Richard Stallman's blog
A whirlwind trip around Spain in late April brought Stallman to places such as Granada, Ourense, Vigo, Galicia, La Coruna, Madrid, Castellon and Valencia. In La Coruna and in Castellon, he met with Computer Science students. Madrid's Fundacion Conocimiento Libre (Free Knowledge Foundation) named Stallman an "Honor's Patron" and invited him to give a speech there. He visited Spain coming directly from Sofia, Bulgaria, and he leaves immediately after for Bologna, Italy. After Granada I stopped for one day in Madrid, where I participated in a protest against software patents. There was a protest at everyuniversity in Spain, and I read that 15,000 people participated.
Stallman visits The Alhambra in Spain during a trip to the University of Granada. The Alhambra was one of the sites I arranged to see when I visited Spain almost ten years ago, before I could speak much Spanish. I found it amazingly beautiful, but time had eaten away at the memories.I could still remember how I was struck by its beauty, but I could not remember anything specific about what I had seen. So when I was invited to speak in Granada, I eagerly accepted.
For an open audience of university students and the public interested in Free Software, Stallman attended a videoconference in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 1995, of all the countries in Europe, the one I would most have loved to visit was Bulgaria. Bulgarian folk dances were the most exciting, and I loved to do them. I loved the music as well, and learned to play many of the tunes on my recorder. It is no coincidence that I used a Bulgarian folk dance tune for the Free Software Song. If anyone had invited me to Bulgaria, I would have arranged to stay there for a few weeks, and found an opportunity to study dancing and listen to a lot of music. However, Bulgaria in the 90s had other priorities. No one ever invited me to go there andspeak.
In late February, when I mentioned to people in Europe that I was soon going to Syria, they were worried for me. They thought that the tension resulting from the US decision to blame Syria for the assassination of Hariri would somehow make visiting Syria dangerous.
I arrived at Delhi at 3am on a flight that had been delayed by an hour and a half. I had expected to do a lot of work on the flight, but I was unexpectedly drowsy and nodded off for a few hours. When I arrived at the airport, the wait for passport control was only 20 minutes, and I spent part of the time explaining free software to another passenger who was curious about it. My bag was already in the carousel when I reached it, so I exited into the terminal and passed along the line of people holding up signs. None had my name on it. The person who was supposed to meet me was not there.
Visiting Bolivia provided an opportunity for me to spend a week with Tania. I had better explain that Tania isn't just my friend; she's my sweetheart. Since she lives in Colombia, it isn't easy for us to spend time together. I used frequent flier miles to get her a ticket to Bolivia while I was to be there. In arranging this trip, I agreed to go speak in Santa Cruz provided either I went there for a very short time or Tania could go with me. The day before going to Bolivia was when I learned that the trip to Santa Cruz had been arranged for both of us together.
Jim Prendergast's recent article mistakenly called me a "leader in the open source community". While I appreciate the praise that might be read into that expression, it is not the case: I do not advocate "open source" and never did. I founded the Free Software Movement in 1984. "Free", here refers to freedom, not price; specifically the freedom to redistribute and change the software you use. With free software, the users control the software; with non-free software, the developer has control of the software and its users.
This week I met Irene Pepperberg and Alex, the African gray parrot that she has taught to understand and use a large number of words.
On Dec 26 I went home to Boston from Spain. About 40 minutes before arrival time, my laptop display died completely. It had previously shown a tendency to turn off occasionally, but suspending and unsuspending had fixed it before. This time no; not even shutting down the machine and removing the batteries made the screen function. I began to wonder how I could get any further work done until I obtained a new machine. Would connecting it to an external monitor produce a useful display?
I started writing this in the station in Rabat, after getting off the train from Marrakech. You could call it the Marrakech Express, or the Marrakech Local, because there's only one kind of train between Marrakech and Casablanca or Rabat. The trains are European, perhaps 30 years old--enough to seem less than new, but not enough to be quaint.