27 May 2002 RyanMuldoon   » (Journeyer)

atai:I would continue to urge you to think outside of the world of free software for a moment. I am not one of those who claims that RMS is an egotist - I think he is a very intelligent person, and I think he has done a lot of good for free software. He has also been very steadfast in his beliefs, which I would argue is why he has both accomplished so much and caused people to see him as an egotist. I also have written (I think here) on why I would claim that RMS' and the FSF's ideals are basically direct applications of the ideals of Western Liberalism, as described by John Locke and "refined" by Jefferson. He's pretty far from Marx, if we go back to the source materials and compare them. However, I don't think that he's much of a philosopher, nor does he try to be. ESR tries to assert that he is some sort of guru of the free software community's zeitgeist and tries to use philosophy to back himself up, but I don't think he does a good job of it. RMS doesn't try to do this - he just asserts a set of axioms for the conditions of freedom for software. This is pretty far from an ethical framework, if we want to get into real philosophy. You might recall that a couple years ago Advogato had a long discussion on trying to establish an ethical framework to justify free software. It is no easy task. So again, claiming (or even restating Lessig's claim) that RMS may be the philosopher of our age because he has more of a belief system than Linus Torvalds or Eric Raymond is pretty weak - none of these individuals would be near consideration for such a title. Expose yourself to some "real" philosophy, and I think that you will quickly understand what I am trying to say. Again, I think that RMS is a really important part of the free software community, and I have no trouble with GNU, and I gpl everything that I write because I agree with the values of the gpl. RMS is obviously extremely intelligent, otherwise he wouldn't have received a MacArthur fellowship. But he is far more of a mathematician than a philosopher, let alone the greatest philosopher of our age. Feel free to read some of the books by the authors that I mentioned in my previous diary entry....I can also reccomend a number of others. In case you haven't noticed, I take the field philosophy pretty seriously. ;-) As much as I like free software, the world beyond it is a whole lot more significant in our lives.

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