Photo credits: MSU-IIT Web Team

It started out as a rumor. A fundraiser. An invitation for one of the modern gods of Computer Science to come to Mindanao. To come to our school. Then, you see a poster of his coming. And after all the fanfare, Richard Stallman finally gave a lecture on March 30, 2015 at the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology.  I brought along with me my three students and we waited with much anticipation on what he was going to discuss (that was after we feasted our eyes on the free stickers that Stallman gave to us)

Richard Stallman is the founder of Free Software Foundation. He started his talk with the four freedoms for software:

Freedom Zero is the freedom to run the program for any purpose, any way you like. It means that you have an option to run a program or not.
Freedom One is the freedom to help yourself by changing the program to suit your needs. You can study the program and change the source code as you please it.
Freedom Two is the freedom to help your neighbor by distributing copies of the program. You can make exact copies of the same program and can distribute it as you wish. You can give or sell it to others.
Freedom Three is the freedom to support the community by creating an improved or modified version of the program. And as stated in Freedom Two, you can also give or sell it to others.

He goes on with his talk with the injustices that proprietary software companies commit through malware. He said that in theory, the people who create these proprietary software and those that create malware are supposed to be different groups, but in practice they go together. Over the years, he has said this to be a known and proved existence of proprietary malware. Stallman also described software Digital Restriction Management (DRM) to be digital handcuffs. The censorship that they provide to their users should be reviewed.


Photo credits: MSU-IIT Web Team


Stallman then opened a pandora’s box of comments against large companies or software such as Apple, Google, Android, Microsoft, Ubuntu, Flash players, and Kindle. He even described a computer science legend to be a man who made a tremendous contribution to the world. Lastly, he talked about the difference of his causes in free software movement and that of the open source software movement.


Photo credits: MSU-IIT Web Team


In his continuing pursuit to promote the four forms of software freedom and why he is against the open source software movement, he said that “the words that you use will have power in the message that you convey. Freedom is constantly threatened, in order to keep it, you have to fight for it.”

After his talk, the participants were encouraged to ask questions then they had a bidding for a limited and large Libre Planet button pin that Stallman brought.