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political notes and news items.
This is the personal web site of Richard Stallman.
The views expressed here are my personal views, not those of the Free Software Foundation or the GNU Project.
The largest part of the site is the political notes, and they are typically updated every day.
I'm looking for people to experiment with good ways to attach fruits to a Grav-mass tree. If you can, please send the results to rms at gnu dot org.
I'm looking for someone to write site-specific scripts to post comments on certain web sites. The scripts should interact with the servers by wget or something like it. Please email rms at the gnu site if you want to volunteer.
I am looking a volunteer to post comments for me on some websites. This is not a lot of work, but it needs to be done reliably and promptly. If you would like to help me in this way, please write to rms at gnu dot o r g.
I am making a list of the photos people like best, among those I have taken and posted here. Please look in the Photos directory and email rms at gnu period org with the URLs of your favorites. Please give the path to the full size image and not the web page the image resides in. No more than three photos per person please.
Civil Liberties Minute: This directory exists to make Civil Liberties Minute available in Ogg format. The files are published automatically on behalf Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, not me. I am proud to be an ACLU member, but I don't necessarily agree with the any particular point in these recordings.
US citizens: call for maintaining the protection of wolves.
US citizens: oppose Obama's nomination of a public school privatizer as undersecretary of education.
California citizens: support the proposed ban on keeping orcas in captivity.
Citizens of Massachusetts: call on your state legislators to pass the extended Bottle Bill.
US citizens: call on the EPA to hurry to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.
US Citizens: Sign this petition to free Robert Duncan.
Everyone: tell Papa Johns to rehire Reza Abolhassani, who was fired for getting robbed.
US citizens: call on the Senate to confirm Debo Adebgile to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
US citizens: Call on the EPA to regulate toxic pollution from oil refineries.
US citizens: tell Obama that criticizing Russia for "violating international law" appears hypocritical when the US does it so much.
US citizens: tell Kerry to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline.
US citizens: call on Holder to make it safe for exiled US journalists to return to US.
Everyone: call on McDonalds to rehire Heather Levia.
US citizens: call for taxing businesses' advertising spending.
Citizens of Massachusetts: call on your state legislators to support privacy bills for license plate scanners and drones.
US residents: Tell major US companies to reject palm oil made by destroying rainforests and peatlands.
New York City residents: sign the initiative petition for an investigation of why World Trade Center building 7 collapsed.
US citizens: call for protection of the Book Cliffs region form coal mining.
Everyone: call on Costco to commit not to sell GM salmon.
Everyone: call on the Washington Post to disclose about Amazon's relationship with the CIA when it covers the CIA.
Here are some quotations that I particularly like.
See the current pol-notes page for more.
(You may need to scroll down for more text if there is blank space in this column.)
Copy this button (courtesy of R.Siddharth) to express your rejection of Facebook.
Facebook's face recognition demonstrates a threat to everyone's privacy. I therefore ask people not to put photos of me on Facebook; you can do likewise.
I'd like to make a list of countries that do not require a national identity card, and have no plans to adopt one. If you live in or have confirmed knowledge of such a country, please send email to rms at gnu.org.
Here's my list of countries with no national ID cards and no plans for one: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, the Philippines. Australia's previous government tried to institute national ID cards, but the Labor government dropped the plan.
India is now trying to institute national ID cards. Support the campaign against them.
Austria doesn't require people to have a national ID card, but requires people to notify the police of where they are staying even for 3 days.
Switzerland has national ID cards which are optional, but they or some other government ID card are needed for some purposes.
Denmark and Iceland don't have ID cards as such, but they have ID numbers that citizens are forced to use frequently. For example, in Iceland the national ID number is often required to rent a video or use a gym.
Wikipedia has a list of identity card policies by country.
Stay away from certain countries because of their bad immigration policies.
Avoid flight connections in these airports because of their treatment of passengers.
People often ask how I manage to continue devoting myself to progressive activism (such as the free software movement) for years without burning out. The best way I can answer is by recommending a book, The Lifelong Activist by Hillary Rettig.
I disagree with the book on one theoretical point in the last part of the book: we shouldn't think of political activism as being marketing and sales, because those terms refer to business, and politics is something much more important than mere business. However, this doesn't diminish the value of the book's practical advice about borrowing techniques from marketing and sales.
Disclosure: I am friends with the author.
The Mimi and Eunice book by Nina Paley is great.
If your ISP says this is not allowed, you should do it anyway. If someone powerful pressures you to promise to mistreat your neighbors, that is not an excuse to carry out the promise.
Many well-known US companies fund right-wing attack ads. Take a look, and don't buy from them.
Call on governments to require companies to offer a choice of operating systems for PCs.
Organizations anywhere: sign this petition to the Council of Europe against demanding biometric information from people who are not criminals.
In California, support the campaign against privacy-attacking "smart meters".
Protect your data from government seizure without giving you a search warrant.
Support La Quadrature du Net, and help defeat ACTA.
US citizens: support the constitutional amendment to reenable regulation of corporations' political advertisements.
US citizens: support the Just Say Now campaign to legalize and regulate marijuana.
US citizens: sign the petition for a real
investigation of the Sep 2001 terrorist attacks.
They especially seek architects and engineers, but others are welcome to sign.
In the US: tell your senators to support the DISCLOSE act, which would require corporations to identify the political ads they fund.
And phone them too — a phone call carries more weight. The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.
Report information on the term "intellectual property"
I am looking for volunteers to give me information for a research project: to determine when various US law schools started using the propaganda term "intellectual property" in names of classes. If you are at a university which has a law school, you could probably easily find out when it did so.
If you have information for me, please email it to rms at gnu dot orgy minus the y.
Citizens of India: oppose mandatory ID.
Everyone: sign the petition for libel reform in the UK.
EU citizens: sign the petition against software patents in Europe.
Australians: support the blackout campaign against Internet censorship.
Remind the religious fanatics who oppose gay marriage what they should really be fighting against: eating shrimp.
Buy an RFID detector and start checking the products you buy.
The Cuban government disrespects fundamental freedoms, but that is no excuse for the US to do likewise. At least it doesn't harbor terrorists. If the US government is serious about ending terrorism, it could start by freeing these men and prosecuting the terrorists instead.
Japanese citizens: sign the petition to abolish fingerprinting of visitors to Japan.
Support the ACLU's campaign to hold the US government and its agents accountable for torture.
In the UK, support the Open Rights Group's campaign against disconnecting Internet users for sharing files. I support this campaign because its aim is good, but the reasons it gives exemplify a common mistake: criticizing only side effects of the unjust law has the effect of granting legitimacy to its purpose, which is the unjust War on Sharing.
Support I'm a photographer, not a terrorist in the UK
US citizens: phone or write your congresscritter to oppose the "Fair Copyright in Research Works" act, proposed by the journal publishers to sabotage open access to scientific works. See http://taxpayeraccess.org/fcrwa.html.
For more information.
Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641, and 888-355-3588.
Support the Appel de Blois, which calls for an end to laws that censor views on historical events.
The fish species you should avoid eating. Either they are endangered or catching them is very destructive.
Buy a printer which does not report your activities to the police.
We cannot assume that personal voluntary changes will suffice, so treaties and laws are needed as well.
Also, see the Simultaneous Policy.
A crucial part of rejecting the term is never using the term yourself. Another crucial part is explaining frequently that it is propaganda, that you reject it, and that that is why you don't use it.
(I only get bottled water in the US when I am going to take a long bus ride.)
It is not surprising to me that an official whose title includes the term "intellectual property rights" would act in the grasping, greedy fashion reported in that page. The term is propaganda, and interferes with clear thinking about the various disparate laws it lumps together. In general, anyone who uses the term is either trying to confuse you, or confused himself.
People will say, "That makes no sense--what does one have to do with the other?" Which provides a chance to explain:
We don't know who the perpetrators are--perhaps Muslim fanatics, perhaps Christian fanatics (in the Bush regime), perhaps both. It is tricky to get even with people when you can't identify them. How can we do it in this case?
Both of those groups hate gays and oppose gay rights. Thus, supporting gay marriage offers us a way we can be sure to make the perpetrators miserable, whoever they were.
This is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough. The PAT RIOT act was extended in December 2003 to give the police equally easy access to many kinds of transaction records about you. The PAT RIOT act attacks your freedom in other ways, too. See http://www.aclu.org/safefree/.
These are my political articles that are not related to the GNU operating system or free software. For GNU-related articles, see the GNU philosophy directory. You can also order copies of my book, 'Free Software, Free Society, 2nd edition', signed or not signed.
Regarding Mark Vernon's attack on Peter Singer's philosophy. (May 2011)
How Egypt can help Libya. (Feb 2011)
Protect Your Friends — Protect Julian Assange (Jan 2011).
Global Patronage: This describes the Global Patronage system of supporting artists on the Internet. Francis Muguet and I were working on it together at the time of his death in September 2009. He sent me a draft for version 1.2.1, and I responded with this modified version which I call 1.3. The principal change was to describe correctly what sort of function would be used to calculate the shares of the non-attributed funds. I did not expect him to have any objections, but he died before responding. (French Translation)
Sad to say, this law was adopted in Britain in July 2000. Residents of the UK must now start using steganography to protect themselves from secret raids.
"Those who profess to favor freedom, yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
Political notes about the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa, Italy are being archived on their own page
Richard Matthew Stallman is a software developer and software freedom activist. Born in 1953, he attended Harvard starting in 1970 and graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts in physics. From September 1974 to June 1975 he was a graduate student in physics at MIT.
He worked at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT from 1971 to 1984, learning operating system development by doing it, except for the year he was a graduate student. He wrote the first extensible Emacs text editor there in 1976, and developed the AI technique of dependency-directed backtracking, also known as truth maintenance.
In 1983 Stallman announced the project to develop the GNU operating system, a Unix-like operating system meant to be entirely free software, and has been the project's leader ever since. With that announcement he also launched the Free Software Movement.
Stallman began working on this project on January 5, 1984, resigning from MIT employment in order to do so. In October 1985 he started the Free Software Foundation, of which he is president as a full-time volunteer.
The GNU/Linux system, which is a variant of GNU that also uses the kernel Linux developed by Linus Torvalds, are used in tens or hundreds of millions of computers, and are now preinstalled in computers available in retail stores. However, the distributors of these systems often disregard the ideas of freedom which make free software important, and even include nonfree software in those systems.
That is why, since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time in political advocacy for free software, and spreading the ethical ideas of the movement, as well as campaigning against both software patents and dangerous extension of copyright laws. Before that, Stallman developed a number of widely used software components of the GNU system, the GNU Compiler Collection, the GNU symbolic debugger (gdb), GNU Emacs, and various other programs for the GNU operating system.
Stallman gives speeches frequently about free software and related topics. Common speech titles include "The GNU Operating System and the Free Software movement", "The Dangers of Software Patents", and "Copyright and Community in the Age of the Computer Networks". A fourth common topic consists of explaining the changes in version 3 of the GNU General Public License, which was released in June 2007. Another topic is "A Free Digital Society", which treats several different threats to the freedom of computer users today.
In 1999, Stallman called for development of a free on-line encyclopedia through the means of inviting the public to contribute articles.
(This biography was published in the first edition of "The Hacker's Dictionary". It is copyright 1983 Richard Stallman and released under the Creative Commons Sharealike license 3.0.)
I was built at a laboratory in Manhattan around 1953, and moved to the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab in 1971. My hobbies include affection, international folk dance, flying, cooking, physics, recorder, puns, science fiction fandom, and programming; I magically get paid for doing the last one. About a year ago I split up with the PDP-10 computer to which I was married for ten years. We still love each other, but the world is taking us in different directions. For the moment I still live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, among our old memories. "Richard Stallman" is just my mundane name; you can call me "rms".
Here is a color photo in JPEG format.
"You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul."-Mahatma Gandhi
A photo of a painting of me.
A drawing of me.
A photo of me, in Svalbard, wearing a snowmobile suit. Taken by Håkon Wium Lie, released under CC BY.
A photo taken by Bill Ebbesen at the Danish Technical University on 2007/03/31. It is free to use and redistribute (placed in the public domain worldwide by the original copyright holder).
photo from a recent interview.
A photo of RMS with a large "aureole" by Roberto Brenlla.
An imaginative painting of Richard Stallman, by Jin Wicked.
Another drawing of me, by Banlu Kemiyatorn.
Here I am wearing my "power tie".
Here I am struggling to open a bottle of water.
My application to an join Marian Henley's Ex Boyfriends List
New song (10/2013) - Poppycock
My Puns in Spanish (New pun, 10/2013)
My Puns in French (New puns 02/2014)
Linguistic Swifties (Now with: Wintu, Penutian, Cochiti, Taos, and Towa.)
There are no godfathers in the Church of Emacs, since there are no gods, but you can be someone's editorfather.
Stallman Does Dallas: "I have to warn you that Texans have been known to have an adverse reaction to my personality . . . "
I found A funny song about the Mickey Mouse Copyright Act (officially the Sonny Bono Copyright Act) which extended copyright retroactively by 20 years on works made as early as the 1920s.
If you are a geek and read Spanish, you will love Raulito el Friki, who said "Hello, world!" immediately after he was born. Here's an archive of this now-defunct comic strip.
Sleeping with Stallman at MIT.
Here's an April Fool about me. I don't know who wrote it, but I think it's funny.
ESR's favorite programming language: Objectivist C.
I don't know who wrote this, but I hope he does not object to sharing it here.
A proposal for gender neutrality in Spanish, suitable for both speech and writing.
On Hacking: In June 2000, while visiting Korea, I did a fun hack that clearly illustrates the original and true meaning of the word "hacker".
Predicting the attack on Pearl Harbor
I would like to thank:
Please send comments on these web pages to rms at gnu period org.
Copyright (c) 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003,
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Verbatim copying and redistribution of this entire page are permitted provided this notice is preserved.
Verbatim copying and redistribution of any of the photos in the photos subdirectory is permitted under the Creative Commons Noderivs license version 3.0 or later. You can copy and redistribute the photo of me playing music to the butterfly under the Creative Commons Noderivs Nocommercial license version 3.0 or later. Any other photos of me in this (the toplevel) directory may be copied and redistributed under the Creative Commons Noderivs license version 3.0 or later.