1. For more on the term “hacker,” see Appendix A - Hack, Hackers, and Hacking.
2. Actually, the GPL's powers are not quite that potent: just putting your code in the same computer with a GPL-covered program does not put your code under the GPL. “To compare something to a virus is very harsh,” says Stallman. “A spider plant is a more accurate comparison; it goes to another place if you actively take a cutting.” For more information on the GNU General Public License,
3. Although these applications run on GNU/Linux, it does not follow that they are themselves free software. On the contrary, most of them applications are proprietary software, and respect your freedom no more than Windows does. They may contribute to the success of GNU/Linux, but they don't contribute to the goal of freedom for which it exists.
5. Killer apps don't have to be proprietary. Still, I think the reader gets the point: the software marketplace is like the lottery. The bigger the potential pay-off, the more people want to participate. For a good summary of the killer-app phenomenon, see Philip Ben-David, “Whatever Happened to the 'Killer App'?”, e-Commerce News (December 7, 2000),
6. See Craig Mundie, “The Commercial Software Model,” senior vice president, Microsoft Corp., excerpted from an online transcript of Mundie's May 3, 2001, speech to the New York University Stern School of Business,
9. The acronym GNU stands for “GNU's not Unix.” In another portion of the May 29, 2001, NYU speech, Stallman summed up the acronym's origin:
We hackers always look for a funny or naughty name for a program, because naming a program is half the fun of writing the program. We also had a tradition of recursive acronyms, to say that the program that you're writing is similar to some existing program... I looked for a recursive acronym for Something Is Not UNIX. And I tried all 26 letters and discovered that none of them was a word. I decided to make it a contraction. That way I could have a three-letter acronym, for Something's Not UNIX. And I tried letters, and I came across the word “GNU.” That was it.
Although a fan of puns, Stallman recommends that software users pronounce the “g” at the beginning of the acronym (i.e., “gah-new”).Not only does this avoid confusion with the word “gnu,” the name of the African antelope, Connochaetes gnou, it also avoids confusion with the adjective “new.” “We've been working on it for 17 years now, so it is not exactly new any more,” Stallman says.
Source: author notes and online transcript of “Free Software: Freedom and Cooperation,” Richard Stallman's May 29, 2001, speech at New York University,
10. One of the major background sources for this chapter was the interview ”Richard Stallman: High School Misfit, Symbol of Free Software, MacArthur-Certified Genius“ by Michael Gross, author of the 1999 book Talking About My Generation , a collection of interviews with notable personalities from the so-called ”Baby Boom" generation. Although Stallman did not make it into the book, Gross published the interview as an online supplement to the book's web site. The URL for the interview has changed several times since I first came across it. According to various readers who have gone searching for it, you can now find the interview at
11. RMS: I don't remember telling her this. All I can say is I strongly disagree with those views now. When I was in my teens, I lacked compassion for the difficulties most people encounter in life; my problems were different. I did not appreciate how the wealthy will reduce most people to poverty unless we organize at all levels to stop them. I did not understand how hard it is for most people to resist social pressure to do foolish things, such as spend all their money instead of saving, since I hardly even noticed the pressure myself. In addition, unions in the 60s, when they were very powerful, were sometimes arrogant or corrupt. But they are much weaker today, and the result is that economic growth, when it occurs, benefits mainly the rich.
13. See Judy Steed, Toronto Star, BUSINESS, (October 9, 2000): C03. His vision of free software and social cooperation stands in stark contrast to the isolated nature of his private life. A Glenn Gould-like eccentric, the Canadian pianist was similarly brilliant, articulate, and lonely. Stallman considers himself afflicted, to some degree, by autism: a condition that, he says, makes it difficult for him to interact with people.
14. See Steve Silberman, “The Geek Syndrome,” Wired (December, 2001),
15. See John Ratey and Catherine Johnson, “Shadow Syndromes.”
16. Regrettably, I did not get a chance to interview Daniel Stallman for this book. During the early research for this book, Stallman informed me that his father suffered from Alzheimer's. When I resumed research in late 2001, I learned, sadly, that Daniel Stallman had died earlier in the year.
17. Stallman, an atheist, would probably quibble with this description. Suffice it to say, it was something Stallman welcomed. See Gross (1999): “As soon as I heard about computers, I wanted to see one and play with one.”
18. See Michael Gross, “Richard Stallman: High School Misfit, Symbol of Free Software, Mac Arthur-certified Genius” (1999).
19. Carmine DeSapio holds the dubious distinction of being the first Italian-American boss of Tammany Hall, the New York City political machine. For more information on DeSapio and the politics of post-war New York, see John Davenport, “Skinning the Tiger: Carmine DeSapio and the End of the Tammany Era,” New York Affairs (1975): 3:1.
20. Chess, another Columbia Science Honors Program alum, describes the protests as “background noise.” “We were all political,” he says, “but the SHP was important. We would never have skipped it for a demonstration.”
21. Stallman doubts this, however. “One of the reasons I moved from math and physics to programming is that I never learned how to discover anything new in the former two. I only learned to study what others had done. In programming, I could do something useful every day.”
22. See Steven Levy, Hackers (Penguin USA [paperback], 1984): 144. Levy devotes about five pages to describing Gosper's fascination with LIFE, a math-based software game first created by British mathematician John Conway. I heartily recommend this book as a supplement, perhaps even a prerequisite, to this one.
23. Gerald Sussman, an MIT faculty member and hacker whose work at the AI Lab predates Stallman's, disputes this story. According to Sussman, the hackers never broke any doors to retrieve terminals.
25. I apologize for the whirlwind summary of ITS' genesis, an operating system many hackers still regard as the epitome of the hacker ethos. For more information on the program's political significance, see Simson Garfinkel, Architects of the Information Society: Thirty-Five Years of the Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT (MIT Press, 1999).
27. In an email shortly after this book went into its final edit cycle, Stallman says he drew political inspiration from the Harvard campus as well. “In my first year of Harvard, in a Chinese History class, I read the story of the first revolt against the Qin dynasty,” he says. (That's the one whose cruel founder burnt all the books and was buried with the terra cotta warriors.) “The story is not reliable history, but it was very moving.”
28. See Richard Stallman (1986).
29. See Steven Levy, Hackers (Penguin USA [paperback], 1984): 417.
30. See Andrew Leonard, “The Saint of Free Software,” Salon.com (August 1998),
31. See Leander Kahney, “Linux's Forgotten Man,” Wired News (March 5, 1999),
32. See “Programmer on moral high ground; Free software is a moral issue for Richard Stallman believes in freedom and free software,” London Guardian (November 6, 1999),
These are just a small sampling of the religious comparisons. To date, the most extreme comparison has to go to Linus Torvalds, who, in his autobiography - see Linus Torvalds and David Diamond, Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary (HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2001): 58 - writes, “Richard Stallman is the God of Free Software.” Honorable mention goes to Larry Lessig, who, in a footnote description of Stallman in his book - see Larry Lessig, The Future of Ideas (Random House, 2001): 270 - likens Stallman to Moses:...
as with Moses, it was another leader, Linus Torvalds, who finally carried the movement into the promised land by facilitating the development of the final part of the OS puzzle. Like Moses, too, Stallman is both respected and reviled by allies within the movement. He is[an] unforgiving, and hence for many inspiring, leader of a critically important aspect of modern culture. I have deep respect for the principle and commitment of this extraordinary individual, though I also have great respect for those who are courageous enough to question his thinking and then sustain his wrath.
In a final interview with Stallman, I asked him his thoughts about the religious comparisons. “Some people do compare me with an Old Testament prophet, and the reason is Old Testament prophets said certain social practices were wrong. They wouldn't compromise on moral issues. They couldn't be bought off, and they were usually treated with contempt.”
33. See Leander Kahney (1999).
34. At the time, I thought Stallman was referring to the flower's scientific name. Months later, I would learn that rhino phytophilia was in fact a humorous reference to the activity - i.e., Stallman's sticking his nose into a flower and enjoying the moment - presenting it as the kinky practice of nasal sex with plants. For another humorous Stallman flower incident,
37. See Mae Ling Mak, “A Mae Ling Story” (December 17, 1998),
http://crackmonkey.org/pipermail/crackmonkey/1998-December/001777.html. So far, Mak is the only person I've found willing to speak on the record in regard to this practice, although I've heard this from a few other female sources. Mak, despite expressing initial revulsion at it, later managed to put aside her misgivings and dance with Stallman at a 1999 LinuxWorld show.
38. See Annalee Newitz, “If Code is Free Why Not Me?”, Salon.com (May 26,2000),
39. See Richard Stallman, “The GNU Operating System and the Free Software Movement,” Open Sources (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1999): 65. [RMS: Williams interpreted this vignette as suggesting that I am a hopeless romantic, and that my efforts were meant to impress some as-yet-unidentified woman. No MIT hacker would believe this, since we learned quite young that most women wouldn't notice us, let alone love us, for our programming. We programmed because it was fascinating. Meanwhile, these events were only possible because I had a thoroughly identified girlfriend at the time. If I was a romantic, at the time I was neither a hopeless romantic nor a hopeful romantic, but rather temporarily a successful one. On the strength of that naive interpretation, Williams went on to compare meto Don Quijote. For completeness' sake, here's a somewhat inarticulate quote from the first edition: “I wasn't really trying to be romantic. It was more of a teasing thing. I mean, it was romantic, but it was also teasing, you know? It would have been a delightful surprise.”]
41. RMS: Williams was mistaken to call this bill “counterfeit.” It is legal tender, worth zero dollars for payment of any debt. Any U.S. government office will convert it into zero dollars' worth of gold.
42. See Josh McHugh, “For the Love of Hacking,” Forbes (August 10, 1998),
43. See Stallman (1986).
44. See Joseph Weizenbaum, Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation (W. H. Freeman, 1976): 116.
46. See Richard Stallman, “EMACS: The Extensible, Customizable, Display Editor,” AI Lab Memo (1979). An updated HTML version of this memo, from which I am quoting, is available at
47. See Richard Stallman, ”Emacs the Full Screen Editor" (1987),
52. See Stallman (1979): #SEC34.
53. In a 1996 interview with online magazine MEME , Stallman cited Scribe's sale as irksome, but declined to mention Reid by name. “The problem was nobody censured or punished this student for what he did,” Stallman said. “The result was other people got tempted to follow his example.” See MEME 2.04,
54. See Steven Levy, Hackers (Penguin USA [paperback], 1984): 419.
56. In writing this chapter, I've elected to focus more on the social significance of Emacs than the software significance. To read more about the software side, I recommend Stallman's 1979 memo. I particularly recommend the section titled “Research Through Development of Installed Tools” (#SEC27). Not only is it accessible to the nontechnical reader, it also sheds light on how closely inter-twined Stallman's political philosophies are with his software-design philosophies. A sample excerpt follows:EMACS could not have been reached by a process of careful design, because such processes arrive only at goals which are visible at the outset, and whose desirability is established on the bottom line at the outset. Neither I nor anyone else visualized an extensible editor until I had made one, nor appreciated its value until he had experienced it. EMACS exists because I felt free to make individually useful small improvements on a path whose end was not in sight.
57. See Richard Stallman, “Initial GNU Announcement” (September 1983).
60. See Marshall Kirk McKusick, “Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix,” Open Sources (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1999): 38.
61. See Richard Stallman (1986).
65. See Richard Stallman (1986).
66. See “MIT AI Lab Tourist Policy,”
67. See Richard Stallman (1986).
69. See Steve Levy, Hackers, page 423.
70. The Brain Makers by H. P. Newquist says inaccurately that the AI Lab told Stallman to stay away from the Lisp Machine project.
71. Steven Levy in Hackers had this period in mind when he described Stallman as the “last of the true hackers,” but his intended meaning was not what you might think. Levy used the term “true hackers” to distinguish the MIT hacker community from two other hacker communities described later in the book, to which he gave other names. When this community had dissolved, leaving only Stallman, he therefore became the last of the “true hackers.” Levy did not mean that nobody else was truly a hacker, but people tend to interpret his words that way, especially those who see them without reading the explanations in Levy's book. Stallman has never described himself using those words of Levy's.
72. See Steven Levy, Hackers (Penguin USA [paperback], 1984): 426
73. See Bill Gates, “An Open Letter to Hobbyists” (February 3, 1976). To view an online copy of this letter,
go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Letter_to_Hobbyists.
74. See http://www.gnu.org/gnu/the-gnu-project.html. Stallman adds his own footnote to this statement, writing, "As an Atheist, I don't follow any religious leaders, but I sometimes find I admire something one of them has said.
75. See Richard Stallman, “The GNU Operating System and the Free Software Movement,” Open Sources (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1999): 65.
76. See Richard Stallman (1986).
78. RMS: The idea that skin can be “sun-starved” or that paleness is “unhealthy”is dangerous misinformation; staying out of the sun can't hurt you as long as you have enough Vitamin D. What damages the skin, and can even kill you, is excessive exposure to sunlight.
80. See Evan Leibovitch, “Who's Afraid of Big Bad Wolves,” ZDNet Tech Update (December 15, 2000),
81. For narrative purposes, I have hesitated to go in-depth when describing Stallman's full definition of software “freedom.” The GNU Project web site lists four fundamental components:
_* The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
_* The freedom to study the program's source code, and change it so that the program does what you wish (freedom 1).
_* The freedom to redistribute copies of the program so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
_* The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions, so that the whole community can benefit from them (freedom 3). For more information, please visit “The Free Software Definition” at
82. See Eric Raymond, “Shut Up and Show Them the Code,” online essay, (June28, 1999),
85. RMS: Williams misinterprets Groucho's famous remark by treating it as psychological. It was intended as a jab at the overt antisemitism of many clubs, which was why they would refuse him as a member. I did not understand this either until my mother explained it to me. Williams and I grew up when bigotry had gone underground, and there was no need to veil criticism of bigotry in humor as Groucho did.
86. The service of the Church of Emacs has developed further since 2001. Users can now join the Church by reciting the Confession of the Faith: “There is no system but GNU, and Linux is one of its kernels.” Stallman sometimes mentions the religious ceremony known as the Foobar Mitzvah, the Great Schism between various rival versions of Emacs, and the cult of the Virgin of Emacs (which refers to any person that has not yet learned to use Emacs). In addition, “vi vi vi” has been identified as the Editor of the Beast.
87. See Hal Abelson, Mike Fischer, and Joanne Costello, “Software and Copyright Law,” updated version (1997),
88. See Trn Kit README,
89. See John Gilmore, quoted from email to author.
90. See Richard Stallman, et al., “GNU General Public License: Version 1,”(February, 1989),
91. See David Betz and Jon Edwards, “Richard Stallman discusses his public-domain [ sic ] Unix-compatible software system with BYTE editors,” BYTE (July, 1986). (Reprinted on the GNU Project web site:
This interview offers an interesting, not to mention candid, glimpse at Stallman's political attitudes during the earliest days of the GNU Project. It is also helpful in tracing the evolution of Stallman's rhetoric.
Describing the purpose of the GPL, Stallman says, “I'm trying to change the way people approach knowledge and information in general. I think that to try to own knowledge, to try to control whether people are allowed to use it, or to try to stop other people from sharing it, is sabotage.”
Contrast this with a statement to the author in August 2000: “I urge you not to use the term 'intellectual property' in your thinking. It will lead you to misunderstand things, because that term generalizes about copyrights, patents, and trademarks. And those things are so different in their effects that it is entirely foolish to try to talk about them at once. If you hear somebody saying something' about intellectual property,' without [putting it in] quotes, then he's not thinking very clearly and you shouldn't join.”
[RMS: The contrast it shows is that I've learned to be more cautious in generalizing. I probably wouldn't talk about “owning knowledge” today, since it's a very broad concept. But “owning knowledge” is not the same generalization as “intellectual property,” and the difference between those three laws is crucial to understanding any legal issue about owning knowledge. Patents are direct monopolies over using specific knowledge; that really is one form of “owning knowledge.” Copyrights are one of the methods used to stop the sharing of works that embody or explain knowledge, which is a very different thing. Meanwhile, trademarks have very little to do with the subject of knowledge.]
92. The University of California's “obnoxious advertising clause” would later prove to be a problem. Looking for a permissive alternative to the GPL, some hackers used the original BSD license, replacing “University of California” with their own names or the names of their institutions. The result: free software systems using many of these programs would have to cite dozens of names in advertisements. In 1999, after a few years of lobbying on Stallman's part, the University of California agreed to drop this clause. See “The BSD License Problem” at
93. See Michael Tiemann, “Future of Cygnus Solutions: An Entrepreneur's Account,” Open Sources (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1999): 139,
94. See Richard Stallman, BYTE (1986).
96. According to a League for Programming Freedom press release at
http://progfree.org/Links/prep.ai.mit.edu/demo.final.release, the protests were no-table for featuring the first hexadecimal protest chant:
1-2-3-4, toss the lawyers out the door
5-6-7-8, innovate don't litigate
9-A-B-C, 1-2-3 is not for me
D-E-F-O, look and feel have got to go
98. See Michael Gross, “Richard Stallman: High School Misfit, Symbol of Free Software, Mac Arthur-certified Genius” (1999).
99. See Linus Torvalds and David Diamond, Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary (Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 2001): 58-59. Although presumably accurate in regard to Torvalds' life, what the book says about Stallman is sometimes wrong. For instance, it says that Stallman “wants to make everything open source,” and that he “complains about other people not using the GPL.” In fact, Stallman advocates free software, not open source. He urges authors to choose the GNU GPL, in most circumstances, but says that all free software licenses are ethical.
100. It was non-free in 1991. Minix is free software now.
101. Tanenbaum describes Minix as an “operating system” in his book, Operating System Design and Implementation , but what the book discusses is only the part of the system that corresponds to the kernel of Unix. There are two customary usages of the term “operating system,” and one of them is what is called the “kernel” in Unix terminology. But that's not the only terminological complication in the subject. That part of Minix consists of a microkernel plus servers that run on it, a design of the same kind as the GNU Hurd plus Mach. The microkernel plus servers are comparable to the kernel of Unix. But when that book says “the kernel,” it refers to the microkernel only. See Andrew Tanenbaum, Operating System Design and Implementation , 1987.
102. See Linus Torvalds and David Diamond, Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary (Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 2001): 78.
103. POSIX was subsequently extended to include specifications for many command-line features, but that did not exist in 1991.
104. Ibid, p. 85.
105. Ibid, p. 94-95.
106. Ibid, p. 95-97.
107. See Linus Torvalds and David Diamond, Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary (Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 2001): 94-95.
109. See Linus Torvalds and David Diamond, Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary (Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 2001): 59.
110. Torvalds has offered this quote in many different settings. To date, however, the quote's most notable appearance is in the Eric Raymond essay, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” (May, 1997),
111. See Simson Garfinkel, “Is Stallman Stalled?” Wired (March, 1993).
112. Chassell's concern about there being a 36-month “window” for a new operating system is not unique to the GNU Project. During the early 1990s, free software versions of the Berkeley Software Distribution were held up by Unix System Laboratories' lawsuit restricting the release of BSD-derived software. While many users consider BSD offshoots such as FreeBSD and OpenBSD to be demonstrably superior to GNU/Linux both in terms of performance and security, the number of FreeBSD and OpenBSD users remains a fraction of the total GNU/Linux user population. To view a sample analysis of the relative success of GNU/Linux in relation to other free software operating systems, see the essay by New Zealand hacker, Liam Greenwood, “Why is Linux Successful” (1999),
113. See Maui High Performance Computing Center Speech. In subsequent emails, I asked Stallman what exactly he meant by the term “timing bugs.” Stallman said “timing errors” was a better way to summarize the problem and offered an elucidating technical information of how a timing error can hamper an operating system's performance:
“Timing errors” occur in an asynchronous system where jobs done in parallel can theoretically occur in any order, and one particular order leads to problems.
Imagine that program A does X, and program B does Y, where both X and Y are short routines that examine and update the same data structure. Nearly always the computer will do X before Y, or do Y before X, and then there will be no problem. On rare occasions, by chance, the scheduler will let program A run until it is in the middle of X, and then run B which will do Y. Thus, Y will be done while Xis half-done. Since they are updating the same data structure, they will interfere. For instance, perhaps X has already examined the data structure, and it won't notice that there was a change. There will be an unreproducible failure, unreproducible because it depends on chance factors (when the scheduler decides to run which program and how long).
The way to prevent such a failure is to use a lock to make sure X and Y can't run at the same time. Programmers writing asynchronous systems know about the general need for locks, but sometimes they overlook the need for a lock in a specific place or on a specific data structure. Then the program has a timing error.
114. GNU/Linux user-population numbers are sketchy at best, which is why I've provided such a broad range. The 100,000 total comes from the Red Hat “Milestones” site,
115. I wrote this Winston Churchill analogy before Stallman himself sent me his own unsolicited comment on Churchill:
World War II and the determination needed to win it was a very strong memory as I was growing up. Statements such as Churchill's, “We will fight them in the landing zones, we will fight them on the beaches... we will never surrender,” have always resonated for me.
116. See Ian Murdock, A Brief History of Debian, (January 6, 1994): Appendix A, “The Debian Manifesto,”
117. Jamie Zawinski, a former Lucid programmer who would go on to head the Mozilla development team, has a web site that documents the Lucid/GNU Emacs fork, titled, “The Lemacs/FSFmacs Schism.”, at
http://www.jwz.org/doc/lemacs.html. Stallman's response to those accusations is in
118. Debian Buzz in June 1996 contained non-free Netscape 3.01 in its Contrib section.
119. Young uses the term ”public domain“ loosely here. Strictly speaking, it means ”not copyrighted.“ Code released under the GNU GPL cannot be in the public domain, since it must be copyrighted in order for the GNU GPL to apply.
120. This quote is taken from the much publicized Torvalds-Tanenbaum “flame war” following the initial release of Linux. In the process of defending his choice of a non-portable monolithic kernel design, Torvalds says he started working on Linux as a way to learn more about his new 386 PC. “If the GNU kernel had been ready last spring, I'd not have bothered to even start my project.” See Chris DiBona et al., Open Sources (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1999): 224.
121. See Peter Salus, “FYI-Conference on Freely Redistributable Software, 2/2, Cambridge” (1995) (archived by Terry Winograd),
122. Although Linus Torvalds is Finnish, his mother tongue is Swedish. “The Rampantly Unofficial Linus FAQ” at
http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/linus/ offers a brief explanation:Finland has a significant (about 6%) Swedish-speaking minority population. They call themselves finlands svensk or finlands svenskar and consider themselves Finns; many of their families have lived in Finland for centuries. Swedish is one of Finland's two official languages.
123. Brooks' Law is the shorthand summary of the following quote taken from Brooks' book:Since software construction is inherently a systems effort - an exercise in complex interrelationships - communication effort is great, and it quickly dominates the decrease in individual task time brought about by partitioning. Adding more men then lengthens, not shortens, the schedule. See Fred P. Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month (Addison Wesley Publishing, 1995).
124. See Eric Raymond, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” (1997).
125. See Malcolm Maclachlan, “Profit Motive Splits Open Source Movement,” Tech-Web News (August 26, 1998),
128. See Amy Harmon, “For Sale: Free Operating System,” New York Times (September 28, 1998),
129. See John Markoff, “Apple Adopts 'Open Source' for its Server Computers,” New York Times (March 17, 1999),
130. See Steven Levy, Hackers (Penguin USA [paperback], 1984): 40.
131. Sun was compelled by a trademark complaint to use the clumsy name “OpenOffice.org.”
132. Marco Boerries, interview with author (July, 2000).
133. For more information on Zimmerman's legal travails, read Steven Levy's Crypto, p. 287-288. In the original book version of Free as in Freedom, I reported that Moglen helped defend Zimmerman against the National Security Agency. According to Levy's account, Zimmerman was investigated by the U.S. Attorney's office and U.S. Customs, not the NSA.
134. RMS: Sam Williams' further words here, “In fashioning the free software cause not not as a mass movement but as a collection of private battles against the forces of proprietary temptation,” do not fit the facts. Ever since the first announcement of the GNU Project, I have asked the public to support the cause. The free software movement aims to be a mass movement, and the only question is whether it has enough supporters to qualify as “mass.” As of 2009, the Free Software Foundation has some 3000 members that pay the hefty dues, and over 20,000 subscribers to its monthly e-mail newsletter.
135. RMS: I never refuse to let people treat me to a meal, since my pride is not based on picking up the check. But I surely did have the money to pay for lunch. My income, which comes from around half the speeches I give, is much less than a law professor's salary, but I'm not poor.
136. See “Freedom - Or Copyright?” (May, 2000),
137. RMS: Williams wrote “commercial” here, but that is a misnomer, since it means “connected with business.” All these versions would be commercial if a company published them.
138. See “Safari Tech Books Online; Subscriber Agreement: Terms of Service”
http://my.safaribooksonline.com/termsofservice. As of December, 2009, the see-books require non-free reader software, so people should refuse to use them.
142. Anybody willing to “port” this book over to Udanax, the free software version of Xanadu, will receive enthusiastic support from me. To find out more about this intriguing technology,
143. Alas, I didn't find out about the Takeda Foundation's decision to award Stallman, along with Linus Torvalds and Ken Sakamura, with its first-ever award for“Techno-Entrepreneurial Achievement for Social/Economic Well-Being” until after Stallman had made the trip to Japan to accept the award. For more information about the award and its accompanying $1 million prize, visit the Takeda site,
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