Free software cares about justice

In 1983, Richard Stallman, longtime member of the hacker community at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, announced the GNU project, saying that he had become frustrated with the effects of the change in culture of the computer industry and its users.

Software development for the GNU operating system began in January 1984, and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) was founded in October 1985. An article outlining the project and its goals was published in March 1985 titled the GNU Manifesto. The manifesto included significant explanation of the GNU philosophy, Free Software Definition and “copyleft” ideas.

Some parts of the GNU Manifesto begun as an announcement of the GNU Project posted by Richard Stallman on September 27, 1983 in form of an email on Usenet newsgroups.

The project’s aim was to give computer users freedom and control over their computers by collaboratively developing and providing software that is based on Stallman’s idea of software freedom (although the written definition had not existed until February 1986). The manifesto was written as a way to familiarize more people with these concepts, and to find more support in form of work, money, programs and hardware.

The whole point and reason of the GNU Manifesto was to bring justice to computer users. Stallman believed that people should be in complete control of their own computers and it should us who control the computers not computers controlling us.

Most tech/computer companies are producing proprietary software and computers which violate our rights over technologies we use and we, as well as Mr. Stallman, believe this is injustice.

With this in our minds, I should say that free software cares about justice. However some people may use free software for reasons/purposes that we don’t like, the core of free software definition deeply cares for justice.

I see a lot of people in free software community who want to help the community by violating some people’s rights. Limiting people’s freedom of speech in communities or dismissing them is not what we truly believed in when it started.

I totally agree that if a person is trying to mislead people to proprietary stuff or violates the basic rules of a specific community, we should act against it but only because someone disagrees with us and/or doesn’t like the way we act about software freedom, we shouldn’t limit that person from participating or getting services.

Free software is about justice. Free software cares about justice.

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Ali Reza Hayati

Entrepreneur, hacker, cypherpunk.