Linus Torvalds has a philosophy "more or less the same" as Microsoft's, according to a talk given by Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman.
Stallman touched on topics such as copy protection and software patents, and also advised listeners to lead a life of moral purity by eliminating non-free software from their lives, in a talk given at the Australian National University in Canberra, a transcript of which is on the blog All About Linux.
Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation in the early 1980s, and his GNU project forms the foundation for the GNU/Linux operating system, usually called Linux. Nevertheless, Stallman never tires of urging members of the public to call the operating system GNU/Linux, distancing his approach from what he called Torvalds' wrongheaded ideas.
Using the name "Linux" for the entire operating system, instead of just the kernel, wrongly associates the entire project with "the apolitical philosophy of Linus Torvalds, who thinks that all software licences are legitimate and that it is wrong ever to violate them," Stallman said.
"So his views on this are more or less the same as Microsoft's.... I object to our work becoming the main basis for promoting his views," he said.
Stallman urged listeners not to install any software that isn't covered by a free licence, even such common applications as Java and Flash. "Sun's Java platform is not free software. You shouldn't install it," he said. "If you do install it, you are putting yourself at risk of creating problems for other people."
Java developers may use free licences for their own programs, but if they use features not found in free-software versions of the Java virtual machine, they are creating "an inducement to people to install non-free software," Stallman said.
He advised users to complain when they see a Web site using Flash. "Complain to the site developer, saying, 'You are excluding people who believe in maintaining their freedom. Please get rid of the Flash from your site.' "
Stallman excused his prosyletising attitude by jokingly - or perhaps not jokingly - adopting his role as a saint of the free software movement. "It is my job to be holy. I am Saint iGNUcius of the Church of Emacs," he said. "I bless your computer, my child." Emacs, begun by Stallman in 1975, is one of the main text editors in the Unix world, and Stallman has referred to it since at least 2000 as a religion whose confession of faith is: "There is no system but GNU, and Linux is one of its kernels." .
The life of a saint is difficult, Stallman explained, because it involves leading a life of moral purity. "You must exorcise the evil proprietary operating systems that possess the computers under your control, and install on all of them a holy free operating system instead," he said.
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