April 15, 2024

Books and freedom - Richard Stallman on readers and technology in INT's ENLIGHTENMENT MINUTES.



Published May 22, 2023, 2:20 a.m. by Courtney


It's been a long time since I've read a book. I don't mean that in a bad way, I just haven't had the time or the inclination. With work and family and everything else that's going on in my life, it's been hard to find the motivation to sit down and read for pleasure. But recently, I was given a book that changed all that.

The book is called "freedom" by Richard stallman. For those of you who don't know, Richard stallman is the father of the Free Software movement. He's also a world-renowned computer scientist and software developer. In "freedom", stallman sets out to explain the importance of freedom in the digital age.

The book starts with a brief history of the printing press and how it led to the Enlightenment. stallman then goes on to explain how the Internet is similar to the printing press in that it allows for the dissemination of information and ideas on a global scale. He argues that the Internet is the most powerful tool for promoting freedom that has ever been invented.

stallman then goes on to explain how software can be used to restrict freedom. He argues that software patents and copyright law are two of the biggest threats to freedom in the digital age. He also argues that the way we use technology can have a profound impact on our freedom.

In the final chapter, stallman makes a case for free software. He argues that free software is the only way to ensure freedom in the digital age. He also makes a case for why we should all switch to free software.

"freedom" is an important book. It's a book that everyone should read. It's a book that will change the way you think about technology and freedom.

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if we look at scholarly publication the

crucial thing is free scholarly

publication free as in freedom the

people who get the articles must be free

to redistribute them and I was convinced

by Michael Eisen founder of the public

library of science just redistribution

is not enough people have got to be free

to do things to those articles to change

them to crunch articles together and

therefore he convinced me what we need

is not merely redistributable scientific

publication we need free libre

scientific publication now people have

campaigned for that before but they

chose a misleading name quote open

access unquote if you look at the

Budapest initiative for open access

you'll see that it had two points one

was that the original publication site

should allow anybody to download a copy

and second that the copy would allow

people to redistribute and do various

other things but by using the name open

access they focused on the first point

which made it easy to forget about the

second point and that's what tended to

happen some policies and laws that were

issued under the name open access only

demanded the first point well the second

point is actually the most important one

because just having access doesn't give

people freedom to do anything at all

with the articles once they get a copy

but the contrary does work if everybody

is free to redistribute the articles at

least then you can expect various

libraries to organize mirror sites and

everyone will have access so actually of

these two points the second one is the

most powerful one and that's exactly

what the term open access shoves aside

and ignore

and what tends to get lost so we need to

campaign for free leave a scientific

publication and not merely for anything

about access the other issue is

libraries and the thing that well I most

libraries are mainly full of which is

books of all kinds they're not just

scholarly books well the big problem

with books and freedom is that ebooks

take it away let's look at a typical

example the Amazon swindle which is an

e-reader that swindles readers out of

the traditional freedoms that they have

enjoyed under copyright law for hundreds

of years for instance there's the

freedom to acquire a book anonymously by

paying cash and by the way that's the

only way I've ibooks I will not identify

myself to a bookstore in any fashion if

the bookstore also knows what will

record what books I'm buying because

they have no right to such information

it's intolerable to establish a practice

where there's a list that says all the

books that each person is red but that's

exactly what Amazon does with the

swindle because there's no way to buy

books for the swindle with cash from

amazon so Amazon requires users to

identify themselves and thus maintains a

list of all the books each user has read

then there's the freedom to give a book

to someone else after you read it or

sell it to someone else perhaps to a

used bookstore a place that I the kind

of place I spend a lot of time or to

lend it to various friends well this is

abolished for the swindle through

malicious functionality in the software

which we call digital handcuffs it's

designed to be impossible to do

this and second amazon says that the

users can't do this because they don't

own any books amazon has declared war on

private property a system in which every

book belongs to amazon that's not a

system of private property private

property means you can buy a book and

then you own it well amazon requires

users to send to sign and user license

agreements as saying that they don't own

it they only have a license to read the

book under the conditions that amazon

has imposed well this is an injustice

but then there's the freedom to keep the

book as long as you wish which amazon

abolish is through a back door a back

door is another kind of malicious

functionality in software that receives

commands remotely from amazon we don't

know all the things that that back door

can do but we know one thing by

observation it can be used to remotely

delete books we know this because in

2009 amazon remotely deleted thousands

of copies of a book and these were

copies that until that very day were

authorized copies the users had obtained

them from amazon in the usual approved

fashion and then amazon deleted them all

which was an Orwellian act and the book

was 1984 by george orwell which

demonstrates what an Orwellian product

the swindle is of course 1984 presented

a totalitarian state whose crimes began

with destroying the books it didn't like

so um the official name of that product

is the Kindle which means to start a

fire which I suppose is a suggestion of

the real purpose of that product to

remotely burn our books so you shouldn't

use these and I picked this one example

because I know the most about it but

the other commercial ebook stores are

unjust in at least some of those ways

and some of them are actually worse

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