Richard Stallman & Steve Jobs  

Richard Stallman wrote:

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. But 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.

When I first read it, I was shocked. Somehow, my respect and admiration for Steve, and the news of his demise seemed to confuse the whole thing. Perhaps, I thought, Stallman did not wait ’the appropriate amount of time’ after Jobs’ passing - but hey, what is the appropriate amount of time? As Gruber put it, ‘…life goes on.’

I could sense a fringe thought that I seemed to be actively fending away: that there was some truth in Stallman’s words; and that he was being very respectful in what he said. But then, I could not place my thoughts - like I mentioned earlier, I seemed to be in a limbo of sorts.

And then there was light! Dave Winer, the guy credited with inventing RSS, first tweeted this

Stallman’s epitaph for Jobs is appropriate and respectful.

and followed up with this. And I seem to agree - Stallman was right; and appropriately respectful too. Brilliant, well thought out & effectively communicating piece of writing from Dave.

To relate with the concluding paragraph from Stallman, it helps to be familiar with Apple’s ‘Think Different’ ad campaign. A transcript of it is here: