Richard Stallman, founder of GNU, speaking in Burlington today and tomorrow

Richard Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and founder of the GNU Project (, will be speaking in the Burlington area on April 17 and 18.


  o  Thursday, April 17, 4:30 p.m., St. Michael’s College; “Copyright versus Community in the Age of Computer Networks”


  o  Friday, April 18, 9:30 a.m., Champlain College; “The Free Software Movement and the GNU/Linux Operating System”


GNU is “free software” and a different concept from open source software. Per the GNU Web site…



“Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.


Free software is a matter of the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:

    * The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).

    * The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

    * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).

    * The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.



The GNU/Linux system, basically the GNU operating system with Linux added, is used on tens of millions of computers today.  Stallman has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer award, and the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment, as well as several honorary doctorates.


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