"rights" and "freedoms"

Richard Stallman rms at gnu.org
Fri Oct 15 21:01:37 UTC 1999

    You're being a little extreme here. I don't think the FSF ever said that 
    non-free programming was illegitimate. 

The FSF's goal is a world in which published software is generally
free.  The FSF doesn't quite go so far as to say that non-free
software is morally wrong.  I personally think so, but the FSF doesn't
simply reflect my personal views.

    First, I think the FSF probably thinks it is "OK" to receive royalties for
    programming work.

To receive royalties is not exactly the same thing as to force
distributors to pay them.  I think that there is nothing wrong with
receiving royalties if they are offered by a particular distributor
for a free program.  However, the usual way to obtain royalties is by
making the software non-free.

The FSF would not quite go so far as to say that this is wrong,
but certainly aims to replace it with other methods.

     It's just that Stallman and friends are 
    programmers, and the 'S' in FSF stands for "Software". I'm sure they 
    would approve of someone founding a FFF (Free Fiction Foundation) or 
    a FMF (Free Music Foundation) with a similar ideology. 

The FSF is concerned only with software; everything else is beyond its
scope.  It has a certain amount of sympathy for similar issues of
freedom in other areas, enough to put a little material on the web

Peter Deutsch wrote:

      I have yet to hear a persuasive explanation of why Free
    Software advocates think it's OK for authors of fiction to be paid for each
    copy of their work, but not programmers.  If the distinction is between a
    "purely expressive" and a "functional" work, how about authors of cookbooks?
    Authors of how-to books of all kinds?  Authors of reference works?

Anything other than software is outside the scope of the Free Software
movement.  I personally have thought about some of these kinds of
works (not all, yet).  I don't start from generalities.  Instead I
look at the individual specific issues.

But I don't have time to go off on that large tangent now.

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