I had the honor and pleasure of speaking to Richard Stallman a few days ago while he was in New Zealand on a speaking tour. I had been in an email conversation with him over several days asking about which software programs he uses and I finally connected with him for some clarification and more details. So, if you've ever wanted to get the scoop straight from the man himself, you'll want to listen to the podcast.
The conversation begins abruptly because the phone conversation is a continuation of that email dialog. We also got cut off at one point during the interview and I had to call back.
I found him to be very personable, articulate and a pleasure to speak with. He was very patient with my nervous fumbling and was quite happy to discuss free software, his software choices and even his choice of computer.
To begin, I wanted to know not just about free software and the movement but his personal choices and I got quite a surprise. He is definitely no hypocrite. He is so much of a free software advocate that he even chose his personal computer because of the type of BIOS it uses.
I personally feel that using only free software is very limiting and would be very difficult to successfully accomplish. Richard Stallman doesn't find it difficult at all.
After speaking with him, I wrote "What Free Software Means" and placed it over in the *nix Software forum. Our conversation has certainly changed the way I speak of free software and my perspective on the whole movement.
For the bits that we didn't get to in the phone call, here is the list of software that Richard Stallman uses on a daily basis:
He doesn't typically use a browser unless he views html offline. He only uses OpenOffice.org when someone sends him a file in those formats. My guess is that if you send him a proprietary file formatted file, he would either not open it or send you back a message stating that you need to convert the file to a free software alternative.
I liked speaking with him so much that I asked for another interview where we could actually have some time to sit down and do something in-depth. He agreed. He will be in southeast Asia next month and I'll catch up with him for that interview. Stay tuned for that one.