Tuesday, August 30, 2005

rms talk at um

Richard Stallman was over at UM to talk about 'The Dangers of Software Patents' last weekend (27th August 2005), organized by Asix. Turn out wasnt as large as I thought it would be, it certainly felt like it was less than his visit last year. Perhaps because it was held at UM on a Saturday afternoon.

It started off with Aizat's presentation on the MyOSS communities activities, which has been very active these past few months. Then of course we had the same ol' drivel from a MAMPU spokesperson. They could have at least gotten the title of the seminar right:

General Patten in da house!

She should also make sure that she avoids the blatant use of "Open Source" infront of Stallman. In fact it was rather interesting seeing how rms dealt with it, because at the end of the talk he actually gave her a book on his and Lessig's essays. He said that it was for someone of influence to the government. So I guess thats why he was so much more 'forgiving' to her inaccuracies. Another one was during her speech she said something to the effect of: "The Government is looking into Open Source because it gives them freedom: Freedom of Choice!" rms had a fit in his chair, and she had to quickly correct herself.

When directly asked if the Govt is for or against Software Patents, the standard MAMPU answer seems to be: "there is No Official Position." The reason being, they have not come to the 'problem' yet. Now this is funny because its conveniently avoiding the issue.

Bill from Asix then gave a really good talk about the development of his company and how it could not have acheived what it has done until today if software patents were in place, hindering the startup ISVs. I wish we could have heard more from him instead.

Then rms took the stage, and gave his talk. The first part of his talk was on the "Dangers of Software Patents", and it was to me quite new. But after listening to it, and doing some quick googling, Ive found that he uses this talk quite a few times and here are some transcriptions.

University of Dublin, Ireland
Model Engineering College, India

He covers most of the material to the dot. For the second half, he said he was going to talk about something more controversial. Thats the talk he gave last here in in KL, on the differences of Free and Open Source software and why its important now.

The closes prior speech I can google is probably this one:
National Institute of Technology, India.

He covers the history of FSF, Hurd, Community, Hurd, Lesser of two evils, 4 freedoms, education, government, affect on jobs... amongst the main points.

Its amazing that he has the motivation to re-deliver 2-3 hour speeches all over the world. I guess its the same with rock stars: doing the same material over and over again ;-)

After all the serious stuff was delivered, rms transformed himself into Saint Ignucious of the Church of Emacs and gave us his blessings.

I guess its definitely a "you had to be there" kinda experience to appreciate what happened, cos just looking at this its quite eerie. But rms had a huge smile on his face while doing this and he obviously loves a good laugh.

He then proceeded to sell his GNU merchandise and I got myself a keychain (RM50) and also got him to sign my copy of his book: "Free as in Freedom".



Thanks to Colin, there are some audio files available of the talk here, split to about an hour each:

5 lewsers:

Anonymous said...

I think the turnout was less then expected due to another event (Open Source and Hacking) happening in IIUM.

Sad the schedules had to clash but I didn't know about the other event till two days before!


aizatto said...

Good summary of the RMS event, and yeah I also noticed that he used pretty much the same speech as last time. :)

Overall good, plus we got stuff! And you also got your much desired signature.


obiwan said...




Use patent-free tech! Use Ogg Vorbis!

Anonymous said...

make sure that she avoids the blatant use of "Open Source" infront of Stallman
Yeah.. but everybody got to learn from somewhere...

Get it from the man himself!!!

Yoon Kit said...

Here's rms's blog on his trip to Malaysia...