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You are here: Home Bulletins 2018 Fall On the road with RMS

On the road with RMS

by Jeanne Rasata Contributions Published on Nov 12, 2018 12:10 PM
The past six months have been characteristically busy for FSF president Richard Stallman (RMS). He gave thirty speeches, spoke at eight conferences, keynoted one conference, and took part in two panels. A little over half of his talks were in Spanish, a couple in French, and the rest were in English. His travels took him to twenty-six different cities, across ten countries.

In April and May, he participated in two events in Canada. In Ottawa, Ontario, he took part in a public discussion with Joseph Potvin, executive director of Xalgorithms Foundation, about a free software solution to the debacle of the Phoenix pay system, the Canadian government's payroll-processing system, which relies on nonfree software. Phoenix was rolled out in 2016, and has affected payment to over 200,000 government employees, and cost the Canadian government over $1.2 billion. Potvin set the ambitious goal of providing that free software solution within a year, setting an excellent example for why governments should use free software exclusively.

RMS then headed to the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) for the fifth colloquium of the Adte, a nonprofit that promotes free/libre educational resources in higher education. There, he delivered the keynote speech, "Education and freedom."

From mid-May to early June, he was in South America. In, Brazil he spoke at Campus Party Bahía, in Salvador de Bahía, at the Instituto Federal de São Paulo, in Araraquara, on the Pato Branco campus of the Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná, and at the Universidade de São Paulo.

RMS also toured Argentina, starting in Misiones Posadas, speaking to, among others, elected officials from the province. He then spoke at the Universidad de Tucumán, which awarded him an honorary doctorate, and at the Universidad Tecnológica Nacional in Mendoza, whose graduates make up half of Argentina's engineering-degree holders, and which awarded him an honorary professorship, its highest honor. Next, he headed to Río Cuarto, Córdoba, before heading to the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, where he gave two speeches: "Free software: Sovereignty and technological independence," at the Instituto Universitario de la Policía Federal, and "Copyright vs Community," at the Centro Cultural de la Cooperación Floreal Gorini, for gcoop, a free software cooperative. He ended his visit to Argentina with a speech at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata and another in Mar del Plata.

After a brief respite in Boston, RMS headed to Barcelona, Spain, for two events. At the first, Maker Faire, he had a public conversation with Francesca Bria, the Barcelona City Council Chief of Technology, titled "Digital cities, digital freedom, digital privacy." Next, he delivered a speech at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. During his visit to Spain, he also spoke remotely for the 7th No-Spy Konferenz, which was taking place in Stuttgart, Germany.

He then both gave a speech and sat on a panel titled "Smart City, Spy City? Avenues for making a city 'smart' while respecting privacy and anonymity," at the Next Generation Cities conference, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, before returning to Spain to speak at the Universidad de Jaén.

Back in the United States, in New York City, RMS took part in the The Eleventh HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth) conference, driving home the point that "we must legislate to block collection of personal data."

In August, he headed to Chile for seven speeches: in Santiago de Chile, at both the Universidad de Chile and at the Universidad Tecnológica de Chile INACAP; in Rancagua; in Valdivia, both privately, for regional authorities, and publicly, at the Centro de Estudios Científicos; at the Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, in Valparaíso; and at the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María Sede Viña del Mar, in Quilpué.

He ended the summer in Brussels, Belgium, where he took part in the first edition of EduCode, giving his speech "Control your computer, so as not to be controlled!"

So far this fall, he's spoken at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, in Genoa, Italy, and at the Illinois Institute of Technology, in Chicago, Illinois, and sat on the "Bits, bots, and our biome: Technology and tech power" panel at the Bioneers Conference, in San Rafael, California.

See for a list of RMS's confirmed engagements. Please write to to extend him a speaking invitation.

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