Richard Stallman as USA President

With the US Elections coming up, and with my campaign to elect Leonard Bernstein as the President, it stuck me the other day: rms has a huge number of political views (most of which contradict the current state of the union), so what would he do as president?  What would the United States end up looking like?  Lets find out.

Day One:

President Stallman drafts the “DMCA2″.  The DMCA2 does the following:

  • Repeals the original DMCA
  • Forbids DRM
  • Outlaws the copy-protection included on hard-copies of digital media, especially DVDs and Blu-Rays

It is accompanied by the “Innovation Bill”, which requires that all software sold is accompanied by the source code in a freely modifiable and distributable form by the year 2010, making software work the same way physical products do.

Both of these are later unanimously rejected by congress, infuriating Stallman.

Day Two:

President Stallman creates the “Privacy Amendment”.  This is an amendment to the constitution that:

  • Prevents the government from collecting data from privately-owned tracking devices
  • Forbids officials from searching and/or confiscating citizens’ digital devices, especially before airtravel, without a warrant
  • Repeals the USA PATRIOT Act

This was also later rejected by congress.

Day Three:
President Stallman immediately withdraws all troops from Iraq.  He then channels all of the money that was going to fund the war into ending world hunger.  He also meets with those in charge of the main government sites to make sure the Solaris and Windows Server 2003 servers are converted to Free Software.

Day Four:

A riot breaks out among people who supported the war in Iraq.  Mr. X, Mr. Y, and Mr. Z (from Microsoft, obviously) arrive to talk to President Stallman about how he should cease the promotion of Free Software if he knows what’s best for him.  They also say he must pay them a large sum of money to make up for the mistake he made in trying to pass the “Innovation Bill”.  Stallman lectures the three men on the importance of Software Freedom, and then goes back to his office to figure out how to appeal the ISO about OOXML.

Day Five:

After figuring out that there is no way to get rid of ECMA-376, he tries to figure out ways to make sure “Main Street” takes priority over “Wall Street”.  His goal is to make sure that the rights of the corporation never take priority over the rights of the individual.  After figuring out a plan, he takes it to congress.  Congress later unanimously rejects this proposal as well.  Mr. X, Mr. Y, and Mr. Z’s report to Microsoft infuriates Ballmer, and causes him to send out his “men in black” to meet with every member of congress individually.

Day Six:

President Stallman quickly ties up some other important issues.  He manages to legalize same-sex marriages nationwide and ensure abortion rights.  He also figures out a way to make sure that all electronic voting machines are reformatted to use only Free Software.  His attempt to completely legalize marijuana fails, though.

Day Seven:

President Stallman resigns out of frustration, making Vice President Eben Moglen the new president.  Congress is relieved, as he saved them from having to impeach him.

In conclusion, a presidential position would probably not give Stallman the control he wants.  His ideas are so radical that the system of checks and balances would fail to give him the control necessary.  The average congressman doesn’t understand how many of these changes would just enhance the nation.  Some of the decisions, though, would do more harm than good in the US.  Many would just cause the economy to crumble.  It isn’t that they are bad ideas, it is just that the United States is already too established to make any of the changes.  If these ideas were applied to a new country, they would do nothing but good, but to an already-running country with an established stock market, they would make the economy suffer temporarily.

Where Stallman would really shine and be able to improve the nation is as the “Chief Technology Officer” that Barack Obama wants to create.  That position is the one thing that really concerns me about Obama’s plan.  With all of the control Microsoft has over the US government, will this position be taken by an employee/ex-employee?  Even if it is not, the chances are still strong that the the person appointed as Chief Technology Officer will be a proprietary software advocate.  What will that do to the FOSS community?  Even of the people who appreciate Free Software, how many of them would really fill the position well and know what really needs to be done?

Published in: on October 12, 2008 at 9:47 am  Comments (9)  
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