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Free as in, well, free. At least, that’s what the folks at Project Gutenberg believe. They work hard to make as many literary (in a very broad sense of the term) works as possible available in a variety of formats, languages, and media to as many people as possible. They are guided by similar principles that all open source enthusiasts share, that power and information should be available to everyone, not just the elite.

Project Gutenberg grew almost organically with the start of the Internet, starting on July 4, 1971, with the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

“Yes, Richard Stallman and I both started our open source efforts pretty much at the same moment, the moment the Internet went transcontinental,” Michael Hart, Founder of Project Gutenberg, said. “I wanted to put something online that would stay there forever, and I was somewhat disappointed that the Internet founders hadn’t put something the nature of ‘What hath God wrought’ or ‘One small step’ out as a symbolism, so I did my best to come up with something that would do the job.”

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