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Standing on principle

Don Tennant | Aug. 12, 2008
Not enough of us are willing to truly sacrifice for the principles we believe in. If for no other reason than that, Stallman has earned the admiration he has inspired.

Most everyone who would ever read or hear that statement would find it a little over the top, or maybe even over the top and way down the other side. I, for one, have no problem with proprietary software, and I'm comfortable that the remarkable accomplishments and benefits that have been achieved by computers running proprietary software speak for themselves.

Yet I find myself unwilling to write Stallman off as some anachronistic zealot. In fact, I respect him.

He went on to say that he's switching from the OLPC unit to a machine made by Chinese company Jiangsu Lemote Technology that can't run Windows because of the chip it uses. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a suspend-and-resume capability, which Stallman called "somewhat inconvenient." Nor does the battery charge while it's running, which he called "an annoyance."

"But it's worth it to you," I said.

"For freedom," he responded, "I will make a sacrifice."

Not enough of us are willing to truly sacrifice for the principles we believe in. If for no other reason than that, Stallman has earned the admiration he has inspired.

Don Tennant is editorial director of Computerworld and InfoWorld . Contact him at don_tennant@computerworld.com , and visit his blog.

 

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