Free On-line Dictionary of Computing:
free software foundation
(FSF) An organisation devoted to the creation and
dissemination of free software
, i.e. software that is free
from licensing fees or restrictions on use. The Foundation's
main work is supporting the GNU
project, started by Richard Stallman
(RMS), partly to proselytise for his position that
information is community property and all software source
should be shared.
The GNU project has developed the GNU Emacs
editor and a C
compiler, gcc, replacements for many Unix utilities and many
other tools. A complete Unix
-like operating system (HURD)
is in the works (April 1994).
Software is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License
, which also provides a good summary of the
Foundation's goals and principles. The Free Software
Foundation raises most of its funds from distributing its
software, although it is a charity rather than a company.
Although the software is freely available (e.g. by FTP
below) users are encouraged to support the work of the FSF by
paying for their distribution service or by making donations.
One of the slogans of the FSF is "Help stamp out software
hoarding!" This remains controversial because authors want to
own, assign and sell the results of their labour. However,
many hackers who disagree with RMS have nevertheless
cooperated to produce large amounts of high-quality software
for free redistribution under the Free Software Foundation's
, General Public Virus
, GNU archive site
Unofficial WWW pages: PDX http://cs.pdx.edu/~trent/gnu/
Address: Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Massachusetts
Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
Telephone: +1 (617) 876 3296.