Few hours with Richard Stallman
This crazy summit, which will be remembered as WSIS, is finally over... but the official summit frankly, ended with agreements on further meetings and conferences... and watch out folks... don't rise your expectations anymore as nothing will happen. I infact, saw two official delegates, at the closing ceremony with good bye handshakes, saying "see you in Greece".
These summits and meetings, probably will continue to produce vague commitments, and at least in developing countries all of us know that who cares for such commitments and declarations. May not be at the scale of WSIS, but still there is quite a lot of opportunities for those who already live on the airports to travel and continue the "discourse".
In my personal opinion, the Tunis phase was largely unable to attract many celebrities from the Handout: ICTs for Development (ICT4D), Multimedia Training Kit (part of APC's ICT policy training curriculum)">ICT4Dscene. However, the superstars and most sought after people at the summit were Ms. Shirin Ebadi (Nobel prize laureate and Human Rights activist), Ambassador Masood Khan (WGIG), Prof. Negroponte (one laptop per child fame), and Richard Stallman (Free Software Foundation).
Maxigas was well connected with Richard Stallman, and since I had live network with him so was invited to a trip to Carthage in Tunis accompanying Richard. I found him to be an interesting but a person with some rather strange individuality.
Richard, www.stallman.org is no more a programmer because he is so busy, and spends his time preaching free/freedom of software all over the world. Only uses computer for emails, listening to music, and text editing in GNU Emacs. Suspectedly he just does not trust any other software which is not written by him. Since he is a Unix person so connects with graphical interface only to look at images.
He has written many essential programs for the GNU (« That's him) / Linux operating system, a cult text editor (EMACS) and various other software. Can you believe that Richard does not use any browser? Suspectedly because he has not written it. If he has to look at some webpages, he emails to daemon, and daemon writes him back the text. Doesn’t upgrade Linux because he worries that something will happen to his system. He doesn’t backup, for he has no time.
When I asked him that where you live, smilingly he said, "on the airports all over the world".
At the summit venue, I saw him with his registration badge, all wrapped in aluminum foil. It was in protest to block the RFID. Actually, he was concerned that people are tracking him.
While reading his emails he keeps biting his nails. He would read his emails even standing on the roadside waiting for taxi or bus. He can hang his computer around his neck and works quite comfortably. He had this badge on his chest "Impeach the God". For this he has his own philosophy, which I don't wish to comment here.
His travel costs and funding comes from donations and foundation members. He is happy with what he is doing and since he has set a trend to follow by many, and now he puts all his efforts in preaching Free Software Foundation ">free software.
I personally think that he has created his own bubble and he can't see beyond that. There was this discussion that even his followers also are sort of fundamentalists and strict to their own ideology.
Signing off from Tunis.