Richard Stallman's personal site.

http://stallman.org

For current political commentary, see the daily political notes.

RMS' Bio | The GNU Project


RMS lifestyle

See also for info on my practices involving computers.

I don't have a favorite this or that

I do not have a favorite food, a favorite book, a favorite song, a favorite joke, a favorite flower, or a favorite butterfly. My tastes don't work that way.

In general, in any area of art or sensation, there are many ways for something to be good, and they cannot be compared and ordered. I can't judge whether I like chocolate better or noodles better, because I like them in different ways. Thus, I cannot determine which food is my favorite.

Home

Until around 1998, my office at MIT was also my residence. I was even registered to vote from there. Nowadays I have a separate residence in Cambridge not far from MIT. However, I am rarely there, since I am nearly always travelling out of town.

Music

Food

Religion

Clothing

Surveillance issues

See also How I use the Internet.

"Loyalty cards"

Credit Cards

I have a credit card, but I use it as rarely as possible. Effectively, only for airline tickets, car rental, and hotel checkin — because they demand identification anyway.

I pay some other bills with checks. Once again, the payees already know my name.

Cellular Phones

Holidays

I mostly ignore holidays, except for Grav-mass. They have no direct effect on me, since I work when I wish (which is most of the time) and do other things when I wish.

If I had a family, and holidays were a special opportunity to do some leisure activity when others did not have work or school, that would be a rational reason to pay attention to them. However, I decided not to have a family, and I don't need to wait for a holiday to see my friends.

Many holidays have become commercialized: corporate PR has taught many people that buying things for their friends or relatives on these days is "the thing to do", and the truest expression of love. I dislike the feeling that I am obliged to give a gift for some meaningless event, and get no particular pleasure from receiving gifts under these circumstances either, and hiding the fact that I don't like a gift makes me feel quite uncomfortable. So I would rather just stay out of it.

Trains

I like trains, and in general I would rather take a train for many hours than fly.

However, I absolutely refuse to take Amtrak trains because they check passengers' ID (sometimes, not all the time). Please join me in boycotting Amtrak until it stops requiring identification.

It's not that I expect my personal rejection to make Amtrak change. Rather, as long as Amtrak does not change, I resent it so much I'd rather take a bus.

Learning languages

First I study with a textbook to learn to read the language, using a recording of the sounds to start saying the words to myself. When I finish the textbook, I start reading children's books (for 7-10 year olds) with a dictionary. I advance to books for teenagers when I know enough words that it becomes tolerably fast.

When I know enough words, I start writing the language in email when I am in conversations with people who speak that language.

I don't try actually speaking the language until I know enough words to be able to say the complex sorts of things I typically want to say. Simple sentences are almost as rare in my speech as in this writing. In addition, I need to know how to ask questions about how to say things, what a word means, and how certain words differ, and how to understand the answers.

I first started actually speaking French during my first visit to France. I decided on arrival in the airport that I would speak only French for the whole 6 weeks. This was frustrating to colleagues whose English was much better than my French. But it enabled me to learn.

I decided to learn Spanish when I saw a page printed in Spanish and found I could mostly read it (given my French and English). I followed the approach described above, and began speaking Spanish during a two-week visit to Mexico, a couple of years later.

As for Indonesian, I have not got enough vocabulary to speak it all the time when in Indonesia, but I try to speak it as much as possible.

Avoiding Boredom

I hate being bored, and since I want to get a lot done, I don't like losing time. So I always carry a computer and a book. When I have a few minutes to wait and can sit down, I get work done. When I have to stand, or the wait isn't long enough to do anything useful on the computer, I read.

When I wait for my baggage in an airport, I always do one of these two. I notice the people around me, anxiously looking for their bags and getting nothing done. They would be happier if they did as I do.

Copyright (c) 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Richard Stallman
Verbatim copying and redistribution of this entire page are permitted provided this notice is preserved.