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Santander and Bilbao (2004-12-13 to 2004-12-16)

by Richard Stallman Contributions Published on Jul 12, 2010 03:29 PM
My short trip this month began with speeches in Santander and Bilbao, Spain. Traveling to Santander gave me a chance to see the beautiful rock-surrounded beaches; we also had time for a brief trip to the mountains of Asturias to the west.

After my speech in Bilbao, part of an event sponsored by the Basque region's government to promote free software in local businesses, my hosts gave me a bag with a few gifts--designed, I would guess, to introduce the visiting foreigner to something about the region (mainly with a view to drumming up business, I think). The next morning, as I was getting ready to leave, I unpacked the bag. One of the gifts was a record of music by Kepa Junkera, a well-known Basque musician. I had heard the name but never heard his music, and I wanted to listen. But the front of the box said "Copy Control". Suspicious, I read the back of the box. In several languages it told me that the record could be played on Windows and Mac systems. It didn't say that the record can't be played on GNU/Linux systems with free software, but it wasn't hard to deduce that implication. They had given me a Corrupt Disk as a gift!

I think this was the first time I actually held one in my hands. How ironic. I had mentioned the EUCD in my speech, and how the unavailability of DeCSS could in itself convince millions of people to reject free operating systems, but I don't think I specifically mentioned about Corrupt Disks. I would have mentioned them if I had suspected I'd be given one.

I handed the disk back to the person who had invited me, saying "Here you see the face of the enemy. Please bring this back to the store and get your money back, so they won't get any profit from this--and please don't buy Corrupt Disks!"

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