Richard Stallman Attacks the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Richard Stallman: legendary founder of the Free Software Foundation, purveyor of the GPL, defender of open source. And – as of today – expert FUD manipulator.

Bill Gates

Obviously someone was seriously pissed off at the abundance of (largely positive) press coverage Bill Gates has been receiving as he stepped down from his final roles at Microsoft.. and it appears Mr. Stallman just couldn’t bear to let the man he hates more than any other step down without getting that last word in.

In an article by Richard Stallman published on BBC today, Stallman pulled back no punches bashing not only Bill Gates, Microsoft, and makers of proprietary software everywhere but also took the incredibly cheap shot of accusing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of working to ruin the very countries they’re trying to help:


Gates’ philanthropy for health care for poor countries has won some people’s good opinion. The LA Times reported that his foundation spends five to 10% of its money annually and invests the rest, sometimes in companies it suggests cause environmental degradation and illness in the same poor countries.

Richard StallmanNever mind the fact that those are unsubstantiated rumors following money trails several-hundred pockets deep – what does the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have to do with Free Software? Is Stallman so desperate to make Mr. Gates out to be the bad guy that he’d sink this low?

Stallman, one of first people to accuse people of spreading FUD to further their opinions, doesn’t stop there:

Gates is personally identified with it, due to his infamous open letter which rebuked microcomputer users for sharing copies of his software.

It said, in effect, "If you don’t let me keep you divided and helpless, I won’t write the software and you won’t have any. Surrender to me, or you’re lost!"

Here Stallman is referring to Gates’ now-famous letter asking people illegally copying, distributing, and using Altair Basic to stop. Stallman somehow neglects to mention that – regardless of whether morally acceptable or not – Microsoft had the legal right to demand payment in exchange for their software. Ignore for a second whether or not Bill Gates and Microsoft were in the right or in the wrong to ask for payment in exchange for their work – is Richard Stallman seriously suggesting that it’s right to illegally obtain copyrighted software?

It’s one thing to say that Gates should never have charged for his software and another to say that it’s OK to use it without paying. Gates chose to ask for money, users (as Richard Stallman himself has advocated on many occasions in the past) should be looking for an alternative if they don’t want to front the cash.

Who Richard Stallman thinks he’s kidding, we don’t know. But he’s obviously crossed that line that shouldn’t be crossed; apparently desperate enough to stop Microsoft the minute he senses an opening… even if it means spreading FUD, making pointless accusations, and generally talking nonsense to get his point across. This isn’t any way for a respected figure in the open source community to act, especially not when it comes to someone who has – whether Stallman likes it or not – contributed as much to the tech community as Bill Gates has.

125 thoughts on “Richard Stallman Attacks the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  1. In India everything is free, whether its microsoft or adobe or GNU. Western world may call it piracy, but ‘piracy’ is not a word in Indian dictionary.

    Thank you all.. Enjoy free life, free software..

  2. Using my computer yesterday I experienced what appears to be an official Microsoft altert that someone had registered my copy of Windows which I have been using for years. As such I would be required to give my credit card information as well as other details from my personal finances.

    This doesn?t sound like my problem. This sounds like a Microsoft problem, and to require me to divulge this information simply to continue using this PC is inappropriate. It even went as far as asking for my ATM PIN, a totally inappropriate request and one that suggests I should distrust this message.

    And Microsoft.

    Everyone recognizes the changes at Microsoft since Bill Gates left and many understand what this signifies. Even so, with an experience like this I will be purchasing my next computer product at my local Apple store.

    Hugo Scherzberg

    Windows XP Professional

    Product key::::

    T7263-9HRBH-QVF6W-78XP2-RDHBY

    Other numbers from the Windows hologram label::::

    ot7570

    00045-548-852-912

    X10-60256

  3. Richard Stallman is NOT a defender of open-source ! He is AGAINST sneaky open-source ideology.

  4. Why don’t you do some real research, and some real journalism?  You are probably too young to know what went on 25 years ago.  If you want to see a copy of the letter, I got one, but you know all the pissing match copyright and proprietary stuff that goes down now, because of the personal biases of people like Bill Gates, I can’t post it.(1) Gates originally took existing works of hobbyists, it was not all his original creation.  (2) Gates wanted to use the work of Open Source contributors in MS proprietary works but the OS license prevents that.  (3) Never trust anybody that talks out of both sides of their mouth.  (4) You loose all creditability accusing other people of being “thieves” when you steal yourself.QUOTE from Bills letter: “Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software.  Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share.  Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?”Stallman, rabid that he might seem, has always been consistent with his position.  THAT THE CONCEPT OF OWNING AN IDEA IS RIDICULOUS.  Todays science is ever more coming to the conclusion that thoughts and ideas are not generated by individuals, but are inherent in the make up of the UNIVERSE.  They have been there all along, just like radio waves.  So saying that I own an idea is SELFISHNESS in the extreme.Maybe you should look into the industry of “disinformation”, the making of something look different than it actually is.  Or even making something look the very opposite of what it actually is.  The creating of a public perception bias, or brainwashing of the unaware. What do you thing “advertising” is?   So maybe look deeper into this “foundation?” and follow the money, the contributors, the tax breaks, the investments that the foundation makes.  Is it really a “charity” or a way to hide money from the Tax Man?  Do some real journalism.

  5. In the paragraph I wrote up, I miss the word that I really intend to write, when I say “but in any way it denies” I really must to say “but in no way it denies”… Just for the record. I think a lot of water runs since then, and that still pushing the dague inside on this matter is absolutely absurd. Bigpicture is Ok, The waves of information (or better sayed “misinformation”???)in the web uses to be another move of the marketing-oriented people that works for the companies that allow that kind of crap in the world. No matter they could have a profile in the most liberal forums they are all the same shxx. So why have worried by that?  Live your life and do what you know that’s right, THAT is what really counts, not the flaming here.

  6. Sorry I mismatch a key and post my name wrong previously, I’m CLEAN SOUND, not CLEAR. Thanks and greetings for all. :)

  7. Stallman is a jackass. Plain and Simple. End of story. Requesting money for your service has turned into a crime.

  8. First of all stallman is not part of the open source movement, he is part of the Free Software Movement.
    He never had a problem with charging for software, by free he means it should respect your freedom.
    Microsoft have being knowing to bully countries such as Brazil
    In our modern world we have over capitalism, not everything should be for sale.
    The economy works against humanity and not for it (poor people get poorer)

    Microsoft are evil, they are hypocrites. Microsoft does things to hurt the countries their own funded foundation work for
    Stallman is eccentric at times but those goes for all true geniuses. He stands up for what he believes in

  9. The author is a stupid. He has not done his research well.

    Who knows if he was funded my microsoft to write this supporting them?

    This article is absolute nonsense.

  10. The Gates Millennium Scholarship fund excludes Caucasians from receiving any benefits. It is only for people of color. What a racist scumbag Gates is. Most of his money was made from stupid White people buying Windoze crap. Talk about stabbing your own kind in the back..

  11. For all you cheap knuckle-heads out there who want free software, get a life and a job! There’s plenty of free software out there now. If people don’t want to pay for the use of software, then they shouldn’t use it. And why does Microsoft have to provide free software, Apple doesn’t give you free copies of their OS or their other utilities. Get real!!

  12. Did any one research the real purpose of the so called charitable foundation. Is it so aulturistic and philanthropic after all? Or is it as the ones in the financial know indicate, just a tax shelter for preserving capital, and it is really the tax payer “again” who really pays????

  13. Can’t help but wonder, who covers Stallman’s living expenses? If he has given everything away free, as he professes, he is either a trust-fund baby living off the backs of his parents/grandparents or is living on welfare. Those of us who need to make a living do, in fact, have to charge for services rendered whether we’re hookers or software engineers. Does anyone know?

  14. And I too, have issues about where Gates’ money is going. Many people in America, especially now, could use the help of the Financial Elite. Why do so many white folk eschew the rights and needs of other white folk?

  15. From Cesar up there: “Stallman is eccentric at times but those goes for all true geniuses. He stands up for what he believes in.”

    Thank you. I am eccentric at times. I stand for what I believe in, much to the chagrin of my family. Apparently I have ADD. Or EDD. Which is it?

    Does this mean I’m a genius?

    That’s splendid. Then it is NOT for naught.

    Bless You.

  16. Let’s call a spade a spade here. The Gates Foundation is a charitable front for increasing the reach of the Microsoft brand and products. Everytime they make a large donation who do you think looks good and somehow gets their technology in the mix? Microsoft. Is the foundation giving away iPads, Macs or tablets with Chrome on it? Uh, no folks, and that’s no accident.

  17. I notice a lot of unfounded claims going back and forth regarding both Richard Stallman AND the Melinda Gates foundation. I think if anybody is arguing for any side with claims such as “Oh but they’re excluding whites from the foundation” and what is in various letters, they should provide evidence that this is occurring.

    Fighting FUD with even more FUD is really not going to get anybody anywhere.

  18. This article is an embarrassment. You cannot disagree with Richard on this matter unless you want to believe the lies about the Gates Foundation.

    P.S. Install GNU today. Let’s destroy proprietary software.

  19. Wtf are you talking about Stallman is about free software, not open source software. He has never said this but the only way copyrighted software should be attained is for free, even if that means illegally cracking it

    Fucking Windows retards

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