Stephen Fry celebrates open source, attacks Microsoft and Apple

Stephen Fry has appeared in a video on the GNU web site, in which he criticises the closed nature of operating systems from Microsoft and Apple.

The video is part of GNU's month long celebration of 25 years of GNU, a famously recursive acronym, which stands for GNU is Not Unix.

In the video, Fry relates a brief history of the origin of the GNU movement, with Richard Stallman's desire to create an open and free operating system that was open to alteration from a community rather than a closed system. Fry said that being able to change your operating system should be as reasonable as being able to change the plumbing in your own house.

"You can't really fiddle with your operating system, and you certainly can't share any ideas you have about your operating system with other people, because Apple and Microsoft, who run the two most popular operating systems, are very firm about the fact that they own that," said Fry in the video.

He goes on to criticise this approach: "In the same way that good scientists share everything and all knowledge is open and free, so it should be with an operating system."

"All knowledge is free and all knowledge is shared in good science. If it isn't, it's bad science, and it's a kind of tyranny," he added.

Ironically, the writer and quiz show presenter is well known as a Mac advocate, and according to rumour, was Apple customer number 2' in the UK, being the second person to purchase the original Apple Mac in the UK after the late Douglas Adams.

In the spirit of practising what he preaches, the video is available - for free - at in the open Ogg Theora format.

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.

Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.