I only got halfway through this book, but I spent so much time reading it, I wanted credit. I bet the beginning, Richard Stallman creating GNU and Linus Torvalds and the internet developing Linux are the best parts anyway. This is an informative read, and sometimes compelling, evidence that I eventually put it down to the contrary.
“I certainly never looked at the source code of Unix,” Stallman says. “Never. I once accidentally saw a file, and when I realized it was part of Unix source code, I stopped looking at it.” The reason was simple: The source code “was a trade secret, and I didn’t want to be accused of stealing that trade secret,” he says. “I condemn trade secrecy, I think it’s an immoral practice, but for the project to succeed, I had to work within the immoral laws that existed.”
[Stallman] has no car. “I live in a city where you don’t need to have a car.” He rents a room: “I don’t want to own a house, I don’t want to spend a lot of money. If you spend a lot of money then you’re the slave of having to make more money. The money then jerks you around, controls you life.” Stallman has never married or had children. “That takes a lot of money. There’s only one way I could have made that money, and that is by doing what I’d be ashamed of”--writing nonfree software. “If I had been developing proprietary software, I would have been spending my life building walls to imprison people,” he believes.
“So in my case, Linus improved the kernel in a way that made more work for himself and for me in the short term, but made the kernel clearer, cleaner, and more maintainable in the long run. This lesson by example of taking the high road and doing things right, instead of taking the path of least resistance, made a very big impression on me at the time and became an essential part of my programming philosophy.” Rich Sladkey