I am a fervent believer in the principles of Free Software, and the principles of Freedom in general, but I don't necessarily support everything Stallman says or does. I am not Richard Stallman, I have my own opinions, and in my opinion Stallman's support of Microsoft technology via DotGNU is profoundly wrong. I understand his reasons: He merely wants to take something which is not entirely Free, and make it as Free as possible (whereas de Icaza's motive is to take something he considers "cool technology", and make it as interoperable as possible), but the use of this technology assists a deeply reprehensible company, and poisons Free Software with that disreputable company's Intellectual Monopoly.
Declaring a piece of software to be Free, simply because it is ostensibly licenced under the GPL, is essentially a lie if there are further restrictions imposed on the use of that software, either by modification of the license or with patents. This is not necessarily a problem if those who impose those restrictions are well-motivated, but that simply isn't the case with Microsoft - a convicted monopolist with an extremely well documented agenda of opposition to Freedom, and that practises business methods of the most debase form.
And this is the substantive point: Microsoft operates like gangsters. Even Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson came to this conclusion in the United States v. Microsoft antitrust case, and the documented evidence of this behaviour is overwhelming, indeed I personally have 3GB of court evidence to that effect on Slated, from the Comes v. Microsoft case, and that figure does not even include the videos of Bill Gates evasive depositions to the DOJ, nor the now infamous Halloween Documents. Microsoft are gangsters. Fact. What part of this is so difficult for some people to believe or understand? And what part of that could not be considered relevant to the issue of Free Software, especially supposedly Free Software that helps these gangsters by spreading their Intellectual Monopoly?
The pragmatists ignore this criminal behaviour, for the sake of convenience, because they are more moved by their own selfishness than by Microsoft's outrageous business practises. I sometimes believe that Microsoft could start a holocaust, and the pragmatists would be entirely unmoved by it, stating the need for practical consideration as justification for their apathy, and then engaging in irrelevant technical arguments about the semantics of licensing, or the practical value of certain functionality, as a means of distracting from what should be the central issue. "We need this software", cry the pragmatists, "and it has a permissive licence, so what's wrong with it?" ... Microsoft is what is "wrong with it", but the pragmatists (and of course the actual Microsoft supporters) can't see that - or refuse to recognise that fact, at least.
Consider this: Gangsters giving away free Lemonade at a street-party are still gangsters. Is it somehow morally right to accept that lemonade simply because it is free? Does the fact that this lemonade is free somehow make the benefactors anything other than gangsters? By accepting this gift, we are essentially endorsing those gangsters, who may capitalise on that endorsement to further their criminal goals. Our endorsement of these gangsters obfuscates their criminal background, and thus improves their image, which they then abuse to perpetrate their crimes with greater impunity, since society then gives those criminals an unwarranted benefit of the doubt, it hinders those who rightly criticise those gangsters, and gives false justification to those who support them. Critics are then lambasted by supporters, who marginalise critics by stigmatising them as "haters" and "zealots", whilst ignoring the fact that this dissent is actually warranted, and is not in fact any form of irrational and unjustifiable hatred, any more than it is irrational and unjustifiable to condemn any other criminal.
But even worse, it's likely, given the criminal nature of these "benefactors", that there is rather more to this free lemonade than meets the eye. It may be that they've poisoned the lemonade, in order to kill the competition, or even more sinisterly, have spiked it with drugs to addict the victims, thus making them dependant on those gangsters' unique "blend" of Lemonade®, and other similar drinks, which the gangsters then profit by, and guarantee future profits, to the detriment of the few remaining competitors.
The parallels between this analogy and Microsoft's business methods are undeniable, indeed patently obvious ... to all who are actually willing to admit the truth.
Stallman chooses to ignore the corporate politics of software, whilst concentrating on its philosophy, and de Icaza (and others, like Torvalds) chooses to ignore the philosophy, for the sake of appeasing corporate interests, whilst concentrating on the technical details. I have very little interest in the technical details, and the philosophy of Free Software (although admirable) is insufficient to defend against the menacing advances of certain corporate interests, therefore my goal is to fight those corporate interests, by exposing their corruption and bringing them to account.
That is my position, my motivation, my agenda.
AFAICT that agenda does not align with either of the other two sides of this triangle. Our respective goals meet at certain points, but then diverge in opposing directions. I am not Miguel de Icaza. I am not Richard Stallman. I am me. Just me. A person of little note, and big ideals. I can't win, of course, there was never any possibility of that. I don't fight to win, I fight because it is the virtuous thing to do, because it is right, because I could not live any other way. It's not the destination, it's the journey.