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Re: A response to RMS (was Loading a package applies automatically to fu

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: A response to RMS (was Loading a package applies automatically to future sessions?)
Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2018 15:36:50 -0500

[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > Ask yourself, though:
  > what stops a user from modifying the bits that run on their computer?
  > Not the law. It is knowledge. Knowledge of how a computer works and how
  > well its machine code can be understood.

With all due respect, you're mistaken about the reasons for this.

Common obstacles include

  the user has no access to the source code.
  the system or the hardware is designed to refuse to run modified versions.

But the most common reason is,

  the user is not a programmer, and can't ask the development
  community for help because the proprietary nature of a program prevents
  the existence of one.

Changing a large program at the machine code level, without the
comments that help programmes understand the code, is too hard to be
feasible -- except for quite small changes, which are merely a great
pain in the neck.

  > Indeed, the GNU project's
  > efforts and funds would be far better spent creating tools that would
  > allow users to universally understand machine code that would truly
  > allow them to control any software that they have, regardless of its
  > underlying machinery.

That would be a superhuman AI.  If you succeed at this, I agree it
would be a great advance.  I'd rather spend our funds on areas where I
expect that effort can result in progress.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation (https://gnu.org, https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)
Skype: No way! See https://stallman.org/skype.html.

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