Open source guru Richard Stallman might have hacked off hundreds of thousands by saying he is pleased that Jobs has gone.
Stallman wrote an eulogy to Jobs on his personal blog which said that Jobs was the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool and designed to sever fools from their freedom.
He quoted Chicago Mayor Harold Washington who said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, “I’m not glad he’s dead, but I’m glad he’s gone.”
In other words nobody deserves to have to die, but humanity deserved the end of Jobs’ malign influence on personal computing.
Stallman said that Jobs’ influence continues despite his absence, and humanity can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.
Of course some have gone into spin about Stallman’s comments, which are probably the first to look at Jobs’ legacy objectively. Apparently, if you are not praising Jobs to the skies at the moment you are being crass.
Forbes reported that Stallman’s comments have meant that one unnammed free software advocate has called for breaking away from Stallman’s Free Software Foundation. “Stallman’s dogmatic attitude and peculiar behavior has been an anchor weighing down a significant degree of progress the free software movement could have made to date,” wrote blogger ‘Larry the free software guy.’ “It’s time people stopped saying, “Oh, that’s just Stallman being Stallman” and hold him accountable.”
But Stallman is philosophically opposed to Jobs and always has been. It would be hypocritical to praise the work of a man who stood against all he believed, just because he outlived him.
Stallman’s kick to the nadgers of Jobs’ business model is correct too.
Jobs might have been focused on user-friendly devices, but his locked down approach to its software and apps, along with a loose concern about security and with the way its mobile devices facilitate violations of their users’ privacy, is spot on.
Stallman is saying that that Jobs’ contribution was making a jail cool and he was probably right.