Richard M. Stallman on the Passing of Steve Jobs
Free software founder Richard M. Stallman has recently commented on the passing of Apple’s co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs. His comments have divided the tech world and sparked widespread debate; is it right to celebrate the death of someone? Let’s look at what Richard M. Stallman had to say and what reactions have resulted from his comments.
Richard M. Stallman’s thoughts on Steve Jobs
On October 5, 2011, computer programmer and software freedom activist Richard M. Stallman released a statement concerning the passing of Apple’s co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs. In it, he expressed his condolences for the death of Jobs even as he took the opportunity to advocate for greater access to software, writing:
“I join in mourning for the many who admired Steve Jobs. Yet I can’t celebrate him…I encourage people to think about what would have happened if all of the computing had been owned by Apple instead of mainly by Microsoft and Intel. We would have had radically inferior systems, lacking access and control.”
Stallman continued: “These companies restrict users’ access to their computing in various ways—in some cases extremely drastically: Apple’s digital handcuffs are so tight that it is hard even to change batteries. People who admire Steve Jobs shouldn’t admire this…I honour his creativity but deplore much of what he did.” Stallman also noted that Jobs was not alone in restricting users’ freedoms and questioned why such actions were met with little criticism among public opinion.
Free software founder, Richard M. Stallman is glad Jobs is gone
Richard M. Stallman is an American free software movement activist and programmer. He is the founder of the Free Software Foundation and GNU project, aiming to promote computer users’ rights to create and share software.
In reaction to the passing of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, Stallman expressed his views on his blog. Here we explore why he is glad that Jobs passed away:
Richard M. Stallman’s career
Richard M. Stallman is a renowned computer programmer and advocate for free software, most famous for founding the GNU Project and creating the free software movement. He is a prolific and tireless figure in the free software world, leading efforts to create the first-ever operating system licensed entirely under the GNU General Public License: GNU/Linux.
He grew up in Manhattan, gaining an early introduction to programming through classes at nearby Columbia University. His earliest major work was to develop a software simulation for school classrooms on the IBM 1620 system. In 1975 he joined MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory where he contributed groundbreaking research on Lisp machine operating systems. After critical input from Stallman, the MIT-AI lab became the epicentre of hacking early versions of Emacs – one of his most significant projects that even today served as a foundation for many text editors in Linux systems.
Outside of his professional endeavours, Stallman has made tremendous cultural contributions to technology over decades – notably being awarded countless honorary degrees, prizes and memberships – including being inducted into Software Freedom International’s Hall of Fame in 2009 alongside open source pioneer Linus Torvalds and others. Today his work carries on with mainstream acceptance of GPL (General Public License), commonly used licensing terms for open source projects, which he pioneered in 1983 as part of developing tools required to create usable free software such as compilers – essential components necessary for running nearly all programs written in any computer language ever since then until today’s era of cloud computing.
Steve Jobs’ career
Steve Jobs was a true innovator who, through his co-founding of Apple Inc., became one of the most influential figures in the technology sector. He launched Apple Computer in 1976, in partnership with fellow college graduates Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne.
The debut of the Apple II, one of the first all-in-one personal computing devices, followed shortly after that and was soon followed by other iconic products such as Macintosh computers and the iPod music player. Jobs also played a key role in developing revolutionary products such as iPhones and iPads.
He spent 14 years at Apple before stepping down from his leadership role in 1985 due to creative differences with CEO John Sculley. After founding NeXT Computer, he rejoined Apple in 1996 as interim CEO and served as its CEO until 2011.
Throughout his career at Apple, Jobs transformed many aspects of our lives with creativity and innovation.
Stallman’s Response to Jobs’ Passing
The passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is an event that has left many in the tech world in shock. However, Richard M. Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation and a staunch advocate for open-source software, has a more positive view of the event. In response to Jobs’ death, Stallman has expressed his views on why he is glad that Jobs is gone. Let’s look more closely at what he had to say.
Stallman’s views on Jobs’ legacy
Richard M. Stallman, a well-known free software advocate and founder of the GNU Project, posted his thoughts on Steve Jobs’ legacy after his death in October 2011. In a statement shared with the press, Stallman said that while he is sad to hear of anyone’s death, he believes that “the world is a better place without Steve Jobs”.
Stallman praised Jobs for originally designing great products for Apple and for launching Mac OS X which was based on NeXTSTEP initially developed by Jobs’ company NeXT. However, he felt that in his later years, Jobs contributed little innovation but rather put the bulk of his time and energy into controlling the users of Apple products.
Stallman noted that because Apple kept their operating system closed source, users had limited access to modify or customise their devices as they saw fit. He also argued that as Apple’s products grew in popularity over the years, they became less reliable compared to other computer hardware available at around the same price range.
Accordingly, while acknowledging Jobs’ original achievements as revolutionary and noting him as one of just several people who understood how to design good user interfaces at a general level, Stallman ultimately rejected much of what came later during Job’s career such as limiting user freedom with Apple devices and reinforcing such restrictions through legal battles over patents.
Stallman’s opinion on Jobs’ impact on the tech industry
Richard M. Stallman, computer science pioneer and creator of GNU, the free software operating system, has voiced his opinion on the passing of Steve Jobs. In a blog post written shortly after Job’s passing, Stallman asserts that while Jobs’ inventions were convenient and aesthetically pleasing – helping to popularise personal computing – they came with a major downside: They were designed to keep users in control of Apple’s products and services.
Stallman states that Jobs kept customers tied to Apple through technological restrictions on the systems and software, such as DRM (digital rights management) control technology for digital music downloads and videos. He also raised issues with Apple’s heavily-controlled App Store which keeps users from downloading programs from any other source without jumping through hoops. Finally, he noted the extremely high prices charged for Apple products–despite their lack of an open source licence–blocking access to technology for many less financially fortunate people worldwide.
So while some people may be mourning the loss of Jobs as an inventor or innovator, Stallman believes it is important to remember his legacy includes more than just beautiful products; it includes decreased user freedom within the tech industry.
Stallman’s Vision for the Future
The news of Steve Jobs’ passing profoundly impacted Free software founder Richard M. Stallman. In a public statement, he expressed his gladness for Jobs’ departure, as it presents a chance for the future of software to move away from the closed-source world Jobs created.
As an advocate of Free Software, Stallman believes this forms an opportunity to move towards a more open and communal development of software in the future. He envisions a world where software is truly free, creating a challenge for us to work towards that goal. Let’s take a look at how Stallman proposes to accomplish this.
Stallman’s commitment to free software
Richard M. Stallman never wavered from his commitment to free software, having spent over three decades devoted to the cause. He saw free software as necessary for preserving the freedom and privacy of computer users worldwide, and he strove every day to make more software available under this philosophy.
In an essay titled “The Death of a Software Revolutionary” in response to news of Steve Jobs’ passing in 2011, Stallman noted that Jobs was a great innovator – one who “did not fully understand why I did what I did for freedom.” Moreover, Stallman’s willingness to call out corporate giants like Apple on their commitments (or lack thereof) to open source software made him so influential in the computing world.
Stallman asserted that free software wasn’t simply about perceiving a source code; instead he emphasised that it’s much broader than that, spilling into the domains of people-to-people communication, monetary means, and even social issues like privacy and anti-digital colonisation: “Free software is an effort involving many people—but one person can still have an outsized impact” – writes Stallman. Undying commitment such as his pioneered modern open source movements across the globe; whether or not Steve Jobs was sympathetic to its cause became completely irrelevant compared with its lauded ideals.
Stallman’s plans for the future
In an interview about the passing of Steve Jobs, Richard M. Stallman shared his vision for the future of technology and computing. He talked about the need to keep computer users in control of their digital information and machines – rather than giving control over to industry giants.
Stallman said that free software is critical for achieving this goal. He hopes to see widespread adoption of User-Centric Networking standards like the Protocol for Carrying Authentication for Network Access (PCA-NA) to ensure that users have full control over their data when accessing the internet or storing information online. In addition, he believes that free software will eventually be able to provide robust security and encryption against government spying and other malicious actors. Stallman also highlighted problems with DRM technology and pointed out that he sees no room whatsoever for DRM in a fair society, saying “it’s an obvious case of repression”.
In addition, Stallman spoke about artificial intelligence and its potential implications on society – arguing against creating automated systems with power superior to their operators’ ability to understand them or explain their decisions – calling it ‘the void trap’ – before citing several potential benefits from self-driving cars through robots capable of performing complex surgery beyond what humans are capable of with current technology level upending traditional job markets in both positive and negative ways – “It will be good for some people; it won’t be good for everyone.”
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