Free Software Foundation chairman and all around computer freedom guru Richard Stallman has written an article for the BBC entitled 'It's not the Gates, it's the bars'.
But Gates didn't invent proprietary software, and thousands of other companies do the same thing. It's wrong, no matter who does it.
Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, and the rest, offer you software that gives them power over you. A change in executives or companies is not important. What we need to change is this system.
That's what the free software movement is all about. "Free" refers to freedom: we write and publish software that users are free to share and modify.
We do this systematically, for freedom's sake; some of us paid, many as volunteers. We already have complete free operating systems, including GNU/Linux.
If you've read up on Stallman's views on the issue of proprietary software, most of that article simply reiterates the points he makes about the perils of proprietary software and how free software is meant to put the user back in control and give them freedom.
In a sense, it's just the same old mantra being regurgitated, but using Bill Gates' recent departure from an active role at Microsoft as a reason to bring up the issue.
I did think it was interesting, though, that Stallman has got an article on the BBC News Technology website. The overwhelming majority of computer users have no idea of the concept of free software (at least in the way that RMS means it) and using a reputable and very popular news source to get his message out.
If you're new to the FOSS world and haven't read Stallman's views on this issue, it's definitely worth a read to get his and the FSF's view. I don't for a minute expect everyone to agree on everything, and it obviously doesn't necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the whole community. There's a wide spectrum of differing views on whether proprietary software is a good thing and motivations for building and using free software.
For those of us who are familiar, I thought it would be interesting to point out the use of this channel to get the message out, as it's certainly something I don't remember seeing before.
[image source] in public domain