March 15, 2011

Stallman's Four Freedoms

Freedom Zero is the freedom to run the program as you wish.

Freedom 1 is the freedom to study the source code, and change it so the program does your computing as you wish.

Freedom 2 is the freedom to help others; that's the freedom to make and distribute exact copies when you wish.

And Freedom 3 is the freedom to contribute to your community, which is the freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions when you wish.

An interview with Richard Stallman

1 comment:

‪Stanislav Datskovskiy‬ said...

Stallman leaves out one important freedom, the "Sqrt(-1)"st., if you will. He is an exceptionally insightful and intelligent man and thus I find it hard to believe that he has failed to mention it solely out of ignorance.

He leaves it out of the discussion because he helped to demolish it.

The freedom in question is the freedom to truly understand the program (and the computer it is running on.)

We lack this freedom because we are stuck with programs and computers which are not understandable.

Well, perhaps understandable enough to get by with plenty of duct tape and slave labor, but not understandable in the sense in which a schoolboy understands arithmetic (or even the sense in which an engineer understands steel.)

This is not really a political freedom - it is more of a technological freedom, like the freedom to have a mains socket in which to plug in a washing machine - but we were denied it (with Stallman's help, in his anti-Symbolics crusade) for political reasons.