Picking On Gates
Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation feels that people are paying too much attention to the retirement of Microsoft Chairman and co-founder Bill Gates. Stallman is of the opinion that people should focus their attention to the unethical restrictions that Microsoft, like many other software companies, imposes on its customers, rather than paying attention to the leadership of the software company.
This is the latest in Stallman’s long standing debate against restrictions that prevent software from being shared, modified, and distributed without a license. Now with most geeks turning to open source and appreciating Linux forte, Stallman’s call would have many takers and supporters. He criticised the software company for lack of interoperability and said it seems that the main advanced Windows Vista made was to increases user restrictions. Well, it seems true, but he could have been a bit more subtle.
Accusing Microsoft of engaging in anti-competitive behaviour, he targeted Gates’ efforts that claim to help the poor. He said only five to 10 per cent of the money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds causes, and the remainder is invested in companies for personal coffers. Stallman’s fight for free software has become personal for years now. The founder of the GNU Project and Free Software Foundation picked at Gates about three years ago, when Gates defended software patents and used the term communist to characterise those who oppose proprietary software. Stallman has named Microsoft, as well as Apple and other software companies, while criticising the proprietary system that he says equates acts of sharing with attacking a ship.