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 (http://www.gnu.org/), 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…

 

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“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.

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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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