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www/philosophy philosophy.html computing-progre...

From: Yavor Doganov
Subject: www/philosophy philosophy.html computing-progre...
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 14:54:07 +0000

CVSROOT:        /web/www
Module name:    www
Changes by:     Yavor Doganov <yavor>   07/10/23 14:54:07

Modified files:
        philosophy     : philosophy.html 
Added files:
        philosophy     : computing-progress.html 

Log message:
        * computing-progress.html: New article by RMS.
        * philosophy.html (Laws): Link to it.


Index: philosophy.html
RCS file: /web/www/www/philosophy/philosophy.html,v
retrieving revision 1.254
retrieving revision 1.255
diff -u -b -r1.254 -r1.255
--- philosophy.html     29 Jul 2007 16:44:49 -0000      1.254
+++ philosophy.html     23 Oct 2007 14:53:47 -0000      1.255
@@ -128,6 +128,8 @@
 <h3 id="Laws">Laws and Issues</h3>
+  <li><a href="/philosophy/computing-progress.html">Computing
+  &ldquo;progress&rdquo;: good and bad</a>, by Richard M. Stallman.</li>
   <li><a href="/philosophy/why-audio-format-matters.html">Why Audio Format 
matters</a> by Karl Fogel</li>
@@ -971,7 +973,7 @@
 <!-- timestamp start -->
-$Date: 2007/07/29 16:44:49 $
+$Date: 2007/10/23 14:53:47 $
 <!-- timestamp end -->

Index: computing-progress.html
RCS file: computing-progress.html
diff -N computing-progress.html
--- /dev/null   1 Jan 1970 00:00:00 -0000
+++ computing-progress.html     23 Oct 2007 14:53:47 -0000      1.1
@@ -0,0 +1,186 @@
+<!--#include virtual="/server/header.html" -->
+<title>Computing &ldquo;progress&rdquo;: good and bad - GNU Project - Free 
Software Foundation (FSF)</title>
+<!--#include virtual="/server/banner.html" -->
+<h2>Computing &ldquo;progress&rdquo;: good and bad</h2>
+<p>by <a href="http://www.stallman.org/";><strong>Richard
+The BBC invited me to write an article for their column series, The
+Tech Lab, and this is what I sent them.  (It refers to a couple of
+other articles published in that series.)  But the BBC was unwilling
+to publish it with a copying permission notice, so I have published it
+Bradley Horowitz of Yahoo proposed here that every object in our world
+should have a unique number, so that your cell phone can record
+everything you do &mdash; even which cans you pick up while in the
+If the phone is like today's phones, it will use proprietary software:
+software controlled by the companies that developed it, not by its
+users.  Those companies will ensure that your phone makes the
+information it collects about you available to the phone company's
+data base (let's call it Big Brother) and probably to other
+In the UK of the future, as New Labour would have it, those companies
+will surely turn this information over to the police.  If your phone
+reports you bought a wooden stick and a piece of poster board, the
+phone company's system will deduce that you may be planning a protest,
+and report you automatically to the police so they can accuse you of
+In the UK, it is literally an offence to be suspect.  (More precisely,
+to possess any object in circumstances that create a &ldquo;reasonable
+suspicion&rdquo; that you might use them in certain criminal ways.)
+Your phone will give the police plenty of opportunities to suspect
+you, so they can charge you with having been suspected by them.
+Similar things will happen in China, where Yahoo already gave the
+government all the information it needed to imprison a dissident, and
+asked for our understanding on the excuse that it was &ldquo;just
+following orders&rdquo;.</p>
+Horowitz would like cell phones to tag information automatically based
+on knowing when you participate in an event or meeting.  That means
+the phone company will also know precisely who you meet.  That
+information will also be interesting to governments, such as those of
+the UK and China, that cut corners on human rights.</p>
+I do not much like Horowitz's vision of total surveillance.  Rather, I
+envision a world in which our computers never collect, or release any
+information about us except when we want them to.</p>
+Non-free software does other nasty things besides spying.  It often
+implements digital handcuffs &mdash; features designed to restrict the
+users (also called DRM, for Digital Restrictions Management).  These
+features control how you can access, copy or move the files in your
+own computer.</p>
+DRM is a common practice: Microsoft does it, Apple does it, Google
+does it, even the BBC's iPlayer does it.  Many countries, taking the
+side of these companies against the public, have made it illegal to
+tell others how to escape from the digital handcuffs.  As a result,
+competition does nothing to check the practice: no matter how many
+proprietary alternatives you might have to choose from, they all
+handcuff you just the same.  If the computer knows where you are
+located, it can make DRM even worse: there are companies that would
+like to restrict what you can access based on your present
+My vision of the world is different.  I would like to see a world in
+which all the software in our computers &mdash; in our desktop PCs, our
+laptops, our handhelds, our phones &mdash; is under the our control and
+respects our freedom.  In other words, a world where all software is
+<a href="/philosophy/free-sw.html"><em>free software</em></a>.</p>
+Free software, freedom-respecting software, means that every user of
+the program is free to get the program's source code and change the
+program to do what she wants, and also free to give away or sell
+copies, either exact or modified.  This means the users are in
+control.  With the users in control of the software, nobody has power
+to impose nasty features on others.</p>
+Even if you don't exercise this control yourself, you are part of a
+society where others do.  If you are not a programmer, other users of
+the program are.  They will probably find and remove any nasty
+features, such as spying or restricting you, and publish safe
+versions.  You will have only to elect to use them &mdash; and since
+all other users will prefer them, that will usually happen with no
+effort on your part.</p>
+Charles Stross envisioned computers that permanently record everything
+that we see and hear.  Those records could be very useful, as long as
+Big Brother doesn't see and hear all of them.  Today's cell phones are
+already capable of listening to their users without informing them, at
+the request of the police, the phone company, or anyone that knows the
+requisite commands.  As long as phones use non-free software,
+controlled by its developers and not by the users, we must expect this
+to get worse.  Only free software enables computer-using citizens to
+resist totalitarian surveillance.</p>
+Dave Winer's article suggested that Mr Gates should send a copy of
+Windows Vista to Alpha Centauri.  I understand the feeling, but
+sending just one won't solve our problem here on Earth.  Windows is
+designed to spy on users and restrict them.  We should collect all the
+copies of Windows, and MacOS and iPlayer for the same reason, and send
+them to Alpha Centauri at the slowest possible speed.  Or just erase
+<!--#include virtual="/server/footer.html" -->
+<div id="footer">
+Please send FSF &amp; GNU inquiries to 
+<a href="mailto:address@hidden";><em>address@hidden</em></a>.
+There are also <a href="/contact/">other ways to contact</a> 
+the FSF.
+<br />
+Please send broken links and other corrections or suggestions to
+<a href="mailto:address@hidden";><em>address@hidden</em></a>.
+Please see the 
+<a href="/server/standards/README.translations.html">Translations
+README</a> for information on coordinating and submitting
+translations of this article.
+Copyright &copy; 2007 Richard Stallman
+<p>Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are
+permitted worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided this
+notice is preserved.
+<!-- timestamp start -->
+$Date: 2007/10/23 14:53:47 $
+<!-- timestamp end -->
+<div id="translations">
+<h4>Translations of this page</h4>
+<!-- Please keep this list alphabetical. -->
+<!-- Comment what the language is for each type, i.e. de is German. -->
+<!-- Write the language name in its own language (Deutsch) in the text. -->
+<!-- If you add a new language here, please -->
+<!-- advise address@hidden and add it to -->
+<!--  - /home/www/bin/nightly-vars either TAGSLANG or WEBLANG -->
+<!--  - /home/www/html/server/standards/README.translations.html -->
+<!--  - one of the lists under the section "Translations Underway" -->
+<!--  - if there is a translation team, you also have to add an alias -->
+<!--  to mail.gnu.org:/com/mailer/aliases -->
+<!-- Please also check you have the 2 letter language code right, cf. -->
+<!-- <URL:http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/IG/ert/iso639.htm> -->
+<!-- Please use W3C normative character entities. -->
+<ul class="translations-list">
+<!-- English -->
+<li><a href="/philosophy/computing-progress.html">English</a>&nbsp;[en]</li>

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