Software // Operating Systems
News
7/7/2008
05:25 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Richard Stallman Blasts Bill Gates On His Way Out

The free software advocate questions the effectiveness of the Microsoft giant's philanthropy, defends free software, and fights the use of the word "piracy" in a British publication.

Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation, says people are paying too much attention to the retirement of Microsoft Chairman and co-founder Bill Gates.

Gates, the third-richest person in the world, retired in June. Stallman said in a recent BBC article that people should pay attention to "the unethical system of restrictions that Microsoft, like many other software companies, imposes on its customers," instead of paying attention to the leadership of the software company.

The criticism is the latest clash in Stallman's long-running crusade against restrictions that prevent software from being shared, modified, and distributed without a license. He criticized the software company for lack of interoperability and said it seems that the main advance Windows Vista made was to increases user restrictions.

However, Stallman did not limit his critique to proprietary software. In addition to accusing Microsoft of persistently engaging in anti-competitive behavior, he targeted the philanthropist's efforts to help the poor.

Stallman cited the L.A. Times and said only five to 10% of the money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funds causes, and the remainder is invested, "sometimes in companies it suggests cause environmental degradation and illness in the same poor countries."

Stallman's fight for free software has been personal for years now. The founder of the GNU Project and Free Software Foundation took aim at Gates about three years ago, when Gates defended software patents and used the term "communist" to characterize those who oppose proprietary software. Stallman has named Microsoft, as well as Apple and other software companies, while criticizing the proprietary system that he says equates acts of sharing with attacking a ship.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and community news at InformationWeek.com.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.