Richard Stallman

American free software activist and GNU Project founder (born 1953) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Richard Matthew Stallman (/ˈstɔːlmən/; born March 16, 1953), also known by his initials, rms,[1] is an American free software movement activist and programmer. He campaigns for software to be distributed in such a manner that its users have the freedom to use, study, distribute, and modify that software. Software that ensures these freedoms is termed free software. Stallman launched the GNU Project, founded the Free Software Foundation (FSF) in October 1985,[2] developed the GNU Compiler Collection and GNU Emacs, and wrote all versions of the GNU General Public License.

Quick facts: Richard Stallman, Born, Other names, Edu...
Richard Stallman
Richard_Stallman_at_LibrePlanet_2019.jpg
Stallman in 2019
Born
Richard Matthew Stallman

(1953-03-16) March 16, 1953 (age 70)
Other namesrms (RMS)
Education
Occupations
  • Activist
  • programmer
Known for
Awards
Websitestallman.org Edit this at Wikidata
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Stallman launched the GNU Project in September 1983 to write a Unix-like computer operating system composed entirely of free software.[3] With this, he also launched the free software movement. He has been the GNU project's lead architect and organizer, and developed a number of pieces of widely used GNU software including, among others, the GNU Compiler Collection,[4] GNU Debugger,[5] and GNU Emacs text editor.[6]

Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft, which uses the principles of copyright law to preserve the right to use, modify, and distribute free software. He is the main author of free software licenses which describe those terms, most notably the GNU General Public License (GPL), the most widely used free software license.[7]

In 1989, he co-founded the League for Programming Freedom. Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time advocating for free software, as well as campaigning against software patents, digital rights management (which he refers to as digital restrictions management, calling the more common term misleading), and other legal and technical systems which he sees as taking away users' freedoms. This has included software license agreements, non-disclosure agreements, activation keys, dongles, copy restriction, proprietary formats, and binary executables without source code.

In September 2019, Stallman resigned as president of the FSF and left his visiting scientist role at MIT after making controversial comments about the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal. Stallman remained head of the GNU Project, and in 2021 returned to the FSF board of directors.

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