Stallman: If you want freedom don't follow Linus Torvalds
Stallman: The fact that Torvalds says "open source" instead of "free software" shows where he is coming from. I wrote the GNU GPL to defend freedom for all users of all versions of a program. I developed version 3 to do that job better and protect against new threats.
Torvalds says he rejects this goal; that's probably why he doesn't appreciate GPL version 3. I respect his right to express his views, even though I think they are foolish. However, if you don't want to lose your freedom, you had better not follow him.
The older I get the more I understand where Stallman is coming from. That being said, I understand why Torvalds says 'open source' instead of 'free software'. Both have valid reasons, and the last decade shows that both stances can exist and work towards their common goals together... whether or not they always want to do so.
I tend to agree with the general stance about RMS. I don't agree much with him, nor do I see things as "fanatically" as he seems. If I may do an analogy, RMS is "radical" of Free Software... Somewhere in his discourse I get lost, he talks about some (four) basic freedoms and stuff, but I believe that the BSD license expresses one freedom that Stallman has never considered: The freedom of keeping it to yourself.
I know why Linus has stuck with v2 of the GPL and why opted out a BSD-style of license for Linux (he has chosen to remain in control of Linux, and the GPL allows him that, ironically). I think that Linus is not only being pragmatic, but tackles the "freedom" issue differently, respecting even others freedom to protect themselves (the whole issue about DRM in the kernel for certain applications [such as voting booths and the like], even though he is also against DRM for media, for instance.)
Imagine a scenario where a piece of medical equipment runs on open source software, but it's GPLv2 and the hardware is Tivoized. Imagine that improved algorithms are discovered or new functionality, or in the worst case (gulp) a bug.
What is the hospital to do? They don't have the drm keys for updating the machine, and the company that made it is (choose one, they're the same really):
1. Out of business
2. Practicing anti-feature of "you gotta buy a new machine/pay us a lot of money to update your old one"
3. Will update for free, but it will take 6 months for them to do it
And now imagine that you, someone you love, whoever, is in the hospital and needs that machine to work for their life to be saved. DRM is encumbering the proper use of technology and can in fact kill.
So no, I don't think it's insane to support freedom. Freedom lets the hospital administrators decide to change that software. Freedom allows patients to have informed consent to use a particular version of the software at their choosing.
In the hospital, in the voting booth, in any critical area where the software can make a big difference I want the ability to audit that software and I want the controller of the machine to be able to change it. I want the version of software to be easily identified by the voter and the patient so that there is transparency in these processes, because it protects freedom and protects life.
As I understand Linus' position, he believes in the market forces to compel companies to not lock down machines and kill people. Stallman's position is that the risk they won't is too great, that they should be compelled by the license to do so.
I believe for Linus' scenario to work people must be informed of the situation. One would hope the controversy and arguments between Linus' camp and Stallman's camp would tend to make people see the issue and therefore choose to pressure for no DRM.
Your strawman doesn't stand up. In real life, in the unlikely event that such a scenario would even develop in the first instance, and it really is a case of dire consequence (in the legal sense), you hope your hospital has someone on the legal staff that attended at least the first semester of law school and then you fix the software even if it means cracking some DRM schemea.
Don't distribute the patch without permission, though <g>.
I'm with you on the voting thing, though, but I don't think that quite fits the definition of dire consequence.