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Chris Harvey


Freeing the Mind

Free Software and the Death of Proprietary Culture – Eben Moglen

Free Mind

I’ve been thinking about Libre Software and networked learning. I revisited a speech given by Eben Moglen back in 2003. It makes much more sense to read the whole speech but lets look at some of what he said.

When I began working as a computer programmer for pay, in the early 1970s, there was a goal. Software developers had a purpose. The purpose was embodied in a four-word phrase: “Write once, run everywhere.” It meant, develop software which can be made to run on all of the hardware that even then rather heterogeneously populated society. It was, from the point of view of venture-capital funded, profit-making, investor-owned industries, an impossible goal, never achieved. We did it. GNU, Linux, and all the other thousands of programs in the free software world, run, as Rita correctly said, on everything. From the palmtop, the cell phone, and the single-purpose appliance–like the digital camera and the personal video recorder–to the mainframe. There was one purpose to software engineering overall throughout my lifetime, and we did it. The best-funded monopoly in the history of the world does not even try.

I hope find time to read the whole thing.

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