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Stallman, Jobs and Winer

I learned about Richard Stallman's "Glad He's Gone" comments about Steve Jobs from Dave Winer on Twitter. I didn't understand the later explanation in Scripting Notes about why he had characterized Stallman's comments as appropriate and respectful. In general, there are many things in Dave Winer's writing that I find hard to understand. This is not a criticism. Perhaps I'm just not on his wavelength or not intelligent enough.

Anyway my own take on Stallman's comments is that they do not show much compassion towards the ordinary people for whom Jobs and co. created friendly consumer-technology that was a joy to use. He enabled non-technical people to appreciate the benefit of computers to their lives. Rather than "severing fools from their freedom", he gave them tools to express themselves in new ways. Whereas in the hands of a Richard Stallman, Emacs running inside a Gnu/Linux console might be raw power, the average person will be more creative with a recent-edition word processor or even a Facebook status box.

There are trade-offs.