American Richard Matthew Stallman, (a.k.a. RMS), (born March 16, 1953) is the founder of the free software movement, the GNU project, and the Free Software Foundation. He is a renowned hacker, whose major accomplishments include Emacs (and the later GNU Emacs), the GNU C Compiler, and the GNU Debugger. He is also the author of the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or GPL), the most widely-used free software license, which pioneered the concept of the copyleft.
Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time as a political campaigner, advocating free software and campaigning against software idea patents and expansions of copyright law. The time that he still devotes to programming is spent on GNU Emacs. He supports himself by being paid for around half of the speeches he gives.
Stallman was born in Manhattan to Alice Lippman. His first access to a computer came during his senior year at high school in 1969. Hired by the IBM New York Scientific Center, Stallman spent the summer after his high-school graduation writing his first program, a preprocessor for the PL/I programming language on the IBM 360. "I first wrote it in PL/I, then started over in assembly language when the PL/I program was too big to fit in the computer", he later said. (Williams 2002, chapter 3)
Stallman was simultaneously a volunteer Laboratory Assistant in the Biology Department at Rockefeller University. Although he was already moving toward a career in mathematics or physics, his analytical mind impressed the lab director such that a few years after Stallman departed for college, his mother received a phone call. "It was the professor at Rockefeller", she recalled. "He wanted to know how Richard was doing. He was surprised to learn that he was working in computers. He'd always thought Richard had a great future ahead of him as a biologist." (Williams 2002, chapter 3)
In June 1971, as a freshman at Harvard University (graduated with a BA in Physics in 1974), Stallman became a programmer at the MIT AI Laboratory, where he became a fixture in the hacker community. During these years, he was perhaps better known by his initials, "RMS". In the first edition of the Hacker's Dictionary, he wrote, '"Richard Stallman" is just my mundane name; you can call me "rms".' 
Decline of MIT's hacker culture
In the 1980s, the hacker community in which Stallman lived began to dissolve. The emergence of "portable software" — software that could be made to run on different types of computers — meant that the ability for computer users to modify and share the software that came with computers was now a problem for the business models of the computer manufacturers. To prevent their software from being used on their competitors' computers, manufacturers stopped distributing source code and began restricting copying and redistribution of their software by copyrighting it. Such restricted software had existed before, but now there was no escape from it.
In 1980 Richard Greenblatt, a fellow AI lab hacker, founded Lisp Machines Incorporated to market Lisp machines, which he and Tom Knight designed at the lab. Greenblatt rejected outside investment, believing that the proceeds from the construction and sale of a few machines could be profitably reinvested in the growth of the company. In contrast, Russ Noftsker and other hackers felt that the venture-capital funded approach was better. As no agreement could be reached, most of the remaining lab hackers founded Symbolics. Symbolics recruited most of the remaining hackers — most notably Bill Gosper — and they left the AI lab. Symbolics forced Greenblatt to resign too by quoting MIT policies. While both companies delivered proprietary software, Stallman believed that LMI, unlike Symbolics, had tried to avoid hurting the lab.
For two years, from 1982 to the end of 1983, Stallman single-handedly duplicated the efforts of the Symbolics programmers to prevent them from gaining a monopoly on the lab's computers. By that time, however, he was the last of his generation of hackers at the lab. He rejected a future where he would have to sign non-disclosure agreements and perform other actions he considered betrayals of his principles, and chose instead to share his work with others in what he regarded as a classical spirit of scientific collaboration.
Stallman argues that software users should have freedom — in particular, the freedom to "share with their neighbor" and to be able to study and make changes to the software that they use. He has repeatedly said that attempts by proprietary software vendors to prohibit these acts are "antisocial" and "unethical" . The phrase "software wants to be free" is commonly attributed to him, but he did not say it. He argues that freedom is vital in and of itself and not merely because it may lead to improved software. Consequently, in January 1984, he quit his job at MIT to work full time on the GNU project, which he had announced in September 1983. He did not complete a Ph.D. but has been awarded four honorary doctoral degrees (see below).
In 1985, Stallman published the GNU Manifesto, which outlined his motivation for creating a free operating system called GNU, which would be compatible with Unix. The name GNU is a recursive acronym for GNU's Not Unix. Soon after, he incorporated the non-profit Free Software Foundation (FSF) to employ free software programmers and provide a legal infrastructure for the free software community.
In 1985, Stallman invented and popularized the concept of copyleft, a legal mechanism to protect the modification and redistribution rights for free software. It was first implemented in the GNU Emacs General Public License, and in 1989 the first program-independent GNU General Public License was released. By then, much of the GNU system had been completed, with the notable exception of a kernel. Members of the GNU project began a kernel called GNU Hurd in 1990, but a risky design decision proved to be a bad gamble, and development of the Hurd was slow.
By producing software tools needed to write software, and publishing a generalised license that could be applied to any software project (The GPL), Stallman helped make it easier for others to write free software independent of the GNU project. In 1991, one such independent project produced the Linux kernel. This could be combined with existing software, including GNU software to make a complete operating system. Most people use the name Linux to refer to both the Linux kernel and operating systems composed of the Linux kernel and GNU tools, which some view as unfair to GNU, as discussed below.
Stallman places great importance on the words people use to talk about the relationship between software and freedom. In particular, he untiringly asks people to say "free software", "GNU/Linux", and to avoid the term "Intellectual Property". His requests that people use certain terms, and his ongoing efforts to convince people of the importance of terminology, are a source of constant friction with some parts of the free and open source software community.
One of his criteria for giving an interview to a journalist is that the journalist agrees to use certain terminology. Sometimes he even requires journalists to read parts of the GNU philosophy before an interview, for efficiency´s sake.  This style has earned him a reputation of being "high-maintenance" . He also turns down speaking requests over some terminology issues. 
Stallman is prone to being something of a monologuist. He does not take kindly to criticism or interruption.
Stallman accepts terms such as Libre Software, FLOSS, and "unfettered software", but prefers the term "free software" since a lot of energy has been invested in that term. (For similar reasons, he asks people to say "proprietary software", not "closed source software", when referring to software that is not free software.)
The term "free software", however, can mean either "freedom software" or "zero-cost software" or both. Over the years, people have tried to come up with a more intuitive and less ambiguous term. See gratis versus libre and open source software.
Stallman strongly objects to the term "open source" to replace the term "free" since he says it hides the goal of freedom. He declines interviews for stories that would label his work as "open source" because that would misrepresent his views.
Stallman asks people to say "GNU/Linux", when referring to the operating system made by combining the GNU system and the Linux kernel. His reason for this term is that the connection between the GNU project's philosophy and its software is broken when people call the combination "Linux". 
Copyright, patents, and trademarks
Stallman says the term "Intellectual Property" is designed to confuse people. By lumping together areas of law that have little or nothing in common, it is used to prevent intelligent discussion on these specific laws. Also, by referring to these laws as "property" laws, he says that term biases the listener when thinking about how to treat these issues. "These laws originated separately, evolved differently, cover different activities, have different rules, and raise different public policy issues. Copyright law was designed to promote authorship and art, and covers the details of a work of authorship or art. Patent law was intended to encourage publication of ideas, at the price of finite monopolies over these ideas--a price that may be worth paying in some fields and not in others. Trademark law was not intended to promote any business activity, but simply to enable buyers to know what they are buying". 
Not being a lawyer, Stallman does not claim to be an expert on the details of all these various laws.
Lesser terminology issues
- Stallman has recommended the use of other terms such as "software idea patents" instead of the more common "software patents". His reason is that the latter gives the wrong impression that the patent covers an entire piece of software.
- He uses the term "(UFO) Uniform Fee Only", as a replacement for "(RAND) Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory". His reasoning is that a mandatory royalty of any amount discriminates against free software because distributors of free software cannot count the number of copies in existence. This concern is shared by much of the free software and open source communities , but Stallman's term is not widely used.
- He asks people to reject the term "piracy" for the act of copying information because "piracy" has always designated the act of robbery or plundery at sea, the term being misused by today's corporations to lend a greater importance to the act of copying software or other immaterial things.
- He refers to digital audio discs that use Copy Control and other similar technology to prevent copying as "corrupt discs" rather than Compact Disc to emphasize that they break the Red Book and that recent discs are printed without the Compact Disc logo.
- He coined the term Treacherous Computing to refer to what many manufacturers and industry analysts call "Trusted Computing", on the grounds that it limits the freedoms of users.
A list of all the terminology issues he takes a stance on can be found on the "Words to avoid" page on the GNU website.
Since the early-1990s, he has spent most of his time as a political campaigner. The titles of the three speeches he gives most often are "The GNU project and the Free Software movement", "The Dangers of Software Patents", and "Copyright and Community in the age of computer networks". He has given numerous keynote speeches at conferences, including the first Wikimania conference in 2005.
Stallman is characterized by some as being extremely difficult to work with. The XEmacs team, in particular, has catalogued a list of specific complaints about working with RMS that led them to fork off their project.  These complaints include both technical critiques and interpersonal ones, specifically the allegation that Stallman's attitude towards compromise is motivated primarily by politics rather than by the desire to reach the best technical solution. Jamie Zawinski released an archive of email messages detailing the history of the Emacs/XEmacs split.  He discusses specific shortcomings of the Emacs design, but at a high level attributes the problems with Emacs not simply to technology, but to Stallman's perceived inability to work with others. Stallman's own view of the XEmacs split differs considerably, and describes the XEmacs team as being uncooperative. 
Stallman's insistence on using the term "GNU/Linux" to describe Linux-based operating systems is perceived as high-handed by some; Larry McVoy, author of Bitkeeper characterized this as "foolish and greedy".  Linus Torvalds has opined that while GNU/Linux may be an appropriate name for a GNU-based distribution, using that name for Linux in general is "just ridiculous." Others believe that Stallman is trying to coopt the hard work of others to compensate for the failure of the HURD.  RMS's rejoinder to this is that "the GNU Project is the principal developer" of "the system", and that other elements of the system (including the kernel) are "secondary contributions."  Still others point out that the demand to prepend the "GNU" name onto Linux gives short shrift to other software projects, such as the X Window System, that are arguably just as important as GNU.   Stallman responds that this is illogical, as X11 gets no less credit from the name "GNU/Linux" than it gets from "Linux" alone. 
- An aficionado of a wide range of music from Conlon Nancarrow to folk, Stallman is the author of the filky Free Software Song. He has performed renaissance music and Balinese gamelan music, as well as international folk dance. He plays the recorder.
- Stallman is a science fiction fan and occasionally goes to conventions.
- Stallman gave POSIX its name.
- In 1977, Stallman published an AI truth maintenance system called dependency-directed backtracking. The paper was co-authored by Gerald Jay Sussman. He jokes that "This is how the computer can avoid exploding when you ask it a self-contradictory question." 
- When asked who his influences are, he has remarked that he admires Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ralph Nader, and Dennis Kucinich. He has also commented: "I admire Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, even though I criticize some of the things that they did."
- Stallman has never learned Java. Nearly all of his work is in C and Lisp programming languages.
- Stallman did not participate in the counterculture of the 60s, but found its rejection of wealth as the main goal of life inspiring.
- Stallman initially named the GNU HURD kernel "Alix" after his then-girlfriend, who managed a Unix computer facility and had told her friends "They ought to name a kernel after me."
- Stallman speaks fluent English and French, moderately fluent Spanish, and flawed Indonesian. He has studied Latin, Chinese, Hungarian, and Navajo, but did not reach the point of being able to speak them. He feels he has mastered a language when he can make puns in it. 
- In 2004, having been asked, he endorsed Hugo Chavez, recommending people to vote No in the Venezuelan recall referendum, 2004
- The movie documentary Revolution OS features interviews with Stallman.
- He has been the subject, or some would say the instigator, of a number of widely-publicized flamewars. Although occasionally for technical reasons (Tcl vs. Scheme), most of these flamewars have revolved around the use of non-free software.
- Stallman founded the League for Programming Freedom in 1989 to fight software patents and interface copyright. The League never gained the momentum Stallman hoped for, and has become dormant.
- In 1999, Stallman called for development of a free on-line encyclopedia through the means of inviting the public to contribute articles. 
- Stallman cannot swim.
- Stallman is on the Advisory Council of teleSUR, a Latin American TV station
- Linus Torvalds said: “Think of Richard Stallman as the great philosopher and think of me as the engineer.” 
- Stallman notably produced the Emacs editor; its popularity rivaled that of another editor vi, spawning the editor wars; Stallman's humourous take on this was to saint himself "St. Ignucius" / "St. IGNUcius" (of the Church of Emacs).  
Stallman has received numerous prizes and awards for his work, amongst them:
- 1990: MacArthur Fellowship
- 1991: The Association for Computing Machinery's Grace Murray Hopper Award "For pioneering work in the development of ... EMACS"
- 1996: Honorary doctorate from Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology
- 1998: Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer award
- 1999: Yuri Rubinsky Memorial Award
- 2001: Second honorary doctorate, from the University of Glasgow
- 2001: The Takeda Techno-Entrepreneurship Award for Social/Economic Well-Being (武田研究奨励賞)
- 2002: National Academy of Engineering membership
- 2003: Third honorary doctorate, from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
- 2004: Fourth honorary doctorate, from the Universidad Nacional de Salta. 
- 2004: Honorary professorship, from the Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería del Perú.
Links and references
Publications by Richard Stallman
- Stallman, Richard M. & Sussman, Gerald J. (November 1975). Heuristic Techniques in Computer-Aided Circuit Analysis, published in IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems, Vol. CAS-22 (11)
- Stallman, Richard M. & Sussman, Gerald J. (1977). Forward Reasoning and Dependency-Directed Backtracking In a System for Computer-Aided Circuit analysis, published in Artificial Intelligence 9 pp.135-196
- Stallman, Richard M. (1981). EMACS: The Extensible, Customizable, Self-Documenting Display Editor. Cambridge Massachusetts: MIT. MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory publication AIM-519A. PDF HTML
- Stallman, Richard M. (2002). GNU Emacs Manual: Fifteenth edition for GNU Emacs Version 21. Cambridge, Massachusetts: GNU Press. ISBN 188211485X.
- Stallman, Richard M. (2002). Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman. Cambridge, Massachusetts: GNU Press. ISBN 1882114981. (Also available online in various formats, e.g. PDF .)
- Stallman et al (2004). GNU Make: A Program for Directed Compilation. Cambridge, Massachusetts: GNU Press. ISBN 1882114833.
- Williams, Sam (2002): Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software, O'Reilly Press. ISBN 0596002874. Also available over the web under the GFDL .)
- Gay, Joshua (ed) (2002): Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman. Boston: GNU Press. ISBN 1882114981. Also available over the web: .)
- Christian Imhorst, Anarchy and Source Code - What does the Free Software Movement have to do with Anarchism?, 2005 - http://imhorst.com/en/anarchy_and_sourcecode.html
- stallman.org - Richard Stallman's personal homepage.
- His weblog
- Free Unix! - The original GNU announcement
- GNU philosophy pages - Contains around 50 essays, mostly written by RMS.
- Prince Kropotkin of Software Chapter 3 of the open ebook Portraits of Open Source Pioneers
- The GNU Philosophy Audio pages - Ogg Vorbis recordings of 15 speeches by RMS, plus one video.
- RMS lecture at KTH - at the Royal Institute of Technology (1986).
- Stallman Lecture in Lund, Sweden February 11, 2000
- Richard Stallman speaks - at the World Summit on the Information Society (2003).
- April 2004, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France (Ogg/Theora video)
- Nov 2004, University of Ulm, Germany: Software patents (audio and video, different formats)
- May 2005, University of Calgary, Canada: Software patents (audio and video, different formats)
- "Alternative Freedom" Documentary featuring Richard Stallman
- BYTE Interview with Richard Stallman - conducted by the now-defunct Byte magazine, at the beginning of the GNU project (July 1986).
- Richard Stallman: High School Misfit, Symbol of Free Software, MacArthur-Certified Genius (1999).
- Developer Spotlight: Richard Stallman (July 2004).
- Freedom, Innovation, and Convenience: The RMS Interview (December 2004).
- Kerneltrap.org Interview: Richard Stallman (January 2005).
- Interview with RMS in EuroHacker Magazine.
- Interview with RMS from Non-Tech City.
- Audio Interview with Richard Stallman by RadioTux and ORF at the WIKIMANIA 2005ar:ريتشارد ستالمن
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