Free Software and Communism

Today Richard Stallman was giving the last in the series of his three public lectures in Moscow. It was about Free Software and Copyright.

I had a small conversation with him before the talk and asked him why he hadn’t come to Russia since his last visit in 1991. The answer was simple: he didn’t get any invitation. This can be a hint for the people in the countries where Richard has not been yet — if you organize the visit properly and send Richard an invitation, chances are very high that he will come.

InvitationInvitation by sarahkim

He liked today’s Russia more than the one he had seen 15 years ago. Even though his time was very limited, it was sufficient to find out that Russian food (including pancakes and solyanka soup) is good and that people are now paying more interest to Free Software than before.

Richard has a theory for that. In his view, the post-communist countries get warmer to Free Software as they move away from the ideology where freedom is restricted. The younger of us, whose personalities were mostly formed after 1991, are more receptive to the idea of contributing to the benefit of the public. Therefore there are more Free Software users and developers among us than could have been among our parents. There is a similar situation in China.

Richard may be right. We were poorly globalized back in the early 1990’s, and that hindered our acceptance of Free Software (along with thousands of other good and bad things that globalization brings with it). To some extent it may remain a problem even now as we often prefer to do things on our own rather than ask for help, which might be readily provided upon request.

It is not strictly about communism. It is about the science of living in a larger world.

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