[Ilugc] NEWS: Gates threatening spirit of freedom -- free software guru
- From: fred@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Frederick Noronha)
- Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 13:09:04 +0530 (IST)
Gates threatening spirit of freedom: free software guru
From Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, Nov 12 (IANS) Microsoft chairman Bill Gates threatens the spirit
of freedom, the founder of the free software movement said here even as the
world's richest man began a tour of India.
Richard Stallman said in the Indian capital Monday evening that Microsoft
and Gates -- who arrived here on a four-day visit the same day -- were
perpetuating systems that threaten the freedom of computer users.
Stallman was in the city to release his book "No Sir, No Monopoly! Free
Software - A Perspective".
Published by Prajashakti publishers, the book was released by B.K. Kcayla,
convenor of the national working group on patent laws.
Stallman, who has emerged as a symbol against everything that Bill Gates has
stood for, is also the founder of the GNU software project out of which has
emerged the Linux operating system -- available free or in low-cost software
Clad informally, Stallman seemed every inch the man he is reputed to be.
After walking to the podium sans his shoes, Stallman said: "This is a
struggle for freedom and independence. Non-free software, like the ones sold
by Microsoft, divides people.
"It is like not being allowed to share your favourite cooking recipes with
your friends. One cannot exchange recipes, one cannot change the cooking nor
does one know anything about the ingredients - that is the world of non-free
software, developed by Microsoft.
"It doesn't allow any software to be shared and one has to pay for running
these programmes. In India, it would cost an enormous amount and a big drain
"Non-free software violates the spirit of goodwill that is so important for
human society and civilization. It is akin to the exploitative colonial
"When Bill Gates donates computer systems to schools, it is like gifting
cigarettes. It is initially free but when you get hooked you have to pay for
it. Non-free software programmes are like that. It will be available free of
cost but for a couple of years only."
Gates is pledging a large donation to health projects in India through his
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Said Stallman: "Gates is donating a small
fraction of what he has squeezed out of computer users."
"What India should do is to resist against non-free software collectively.
The good effects of globalisation can come about only through the use of
non-free software," Stallman argued.
In India, Linux is used by less than 10 percent of the country's personal
computers and server computers.
India has an estimated half-million individual software developers. There
are an estimated four million PCs in use in India among the nation's billion
--Indo-Asian News Service
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