Happy Belated 25th Birthday GNU!

Freedom Fry — “Happy birthday to GNU”
Mr. Stephen Fry introduces you to free software, and reminds you of a very special birthday.

Sorry I’m a little late on this one. On September 2nd GNU celebrated its 25th year of existence. As an advocate for software freedom, the promotion of the free GNU/Linux operating system, and the catalyst to the whole Open Source software movement, the GNU Project deserves some time in the spotlight on their birthday for their contribution to the technological landscape it helped shape, to this day protects (with a variety of GPLs), and all the applications/programs created under their philosophy that we all benefit from in our everyday lives (mostly without even knowing it).

What is Free Software?

“Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.

Free software is a matter of the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Related links: GNU.org [history], FSF.org, gNewSense, The 4 Freedoms, Free Software Directory

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