Was it Right of RMS to Take a Pop at a Dead Steve Jobs?

Richard Matthew Stallman is the President of the Free Software Foundation. He is a well-known champion of software freedom. He shaped some of the popular open-source software licenses that we conveniently enjoy today. It would have been a bad world out there without his determinations, and we owe him that much. However, no matter how great some men are, it is not noble of them to make pejorative remarks about other great people, people whom the world holds in high esteems, especially on the event of their passing away.
If Richard Stallman changed the world of free software,  Steve Jobs  transformed the world of personal computers and computing devices. His efforts with the PC business was so groundbreaking, it threatened giants like IBM back in 1979. From those early days, Apple has come a long way and created some of the most innovative products we find around us today.

If you ask me personally, I am torn between two worlds here. I respect Steve Jobs for everything that he did, and RMS is the very face of everything I believe in. His exact statement was,

Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.

As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, “I’m not glad he’s dead, but I’m glad he’s gone.” Nobody deserves to have to die – not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. However, we all deserve the end of Jobs’ malign influence on people’s computing.

Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.

At the risk of sounding defensive, I may cite here that “I’m not glad he’s dead, but I’m glad he’s gone” were not his own words. However, Stallman reveled in the death of Steve Jobs, and that was wrong of him. Nothing good will come out of this. It seems like an act of desperation, one that has brought shame to the world of FOSS.

Published by

Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.

  • Turin

    What RMS said – it’s a true. I don’t understand why someone’s death can prohibit one from saying the truth.

    • Sometimes the truth is better left untold. What good is his remark doing to the world of FOSS? It gave people a reason to hate FOSS enthusiasts even more. I understand that without an aggressive attitude, he would not have come this far, but this is just too wrong a thing to say like this.

  • sam

    Jobs as a public figure is not any hero of communication but a hero of consumerism, he was not an artist, but a performer, a merchandising sharpie in the first and last place. As a person, is a guy that negated her own first child up to falsifying his fertility data in Court, that cheated his former partner Wozniak at the very beginning of their partnership (check on the Atari tweaks they did together, as told by same Wozniak), a guy that wouldn’t give his biological father the chance to explain the circumstances on why Jobs was given in adoption. Let us the snobbery of IT to cry him, I pass and applaud warmly Stallman’s moral fortitude to not yield to the “of the dead not say ill” hypocritical platitude, but to instead keep a principled attitude and a clear perspective of things, and persons, and say it openly and to the point.

  • Arvind Joshi

    SJ was a great visionary and made things happen. But when I look back, didn’t Apple make gadgets for the rich? Aren’t all iStuff expensive?
    Bill Gates, on the other hand brought Windows to the grass roots, people who never knew the ‘C’ of Computers. I would put it as Microsoft touched the masses, Apple tickeled the elite.

  • lol

    Poor communist hippie rms! I will celebrate with champagne when he dies… btw i hope he will die in painful death

  • steveburninginhell

    Richard Stallman is a hero who fights for our rights as computer users. Steve Jobs was an authoritarian scumbag loved by millions of big-ego/small-brain sheep who worshipped Jobs because they thought owning iCrap made them “cool.” People have mixed up priorities.