Richard explains the world:
“Don’t programmers deserve a reward for their creativity?”
If anything deserves a reward, it is social contribution. Creativity can be a social contribution, but only in so far as society is free to use the results. If programmers deserve to be rewarded for creating innovative programs, by the same token they deserve to be punished if they restrict the use of these programs.
From the GNU manifesto.
Now, I’ve dissected Stallman’s writings many times here, but this quote takes the cake. What is “free”? And what is a “reward”? From the wording it’s evident that asking for money is effectively an restriction too.
Especially if you take another quote into account:
Now we know that programmers should work at McDonalds and write software in their spare time, preferably somewhere between 3 and 5 AM, after they wake up of their alcohol induced comas. So nothing new here. But this time Richard goes even further and extends his policy to all creative arts. If taking the quote seriously, writers, actors and directors (and many more people) should not be paid. Worse, if they “restrict” their works, they need to be punished.
Of course, maybe he meant something else, but:
If a director makes a film and demands that people pay money to see it, then society cannot “freely use” the result of the work of the director. So Stallman must mean money, too.
And it shows what a hypocrite Stallman is:
And I can say that nobody is forced to watch a movie or use a specific software (don’t come with the “MS tax” here, it’s easily circumvented [legally] if you really want to). The nightmarish part is of course the “punishment”:
Now he refers strictly to programs, but as I have showed, his full quotation can extend to any creative arts. So, effectively writers should be punished if they don’t give their work away. Programmers and film directors, too, of course. This is sick. Creative people should be forced to work for free and punished (how by the way?) if they don’t.
That the man who wrote such lines is seen as a freedom fighter speaks volumes.
And by the way, I know that Stallman has a text on his page titled “Selling Free Software is OK!”, but he doesn’t really mean it. It’s full of contradictions:
In the end, his GNU manifesto shows how he really feels about the issue.
And if you have still doubts:
“The question, “How can we pay programmers?”, becomes an easier question when we realize that it’s not a matter of paying them a fortune. A mere living is easier to raise.”
“The real reason programmers will not starve is that it will still be possible for them to get paid for programming; just not paid as much as now.”
“Pay for programmers will not disappear, only become less. So the right question is, will anyone program with a reduced monetary incentive? My experience shows that they will.”
“People with new ideas could distribute programs as freeware, asking for donations from satisfied users, or selling hand-holding services.”
“What the facts show is that people will program for reasons other than riches; but if given a chance to make a lot of money as well, they will come to expect and demand it. Low-paying organizations do poorly in competition with high-paying ones, but they do not have to do badly if the high-paying ones are banned.”
“Probably programming will not be as lucrative on the new basis as it is now”
All quotes are from Stallman’s writings. Stallman is often accused to be a communist, well..
There is a rumour that Stallman once said OUTRIGHT that programmers should work at McDonalds:
Can’t verify that now, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Which communist would want that people should work their asses off AND work at the same time at McDonalds? And which communist advocates so eager salary cuts for employees? He even wants to ban organizations that pay well. He isn’t so much concerned about the salary of the big bosses, just the salary of the employees.
As I wrote already there:
Stallman isn’t so much a communist (though, he seems to be very left wing on many issues), he just wants to see commercial programmers treated as worst as possible.
If Microsoft would produce only FOSS software, but would treat their employees worse than shit, I am sure he would be absolutely fine with that.
It all stems from his trauma at MIT.
His hard line on all other “creative people” is probably just a collateral damage . Because how proprietary software works is very similar with music and films, he included a general statement to not to look like a total hypocrite.
His main beef is the well paid commercial programmer. And I am sure, if he had to chose between an actor and a programmer for “punishment”, he would punish the programmer.