Stallman at PSG Tech

Published by Arun Isaac on

Tags: freesoftware

Stallman was here in college today. Having watched many videos of his speeches from the Internet, and having already been involved with the Free Software Movement, I didn't really have too much new stuff to learn from his speech. But, needless to say, getting to see the man in person, and actually attend one of his speeches, was not an experience I was going to miss out on.

Stallman at PSG Tech

Figure 1: Stallman at PSG Tech

Stallman was here in college today. Having watched many videos of his speeches from the Internet, and having already been involved with the Free Software Movement, I didn't really have too much new stuff to learn from his speech. But, needless to say, getting to see the man in person, and actually attend one of his speeches, was not an experience I was going to miss out on.

This post is not about free software, however. It is about something else I found intriguing in Stallman's speech. The more I listened to Stallman talk about free speech, the more I was reminded of how undemocratic and oppressive my present college environment is. In a world of "Obey your elders and studies will come automatically", in a world of "elders" who look upon anyone who does not agree to their totalitarian ways as a rebel, I found the impunity with which Stallman directly disagreed with the majority views largely enforced and acclaimed by these so called "elders" very refreshing. "There is no status hierarchy that I need to bow down to" is the most fundamental hacker ideal I find myself drawn to.

I would say the presence of people like Stallman gives me hope - hope that somewhere out there, there is at least a small community of people - at least a small community of hackers, who live their lives in the true spirit of freedom. All this gives me reason to not accept the present state of my surroundings as "that's the way things are in life", but to strive on, put up a struggle, and find a place and people I can resonate with.

And, some people (even those who agree with the Free Software Movement at large) find Stallman offensive or too explicit (recently a trifle regarding the death of Steve Jobs) to their taste. But, I think the last thing we need is for Stallman to be diplomatic and sly with the cause of free software. I think, Stallman, the founding father and the spearhead of the Free Software Movement is absolutely fine just the way he is. Hats off to him!