Next, we are pleased to introduce a very special man and our honorable #FreeSoftware speaker: Dr. Richard Stallman. He launched the free software movement in 1983 and started the development of the GNU operating system in 1984. GNU is free software: everyone has the freedom to copy it and redistribute it, with or without changes. The GNU/Linux system, basically the GNU operating system with Linux added, is used on tens of millions of computers today. He is also the president of the Free Software Foundation.
Dr. Stallman has received numerous awards for his work among which the ACM Grace Hopper Award and the ACM Software and Systems Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s Pioneer Award, and the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment, as well as several doctorates honoris causa. He has been also inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately, despite the initial plan to travel all the way from Boston, U.S.A., Dr. Stallman is prevented from joining us on stage at Sofia Tech Park on 24th April 2018. Nevertheless, you will still have the chance to experience him live from Boston in a special live streaming exclusively for LibertyBits 2018, and of course, you can still ask questions and talk to him just like as if he was standing a few meters away from you. As a real tech conference supported by the most recent digital technologies, LibertyBits 2018 will prove that change of plans and physical distance can’t stop like-minded people from all over the world from joining efforts to spread the word about what they believe in.
Good afternoon, Mr. Stallman! Would you please introduce yourself to our audience?
I started the free software movement –free as in freedom, that is– and led the development of the free operating system GNU since 1984. I launched GNU to give users a way to have freedom in our computers.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN THE SPEAKERS’ LIST OF LIBERTYBITS CONFERENCE?
It is a good opportunity to tell people about the threats to our digital freedom and what we need to do to recover our freedom.
WHAT IS YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF “LIBERTY” (FREEDOM) AND WHAT ARE THE MOST UNDERESTIMATED THREATS TO OUR MODERN SOCIETY?
Freedom, in general, is having control of your own life. Freedom in computing is having control of your computing. To have that freedom, your computing needs to be done in your own computers by software that the users control.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO PEOPLE WHO DO NOT REALLY CARE WHETHER THE SOFTWARE THEY ARE USING IS FREE OR PROPRIETARY AS LONG AS THEY CAN GET THE JOB DONE?
They are trading their freedom for convenience, which is a grave mistake since it is the way to lose your freedom.
WHAT IS THE EASIEST EASY WAY TO PROTECT OUR PRIVACY IF WE ARE NOT SO TECH-SAVVY PEOPLE?
We have to require all digital systems to be designed not to collect data about people, beyond the minimum that is impossible to avoid. See https://gnu.org/philosophy/surveillance-vs-democracy.html for more explanations.
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE CONFERENCE?
Alas, I won’t see much of it.
Thank you very much, Dr. Stallman! We are really impressed by your remarkable philosophy and consistent work! We couldn’t think of any better advocate for our freedom in today’s digital age! Our LibertyBits guests will have the unique opportunity to learn more about the free software movement and GNU from the very source. If you haven’t reserved your seat for #LibertyBits2018 in Sofia Tech Park already, we would suggest that you do so now! 24th April 2018 is just around the corner!