Free Software Foundation

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Free Software Foundation
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{{Short description|Organization supporting the free software movement}}{{Overly detailed|date=March 2022}}{{Use mdy dates|date=April 2024}} {{Use American English|date=April 2024}}

| logo = Free Software Foundation logo and wordmark.svg| extinction = 501(c)#501(c)(3)>501(c)(3) non-profit organization| status = 501(c)(3)| purpose = Educational| founder = Richard Stallman| headquarters = Boston, Massachusetts, US| location = | region_served = Worldwide| membership = Individuals| language = | leader_title = President| leader_name = Geoffrey Knauth| leader_title2 = Executive directorACCESS-DATE=2022-03-02 ARCHIVE-DATE=2022-03-02 URL-STATUS=LIVE, | main_organ = | parent_organization = | affiliations = ACCESS-DATE = 5 OCTOBER 2022 ARCHIVE-URL = HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20121124045543/HTTP://WWW.FSF.ORG/ABOUT/STAFF, live, | num_volunteers = DATE=2013-05-09 URL=HTTPS://PROJECTS.PROPUBLICA.ORG/NONPROFITS/ORGANIZATIONS/42888848 WEBSITE=PROPUBLICA ARCHIVE-DATE=2022-09-13 URL-STATUS=LIVE, | revenue_year = 2020| expenses = $1,809,358| expenses_year = 2020| remarks = weblink}}}}The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Richard StallmanJOURNAL, Corrado, Edward M., Moualison Sandy, Heather, Mitchell, Erik T., 2018-07-03, Nullis in Verba: The Free Software Movement as a model for Openness and Transparency,weblink Technical Services Quarterly, en, 35, 3, 269–279, 10.1080/07317131.2018.1456849, 196159979, 0731-7131, 2022-05-03, 2023-07-10,weblink live, on October 4, 1985, to support the free software movement, with the organization's preference for software being distributed under copyleft ("share alike") terms,WEB,weblink Free Software Foundation, Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU Licenses, 2012-07-22, 2020-03-30,weblink" title="">weblink live, such as with its own GNU General Public License.WEB, What Is Copyleft?,weblink Free Software Foundation, 2012-07-22, 2018-06-18,weblink" title="">weblink live, The FSF was incorporated in Boston,WEB,weblink Free Software Foundation, Boston, United States,, 2020-03-07, 2020-02-27,weblink dead, Massachusetts, United States, where it is also based.WEB,weblink FREE SOFTWARE FOUNDATION, INC. Summary Screen, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Corporations Division, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2013-05-25, From its founding until the mid-1990s, FSF's funds were mostly used to employ software developers to write free software for the GNU ProjectWEB, Stallman, Richard, 29 May 2001, Free Software: Freedom and Cooperation,weblink live,weblink 2024-02-24, 2024-05-12,, and its employees and volunteers have mostly worked on legal and structural issues for the free software movement and the free software community{{Which|date=November 2023|reason=There are many distinct free software communities, many of which owe nothing to GNU or the FSF. Maybe it refers only to the GNU affiliates?}}.Consistent with its goals, the FSF aims to use only free software on its own computers.WEB,weblink Linux, GNU, and freedom, 2006-12-10, Stallman, Richard M., Richard Stallman, 2002, Philosophy of the GNU Project, GNU Project, 2017-12-23,weblink live,


{{cleanup|reason=the timeline of the narrative|date=May 2014}}The Free Software Foundation was founded in 1985 as a non-profit corporation supporting free software development. It continued existing GNU projects such as the sale of manuals and tapes, and employed developers of the free software system.WEB,weblink The GNU Project, Free Software Foundation, June 24, 2012, April 24, 2011,weblink live, Since then, it has continued these activities, as well as advocating for the free software movement. The FSF is also the steward of several free software licenses, meaning it publishes them and has the ability to make revisions as needed.WEB,weblink Licenses, Free Software Foundation, June 24, 2012, April 6, 2011,weblink" title="">weblink live, The FSF holds the copyrights on many pieces of the GNU system, such as GNU Compiler Collection. As the holder of these copyrights, it has authority to enforce the copyleft requirements of the GNU General Public License (GPL) when copyright infringement occurs.From 1991 until 2001, GPL enforcement was done informally, usually by Stallman himself, often with assistance from FSF's lawyer, Eben Moglen.{{Citation needed|date=September 2009}} Typically, GPL violations during this time were cleared up by short email exchanges between Stallman and the violator.{{Citation needed|date=September 2009}} In the interest of promoting copyleft assertiveness by software companies to the level that the FSF was already doing, in 2004 Harald Welte launched late 2001, Bradley M. Kuhn (then executive director), with the assistance of Moglen, David Turner, and Peter T. Brown, formalized these efforts into FSF's GPL Compliance Labs. From 2002–2004, high-profile GPL enforcement cases, such as those against Linksys and OpenTV, became frequent.WEB, Meeker, Heather, The Legend of Linksys, 2005-06-28,weblink 2007-08-11,weblink" title="">weblink 2009-04-19, Hosted on the Wayback Machine.WEB, Gillmor, Dan, GPL Legal Battle Coming?, (a division of the San Jose Mercury News), 2003-05-21,weblink 2007-08-11,weblink" title="">weblink 2003-05-24, WEB, Turner, David, Bradley M. Kuhn, Linksys/Cisco GPL Violations, 2003-09-29,,weblink 2007-08-11, Bradley M. Kuhn, 2007-08-31,weblink" title="">weblink live, GPL enforcement and educational campaigns on GPL compliance was a major focus of the FSF's efforts during this period.WEB, Kennedy, Dennis, 2004-01-11, A Great Learning Opportunity for Software Lawyers{{snd, Upcoming GPL Seminar |url =weblink |archive-url =weblink" title="">weblink |archive-date = 2007-09-28}}WEB,weblink Slashdot, Lord, Timothy, 2003-07-18, 2007-08-11, Seminar On Details Of The GPL And Related Licenses, 2011-06-06,weblink" title="">weblink live, In March 2003, SCO filed suit against IBM alleging that IBM's contributions to various free software, including FSF's GNU, violated SCO's rights. While FSF was never a party to the lawsuit, FSF was subpoenaed on November 5, 2003.WEB, Heise, Mark, SCO Subpoena of FSF, Free Software Foundation, 2003-11-05,weblink 2007-08-11, 2007-09-25,weblink" title="">weblink live, During 2003 and 2004, FSF put substantial advocacy effort into responding to the lawsuit and quelling its negative impact on the adoption and promotion of free software.WEB, Kuhn, Bradley, Bradley M. Kuhn, The SCO Subpoena of FSF, Free Software Foundation, 2004-05-18,weblink 2007-08-11, 2007-06-08,weblink" title="">weblink live, From 2003 to 2005, FSF held legal seminars to explain the GPL and the surrounding law.WEB, Seminar On Details Of The GPL And Related Licenses,weblink 2008-07-04, 2003-07-18, 2023-04-29,weblink live, Usually taught by Bradley M. Kuhn and Daniel Ravicher, these seminars offered CLE credit and were the first effort to give formal legal education on the GPL.PRESS RELEASE,weblink FSF To Host Free Software Licensing Seminars and Discussions on SCO v. IBM in New York,, 2011-08-30, 2008-05-17,weblink" title="">weblink live, WEB, Bradley M., Kuhn, FSF Bulletin Issue 2, June 2003, Free Software Foundation, June 2003,weblink On Friday 8 August 2003, we will hold a seminar on the GNU GPL. The seminar, titled "Free Software Licensing and the GNU GPL", will be co-led by Daniel Ravicher, Outside Counsel to FSF from Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, and Bradley M. Kuhn, Executive Director of FSF., 2008-07-04, 2008-05-17,weblink" title="">weblink live, WEB, John, Sullivan, William John Sullivan, FSF Seminar in NYC on September 28, Free Software Foundation, 2005-08-25,weblink, 2008-07-04, 2019-10-13,weblink live, In 2007, the FSF published the third version of the GNU General Public License after significant outside input.WEB, GNU General Public License,weblink GNU, 29 June 2007, 15 June 2012, 29 July 2017,weblink" title="">weblink live, WEB,weblink GNU General Public License, GPLv3, 2012-06-25,weblink" title="">weblink 2008-10-02, dead, In December 2008, FSF filed a lawsuit against Cisco for using GPL-licensed components shipped with Linksys products. Cisco was notified of the licensing issue in 2003 but Cisco repeatedly disregarded its obligations under the GPL.WEB, Paul, Ryan, Free Software Foundation lawsuit against Cisco a first, 2007-12-13, Ars Technica,weblink 2008-12-11, 2008-12-12,weblink" title="">weblink live, In May 2009, Cisco and FSF reached settlement under which Cisco agreed to make a monetary donation to the FSF and appoint a Free Software Director to conduct continuous reviews of the company's license compliance practices.WEB, Paul, Ryan, Cisco settles FSF GPL lawsuit, appoints compliance officer, 2009-05-21, Ars Technica,weblink 2009-10-06, 2009-07-26,weblink" title="">weblink live, In September 2019, Richard Stallman resigned as president of the FSF after pressure from journalists and members of the open source community in response to him making controversial comments in defense of Marvin Minsky on Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking scandal.WEB, Bort, Julie, A programmer explains why he's willing to quit rather than work with industry legend Richard Stallman, who resigned from MIT after controversial remarks on Jeffrey Epstein,weblink Business Insider, October 10, 2019, May 3, 2020, August 7, 2020,weblink dead, Nevertheless, Stallman remained head of the GNU Project and in 2021, he returned to the FSF board of directors.WEB,weblink Richard Stallman To Continue As Head Of The GNU Project, Phoronix, 26 September 2019, Michael, Larabel, 2021-03-24, 2022-03-21,weblink live, WEB,weblink Richard Stallman's Personal Site, Stallman, Richard, Richard Stallman, 2021-03-18, "I continue to be the Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project. I do not intend to stop any time soon.", 2011-02-24,weblink" title="">weblink live, WEB, Brodkin, Jon, 2021-03-22, Richard Stallman returns to FSF 18 months after controversial rape comments,weblink 2021-03-23, Ars Technica, en-us, 2021-03-23,weblink live, WEB, Clark, Mitchell, March 22, 2021, Richard Stallman returns to the Free Software Foundation after resigning in 2019,weblink March 22, 2021, The Verge, March 22, 2021,weblink live,

Current and ongoing activities

The GNU Project

The original purpose of the FSF was to promote the ideals of free software. The organization envisaged the GNU operating system as an example of this.

GNU licenses

The GNU General Public License (GPL) is a widely used license for free software projects. The current version (version 3) was released in June 2007. The FSF has also published the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), and the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL).

GNU Press

The FSF's publishing department, responsible for "publishing affordable books on computer science using freely distributable licenses."WEB,weblink GNU Press -- Published Documentation, Free Software Foundation, Inc.,weblink" title="">weblink 2005-11-25, List of books published {{Webarchive|url= |date=2013-05-01 }} in GNU Press home site

The Free Software Directory

This is a list of software packages that have been verified as free software. Each package entry contains up to 47 pieces of information such as the project's homepage, developers, programming language, etc. The goals are to provide a search engine for free software, and to provide a cross-reference for users to check if a package has been verified as being free software. The FSF has received a small amount of funding{{Quantify|date=November 2023|reason=The total amount of funds received from UNESCO should be quantified before deciding if the quantity is small or not, in relation to the year of the donation.}} from UNESCO for this project.

Maintaining the Free Software Definition

FSF maintains many of the documents that define the free software movement.

Project hosting

FSF hosts software development projects on its Savannah website.


An abbreviation for "Hardware-Node", the h-node website lists hardware and device drivers that have been verified as compatible with free software. It is user-edited and volunteer supported with hardware entries tested by users before publication.WEB,weblink FSF and Debian join forces to help free software users find the hardware they need, September 8, 2014, October 19, 2019, October 19, 2019,weblink live, WEB,weblink FSFとDebian、GNU/Linuxハードウェア情報サイト「」を共同支援へ | OSDN Magazine, OSDN, 2019-10-19, 2019-10-19,weblink live, WEB,weblink home -,, 2019-10-19, 2019-10-19,weblink live,


FSF sponsors a number of campaigns against what it perceives as dangers to software freedom, including software patents, digital rights management (which the FSF and othersWEB, Stross, Randall, Want an iPhone? Beware the iHandcuffs,weblink The New York Times, 26 May 2014, January 14, 2007, 1 November 2016,weblink" title="">weblink live, have re-termed "digital restrictions management", as part of its effort to highlight technologies that are "designed to take away and limit your rights",WEB,weblink Digital Restrictions Management and Treacherous Computing, September 18, 2006, 2007-12-17, Free Software Foundation, 2018-07-05,weblink live, ) and user interface copyright. Since 2012, Defective by Design is an FSF-initiated campaign against DRM.WEB, Noyes, Katherine, August 21, 2012, For DRM-Free Content, Look for the New FSF Logo,weblink 2023-06-06, PCWorld, en, 2023-06-06,weblink live, It also has a campaign to promote Ogg+Vorbis, a free alternative to proprietary formats like AAC and MQA. FSF also sponsors free software projects it deems "high-priority".

Annual awards

{{See also|FSF Free Software Awards}}"Outstanding new Free Software contributor", "Award for the Advancement of Free Software" and "Free Software Award for Projects of Social Benefit"

LibrePlanet wiki

The LibrePlanet wiki organizes FSF members into regional groups in order to promote free software activism against Digital Restrictions Management and other issues promoted by the FSF.

High priority projects

File:Parabola-openrc-lxde-2017.11.05-dual.iso.png|alt=|300x300px|thumbThe FSF maintains a list of "high-priority projects" to which the Foundation claims that "there is a vital need to draw the free software community's attention".WEB,weblink High Priority Free Software Projects, Free Software Foundation, 2017-01-07, 2009-07-01,weblink" title="">weblink live, The FSF considers these projects "important because computer users are continually being seduced into using non-free software, because there is no adequate free replacement."As of 2021, high-priority tasks include reverse engineering proprietary firmware, reversible debugging in GNU Debugger; developing automatic transcription and video editing software, Coreboot, drivers for network routers, a free smartphone operating system and creating replacements for Skype and Siri.Previous projects highlighted as needing work included the Free Java implementations, GNU Classpath, and GNU Compiler for Java, which ensure compatibility for the Java part of, and the GNOME desktop environment (see (Java (Sun)#Licensing|Java: Licensing)).WEB,weblink Changelog for the High Priority Projects list, Free Software Foundation, 2017-01-24, 2017-01-29,weblink live, The effort has been criticized by Michael Larabel for either not instigating active development or for being slow at the work being done, even after certain projects were added to the list.WEB,weblink The Sad State Of FSF's High Priority Projects, 2011-10-15, 2014-12-29, Long story short, being on the Free Software Foundation's high priority list really doesn't mean much with some of these "important" projects not even being actively developed or even discussed., Michael, Larabel, Michael Larabel, Phoronix, 2015-03-19,weblink" title="">weblink live, WEB,weblink Many FSF Priority Projects Still Not Progressing, 2012-04-22, 2014-12-29, Most of the projects are basically not going anywhere. Many of them at the time were not really advancing in their goals, haven't had releases in a while, or coding hasn't even started. It's been more than a half-year and still there's no significant work towards clearing many of projects from the FSF list., Michael, Larabel, Michael Larabel, Phoronix, 2015-03-19,weblink" title="">weblink live,


Operating systems

The FSF maintains a list of approved Linux operating systems that maintain free software by default:WEB,weblink Free GNU/Linux distributions, 2021-04-30, 2021-05-27, GNU, 2015-12-25,weblink" title="">weblink live, The project also maintains a list of operating systems that are not versions of the GNU system:

Discontinued operating systems

The following are previously endorsed operating systems that are no longer actively maintained:

Hardware endorsements (RYF)

{{See also|Libreboot|Coreboot}}Since 2012, the FSF maintains a "Respects Your Freedom" (RYF) hardware certification program. To be granted certification, a product must use 100% Free Software, allow user installation of modified software, be free of backdoors and conform with several other requirements.WEB, Noyes, Katherine, October 11, 2012, New FSF logo highlights hardware that 'Respects Your Freedom',weblink 2023-06-06, PCWorld, en, 2023-06-06,weblink live, WEB,weblink Respects Your Freedom hardware certification requirements, Free Software Foundation, Jan 27, 2012, 4 February 2014, Josh Gay, 7 February 2014,weblink" title="">weblink live,



The FSF's board of directors includes professors at leading universities, senior engineers, and founders. Current board members are:WEB, Staff and Board — Free Software Foundation — Working together for free software,weblink 2022-02-05,, 2013-08-15,weblink live, Previous board members include:
  • Alexander Oliva, Vice President (served since August 28, 2019)WEB,weblink Aug 28, 2019, Alexandre Oliva joins Free Software Foundation board of directors, Free Software Foundation, 2019-10-17, 2019-10-20,weblink live,
  • Hal Abelson, founding member,The first GNU's Bulletin (WEB,weblink GNU's Bulletin, Volume 1, No.1, February 1986, Free Software Foundation, 2007-08-11, 2015-06-23,weblink" title="">weblink live, ), indicates this list of people as round[ing] out FSF's board of directors. professor of computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (served from inception until March 5, 1998, and rejoined {{circa|2005}})
  • Robert J. Chassell, founding treasurer, as well as a founding director (served from inception until June 3, 1997)
  • Miguel de Icaza (served from August 1999The FSF annual filings with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for 1998 and
1999 show that De Icaza was not on the board on 1998-11-01 and was as of 1999-11-01, so he clearly joined sometime between those dates. Those documents further indicate that the 1999 annual meeting occurred in August; usually, new directors are elected at annual meetings. until February 25, 2002The FSF annual filings with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for 2002 (WEB,weblink 2002 Annual Report for Free Software Foundation, Inc., 2002-12-17, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2007-08-11, 2007-09-25,weblink" title="">weblink live, ) show that De Icaza has left the board. Changes to board composition are usually made at the annual meeting; which occurred on February 25, 2002.)
  • Benjamin Mako Hill, assistant professor at the University of Washington (served from July 25, 2007 until October 2019){{citation needed|date=November 2020}}
  • Matthew Garrett, software developer (served since October 16, 2014)WEB,weblink Matthew Garrett joins Free Software Foundation board of directors, 16 October 2014, Free Software Foundation, 22 January 2015, 3 February 2015,weblink" title="">weblink live,
  • Bradley Kuhn, executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy and FSF's former executive director (served from March 25, 2010WEB,weblink Bradley Kuhn Joins the FSF Board, 2010-03-25, 2010-03-26, 2010-03-29,weblink" title="">weblink live, to Oct 13, 2019WEB,weblink On Recent Controversial Events - Bradley M. Kuhn ( Brad ) ( bkuhn ),, 2019-10-17, 2019-10-16,weblink" title="">weblink live, )
  • Lawrence Lessig, professor of law at Stanford University (served from March 28, 2004 until 2008)
  • Eben Moglen (served from July 28, 2000The FSF annual filings with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for 1999 and 2000 show that Moglen was not on the board on November 1, 1999, and was as of November 1, 2000, so he clearly joined sometime between those dates. Those documents further indicate that the 2000 annual meeting occurred on July 28, 2000; usually, new directors are elected at annual meetings. until 2007Moglen announced his intention to resign in his blog (WEB,weblink And Now ... Life After GPLv3, Moglen, Eben, Eben Moglen, 2007-04-23, 2007-08-11, 2007-07-02,weblink" title="">weblink live, ). The resignation likely occurred at the 2007 annual meeting of the directors; the exact date of that meeting is unknown.)
  • Len Tower Jr., founding member, (served until September 2, 1997)
  • Kat Walsh is a copyright and technology attorney, free culture and free software advocate, and former chair of the Wikimedia Foundation. She joined the board in 2015.WEB, Kat Walsh joins FSF board of directors,weblink, Free Software Foundation, Inc., 22 March 2015, 21 March 2015, 21 March 2015,weblink live, She voted against the readmittance of Richard Stallman to the board and, on March 25, 2021, resigned saying "It's a decision that has been a long time coming for me".WEB, Kat (,weblink Mastodon, en, 25 March 2021, 27 April 2022, 30 July 2022,weblink live,

Executive directors

Executive directors include:


The FSF Articles of Organization state that the board of directors are elected.{{blockquote|Article II, Sec. 1 - Number, Election and Qualification: The present members of the corporation shall constitute the voting members. Thereafter the voting members annually at its annual meeting shall fix the number of voting members and shall elect the number of voting members so fixed. At any special or regular meeting, the voting members then in office may increase the number of voting members and elect new voting members to complete the number so fixed; or they may decrease the number of voting members, but only to eliminate vacancies caused by the death, resignation, removal or disqualification of one or more voting members.|Amended By-laws, Nov. 25, 2002|Free Software Foundation, Inc.}}The bylaws say who can vote for them.{{blockquote|In addition to the right to elect Directors as provided in the bylaws and such other powers and rights as may be vested in them by law, these Articles of Organization or the bylaws, the Voting Members shall have such other powers and rights as the Directors may designate.|Amended By-laws, Nov. 25, 2002|Free Software Foundation, Inc.}}The board can grant powers to the Voting Membership.


At any given time, there are usually around a dozen employees.WEB,weblink Meet the staff of the Free Software Foundation, 2015-09-04, 2013-08-15,weblink live, Most, but not all, work at the FSF headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts.WEB, Certificate of Change of Principal Office, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2005-05-26,weblink 2008-07-04, 2008-08-26,weblink" title="">weblink live,


On November 25, 2002, the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.The site first appears in the Internet Archive in December 2002, and that site lists the date of the launch as 25 November 2002. WEB, FSF Membership Page, The Internet Archive,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2002-12-20, Bradley M. Kuhn (FSF executive director, 2001–2005) launched the program and also signed up as the first Associate MemberKuhn has an FSF-generated member link that identifies him as the first member on his web page. WEB, Homepage of Bradley M. Kuhn, Bradley M. Kuhn, 2008-01-05,weblink 2008-01-05, 2007-12-26,weblink" title="">weblink live, Associate members are primarily an honorary and funding support role.WEB,weblink Amended Bylaws, Free Software Foundation, 24 January 2023, 24 January 2023,weblink live, In 2023, associate members gained the ability to make board nominations, along with FSF staff and FSF voting members. There is also an annual meeting of FSF members, usually during lunch at LibrePlanet, in which feedback for FSF is solicited.


Eben Moglen and Dan Ravicher previously served individually as pro bono legal counsel to the FSF. After forming the Software Freedom Law Center, Eben Moglen continued to serve as the FSF's general counsel until 2016.WEB,weblink John, Sullivan, Oct 27, 2016, FSF announces change in general counsel, Free Software Foundation, en, 2017-05-18, 2017-05-08,weblink" title="">weblink live,


Most of the FSF funding comes from patrons and members.WEB,weblink About the GNU Project, Stallman, Richard, Gnu Project, FSF, 18 May 2014, 24 April 2011,weblink live, Revenue streams also come from free-software-related compliance labs, job postings, published works, and a web store. FSF offers speakers and seminars for pay, and all FSF projects accept donations.Revenues fund free-software programs and campaigns, while cash is invested conservatively in socially responsible investing. The financial strategy is designed to maintain the Foundation's long-term future through economic stability.The FSF is a tax-exempt organization and posts annual IRS Form 990 filings online.WEB, FSF Financial Information,weblink 2022-06-10, 2022-06-04,weblink live,


Position on DRM

Linus Torvalds has criticized FSF for using GPLv3 as a weapon in the fight against DRM. Torvalds argues that the issue of DRM and that of a software license should be treated as two separate issues.WEB, patrick_g,weblink Linus Torvalds: the anniversary interview of the 20 years of the kernel,, 2019-10-23, 2019-10-23,weblink live,

Defective by Design campaign

On June 16, 2010, Joe Brockmeier, a journalist at Linux Magazine, criticized the Defective by Design campaign by the FSF as "negative" and "juvenile" and not being adequate for providing users with "credible alternatives" to proprietary software.WEB, The Party of Gno., 2010-06-22,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink usurped, June 20, 2010, FSF responded to this criticism by saying "that there is a fundamental difference between speaking out against policies or actions and smear campaigns", and "that if one is taking an ethical position, it is justified, and often necessary, to not only speak about the benefits of freedom but against acts of dispossession and disenfranchisement."WEB,weblink Benjamin Mako, Hill, Nov 28, 2011, In defense of negativity, Free Software Foundation, 2019-10-23, 2019-09-17,weblink live,

GNU LibreDWG license controversy

In 2009, a license update of LibDWG/LibreDWG to version 3 of the GNU GPL made it impossible for the free software projects LibreCAD and FreeCAD to use LibreDWG legally.WEB,weblink FSF Wastes Away Another "High Priority" Project, Michael, Larabel, Michael Larabel, 2013-01-24, Phoronix, 2013-08-22, Both LibreCAD and FreeCAD both want to use LibreDWG and have patches available for supporting the DWG file format library, but can't integrate them. The programs have dependencies on the popular GPLv2 license while the Free Software Foundation will only let LibreDWG be licensed for GPLv3 use, not GPLv2., dead,weblink 2016-11-09, Many projects voiced their unhappiness about the GPLv3 license selection for LibreDWG, such as FreeCAD, LibreCAD, Assimp, and Blender.WEB,weblink What's up with DWG adoption in free software?, Prokoudine, Alexandre, 26 January 2012,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 November 2016, 3 November 2013, [Assimp's Alexander Gessler:] "Personally, I'm extremely unhappy with their [LibreDWG's — LGW] GPL licensing. It prohibits its use in Assimp and for many other applications as well. I don't like dogmatic ideologies, and freeing software by force (as GPL/GNU does) is something I dislike in particular. It's fine for applications, because it doesn't hurt at this point, but, in my opinion, not for libraries that are designed to be used as freely as possible." [Blender's Toni Roosendaal:] "Blender is also still "GPLv2 or later". For the time being we stick to that, moving to GPL 3 has no evident benefits I know of. My advice for LibreDWG: if you make a library, choosing a widely compatible license (MIT, BSD, or LGPL) is a very positive choice.", Some suggested the selection of a license with a broader license compatibility, for instance the MIT, BSD, or LGPL 2.1. A request went to the FSF to relicense GNU LibreDWG as GPLv2, which was rejected in 2012.WEB,weblink LibreDWG drama: the end or the new beginning?, Prokoudine, Alexandre, 2012-12-27,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2016-11-09, 2013-08-23, [...]the unfortunate situation with support for DWG files in free CAD software via LibreDWG. We feel, by now it ought to be closed. We have the final answer from FSF. [...] "We are not going to change the license.", The libDWG has stalled since 2011 for various reasons, including license issues.WEB,weblink What's up with DWG adoption in free software?, Prokoudine, Alexandre, 26 January 2012,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 November 2016, 3 November 2013, GPLv3 license. It doesn't work for end-user software, because they tend to use 3rd party components under different licenses that impose restrictions. FSF who are sole copyright holders of LibreDWG objected to relicensing. With regards to FreeCAD project and Yorik van Havre, its contributor, Richard Stallman stated:" You should not change the license of your library. Rather, it is best to make it clear to him what the conditions are." [...] Personally, I'm extremely unhappy with their [LibreDWG's — LGW] GPL licensing. It prohibits its use in Assimp and for many other applications as well. I don't like dogmatic ideologies, and freeing software by force (as GPL/GNU does) is something I dislike in particular. It's fine for applications, because it doesn't hurt at this point, but, in my opinion, not for libraries that are designed to be used as freely as possible.,

Accusations against Richard Stallman

Stallman resigned from the board in 2019 after making controversial comments about one of the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, but rejoined the board 18 months later.WEB, Brodkin, Jon, 2021-03-22, Richard Stallman returns to FSF 18 months after controversial rape comments,weblink 2021-03-31, Ars Technica, en-us, 2021-03-23,weblink live, Several prominent organizations and individuals who develop free software objected to the decision, citing past writings on Stallman's blog which they considered antithetical to promoting a diverse community.WEB, Vaughan-Nichols, Steven J., Free Software Foundation leaders and supporters desert sinking ship,weblink 2021-03-31, ZDNet, en, 2021-03-30,weblink live, WEB, Brodkin, Jon, 2021-03-23, Free software advocates seek removal of Richard Stallman and entire FSF board,weblink 2021-03-31, Ars Technica, en-us, 2021-04-02,weblink live, As a result of Stallman's reinstatement, prominent members of the Free Software Foundation quit in protest and Red Hat announced that it would stop funding and supporting the Free Software Foundation.WEB, Salter, Jim, 2021-03-29, Red Hat withdraws from the Free Software Foundation after Stallman's return,weblink 2021-03-31, Ars Technica, en-us, 2021-03-30,weblink live,


{{expand section|date=May 2014}}Key players and industries that have made honorific mention and awards include:
  • 2001: GNU Project received the USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award for "the ubiquity, breadth, and quality of its freely available redistributable and modifiable software, which has enabled a generation of research and commercial development".WEB,weblink USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award ("The Flame"), USENIX, 2007-12-05, 2007-12-28,weblink" title="">weblink live,
  • 2005: Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in the category of "Digital Communities"WEB,weblink FSF honored with Prix Ars Electronica award, 2006-12-10, Free Software Foundation, 2005, News Releases, Free Software Foundation, 2006-10-11,weblink" title="">weblink live,

See also

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External links

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