's by the movement we now know as the FreeSoftwareFoundation. Thus, the definition of FreeSoftware is focused on the freedom to share with your neighbor.
The term OpenSource was later introduced by another community including ESR, is more or less indifferent to moral issues concerning software sharing. The OpenSource movement argues that developing software using the "bazaar" philosophy (as described in TheCathedralAndTheBazaar) is superior. Hence the definition of OpenSource is focused on effective development using the bazaar model for business. While both discuss software whose users are permitted certain freedoms with respect to the code, OpenSource tends to focus on providing an economic/business argument for FreeSoftware. FreeSoftware focuses on providing a moral/ethical argument for OpenSource. The distinction is between "using/providing FreeSoftware is a good, morally right, thing to do" and "using/providing OpenSource Software is beneficial to you and your business". In most cases OpenSource software is also FreeSoftware, so the difference is mostly that the OpenSource community, probably in order to be more BusinessFriendly, refuses to subscribe to the ethics of the FSF. So, for the most part the effects are the same. Practically, however, the main difference is that OpenSource people think that closed software is OK, if not ideal, so if a XFree86 driver is closed source, that is OK, but the FreeSoftware people believe that these non-free software packages should be avoided if at all possible. OpenSource licenses do not restrict redistribution of identical or modified copies. Some FreeSoftware licenses place one restriction: that redistribution must be under a FreeSoftware license. Such licenses are called Copyleft licenses.
Licenses like BSD, MIT, Apache are not copyleft but are Free Softwares. There is only one license which is Open Source but not Free Software - Reciprocal Public License or RPL.
According to RMS, surveillance, censorship & non-free softwares are major threats to free digital society.

He also talked about Japan's restrictions on several websites, Wikileaks, Free speech not Free Beer, India's UID scam, how Javascript & librejs are not secure.

We even met Nagarjuna G., Research person at HBCSE.
At the end there was an auction session to get the GNU puppet which was then sold at 3000.

 Non-free software controls man

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