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Avoiding Ruinous Compromises

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The free software movement aims for a social change: to make all software free so that all software users are free and can be part of a community of cooperation. Every non-free program gives its developer unjust power over the users. Our goal is to put an end to that injustice.

The road to freedom is a long road. It will take many steps and many years to reach a world in which it is normal for software users to have freedom. Some of these steps are hard, and require sacrifice. Some steps become easier if we make compromises with people that have different goals.

Thus, the Free Software Foundation makes compromises — even major ones. For instance, we made compromises in the patent provisions of version 3 of the GNU General Public License, so that major companies would contribute to and distribute GPLv3-covered software and thus bring some patents under the effect of these provisions.

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