Richard Stallman, Miguel de Icaza “is basically a traitor”

The reported comment by Richard Matthew Stallman concerning Miguel de Icaza is rumor, not news. One sentence quoted from memory by Martin Owens without context is not enough. Miguel de Icaza “is basically a traitor to the Free Software community.” Even Jason Perlow from ZDnet got confused that the context was Mono, but Martin Owens corrected this. So what is the context?

Until we know that I suggest we suspend judgment concerning it. Remember that Miguel used to work for the Free Software Foundation and now by being on the Board of Directors of the CodePlex Foundation, created by Microsoft to serve its purposes, one could argue that Miguel has gone to the dark side. From that perspective one could say that Miguel de Icaza “is basically a traitor to the Free Software community.” Here we need to draw a distinction between Free Software ideology and Open Source pragmatism.

From a pragmatic open source perspective, Miguel is no trader. He is true to the philosophy of open source which says open source is the best way to do software. Not the only way, just the best way. From the Free Software perspective such a view misses the point. Closed source software is not just inferior, but wrong. It is not a matter of best practices, it is an ethical issue. Microsoft is not only inferior, it is morally wrong. Therefore to help support the ends of Microsoft is morally wrong. So clearly we need to know the context of Richard Stallman’s comments before we beginning bashing him.


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Jay Forrest

Jay N. Forrest is an IT professional, an ordained Humanist minister, and a Certified and Accredited Meditation Teacher.