Richard Stallman: A Discussion of Freedom, Privacy and Cryptology

Dr. Richard Stallman is known for his activism in the free software movement. His speeches and his work revolve around one term: freedom. And it is precisely that word that prompted Stallman to launch the GNU Project, founding the Free Software Foundation and releasing the GNU General Public License, among other projects, to promote the concept of free software.

RMS, as Dr. Stallman is also known, has some opinions about the concept of cryptomonies that have been widely discussed within the crypto community.

Three freedoms

To understand the concept of freedom that Stallman often mentions in his speeches, he explains the difference between „free software“ and „open source“, since the latter term is often mistakenly attributed to his work:

„The idea of free software is a question of right and wrong. Of justice and injustice. The idea is that users deserve to have control over the software they are using. You, as a software user, deserve control over the software you are using, and you deserve to be free to join other users in exercising this control collectively, regardless of the groups you choose to participate in. Specifically, there are four essential freedoms that Corona Millionaire users need to have full control over a given program. Freedom 0′ is the freedom to run the program the way you want it to, for whatever purpose it may serve. Freedom 1′ is the freedom to study the program’s source code and modify it as you wish. So the program does what you really want it to do. You can apply these two freedoms on your own.

Stallman says the other two freedoms have to do with cooperation with others, since „Freedom 2“ is the freedom to make „exact copies and redistribute them to others when you wish:

„‚Freedom 3‘ is making and distributing copies of your modified versions if you have made them, taking advantage of freedom 1. And with freedom 2 we make and distribute these copies when you want. If the users have these four essential freedoms, then the users control the program both individually and collectively“.

Stallman makes it clear that when the free software movement began in 1983, there were people who liked the free programs that „our community had developed, but found their philosophy too radical because it spoke of good and evil, rather than mere convenience, success, and so on.