Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs: "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone"

Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs: "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone"

Summary: Stallman: "Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died."


I'm not sure what Richard M. Stallman, software freedon activist and the main author of the GNU General Public License, was thinking when he wrote this over on his personal blog:

Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.

As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone." Nobody deserves to have to die - not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Jobs' malign influence on people's computing.

Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.

I can understand that Apple's view of computing is at odds with Stallman's view of the world, but this sort of outburst is uncalled for.

I've come across a lot of crazy things said by a lot of crazy people over the past few days, but this is by far the craziest. Reading that has left me shaking my head is disbelief.

(via The Loop)

Topics: IT Employment, Apple, Browser, CXO

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  • RE: Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs:

    Irrespective of field/subject, extremism of any kind is harmful !!!
    • Stallman is on the same page with me

      Jobs was a marketing guru very good at selling you expensive crap and taking away people's freedom to use software and even hardware.
      The Linux Geek
      • RE: Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs:

        @The Linux Geek it's an opinion. An honest opinion I might add. Computing is supposed to be open. I am sad that Steve is gone, but I am not sad that he no longer influence computing, imo.
      • RE: Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs:

        @The Linux Geek

        No he wasn't. I switched to Apple products because they work far better than their Linux/Windows/smartphone competitors. I've yet to find any software that I'm "unable to use".

        The fact I no longer have to deal with such thoroughly unpleasant people as yourself and RMS is an added bonus.
      • RE: Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs:

        @The Linux Geek The problem with people like you and other platform evangelists is that you don't understand that the computer field is an ecosystem that needs all kind of models to work. We need Apple, and Windows, and Linux and others; we need Android, iOS and others; we need C++, C#, Python, Perl and others. We need diversification in the field to answer the needs of all, and provide employment to many.
        • themarty, you're right, except Jobs wouldn't have agreed with you.

          He would have said we need Apple, its ecosystem, its hardware, iOS, iCloud, Object-C, and not much else, especially not Android.
          Alan Sargent
      • RE: Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs:

        @The Linux Geek Why do you Linux fanbois bring up marketing like it's some sort of panacea? ALL marketing does is put a product out there and is really good for an initial sale. That's it. So if the first iPhone was a crap product as you ABAers love to claim then Apple would not have released an iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and would not be working on an iPhone5. If the iPhone was such a crap product then there would not have been repeat sales - all you ABAers love to say that the "Apple faithful" keep buying the next iPhone version... if that was the case then none of the iPhone models would have sold millions and so far each successive model has outsold the prior...

        That completely destroys your marketing theory. Next.
        • Agreed

          People love Apple because all they know is Microsoft and Apple does sh t on Microsoft in just about every way. Most of the key benefits of Linux can only be enjoyed by those of us who are a bit more technically inclined than your average Apple/Microsoft user. That's not a dig at anyone, just that when you know that you could do things if it wasn't for Apple tying your hands you naturally don't like it, if you don't know you don't care. Hence jail breaking and rooting - which Steve hated.

          Linux has never had marketing, or anyone paying graphic artists to make it really pretty, and it does suffer for it.
          Alan Sargent
      • Marketing boost is important

        @Pete "athynz" Athens - IMO, it's because not every platform (in this case, Linux) can get that marketing boost, and there's a positive feedback (a positive "network effect") that makes it easier for dominating platforms like Windows or iOS to stay dominant. It's true that marketing can only give a product a temporary boost, and it has to fly on its own. But Linux never got that same boost at takeoff, and likely never will. Contrast Linux (desktops) with Android, which had Google as an ally to provide a marketing boost and get its footing against iOS.
      • RE: Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs:

        @The Linux Geek
        It's funny how all the people complaining loudest about freedom being taken by using Apple products, are the ones that don't use them.
        I have been using Apple products since 1992, with a Mac IIsi.
        I could emulate MS DOS back then to use the PC software and later on Windows emulation on more powerful Macs.
        The Intel Macs can run it all, Mac OS X, Linux, Windows, whatever. I therefore could run more software than any PC user. Sounds more open to me.

        The iPods, iPhones, iPads can play DRM free media from virtually any source. (No Flash, mostly due to crappy performance. It is also controlled by Adobe. Not too open!!)
        Steve Jobs was backing HTML 5 an open standard over the proprietary Flash. Also, with iOS 5 coming, you will no longer need to have a computer. (Sounds more open to me) Richard M Stallman is talking out his a**.

        The iTunes store is tied to Apple products, but is it any worse than other stores/ online services? XBox and Playstation online services only work with their own products. and the the Zune marketplace was tied to the Zune.
        The music is now DRM free, thanks to Steve Jobs being the first to write an open letter to the recording industry.
        There is still DRM on movies, but that is a Hollywood requirement.
        All DVDs, BluRay and just about every movie online has DRM attached to it. (You could pirate movies of course, is that what Richard M Stallman wants?)
        Apple approves the apps that get into their store, they seem to reject a fairly small percentage of apps, for reworking, some for being not politically correct in case they might cause offense, and sometimes for seemingly random reasons unknown.
        I don't really like this, but I can hardly blame Apple for being cautious. How many times has Apple been sued over Apps in the store? Dozens. Lawsuits get filed both against the developer and Apple for trivial things. It all costs big money.
        When the Baby Shaking App appeared on the store, there was outrage that Apple approved it. When it was removed, the free speech idiots came out of the woodwork. Apple can't win.

        People call the App store a walled garden. I liken it more to a fenced community pool. You have to pay a fee and be checked by a security guard before you get in. A bit inconvenient, but once you get in, the facilities are clean and first class.

        On the other hand, the Android store is an open swimming hole at a river. Anyone can go there, kids urinate and defecate there, vagrants do their washing, 50 metres upstream is a dead sheep and further upstream is a factory emptying toxic waste (malware) into the river.
        Google comes and cleans the river up once in a while, but where would you rather swim?

        Amazon is the latest darling of the tech industry for being open.
        But where can you get their content internationally? You can't.
        I use iTunes in New Zealand because I don't want to steal content. There are other sources, but the iTunes store is the cheapest and most convenient.

        During, my time as a Mac user, the only time I have felt disadvantaged was between 1995 and 1998, when Apple was facing hard times.

        Since then I have bought quite a lot of Apple hardware. It is more expensive, but seems much more reliable. (That is my opinion, based on my experience with my purchases)
        I am using a 2006 Intel Mac Pro, 2007 Intel MacBook Pro. Zero problems on either. Zero Kernel panics on the laptop, 2 on the Mac Pro since I have had them. (I only upgrade the OS after a couple of updates have been released)
        I still have a 2005 5th gen clickwheel video iPod and a 2009 3rd gen iPod touch. Zero problems and still getting very good battery life.

        I have given my old 2002 MDD PowerMac to a brother, still working well, although has had 1 new hard drive.
        Another brother has a 1999 Sawtooth Mac still working.

        Those are the reasons people buy Macs. Quality. You get what you pay for.
        • Yep

          Apple is like an expensive restaurant, Windows is like McDonald's, Linux is like home cooking, and everyone has their taste, budget, and cooking ability. Me, I prefer to cook myself, share recipes, not get ripped off, and not eat cheap garbage. The analogy doesn't quite hold though because you can go to different restaurants whenever you like, you don't get locked into just one.
          Alan Sargent
      • RE: Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs:

        @The Linux Geek Apple stuff is expensive, but it does what I want it to do. Isn't that what computers are for?

        Whenever I deal with Linux, instead of getting right to work, I have to negotiate. When I use Mac or Windows, I just work.
        P.F. Bruns
    • RE: Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs:

      @1773 I agree ...
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • RE: Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs:

        @Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

        Folks where does it say that computing is "supposed to be free and open"? Come on Adrian, that is a blanket statement, you are better than agreeing with that. And Mr. Stallman can only hope that people are more gracious to him.
    • Re: extremism of any kind is harmful

      @1773 Maybe one might say only some kinds of extremism are harmful. After all, you don't want to carry the idea to extremes, now, do you...
    • RE: Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs:

      @1773 <br>Apple is a consumer product company. The "open software" concept would not work because:<br><br>Consumer products must be simple and "just work"<br>There must be hardware/software seamless integration and great user experience<br>Thousands of apps that work the same way, designed for consumers<br>Apple, like any company, must produce profits so its employees and investors can pay the bills

      Stallman is a utopian dreamer. Open software can only go so far. At the end of the day, no developer can afford to work for free...
      • RE: Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs:

        @prof123 I'd disagree with two points:
        1) "Consumer products must be simple and 'just work'". There's no rule that says anything sold to a consumer has to be no harder to operate than a toothbrush. Digital cameras come to mind immediately. From Photoshop to motorcycles, many things the public likes have a learning curve associated with them.
        2) The notion that only closed-source applications work the same way, are designed for consumers or can succeed in the marketplace. Consumers seem to have taken to VLC, Firefox, Open/LibreOffice (millions of users), etc. The open source RapidMiner data mining suite has not only been the top open source data mining tool for four years, but this year beat out commercial source programs in two industry-wide surveys to be the most used data mining tool. 91% of users who use it exclusively also answered that they expect to continue using it exclusively over the next three years, putting RapidMiner in the top three in terms of customer satisfaction as well. Open source is not mutually exclusive with clean interface design or customer satisfaction.
    • yeah

      Just like Martin Luther King or anyone else who fought for a cause that wasn't popular at the time. Don't be a fool.
  • Hate to break it to you

    But Apple's vision is here to stay.

    The world has moved on. It's not about computers anymore, it's about smarter, more powerful consumer electronics.

    Every company, including Google, is now aping Apple.

    That's not to say there isn't a future for hacking, nerds, and FOSS. It's just that Apple is not even functioning in your universe (although they do need brilliant engineers to do what they do).

    The point is, billions of regular people thankfully for Apple, don't need a computer science degree any longer to use intelligent devices to assist them in their lives.

    There's a lot of great FOSS, but I don't want it foisted on the masses just because technology is my bent.
    • RE: Richard M. Stallman on Steve Jobs:

      @ElJo Apple's vision is a conglomerate of everyone else's vision. It was Jobs himself who said, "we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas". What he has managed to do was dumb things down and make people feel stupid. It's the only way I can explain things like the one button mouse or those idiotic commercials (PC vs. Mac) featuring simple characters, unconfusing white background, and nursery music, not to mention all their other ads where people basically admit to being morons and, "gee, isn't it great that *finally* someone makes a computer for us!"<br>People have never needed a science degree to use computers, this is the lie that Apple has perpetuated. My parents use a PC. My little nephews use a PC. Nerds use PCs, jocks use PCs, and so on and so on. The fact that you would still be toeing the "computer science degree" line says a lot more about how you see your own intelligence than what the reality is. This is what Jobs wants, this is what he's gunning for -- your insecurity, your lack of confidence, your belief that the world is just too big and scary and those awful awful machines are just way too complicated to figure out! And even if computers are easier to use today than they were a few decades ago, something which I will admit is true, Apple was merely riding on the bandwagon of change, not the driver. The people who really pushed things forward were companies like Xerox, Adobe, and Palm -- graphical user interface, usable / creative / beautiful software and design, touch and portable devices. Apple simply brought it all together (they don't manufacture any of their own components, their OS is "borrowed"), slapped an Apple logo on it, doubled the price (their mobile unit sales are 4th on the world, their profits are 1st -- you do the math), and used their brightest shill, Steve Jobs, to convince people that it was pure Apple "genius".