Proprietary software is unethical

Proprietary software is created with the intention of colonising the digital world,  software freedom activist Richard Stallman has said.

Richard Matthew Stallman, said proprietorship of software programs is unethical and part of many ulterior motives to dictate the freedom of computer users.

Delivering a talk on “Free software and your freedom” at the St. Joseph’s College of Engineering and Technology, he was reported by The Hindu as saying: “By withholding the source code of software, the user remains aloof from how the programme works. This system is unethical and stands in the way of complete freedom for users.”

He added that there should be four freedom rules that should be followed. 

These are being able to run a programme for any purpose, to be able to study and modify source codes to improve the program,  to be able to help others by distributing copies of a program, and to be able to contribute to the society by distributing modified copies of a program. He said this would help to protect the democratic values of society. 

Stallman also wants the education sector to take note, emphasising the importance of free software in schools, which he said would ensure “future generations do not fall prey to the system of proprietorship.”

“Moreover, using these programmes would expose future programmers to a wide range of source codes of software, thus providing a means of education,” he said.