Wednesday, April 18, 2007

rms reminisce

In keeping with my policy of violating my policy on not posting personal stuff, I had dinner this evening with Richard Stallman. It wasn't, of course, a one-on-one dinner. He was speaking at the university, and I was one of the group that went with him to dinner.

I have to say, I've read and heard a lot about his personality, and dinner was very pleasant and non-contentious. I was prepared for impassioned arguments throughout the meal. Granted, he spent much of the time catching up on work, but he'd certainly chime in with "GNU plus Linux" whenever someone slipped up and referred to "Linux." We were also watching ourselves to not accidentally say "open source" but rather "free software." I understand and sympathize with both points — he's right on both counts, if you want to be pedantic. As an activist who's always "on," it's his job to be pedantic, which can't be easy.

There wasn't much getting to know the guy, but I suspect he appreciated the opportunity to get some work done as the rest of us chatted, and he contributed significantly more to the conversation than just correcting our terminology. He seemed to enjoy his sushi, as well, certainly enough to get a couple of extra pieces.

What's the point of this post? None, really, other than to say, "Hey, I met Richard Stallman," and that, as someone who isn't a confidant, I found him reasonably pleasant to be around. Given many of the accounts I've read online, that seems to bear mention. You know, balance and all that.

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