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The History of GNU

Item posted by Dora Scilipoti <dora> on Wed 18 May 2022 08:50:45 AM UTC.

Richard Stallman at the First Hackers Conference

The first Hackers Conference was held in Sausalito, California, in November 1984. The makers of the documentary Hackers: Wizards of the Electronic Age interviewed Richard Stallman at the event. They included only parts of the interviews in the film, but made some other footage available. Stallman's statements at the conference went beyond what he had written in the initial announcement of GNU.

It was at this conference that Richard Stallman first publicly and explicitly stated the idea that all software should be free, and makes it clear that "free" refers to freedom, not price, by saying that software should be freely accessible to everyone. This was probably the first time he made that distinction to the public.

Stallman continues by explaining why it is wrong to agree to accept a program on condition of not sharing it with others. So what can one say about a business based on developing nonfree software and luring others into accepting that condition? Such things are bad for society and shouldn't be done at all. (In later years he used stronger condemnation.)

Here are the things he said:

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