Richard Stallman’s Coming Around to NUS

Richard Stallman will be at NUS next week, 13th and 14th March. He’ll be having a seminar/talk at School of Computing on the 13th, and at University Town on the 14th. He’s the man behind GNU and the Free Software Foundation, and I imagine a lot of students are going to be pretty excited to see this man. I’m not, I already had that moment some 13 years ago, in 1999, when he also come around to NUS and DSO, when he was in Singapore for a Linux conference then.

Forgive me, fans of Richard Stallman, for I’m not a fan. In fact, after hearing him speak then in 1999, I’ve come to realize his ideology on software “freedom” is decidedly more restrictive than I could ever have imagined. His vision is so tunneled, it seems like he’s missing the big picture. Of course, I don’t think he is truly missing the big picture, but more so he is choosing to discard all disagreeing parts of the picture.

Well, my ideas of freedom includes allowing everyone to have their own ideas of freedom.

I’m actually still looking forward to hear his talk in NUS again. After all, he’s coming right up to my doorstep to talk, and it’ll be an opportunity for me to see what has changed after 13 years. He is still an important man, the driving force behind GNU software and many things we all depend on today.

For those interested, the date/time and venue of Richard Stallman’s two talks are:

13th March 2012 2pm to 4:30pm – At COM1 Seminar Room 2.

14th March 2012 6pm to 8pm – At University Town, Town Plaza Auditorium. This is a bigger venue, go for this one if you can. It has an official seating capacity of 448 (the other one tops out at 200).

I can’t wait for someone to ask Richard Stallman a great question about Linux. Or something equally provocative to him.


  1. Otterman says:

    Hi Zit Seng, I was in that 1999 audience too. Looking forward to listening too and seeing what’s changed, or stayed the same – well, not that I can remember ALL of it. I remember his surprise about restrictions when he first encountered it and enjoyed how he took action as a response. That story is relevant today still, I am sure he has many more stories. Th NUS audience gave him a pretty enthusiastic reception, there were many geeks in the crowd then.