Chapter 15
Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software

Visit the Gifcom

Table of Contents

Copyright

Preface

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Project Gutenburg

For the most part, I have chosen to use the term
GNU/Linux in reference to the free software operating
system and Linux when referring specifically to the
kernel that drives the operating system. The most
notable exception to this rule comes in Chapter 9 . In
the final part of that chapter, I describe the early
evolution of Linux as an offshoot of Minix. It is safe
to say that during the first two years of the project's
development, the operating system Torvalds and his
colleagues were working on bore little similarity to
the GNU system envisioned by Stallman, even though it
gradually began to share key components, such as the
GNU C Compiler and the GNU Debugger.

This decision further benefits from the fact that,
prior to 1993, Stallman saw little need to insist on credit.

Some might view the decision to use GNU/Linux for later
versions of the same operating system as arbitrary. I
would like to point out that it was in no way a
prerequisite for gaining Stallman's cooperation in the
making of this book. I came to it of my own accord,
partly because of the operating system's modular nature
and the community surrounding it, and partly because of
the apolitical nature of the Linux name. Given that
this is a biography of Richard Stallman, it seemed
inappropriate to define the operating system in
apolitical terms.

In the final phases of the book, when it became clear
that O'Reilly & Associates would be the book's
publisher, Stallman did make it a condition that I use
"GNU/Linux" instead of Linux if O'Reilly expected him
to provide promotional support for the book after
publication. When informed of this, I relayed my
earlier decision and left it up to Stallman to judge
whether the resulting book met this condition or not.
At the time of this writing, I have no idea what
Stallman's judgment will be.

A similar situation surrounds the terms "free software"
and "open source." Again, I have opted for the more
politically laden "free software" term when describing
software programs that come with freely copyable and
freely modifiable source code. Although more popular, I
have chosen to use the term "open source" only when
referring to groups and businesses that have championed
its usage. But for a few instances, the terms are
completely interchangeable, and in making this decision
I have followed the advice of Christine Peterson, the
person generally credited with coining the term. "The
`free software' term should still be used in
circumstances where it works better," Peterson writes.
"[`Open source'] caught on mainly because a new term
was greatly needed, not because it's ideal."