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Q&A with Richard Stallman

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Free software is a different beast from gratis software. Free software activist, Richard Stallman, discusses the importance of freedom across all modes of computing. The software developer and political activist is best known for his creation during the early 1980's of the GNU Project, which combined with Linus Torvalds' kernel programming efforts in the early 1990's to form what we today refer to as the Linux operating system.

Stallman also founded the associated Free Software Foundation in the mid-1980's and is the original author of several popular software projects.

Going back to 2005, there was a strong debate in Australia about the potential for individuals and organisations to use the GNU/Linux operating system as a desktop replacement for Microsoft's Windows platform. The debate has gradually died down, although the maturity of the GNU/Linux desktop and its degree of user friendliness has increased.

Does the trend disappoint you, and how could the free software community best seek to reverse it?

Stallman: I have no independent knowledge about this. If you are right, I hope my speaking tour will direct attention back to the question. Freedom for software users is no less important today than it was five years ago.

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