"...GNU is not in the public domain. Everyone will be permitted to modify and redistribute GNU, but no distributor will be allowed to restrict its further redistribution. That is to say, proprietary modifications will not be allowed. I want to make sure that all versions of GNU remain free..."

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can.axis's picture
Created by can.axis 7 years 34 weeks ago – Made popular 7 years 34 weeks ago
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charlesgoodwin's picture


7 years 34 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago


This was written in the 80s

With only minor updates since it's original drafting, this manifesto displays what a true visionary Richard Stallman is. For all his critics and eccentric behaviour, this man changed the face of computing as we know it and Linux etc would not have existed in it's current form without him.

motters's picture


7 years 34 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago


What if?

It's interesting to speculate what might have happened to the Linux kernel if Stallman had never started GNU and had taken the path of least resistance, remaining at MIT using proprietary UNIX operating systems. Maybe it wouldn't have gone further than Torvald's desk, or perhaps it would have been bought by IBM and become just another proprietary OS. Perhaps someone should write a speculative alternative history of GNU/Linux.

It's remarkable how well Stallman's vision has withstood the test of time.

amazingkip's picture


7 years 34 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago



I do think the desire for open source software is so strong, and has been so, that there would have been something else, if not GNU/Linux. Even within Linux, the demand for alternative distributions continues to escalate; people will never be satisfied with just the proprietary software or the set of distributed software that exists.