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Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: [Accessibility] Call to Arms
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 12:57:42 -0400

    If you don't have money you can't make choices. If you can't 
    make choices, you don't have freedom.

I think that statement is the root of the error.  To lack money is
unpleasant, but it does not mean you have lost your freedom.
(Contrast being broke with being in jail.)

It is also an exaggeration, since there are many choices even a person
without money can make.  Exaggerations like this are commonly found in
arguments against the importance of free software and other freedoms.

Meanwhile, even a person in jail can make some choices -- which
confirms that there is a conceptual error in trying to define
freedom this way.

    No. It doesn't mean he must have the same wealth, it means they should have 
    same opportunity within reasonable bounds.

Equality of opportunity is a good thing, but it is not the same as

    I've been there and I'm still there. Let's say I bought into the 
philosophy. I 
    would get rid of my computer because a free system that I can't use is 
    fundamentally useless.

"Can't use" is such a strong statement that I wonder if it is another
exaggeration,  Even if you have no hands, there are other ways to input
besides dictation.

In 1983, nobody could use a new computer except with proprietary
software, So I set about developing the free replacements for that
proprietary software.  I worked on the major components of a free
system that were missing.  You could do the same now.  It would be
ethical for you to use NaturallySpeaking if your main activity were
working directly towards replacing it.

For several years I had bad hand pain and mostly could not type.
I did not even consider using a nonfree dictation program, because
nonfree software would take away my freedom and I was not prepared
to dedicate my efforts to replacing it.

Our goal is to eliminate proprietary software.  Towards that end, we
have to teach people it is bad.  We cannot do that and simultaneously
suggest a "solution" that includes NaturallySpeaking -- that is a
non-starter here.

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