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Ah RMS, same fundamentalist as always!

One thing I would suggest, for those not familiar with RMS's history, is to take a moment to read the Wikipedia page on Lisp Machines. Specifically, this passage:

Symbolics still had the major advantage that while 3 or 4 of the AI Lab hackers had gone to work for Greenblatt, a solid 14 other hackers had signed onto Symbolics. There were two AI Lab people who did not get hired by either: Richard Stallman and Marvin Minsky. Stallman, however, blamed Symbolics for the decline of the hacker community that had centered around the AI lab. For two years, from 1982 to the end of 1983, Stallman worked by himself to clone the output of the Symbolics programmers, with the aim of preventing them from gaining a monopoly on the lab's computers

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisp_machine

I find, knowing a bit of the backstory, that RMS is a more sympathetic character. Honestly, I can't say that, put in the same position, I might not have arrived at the same world view he did.

And some counter-counterpoint:


It also makes his grumpiness a bit less of an outlier to consider him in that context. If you run into 60s/70s-era AI/Lisp-hacker types at AI conferences, they're usually pretty grumpy, but also quite intelligent, so they get away with their grumpiness and not-very-polite negative questions (often complete with Stallman-style interruption of people in the middle of a talk to correct some minor point).

(Not true of everyone, of course.)

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