Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Movement. I campaign for computer users’ freedom – for instance, your freedom to control the software you use, to redistribute the software to others. Software that respects the user’s freedom is what we call free software.
In 1983 I announced the plan to develop a complete free operating system called GNU. The system that millions of people use, and often refer to as “Linux”, is a variant of the GNU system.
What hardware do you use?
I am using a Lemote Yeelong, a netbook with a Loongson chip and a 9-inch display. This is my only computer, and I use it all the time. I chose it because I can run it with 100% free software even at the BIOS level.
And what software?
I spend most of my time using Emacs. I run it on a text console, so that I don’t have to worry about accidentally touching the mouse-pad and moving the pointer, which would be a nuisance. I read and send mail with Emacs (mail is what I do most of the time).
I switch to the X console when I need to do something graphical, such as look at an image or a PDF file.
Most of the time I do not have an Internet connection. Once or twice or maybe three times a day I connect and transfer mail in and out. Before sending mail, I always review and revise the outgoing messages. That gives me a chance to catch mistakes and faux pas.
What would be your dream setup?
I would ideally like to have a machine with the speed and memory of a laptop, and the display size of a laptop too, combined with the same freedom that I have now on the Yeelong.
Until I can have them both, freedom is my priority. I’ve campaigned for freedom since 1983, and I am not going to surrender that freedom for the sake of a more convenient computer.
I do hope to switch soon to a newer model of Yeelong with a 10-inch display.
This interview is available under a Creative Commons BY-ND license.