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GNUisance: Pigdog Journal Interviews Richard Stallman

MB: Right. Got it. So, uh, how do you, how do you spend your time now? You probably spend a lot of time evangelizing --

RS: Management.

MB: Yeah?

RS: Basically talking with people about what work needs to be done. And asking people to do things.

MB: What do you -- what kind of projects are you working on? Like, when you sit down and actually start hacking?

RS: For programming, it's Emacs.

MB: Yeah. Like, I mean, what are you programming? You actually program Emacs?

RS: Emacs. That's what I work on.

MB: All the time?

RS: When I'm programming, I'm programming on Emacs. [I still don't know if he got what I was saying. I meant, what the hell were you WRITING?]

ES: You don't use vi when you're writing Emacs, do you?

RS: I've never learned vi.

ES: Umm... How do you keep from getting burned out? You've been doing this for a loooong time.

RS: Idealism.

ES: Idealism. OK.

RS: It's my refusal to _quit_.

ES: We were speculating that you still hacked on, like, Lisp machines or something.

RS: No. No, I stopped doing that. I stopped writing for Lisp machines when I started the GNU project, and I stopped using Lisp machines once I had GNU Emacs to edit with.

Before that, I used to do my editing on a Lisp machine. Cause, that way I had Emacs. I wasn't going to learn vi or ed to do my editing.

MB: So, uh, so you spend a lot of time evangelizing like this. Like, about a third of the year your actually traveling --

RS: Of course, I do my ordinary work when I'm traveling. I can't let up on it because it would pile up.

ES: Do you always stay with guys like Nick and Rick?

Richard Stallman, Dance Machine

RS: Well, sure, yeah. I try to avoid staying in hotels because they're no fun and they cost money.

MB: So you're kind of like, almost, like an itinerant preacher, you know, moving through the --

RS: Yup.

MB: -- going from house to house of the faithful and kind of spreadin' the word.

RS: Yeah. It's a strange faith for an atheist.

MB: So, what do you do when you're not hackin', or spreading the word?

RS: I read. I eat. Occasionally I dance, although I have an injury from doing the kind of dancing I really love.

MB: Which is...?

RS: International folk dancing. Mostly Balkan.

MB: Crazy! Wow.

RS: I really love Bulgarian dancing.

MB: How'd you pick that up?

RS: [Ignoring me] Why I don't do it now is it hurts.

MB: Why Bulgarian dancing? Where'd that come from?

RS: I started doing it and I loved it. It's very exciting. Have you ever seen any?

Stallman invades my
personal space.

MB: Uhh... My family's Greek, actually. So I've seen a lot of --

RS: I like Greek dancing, but not quite as much.

MB: Yeah? How are they different?

RS: I don't know how to describe it in words. But I could show you some of each.

MB: Cool! Yes! Sure! Um, could we take a picture?

RS: Maybe. I can't show you much of either of them, though, especially the ones that involve the vigorous jumping that I like.

MB: Yeah, that's kinda tough.

ES: ...kicking your heels in the air...

RS: Well, it's gonna _hurt_, is the problem.

MB: Well, OK, but don't hurt yourself.

RS: I can do a tiny bit of that, you know, carefully chosen.

MB: OK. Could we do it? Could we, could we snap it? Is that OK?

RS: Doing it in here might be hard.

MB: OK, All right. Well maybe later then.

NM: Maybe in the other room. [CoffeeNet's front room, with lots of tables and hapless victims.]

RS: There's no room in there, and too much pressure.

[Garbled debate about where in CoffeeNet to do violent, acrobatic Bulgarian folk dancing. I can't follow it, really.]

MB: OK, maybe we can save that til the end, then.

RS: Yeah.

More Stallman antics


Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.


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