"Don't stand for me. Stand for freedom," said software freedom activist from the US, Richard Matthew Stallman as he received a standing ovation when he stepped on the stage at IIT-Madras yesterday.
The celebrated American software freedom activist, who was in the city to deliver a lecture, 'Free software, freedom and education', severely slammed computer and internet giants Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook.
According to him, free software referred to the word freedom rather than free in the monetary sense. Free software, he said, "respects your freedom and your community" and that the distinction between free and proprietary was of "ethical, social and political nature".
Coming down heavily on Microsoft and Apple for having operating systems (OSs) that violated user freedom at various levels, he said, ''All these are malware. These 'iThings' (referring to Apple's products) have made things worse. They have spy features," he said. Highlighting the term 'jailbreaking', or removing administrator controls in devices installed by a company, he said it clearly showed the true nature of the product - a jail.
His dislike for Steve Job's love for the control of user experience is well known. When Jobs died, Stallman wrote on his personal blog: "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone... We all deserve the end of Jobs' malign influence on computing."
According to Stallman, the Android operating system had a free source code but that was not how it was implemented on devices. He said, manufacturers inserted their own non-free programmes which could not be uninstalled. He added even if the user was able to modify them to suit his own need, he could not use his own version by installing in proprietary versions. So Android was not completely free he added.