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Saul Alinsky wrote a number of books about community organizing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_for_Radicals , including Rules for Radicals and Reveille for Radicals. Community organizing is about bringing people in communities together and helping them achieve some kind of goal; in the case of Alinsky, he was envisioning physical communities that needed things like coops, particular kinds of government services, and the like.

One of his major principles is that the community organizer has to help people see why it's in their best interest to organize or make change. According to Alinsky, arguing that people should agitate and work for change because of the common good or because the change is the right thing simply doesn't work.

I believe the OP is saying that Stallman isn't doing a great job of incorporating that aspect of Alinsky's principles and in doing so is setting back the free software movement.

EDIT: I just read a little further down in the thread and saw this: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1559283 : "The problem with Free Software is a marketing problem." That's similar to an Alinsky comment, although in different language: if you can't "market" the change you're trying to encourage by making people realize why it benefits them, you're not going to make that change happen.




RMS is advocating that using free software is in people's interest. As he says in the answer to one of the questions, he rates freedom as the most important self-interest.

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Right, but so is any community change "for the better". The job is to convince people it's in their self-interest.

Meanwhile, only the tiny population of people who are programmers really even have a basic understanding of what Stallman's freedom is all about, and even they do not value it very high.

On a micro level I don't care about software freedom that much, because mostly I just want to get something done, and if 0.5% of my yearly income is going to commercial software that I find useful and have no desire to modify, then the freedom issues just don't even enter my conscience.

However on a macro level Stallman's slippery slope argument is correct. If the balance of software shifts to proprietary, then I feel the goodness of software in general is greatly reduced. If GNU/Linux didn't exist for instance, the technological landscape would be a shadow of what it is today.

But I digress... for free software to ever gain any mindshare in the non-developer community would require a stroke of marketing genius the likes of which I've never seen. It's just not reasonable to rank freedom with such a high priority for the average person who has no ability or desire to modify any software. There might be a redistribution angle, but again, it would have to be sheer marketing brilliance to convince anyone of that.

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