Software Freedom – Richard Stallman in Malaysia

Sorry for the lack of updates, I’ve been very busy for the past week or so, I’ll be getting back on track now, I have quite a queue of posts to get up and get back in the flow, argh backlog!

Oh well at least I won’t be suffering from writers block.

I was studying last week, a certification called OPST, I shall write more about it later, I had the exam Saturday morning for 4 hours, then went straight to a talk about Software Freedom in Universiti Malaya[/url] by Richard Stallman (AKA RMS) the godfather of Free Software (Founder of GNU, author of Emacs etc etc etc).

After that was dinner (having not eaten all day)..

Then Sunday was equally busy, now here I am, back in the peaceful haven of my Mon’t Kiara office.

The talk was very interesting and thought provoking, I’m already quite familiar with the Open Source community (A term which RMS will not use), Free Software and the idealisms behind it.

Please not Free Software and Open Source Software ARE different things, although a peice of software can be both, being one DOESNT mean it has to be the other.

The Malaysian focus seems to be on gratis not libre, it’s not about Free as in Free Beer, it’s about Free as in Free speech.

It’s about FREEdom, freedom of choice, freedom to modify, freedom to distribute.

I guess I shall talk about this in depth in a later post, it’s a thought-provoking topic with interesting and deep connotations.

Stallman is a famous icon in the software world, a staunch defender of freedom and free software, heavily against software patents and restrictions on creativity. And yeah he looks like a hobo.

We arrived around 2pm, and a lady from MAMPU[/url] spoke about Malaysian Open Source Initiatives, she was a terrible speaker, stumbling, mumbling and repeating herself, plus what she was saying had already been published in the papers and online and was public knowledge.

She used the term Open Source though rather than Free Software, and she didn’t seem to know the difference, her focus was on gratis free, not libre free.

After that Stallman talked for 3-4 hours, the first part being ‘non-controversial’ the second half being more controversial. He covered a lot of subject, a large part being about software patents and the dangers, then a great explanation of free software and why it should be that way plus a bunch of other stories, anecdotes and explanations.

If you are old-skool like me, you know rms, esr, linus, djb, used to frequent usenet, perhaps used some BBS you will be familiar with most of the things he was saying, but still he is a VERY entertaining speaker, quick witted and extremely intelligent, he does have a tendency to be caustic though.

He didn’t use any slides or a presentation, he just spoke, very engaging indeed.

Towards the end he donned his famous St IGNUcius costume and preached about the church of Emacs.

Yes that is an old computer disk platter on his head.

Anyway I’m glad I went, it was enjoyable and I hope to see more luminaries like Richard Stallman visit Malaysia.

There were some other bloggers there, and a few other people I know including my ex-boss from UK who works over here now, also a Free Software fan, plus Dinesh and a couple of others. Apparently Sashi[/url] was there, and a the guy who led us the wrong way was Jon.

A few other people recognised me too, an Indian guy, a Chinese girl and some others, they didn’t have blogs, if you are here say hi 😉

Related Links

Free Software Foundation
Richard M Stallman’s Homepage[/url]
GNU (Gnu Not UNIX)[/url]
RMS at Wikipedia
Free Software at Wikepedia
Free Software vs Open Source at Wikepedia




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12 Responses to Software Freedom – Richard Stallman in Malaysia

  1. Spiller August 29, 2005 at 12:38 am #

    Sigh, when will Msia have its own “guru” on Open Source/Freeware?

    Nevertheless, I hope more Msians will explore into Tech/SW world and be the pioneer of lots of things to come, and to remain as proud Msian as well (not being an expat or migrate to Western then)

    Even ST is doing his bits here, will the Real Msian pls stand up?

    Roll on Guru ST. Keep in up ; )

  2. sashi-isms August 29, 2005 at 2:29 am #

    RMS spotted at UM. Approach with caution. Target is armed with wit and intelligence.

  3. Lee Wye Jon August 29, 2005 at 8:25 am #

    Hey what happened to my earlier comment?

    Anyways… sorry for leading you guys to the wrong hall 🙂

  4. ShaolinTiger August 29, 2005 at 9:00 am #

    Sorry dude I got like 300 spam comments, I tried to spot the real ones in the middle but it was hard, must have deleted yours by mistake.

  5. Fudge August 29, 2005 at 8:03 pm #

    I didn’t know there was something like that in University Malaya. In my 3 LONGG years there, they never had anything like dat before!! such a pain… sigh.

  6. KY August 29, 2005 at 10:15 pm #

    not to mention crazy hairstyle and a pretty big belly to go with it.

    but the dude is cool, one of the most important people in the history of information technology

  7. FireAngel August 30, 2005 at 1:01 am #


    ……..IN BM!

  8. prema September 1, 2005 at 6:21 am #

    aha – now i know your name, or at least your blog. I thought you looked familiar but i didn’t know how! think i saw you at pps – surrounded by fangirls 😉

  9. KFC September 1, 2005 at 8:05 am #

    Hey, great to see some activities for opensource community in malaysia. I’ve rarely meet much friends local which has much idea of what opensource, unix and linux are about. Too bad I didn’t aware the guru’s visits earlier. Btw, great blogs!

  10. Aizat Faiz September 1, 2005 at 10:00 am #

    You forgot about me! The first presenter! Oh the shame and humanity of it all :). Well you’ve been added to the RMS spotting list at hope you can join the MyOSS community.

  11. sweelin September 2, 2005 at 9:14 am #

    saying hi!

  12. exiang September 8, 2005 at 4:07 am #

    Yeah, I suffer alot when the MAMPU lady gave her speech.

    I am the one sitting in front of you with the game developer club tshirt (pacman n space invader things). You got my photo. May I use it? OK, thanks first. 😀

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