“Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman and the free software revolution” is a captivating book that delves into the life and philosophy of Richard Stallman, a legendary figure in the world of computing. Written by Sam Williams, this book traces Stallman’s journey from a young computer enthusiast to the founder of the free software movement, which has had a profound impact on the way we use technology today.
At the heart of this movement is the idea that software should be free for everyone to use, modify and distribute. Stallman, who was a programmer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1970s, became disillusioned with the way software companies were locking users into proprietary systems, limiting their ability to customize or share software. He believed that this was a violation of users’ rights, and that software should be treated as a public good, freely available for everyone to use and improve.
Stallman’s vision led him to create the GNU operating system, a free and open-source alternative to proprietary systems like Microsoft Windows. This was followed by the creation of the Free Software Foundation, which advocates for the use and development of free software. Through his tireless activism and advocacy, Stallman has inspired countless programmers and users around the world to embrace the free software philosophy.
“Free as in Freedom” tells the story of Stallman’s life and work, from his early days at MIT to his current role as a leader of the free software movement. Along the way, the book explores the philosophical and technical underpinnings of the movement, including the concept of copyleft, which allows users to modify and distribute software while preserving the original author’s rights. The book also profiles some of the key figures in the free software movement, including Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux operating system, and Eric S. Raymond, a prominent advocate for open-source software.
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of computing and the impact of technology on society. It is a powerful reminder of the importance of freedom in the digital age, and a testament to the vision and determination of one of the most influential figures in the world of technology. Whether you are a programmer, a user, or simply a curious reader, “Free as in Freedom” is sure to inspire and enlighten you.