I'm no free software advocate but I couldn't pass up the chance to listen to Richard Stallman speak. Richard Stallman (or RMS which he prefers to be known) is known as the founding father of some of the most important movements in the software industry worldwide namely the GNU (GNU's not UNIX) project and the FSF (Freedom Software Foundation). He's also credited as being the author of the GPL (GNU General Public License) license which is the most widely used free software license. He may not be that well known beyond the IT industry but his name is often grouped with the likes of Bill Gates and Linus Torvalds (both of whom Stallman are unfriendly with for various reasons).
Depending on who you ask RMS is either a saint or a religious extremist (in the context of software being religion). If you ask Stallman this question though he will retort that he is not a religous person at all. What do I think of him? Besides from recommending that he groom a little I am glad he's around to fight for our freedom. What freedom? RMS champions the Free Software movement and he often explains his definition of free as being free speech rather than free beer.
I'm not going to touch on the topics that RMS spoke about in the seminar because he spoke for 3 of the 4 hours allocated for his seminar which means he touched upon a hell of a lot of subjects. Surprisingly though I did not hear much I did not already know from him (but there were some interesting bits particularly about Linux). No fault of RMS though. While it was my first time meeting RMS I was already familiar with everything he had to say. No doubt this is thanks to my frequent patronage of slashdot. If you're interested in learning about RMS and his philosophy follow the links at the end.
Towards the end of the seminar RMS put on his infamous St. Ignutius garb (he brings that darn thing around the world?!!). Now if you are not familiar with St. Ignutius, he is a Saint in the Church of Emacs. According to St. Ignutius, emacs is a better text editor than vi because vi vi vi is the editor of the beast (get it? hehehe). Well anyway I'm partial to vi so I guess I can't join the Church of Emacs. Oh and by the way, that halo above his head... that's a hard disk platter from the time when computers filled up a whole room. I mean look at the size of that thing! I bet it probably only stores a megabyte or so :P
St. Ignutius (there's a GNU in iGNUtius... get it?)
I wish I had taken a picture with him but I was too silly and completely drained the battery in my camera by taping a video of his talk (which is not complete because the battery could not outlast RMS's speech).
Not really related: When I arrived at UM, I parked my car and proceeded to where I thought the seminar was being held. There were three other guys who parked near where I parked. I ended up in the wrong building and so did the other 3 fellas because I suspect they were blindly following me :) Anyways I did not notice this earlier but I'm pretty sure now that I recognize two of them... the first one's pretty obvious because he stands out a fair bit and the second is a well known figure in the local blogoshpere as well. I'll make it a point to introduce myself the next time I bang into them. Surprisingly someone came up to me and asked me if I recognized him. Ermm... sorry man although you explained that you were from CSA MSC I still can't remember you being there :)