BOOK: Free as in Freedom - Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software


You don’t have to agree with Richard Stallman’s politics to like this book. If your in the software development business and your interested in anything more than writing code, then you should read this book. Whatever you think of free software, Stallman was fundamental in changing the industry.

The book was packed with insights into Stallman and the history of free software.

The first is that Stallman is a very weird dude. When you read the book here are two things that jump out at you. First, you probably don’t want to have dinner with Stallman who apparently has a propensity for pull hair out of his own beard and dropping it in his soup at the dinner table. Second, he’s a very smart guy who doesn’t live on the same planet as the rest of us.

He believes (according to the book) that not only patents, but copyrights of all type and even agreeing to sign non-disclosure agreements are mortal sins. There’s no question that Stallman is a cross between a Socialist and an Anarchist (at least from my perspective.) 

For him Free software takes on a different feel than Open software. In fact, he seems to be somewhat famous for his dictatorial approach to software development, though publishing source code is part of his process.

As you read the book, you can’t help but admire his tenacity, he has accomplished a great deal, especially in light of the books descriptions that infer he has alienated most of the other open source luminaries that have had interactions with him.

After reading the book, I still don’t agree with all of Stallman’s politics. I still think that I should have the CHOICE as to whether or not to share my source code or not. I absolutely think I should have the right to charge for a software application that I write (If I choose to do so.)