Richard Stallman In Christchurch

Samuel Williams Thursday, 22 October 2009

The other day, Richard Stallman gave a lecture at Canterbury University. When I first approached him, we had an interesting discussion about the difference between open source and free software. He is a wise man with many ideas about computers and society.

A Free Digital Society

Abstract: To make a digital society worthy of being included in, we must overcome six menaces to freedom: surveillance, censorship, restricted data formats, proprietary software, software as a service, and the War on Sharing.

I enjoyed this lecture and so did many others. It was very insightful and interesting and I have made it available online:

This file and its contents are released under the Creative Commons BY-ND license. Please link to this page, not directly to the audio file.

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There is also a text transcript of this talk available here. This also includes a Q&A section which I did not record.

One of my concerns in New Zealand is censorship. We are currently having problems in New Zealand with regards to overbearing censorship policy.

Richard Stallman has the following to say about censorship:

...Denmark set up a system of censoring access to websites.. a secret list of websites are blocked - well this site got leaked and put up on wikileaks. Australia also censors access to certain websites - one of which is the page which has Denmark's censorship list... So among the things they believe in censoring is censorship itself. The first rule about censorship is you don't talk about censorship... [snip] Censorship is power that begs to be abused... and we can't respect todays governments to respect political disagreement... [snip] Of course, they will find examples of utterly disgusting things - you have to have the maturity to recognize that censorship is more disgusting than anything else on the net...

His approach to understanding and explaining the issues is shockingly clear and thorough. He has many powerful and thought provoking ideas which have and will continue to inspire people to change society.

Further Reading


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