Free Software Foundation


(FSF) An organisation devoted to the creation and dissemination of free software, i.e. software that is free from licensing fees or restrictions on use. The Foundation's main work is supporting the GNU project, started by Richard Stallman (RMS), partly to proselytise for his position that information is community property and all software source should be shared.

The GNU project has developed the GNU Emacs editor and a C compiler, gcc, replacements for many Unix utilities and many other tools. A complete Unix-like operating system (HURD) is in the works (April 1994).

Software is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, which also provides a good summary of the Foundation's goals and principles. The Free Software Foundation raises most of its funds from distributing its software, although it is a charity rather than a company. Although the software is freely available (e.g. by FTP - see below) users are encouraged to support the work of the FSF by paying for their distribution service or by making donations.

One of the slogans of the FSF is "Help stamp out software hoarding!" This remains controversial because authors want to own, assign and sell the results of their labour. However, many hackers who disagree with RMS have nevertheless cooperated to produce large amounts of high-quality software for free redistribution under the Free Software Foundation's imprimatur.

See copyleft, General Public Virus, GNU archive site.


Unofficial WWW pages: PDX, DeLorie.

E-mail: <[email protected]>.

Address: Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Telephone: +1 (617) 876 3296.

Last updated: 1995-12-10

Nearby terms:

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