DRM: Defectis Repleta Machina

As you start your brand new car to go to the beach, you realize it won’t let you do it. Murphy’s law can often make it seem like mechanical failures are nature’s way of opposing your wishes. But what if the car manufacturer had reasoned that, by selling you a car that will take you to work but not to have fun at the beach, it would be able to sell you another car specifically for beach visits?

“The Right to Read” [R2R], published in the magazine Communications of the ACM (CACM), one of the best-regarded publications in computing, prophesied in 1996 the pervasive use of software and remote monitoring as tools to control access to knowledge and culture. In the article, textbooks and articles are only available electronically, and students are forbidden from sharing them with their colleagues; monitoring software on every computer, and severe penalties upon those that merely appear to be attempting to circumvent it, pretty much ensure compliance. After a mere 10 years, we may get the impression that the author got it both right and wrong. Access restrictions are indeed already present in some electronic textbooks and articles, but they have showed up far more often in the entertainment field, limiting access to music, movies, etc. Are we facing a problem even bigger and worse than the CACM article forecast?

DRM, for Digital Restrictions Management, means any technique that seeks to artificially limit, by software, hardware or a combination thereof, the features of a digital device with regards to access or copying of digital content, so as to privilege whoever ultimately imposes the technique (e.g., not the DVD player manufacturer, but the movie industry),

— source fsfla.org | Alexandre Oliva

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What is Richard Stallman’s role in Computers and Software

During 1983 Richard Stallman of MIT got some particular idea about software usage. It was about giving full rights to software users. He called it Copyleft. Its inverted copyright. The concept of copyleft was described in Richard Stallman’s GNU Manifesto in 1985. You can read more about it here. Based on that he created 4 laws for softwares. They are following:

1. The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
2. The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom 2).
4. The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

These all together is called Gnu General Public License (GPL). If any software which is released under this is called Free Software.

Then he started to build an operating system called GNU. Lot of people joined him in that effort. To manage all these tasks he created an organization called Free Software Foundation.

Now, if somebody asks you what is the contribution of Richard Stallman?

Without a single second delay people with common sense will tell he freed computer users from chain of control and created a system for developing software that users can own. Yes that is his achievement, that is his role. He is not a computer programer writing code to count LOC later. He is a true visionary, philosopher, one of the greatest human being ever born in our world who made world a better place.

You cannot judge him based on his lines of code. Only idiots who has no knowledge about the society will count lines of code.

His contribution lasts for ever. If people use softwares or any product that is easily copyable and breaks laws of conventional economics then Stallman’s works will be a great tool for social justice.

Fight for freedom is not a one time task. It is a war for ever. Since we live in a capitalistic system, the profit motive will create evil people who try to steal our freedom. They will always comes with new new kind of traps. Even some free software activists too get deluded in their tricks. In that never ending war, Richard Stallman is the great leader who is fighting to protect user’s freedom. And his contribution will lasts for ever.


Written by: Jagadees.S
India

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Pursuing justice and freedom

A lie repeated a thousand times does not, by virtue of repetition, become the truth.

That thousands of people will sign an open letter that proclaims a human being guilty based on twisted pseudo-evidence says more about their respect for due process, fair trials, justice and science, than about the human being they seek to burn at the stake. Do they even know who Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno were?

Burning witches after a kangaroo court-styled mob trial does not signal virtue, but rather the lack thereof.

Richard Stallman may be hard to like and to work with. His extreme attention to detail and to language can be infuriating. His urges to get back to work for free software, picking up and directing his attention to a screen at a dinner table long before that became fashionable, has often been labeled disrespectful. His harshness and often tactless disregard for social conventions can be emotionally hard to swallow and forgive, even with a rational understanding of his condition.

But these are not horrifying allegations that would serve the purpose of misleading decent people into the moral panic that leads to witch burning. The

— source fsfla.org | Alexandre Oliva | 2021-03-28

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Should Rockets Have Only Free Software? Free Software and Appliances

by Richard Stallman

Could there be a rocket that is totally free software? Should we demand that SpaceX liberate the software in its satellite launching rockets? I don’t think the person who asked me this was serious, but answering that question may illuminate similar issues about the sorts of products people really buy today.

As far as I know, software as such is not capable of generating thrust. A rocket is necessarily principally a physical device. But it may include computerized control and telemetry systems, and thus software.

If someone offered to sell me a rocket, I would treat it like any other appliance. Consider, for instance, a thermostat. If it contains software to be modified, all the software in it needs to be free. If, however, the software in it need not ever be altered, and it communicates only through some limited interface, such as buttons on the control panel, a TV remote control, or a USB interface with a fixed set of commands, I would not consider it crucial to know what is inside the thermostat: whether it contains a special-purpose chip, or a processor running code, makes no direct difference to me as user. If it does contain code, it might as well have a special chip instead, so I don’t need to care which it is.

I would object if that thermostat sent someone data about my activities, regardless of how that was

— source gnu.org

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Unrelated issues are not important

Not long ago, there were moves to exclude Stallman from the movement and from the organized efforts he started, and impose a political stand about issues unrelated to the software freedom issue. It’s not that people can’t or shouldn’t hold or express unrelated views; he and they should be just as welcome and free to do so. People are multidimensional: we care about multiple issues.

However, in the Free Software Movement, the focus has always been on a single issue: freedom for all software users, justified on ethics and grounded on solidarity and on human rights, particularly on free speech. Stallman remains committed to the ideas that define the movement: though he supports several unrelated causes, he has not attempted to impose them on the free software movement.

— source fsfla.org | 2020-12-19

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35 years ago Richard Stallman started Free Software Movement

Free Software Movement is political movement to free software users from corporate control. Officially it began on October 4th, 1985. It was two years after he publicly announced that his intention to create a free Unix-like operating system called GNU.

To give software users full rights and control Stallman created a license based on the idea of Copyleft. You can read more about it here. Based on that he created 4 laws for softwares. They are following:

1 The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
2 The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
3 The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom 2).
4 The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

These all together is called Gnu General Public License (GPL). If any software which is released under this is called Free Software.

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Copyright versus Community in the Age of Computer Networks

I’ve been in New Zealand for a couple of weeks, and in the North Island it was raining most of the time. Now I know why they call gumboots “Wellingtons”. And then I saw somebody who was making chairs and tables out of ponga wood, and he called it fern-iture. Then we took the ferry to get here, and as soon as we got off, people started mocking and insulting us; but there were no hard feelings, they just wanted to make us really feel Picton.

The reason people usually invite me to give speeches is because of my work on free software. This is not a talk about free software; this talk answers the question whether the ideas of free software extend to other kinds of works. But in order for that to make sense, I’d better tell you briefly what free software means.

Free software is a matter of freedom, not price, so think of “free speech”, not “free beer”. Free software is software that respects the user’s freedom, and there are four specific freedoms that the user deserves always to have.

Freedom 0 is the freedom to run the program as you wish.
Freedom 1 is the freedom to study the source code of the program and change it to make the program do what you wish.
Freedom 2 is the freedom to help your neighbour; that is, the freedom to redistribute copies of the program, exact copies when you wish.
And Freedom 3 is the freedom to contribute to your community. That’s the freedom to publish your modified versions when you wish.

— source gnu.org | Richard Stallman

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