I have seen quite often when someone talks about Linux/Free Software he/she usually gives all credit to Linus Torvalds. Many people think that Linus started the free software campaign. However the truth is Linus only wrote one piece of the free software, the operating system kernel. The person who deserves most of the credit is Richard Stallman, he is the person who started the campaign of free software. Richard Stallman started the movement of free software way ahead of Linus, the movement focused on freedom to study the software, change it as user likes, and redistribute the software. Richard Stallman is the “lead user” in the movement of free software, he started writing and asking other people to write the free operating system. By the time Linus started writing the Linux Kernel, Richard Stallman had developed all important pieces of the puzzle except one, the Kernel, which Linus wrote and freed in 1992. Later the free kernel Linus wrote combined with GNU software system came emerged as an operating system as we know it today Linux (Richard Stallman says it is GNU/Linux not Linux, and I totally agree).

The Linux as we know it today

For more details please watch

OR read

https://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu.html

 

Another concept that we often confuse is that free software means without price, however free software really refers to freedom just like “freedom of speech”. And freedom of software means that users are able to run the program, study it, change it and redistribute it with or without charges.

For more details please read https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

Takeaway Points:

  1. Richard Stallman at least deserves same amount of applause as Linus Torvalds does.
  2. Free Software does not refer to price of the software, it refers to freedom of using it.

 

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One Thought on “Who deserves credit for -GNU/Linux- the Free Software and what Free Software means

  1. Sharbel Dahlan on November 25, 2015 at 5:23 pm said:

    You see “gratis” in Swedish ads referring to things with “zero price”. So this will definitely help in remembering what “free” software actually means.

    Thank you Waseem for sharing this! Nice presentation by Richard Stallman. Interesting how terms like “Jail-break” are used to figuratively indicate that software like Apple’s are a jail. Keep them coming!

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