Richard Stallman, “The GNU Project”

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In the early days of computer programming, programmers freely shared their source code and worked in cooperation with each other.  As the software industry progressed, companies began using nondisclosure agreements that prevented programmers from sharing their code. Stallman rejected this change on moral grounds, and devised the concept of free software as a response.  GNU is an operating system based on the free software philosophy.  As a free precursor to the open source, and eventually, the open education movement, Stallman’s concepts influenced the development of open educational philosophy and the development of open educational content.

Key Points

Discussion Questions

  1. What motivated Stallman to create a replica of an existing operating system?
  2. What motivates people to pay for software (or anything else)?
  3. Why would Stallman claim that only caring about what tasks software can do is equivalent to not caring what kind of society we have?

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