Richard Stallman codified the Free Software movement and tells the story in this book, Free as in Freedom. It’s a great read for anyone curious about how and why Free Software and sharing became popular in the face of rampant commercial exploitation of software by unethical means. RMS explains why FLOSS is the right way to do IT.
download Free as in Freedom 2.0.
I came to understand Free Software years after I started using GNU/Linux. I began to reflect on why I had used that other OS for so many years in spite of my ability and willingness to install anything anywhere. I came to GNU/Linux out of necessity to preserve my sanity. I had not been aware that I had a choice.
I came to FLOSS because it works well, much better than FUD that pervades that other OS and M$’s “partners”. I can spend my time doing IT rather than worrying about paying for licences, fighting malware, and watching computers slow down, re-re-reboot and crash. Reading US Department of Justice v M$ was the last straw. I came to see M$ as the root of most evil in IT and M$’s whole method of operation was to take freedom away from users of software and to tax all of IT, something impossible in the world of Free Software. The permission of the authours of software to run, examine, modify and to distribute FLOSS shuts out evil-doers like M$.
Slowly the world is coming to see the light as well. It has been a long process: first servers, then desktops, now mobile devices and soon retail shelves everywhere will be liberated. Individuals, schools, governments and some businesses have been on the front lines for more than a decade and have endured endless sabotage, barriers, FUD, and taxation but the end is in site. Last year more */Linux personal computers shipped than that other OS. The retail shelves are a big stumbling block but OEMs have shown themselves ready, willing and able to supply GNU/Linux to the mass markets.
The emerging markets are not locked in and have the present advantage of information from the web defeating much of M$’s advertising and pressure from M$’s “partners”. This year the barrier to retail shelves is crumbling. In many countries one can buy a GNU/Linux PC and we even see a few places where the price with GNU/Linux and with that other OS is published openly. GNU/Linux is a best-seller in Brazil and could soon be so in India, Malaysia, Russia and China where governments are promoting FLOSS in schools and government offices.
RMS has done more than most individuals to spread the ideals of FLOSS but he is not alone. There are now millions of users of GNU/Linux and FLOSS who are beginning to understand that they have a choice and why they have a choice.