Free software founder, Richard M. Stallman is glad Jobs is gone

Free software's founder says, "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone."
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Some stuff you can't make up. While many of us sorrow at Apple founder Steve Jobs' death, and others acknowledge Jobs' genius while also admitting that he had his flaws, Richard M. Stallman, aka rms, founder of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), stated on his blog that "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone."

Stallman's complete posting, reads:

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.

OK, we get it that the father of free software isn't going to think anything nice about proprietary software's biggest champion, but come on! As my grandmother used to say, "If you don't have anything good to say, then don't say anything at all."

I'm glad to say that the vast majority of open-source developers don't agree with Stallman's myopic views. Yes, free software is important. Yes, the GPL was essential for the creation of the modern technology world which runs on such open-source projects as Linux, the Apache Web server, and the MySQL databases. But we also know that Jobs was also essential to our modern computing world. Jobs was our generation's Disney, its Edison. The bottom line is almost everyone I know in open-source circles admired Jobs. RMS is the exception not the rule.

By choosing to use the occasion of Jobs' death for one more public jab at proprietary software, Stallman did neither his personal causes nor the larger ones of free and open-source software any good.

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