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The Free Software Foundation

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The Free Software Foundation was started by Richard Stallman (creator of the popular GNU Emacs editor). It is dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistributing, and modifying software.

The word "free" in their name does not refer to price; it refers to freedom. First, the freedom to copy a program and redistribute it to your neighbors, so that they can use it as well as you. Second, the freedom to change a program, so that you can control it instead of it controlling you; for this, the source code must be made available to you.

The Foundation works to provide these freedoms by developing free compatible replacements for proprietary software. Specifically, they are putting together a complete, integrated software system called "GNU" that is upward-compatible with Unix.(16) When it is released, everyone will be permitted to copy it and distribute it to others. In addition, it will be distributed with source code, so you will be able to learn about operating systems by reading it, to port it to your own machine, and to exchange the changes with others.

For more information on the Free Software Foundation and the status of the GNU Project, or for a list of the current tasks that still need to be done, write to gnu@prep.ai.mit.edu.

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National Technical University of Athens