Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software

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9781441437884: Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software
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FREE AS IN FREEDOM interweaves biographical snapshots of GNU project founder RICHARD STALLMAN with the political, social and economic history of the free software movement. Starting with how it all began--a desire for software code from Xerox to make the printing more efficient--to the continuing quest for free software that exists today. It is a movement that Stallman has at turns defined, directed and manipulated. Like Alan Greenspan in the financial sector, Stallman has assumed the role of tribal elder in a community that bills itself as anarchic and immune to central authority. FREE AS IN FREEDOM looks at how the latest twists and turns in the software marketplace have done little to throw Stallman off his pedestal. Discover how the Richard's childhood and teenage experiences made him the man he is today. If anything, they have made Stallman's logic-based rhetoric and immovable personality more persuasive. In a rapidly changing world people need a fixed reference point, and Stallman has become that reference point for many in the software world. *** Free as in Freedom is distributed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. Money raised from the sale of this book supports the development of free software and documentation. *** ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sam Williams is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, New York. He has covered high-tech culture, specifically software development culture, for a number of Web sites. From 1998-2001, he wrote "Open Season," a weekly column on the open source software community for Upside Today. He also has conducted interviews for the Web site BeOpen.com.

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From the Author:

I am the author of this book, and I welcome all feedback. You can reach me at my email address: sam@inow.com. O'Reilly is also offering a corrections page. If you see a portion [or portions] of the book that needs to be corrected or improved in any way, let me know.

The people at O'Reilly have also been gracious enough to publish this book under the GNU Free Documentation License. This means that readers have the freedom not only to copy and lend physical copies of the book but to copy and lend electronic copies as well. They also have the freedom to modify the book and make derivative versions with or without my permission.

Although O'Reilly has yet to publish and electronic version of the book, I have taken advantage of the liberties provided in the GFDL to create my own HTML-version of the book. This version is free [as in free beer] to read and free [as in freedom] to copy, modify and republish. My intention is to begin making my own modifications to the book, incorporating feedback received from initial readers along with my own changes, later this spring.

The site's title should give a hint ast to my intentions. Like Mozilla, I see FAIFzilla as the evolving "source code" for later versions of _Free as in Freedom_. Just as AOL/Netscape periodically dips into Mozilla to generate upgrades of its web browser, I'm hoping that O'Reilly, or any other motivated publisher, will dip into FAIFzilla to come out with second version of _Free as in Freedom_ sometime late next year. It's an experimental idea, but judging by the success of past O'Reilly projects -- namely, _Open Sources_ [1999] and _Cathedral and the Bazaar_ [2000] -- I think it might lead to interesting results.

About the Author:

Sam Williams is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, New York. He has covered high-tech culture, specifically software development culture, for a number of Web sites. From 1998-2001, he wrote "Open Season," a weekly column on the open source software community for Upside Today. He also has conducted interviews for the Web site BeOpen.com. *** Richard Matthew Stallman (born March 16, 1953), often abbreviated "rms", is an American software freedom activist, and computer programmer. In September 1983, he launched the GNU Project to create a free Unix-like operating system, and has been the project's lead architect and organizer. With the launch of the GNU Project, he initiated the free software movement and, in October 1985, set up the Free Software Foundation. Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft and is the main author of several copyleft licenses including the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license. Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time advocating for free software, as well as campaigning against both software patents and what he sees as excessive extension of copyright laws. Stallman has also developed a number of pieces of widely-used software, including the original Emacs, the GNU Compiler Collection, and the GNU Debugger. He co-founded the League for Programming Freedom in 1989.

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