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The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a
501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code The Code of Laws of the United States of Ame ...
non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that op ...
founded by
Richard Stallman Richard Matthew Stallman (; born March 16, 1953), also known by his initials, rms, is an American free software movement The free software movement is a social movement Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting popul ...

Richard Stallman
on October 4, 1985, to support the
free software movement The free software movement is a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting popu ...
, which promotes the universal freedom to study, distribute, create, and modify
computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. At the low level langu ...

computer software
, with the organization's preference for software being distributed under
copyleft Copyleft is the practice of granting the right to freely distribute and modify intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intel ...

copyleft
("share alike") terms, such as with its own
GNU General Public License The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or simply GPL) is a series of widely used free software license A free-software license is a notice that grants the recipient of a piece of software extensive rights to modify and redistribute that ...
. The FSF was incorporated in Boston,
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * T ...

Massachusetts
,
US
US
, where it is also based. From its founding until the mid-1990s, FSF's funds were mostly used to employ software developers to write
free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, physical ...
for the
GNU Project The GNU Project () is a free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. This i ...
. Since the mid-1990s, the FSF's employees and volunteers have mostly worked on legal and structural issues for the free software movement and the free software community. Consistent with its goals, the FSF aims to use only free software on its own computers.


History

The Free Software Foundation was founded in 1985 as a
non-profit corporation A nonprofit corporation is any legal entity which has been Incorporation (business), incorporated under the law of its jurisdiction for purposes other than making profits for its owners or shareholders. Depending on the laws of the jurisdiction, a n ...
supporting free software development. It continued existing
GNU GNU () is an extensive collection of free software, which can be used as an operating system or can be used in parts with other operating systems. The use of the completed GNU tools led to the family of operating systems popularly known as Lin ...

GNU
projects such as the sale of manuals and tapes, and employed developers of the free software system. Since then, it has continued these activities, as well as advocating for the free software movement. The FSF is also the steward of several free software licenses, meaning it publishes them and has the ability to make revisions as needed. The FSF holds the copyrights on many pieces of the
GNU GNU () is an extensive collection of free software, which can be used as an operating system or can be used in parts with other operating systems. The use of the completed GNU tools led to the family of operating systems popularly known as Lin ...

GNU
system, such as
GNU Compiler Collection The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is an optimizing compiler In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes a ...
. As holder of these copyrights, it has the authority to enforce the
copyleft Copyleft is the practice of granting the right to freely distribute and modify intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intel ...

copyleft
requirements of the GNU General Public License (GPL) when
copyright infringement Copyright infringement (at times referred to as piracy) is the use of works Works may refer to: People * Caddy Works Pierce "Caddy" Works (January 2, 1896 – July 19, 1982) was an American basketball and baseball coach. He was the head ba ...
occurs on that software. From 1991 until 2001, GPL enforcement was done informally, usually by Stallman himself, often with assistance from FSF's lawyer,
Eben Moglen Eben Moglen (born 1959) is an American legal scholar who is professor Professor (commonly abbreviated as Prof.) is an academic An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary educa ...
. Typically, GPL violations during this time were cleared up by short email exchanges between Stallman and the violator. In the interest of promoting copyleft assertiveness by software companies to the level that the FSF was already doing, in 2004
Harald Welte Harald Welte (1979), also known as LaForge, is a German programmer. Welte is the founder of the free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructio ...
launched gpl-violations.org. In late 2001,
Bradley M. Kuhn Bradley M. Kuhn (born 1973) is a free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. Th ...

Bradley M. Kuhn
(then executive director), with the assistance of Moglen, David Turner, and Peter T. Brown, formalized these efforts into FSF's GPL Compliance Labs. From 2002–2004, high-profile GPL enforcement cases, such as those against
Linksys Linksys is an American brand of data networking hardware products mainly sold to home users and small businesses. It was founded in 1988 by the couple Victor Tsao, Victor and Janie Tsao, both Taiwanese immigrants to the United States. Linksys p ...

Linksys
and OpenTV, became frequent. GPL enforcement and educational campaigns on GPL compliance was a major focus of the FSF's efforts during this period. In March 2003, SCO filed suit against IBM alleging that IBM's contributions to various free software, including FSF's GNU, violated SCO's rights. While FSF was never a party to the lawsuit, FSF was
subpoena A subpoena (; also subpœna, supenna or subpena) or witness summons is a writ issued by a government agency, most often a court, to compel testimony by a witness or production of evidence under a penalty for failure. There are two common types of ...
ed on November 5, 2003. During 2003 and 2004, FSF put substantial advocacy effort into responding to the lawsuit and quelling its negative impact on the adoption and promotion of free software. From 2003 to 2005, FSF held legal seminars to explain the GPL and the surrounding law. Usually taught by Bradley M. Kuhn and
Daniel Ravicher Daniel "Dan" Ravicher serves as Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT). In 1997 he graduated '' magna cum laude'' with University Honors from the University of South Florida with a B.S.C.E., and earned a J.D. in 2000 from the ...
, these seminars offered CLE credit and were the first effort to give formal legal education on the GPL. In 2007, the FSF published the third version of the GNU General Public License after significant outside input. In December 2008, FSF filed a lawsuit against
Cisco Cisco Systems, Inc. (Cisco) is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multina ...

Cisco
for using GPL-licensed components shipped with
Linksys Linksys is an American brand of data networking hardware products mainly sold to home users and small businesses. It was founded in 1988 by the couple Victor Tsao, Victor and Janie Tsao, both Taiwanese immigrants to the United States. Linksys p ...

Linksys
products. Cisco was notified of the licensing issue in 2003 but Cisco repeatedly disregarded its obligations under the GPL. In May 2009, FSF dropped the lawsuit when Cisco agreed to make a monetary donation to the FSF and appoint a Free Software Director to conduct continuous reviews of the company's license compliance practices. In September 2019,
Richard Stallman Richard Matthew Stallman (; born March 16, 1953), also known by his initials, rms, is an American free software movement The free software movement is a social movement Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting popul ...

Richard Stallman
resigned as president of the FSF after pressure from journalists and members of the
open source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product. The open-source model is a decentralized model ...
community in response to him making controversial comments in defense of then-deceased
Marvin Minsky Marvin Lee Minsky (August 9, 1927 – January 24, 2016) was an American cognitive Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many ...

Marvin Minsky
on
Jeffrey Epstein Jeffrey Edward Epstein ( ; January 20, 1953August 10, 2019) was an American financier An investor is a person that allocates capital with the expectation of a future financial return (profit) or to gain an advantage (interest). Through thi ...

Jeffrey Epstein
's sex trafficking scandal. Nevertheless, Stallman remained head of the GNU Project and in 2021, he returned to the FSF board of directors.


Current and ongoing activities


The GNU Project

The original purpose of the FSF was to promote the ideals of free software. The organization developed the GNU operating system as an example of this.


GNU licenses

The
GNU General Public License The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or simply GPL) is a series of widely used free software license A free-software license is a notice that grants the recipient of a piece of software extensive rights to modify and redistribute that ...
(GPL) is a widely used license for free software projects. The current version (version 3) was released in June 2007. The FSF has also published the
GNU Lesser General Public License The GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) is a free-software license published by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). The license allows developers and companies to use and integrate a software component released under the LGPL into their own ...
(LGPL), the
GNU Free Documentation License The GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL or simply GFDL) is a copyleft Copyleft is the practice of granting the right to freely distribute and modify intellectual property with the requirement that the same rights be preserved in derivat ...
(GFDL), and the
GNU Affero General Public License The GNU Affero General Public License is a Free software movement, free, copyleft license published by the Free Software Foundation in November 2007, and based on the GNU General Public License#Version 3, GNU General Public License, version 3 an ...
(AGPL).


GNU Press

The FSF's publishing department, responsible for "publishing affordable books on computer science using freely distributable licenses."


The Free Software Directory

This is a listing of software packages that have been verified as free software. Each package entry contains 47 pieces of information such as the project's homepage, developers, programming language, etc. The goals are to provide a search engine for free software, and to provide a cross-reference for users to check if a package has been verified as being free software. FSF has received a small amount of funding from
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
for this project.


Maintaining the Free Software Definition

FSF maintains many of the documents that define the free software movement.


Project hosting

FSF hosts software development projects on its
Savannah A savanna or savannah is a mixed woodland A woodland () is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or in a narrow sense, synonymous with wood (or in the U.S., the ''plurale tantum'' woods), a low-density forest forming open habitats ...
website.


h-node

An abbreviation for "Hardware-Node", the ''h-node'' website lists
hardware Hardware may refer to: Technology Computing and electronics * Computer hardware, physical parts of a computer * Digital electronics, electronics that operate on digital signals * Electronic component, device in an electronic system used to affect e ...

hardware
and
device driver In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and soft ...
s that have been verified as compatible with free software. It is user-edited and volunteer supported with hardware entries tested by users before publication.


Advocacy

FSF sponsors a number of campaigns against what it perceives as dangers to software freedom, including
software patent A software patent is a patent NPOV disputes from March 2021 A patent is a Title (property), title that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of years in exchange fo ...
s,
digital rights management Digital rights management (DRM) tools or technological protection measures (TPM) are a set of access control In the fields of physical security and information security, access control (AC) is the selective restriction of access to a place ...
(which the FSF and others have re-termed "digital restrictions management", as part of its effort to highlight technologies that are "designed to take away and limit your rights,") and user interface copyright.
Defective by Design Defective by Design (DBD) is an anti-Digital rights management, DRM initiative by the Free Software Foundation. Digital rights management (DRM) technology restricts users' ability to freely use their purchased movies, music, literature, software, ...
is an FSF-initiated campaign against DRM. It also has a campaign to promote
Ogg Ogg is a free, open Open or OPEN may refer to: citizen * Open (band), Australian pop/rock band * The Open (band), English indie rock band * ''Open'' (Blues Image album), 1969 * ''Open'' (Gotthard album), 1999 * ''Open'' (Cowboy Junkies ...
+
Vorbis Vorbis is a free and open-source software Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software Software is a collection of instructions that tell a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of ari ...
, a free alternative to proprietary formats like
AAC AAC may refer to: Aviation * Advanced Aircraft Advanced Aircraft Corporation is an aircraft manufacturer based in Carlsbad, California. History AAC bought out Riley Aircraft in 1983 in aviation, 1983. Products The firm has specialised in conve ...
and MQA. FSF also sponsors free software projects it deems "high-priority".


Annual awards

"
Award for the Advancement of Free Software Free Software Foundation (FSF) grants two annual awards. Since 1998, FSF has granted the award for Advancement of Free Software and since 2005, also the Free Software Award for Projects of Social Benefit. Presentation ceremonies In 1999 it was pre ...
" and " Free Software Award for Projects of Social Benefit"


LibrePlanet wiki

The
LibrePlanet LibrePlanet (literally, "Free Planet") is a community project created and supported by the Free Software Foundation. Its objective is the promotion of free software around the world by bringing every year an international conference to local commu ...
wiki organizes FSF members into regional groups in order to promote free software
activism Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, direct, or intervene in Social change, social, Political campaign, political, Economics, economic, or Natural environment, environmental reform with the desire to make Social change, changes in so ...

activism
against Digital Restrictions Management and other issues promoted by the FSF.


High priority projects

The FSF maintains a list of "high priority projects" to which the Foundation claims that "there is a vital need to draw the
free software community The free software movement is a social movement with the goal of obtaining and guaranteeing certain freedoms for software users, namely the freedoms to run the software, to study the software, to modify the software, and to share copies of the so ...
's attention". The FSF considers these projects "important because computer users are continually being seduced into using
non-free software Proprietary software, also known as non-free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to wo ...
, because there is no adequate free replacement." As of 2021, high priority tasks include
reverse engineering Reverse engineering (also known as backwards engineering or back engineering) is a process or method through the application of which one attempts to understand through deductive reasoning Deductive reasoning, also deductive logic, is the process ...

reverse engineering
proprietary firmware; reversible debugging in
GNU Debugger The GNU Debugger (GDB) is a Software portability, portable debugger that runs on many Unix-like systems and works for many programming languages, including Ada (programming language), Ada, C (programming language), C, C++, Objective-C, Free Pasc ...
; developing automatic transcription and
video editing Video editing is the manipulation and arrangement of video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and ...
software,
Coreboot The software project coreboot, formerly known as LinuxBIOS, is aimed at replacing proprietary ( or ) found in most computers with a lightweight firmware designed to perform only the minimum number of tasks necessary to load and run a modern or ...
, drivers for network routers, a free
smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can per ...

smartphone
operating system and creating replacements for
Skype Skype () is a Proprietary software, proprietary telecommunications application that specializes in providing VoIP-based videotelephony, videoconferencing and voice calls. It also has instant messaging, file transfer, debit and credit, debit-bas ...

Skype
and
Siri Siri ( ) is a virtual assistant remote control In electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses ac ...

Siri
. Previous projects highlighted as needing work included the
Free Java implementationsFree Java implementations are software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, physical hardware, from which ...
,
GNU Classpath GNU Classpath is a free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free ...
, and
GNU Compiler for Java The GNU Compiler for Java (GCJ) is a free compiler In computing, a compiler is a computer program that Translator (computing), translates computer code written in one programming language (the ''source'' language) into another language (the '' ...
, which ensure compatibility for the Java part of , and the
GNOME A gnome is a mythological creature A legendary or mythological creature, also called fabulous creature and fabulous beast, is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.http ...

GNOME
desktop environment (see ). The effort has been criticized by Michael Larabel for either not instigating active development or for being slow at the work being done, even after certain projects were added to the list.


Endorsements


Operating systems

The FSF maintains a list of approved
Linux Linux ( or ) is a family of open-source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product ...

Linux
operating systems that maintain free software by default: *
Dragora GNU/Linux-Libre Dragora GNU/Linux-Libre is an Argentine Linux distribution written from scratch sharing some similarities with Slackware Slackware is a Linux distribution A Linux distribution (often abbreviated as distro) is an operating system An operat ...
* dyne:bolic *
GNU Guix System GNU Guix System or Guix System (previously ''GuixSD'') is a rolling release Free software, free Linux distribution, GNU/Linux distribution built around the GNU Guix package manager. It enables a declarative operating system configuration and al ...
* Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre *
Parabola GNU/Linux-libre Parabola GNU/Linux-libre is an operating system for the i686, x86-64 and ARMv7 architectures. It is based on many of the packages from Arch Linux and Arch Linux ARM, but distinguishes from the former by offering only free software. It includes the ...
*
PureOS PureOS is a Linux distribution A Linux distribution (often abbreviated as distro) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples of ...
*
Trisquel Trisquel (full name Trisquel GNU/Linux) is a computer operating system, a Linux distribution, derived from another distribution, Ubuntu. The project aims for a fully free software system without proprietary software or firmware and uses a version o ...

Trisquel
* Ututo *
LibreCMC LibreCMC is a Linux-libre distribution for computers with minimal resources, such as the Ben NanoNote, ath9k-based Wi-Fi routers, and other hardware with emphasis on free software. Based on OpenWrt, the project's goal is to aim for compliance with ...
*ProteanOS The project also maintains a list of operating systems that are not versions of the GNU system: *
Replicant A replicant is a fictional bioengineered being in the 1982 film ''Blade Runner ''Blade Runner'' is a 1982 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott Sir Ridley Scott (born 30 November 1937) is an English film director and producer ...


Discontinued operating systems

The following are previously endorsed operating systems that are no longer actively maintained: *
gNewSense gNewSense is a Linux distribution A Linux distribution (often abbreviated as distro) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, computer software, software resources, and provides com ...
*
BLAG Linux and GNU BLAG Linux and GNU is a discontinued Linux distribution A Linux distribution (often abbreviated as distro) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, computer software, software resourc ...
*
Musix GNU+Linux Musix GNU+Linux is a discontinued Live CD, live CD and DVD Linux distribution for the IA-32 processor family based on Debian. It contained a collection of software for Sound recording and reproduction, audio production, graphic design, video edi ...


Hardware endorsements (RYF)

The FSF maintains a "Respects Your Freedom" (RYF) hardware certification program. To be granted certification, a product must use 100% Free Software, allow user installation of modified software, be free of backdoors and conform with several other requirements.


Structure


Board

The FSF's
board of governors A board of directors is a group of people who jointly supervise the activities of an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally sp ...
includes amongst themselves professors at leading universities, senior engineers, and founders. A few high-profile activists, and software businessmen are admitted as well. Currently on the board there is one high-profile activist, and one world-class, software-campaign strategist (Windows 95, ''et al.''). There was once a majorly contributing programmer (Mono and Gnome) and businessman who lost favor badly. Founders are also major software developers of the free software in the GNU Project. John Sullivan is the current FSF executive director. Previous members that occupied the position were Peter T. Brown (2005–2010) and Bradley M. Kuhn (2001–2005). Current board members: *
Geoffrey Knauth use both this parameter and , birth_date to display the person's date of birth, date of death, and age at death) --> , death_place = , death_cause = , body_discovered = , resting_place = , resting_place_coordinates = , bur ...
, senior software engineer at SFA, Inc. (served since October 23, 1997) * Henry Poole, founder of CivicActions, a government digital services firm (served since December 12, 2002) *
Gerald Jay Sussman Gerald Jay Sussman (born February 8, 1947) is the Panasonic Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received his Bachelor of Science, S.B. and Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D. degrees in mathematics ...
, professor of
computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of computation, automation, a ...
at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, aft ...
(served since inception) * Odile Bénassy, research engineer at the Paris-sud university computer science research *
Richard Stallman Richard Matthew Stallman (; born March 16, 1953), also known by his initials, rms, is an American free software movement The free software movement is a social movement Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting popul ...

Richard Stallman
, founder, launched the
GNU project The GNU Project () is a free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versi ...
, author of the
GNU General Public License The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or simply GPL) is a series of widely used free software license A free-software license is a notice that grants the recipient of a piece of software extensive rights to modify and redistribute that ...
. Previous board members include: * , Vice President (served since August 28, 2019) *
Hal Abelson Harold "Hal" Abelson (born April 26, 1947) is the Class of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Instit ...

Hal Abelson
, founding member,The first GNU's Bulletin (), indicates this list of people as ''roundout FSF's board of directors''. professor of computer science at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, aft ...
(served from inception until March 5, 1998, and rejoined circa 2005) * Robert J. Chassell, founding treasurer, as well as a founding director (served from inception until June 3, 1997) *
Miguel de Icaza Miguel de Icaza (born November 23, 1972) is a Mexican-American Mexican Americans ( es, mexicano-estadounidenses or ) are Americans Americans are the Citizenship of the United States, citizens and United States nationality law, nationals ...

Miguel de Icaza
(served from August 1999The FSF annual filings with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for 1998 and 1999 show that De Icaza was not on the board on 1998-11-01 and was as of 1999-11-01, so he clearly joined sometime between those dates. Those documents further indicate that the 1999 annual meeting occurred in August; usually, new directors are elected at annual meetings. until February 25, 2002) *
Benjamin Mako Hill Benjamin Mako Hill is a free software activist, hacker A computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perform generic sets of o ...

Benjamin Mako Hill
, assistant professor at the University of Washington (served from July 25, 2007 until October 2019) *
Matthew Garrett Matthew Garrett is an Irish technologist, programmer A computer programmer, sometimes called a software developer, a programmer or more recently a coder (especially in more informal contexts), is a person who creates computer software ...

Matthew Garrett
, software developer (served since October 16, 2014) * , executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy and FSF's former executive director (served from March 25, 2010 to Oct 13, 2019) * Lawrence Lessig, professor of law at Stanford University (served from March 28, 2004 until 2008) *
Eben Moglen Eben Moglen (born 1959) is an American legal scholar who is professor Professor (commonly abbreviated as Prof.) is an academic An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary educa ...
(served from July 28, 2000The FSF annual filings with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for 1999 and 2000 show that Moglen was not on the board on November 1, 1999, and was as of November 1, 2000, so he clearly joined sometime between those dates. Those documents further indicate that the 2000 annual meeting occurred on July 28, 2000; usually, new directors are elected at annual meetings. until 2007) * Leonard H. Tower Jr., Len Tower Jr., founding member, (served until September 2, 1997) * Kat Walsh, copyright and technology attorney, free culture and free software advocate, and former chair of the Wikimedia Foundation. She joined the board in 2015. She voted against the readmittance of Richard Stallman to the board and, on March 25, 2021, resigned in protest of his return.


Voting

The FSF Articles of Organization state that the board of directors are elected. The bylaws say who can vote for them. The board can grant powers to the Voting Membership.


Employment

At any given time, there are usually around a dozen employees. Most, but not all, work at the FSF headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts.


Membership

On November 25, 2002, the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals. Bradley M. Kuhn (FSF executive director, 2001–2005) launched the program and also signed up as the first Associate Member Associate members hold a purely honorary and funding support role to the FSF.


Legal

Eben Moglen Eben Moglen (born 1959) is an American legal scholar who is professor Professor (commonly abbreviated as Prof.) is an academic An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary educa ...
and Dan Ravicher previously served individually as pro bono legal counsel to the FSF. After forming the Software Freedom Law Center, Eben Moglen continued to serve as the FSF's general counsel until 2016.


Financial

Most of the FSF funding comes from patrons and members. Revenue streams also come from free-software-related compliance labs, job postings, published works, and a web store. FSF offers speakers and seminars for pay, and all FSF projects accept donations. Revenues fund free-software programs and campaigns, while cash is invested conservatively in socially responsible investing. The financial strategy is designed to maintain the Foundation's long-term future through economic stability. The FSF is a tax-exempt organization and posts annual IRS Form 990 filings online.


Criticism


Position on DRM

Linus Torvalds has criticized FSF for using GPLv3 as a weapon in the fight against digital rights management, DRM. Torvalds argues that the issue of DRM and that of a software license should be treated as two separate issues.


''Defective by Design'' campaign

On June 16, 2010, Joe Brockmeier, a journalist at ''Linux Magazine'', criticized the
Defective by Design Defective by Design (DBD) is an anti-Digital rights management, DRM initiative by the Free Software Foundation. Digital rights management (DRM) technology restricts users' ability to freely use their purchased movies, music, literature, software, ...
campaign by the FSF as "negative" and "juvenile" and not being adequate for providing users with "credible alternatives" to proprietary software. FSF responded to this criticism by saying "that there is a fundamental difference between speaking out against policies or actions and smear campaigns", and "that if one is taking an ethical position, it is justified, and often necessary, to not only speak about the benefits of freedom but against acts of dispossession and disenfranchisement."


GNU LibreDWG license controversy

In 2009, a Relicensing, license update of LibDWG/LibreDWG to the GNU General Public License#Version 3, version 3 of the GNU GPL, made it impossible for the free software projects LibreCAD and FreeCAD to use LibreDWG legally. Many projects voiced their unhappiness about the GPLv3 license selection for LibreDWG, such as FreeCAD, LibreCAD, Assimp, and Blender (software), Blender. Some suggested the selection of a license with a broader license compatibility, for instance the MIT license, MIT, BSD license, BSD, or LGPL 2.1. A request went to the FSF to Software relicensing, relicense GNU LibreDWG as GPLv2, which was rejected in 2012. The libDWG has stalled since 2011 for various reasons, including license issues.
Last commit to libDWG
was in 2015. LibreDWG i
actively developed


Accusations against Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman#Resignation from MIT and FSF, Stallman resigned from the board in 2019 after making controversial comments about one of the victims of
Jeffrey Epstein Jeffrey Edward Epstein ( ; January 20, 1953August 10, 2019) was an American financier An investor is a person that allocates capital with the expectation of a future financial return (profit) or to gain an advantage (interest). Through thi ...

Jeffrey Epstein
, but Richard Stallman#Return to FSF, Stallman rejoined the board 18 months later. Several prominent organizations and individuals who develop free software objected to the decision, citing past writings on Stallman's blog which they considered antithetical to promoting a diverse community. As a result of Stallman's reinstatement, prominent members of the Free Software Foundation quit in protest and the major benefactor Red Hat announced that it would stop funding and supporting the Free Software Foundation.


Recognition

Key players and industries that have made honorific mention and awards include: * 2001:
GNU Project The GNU Project () is a free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. This i ...
received the USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award for "the ubiquity, breadth, and quality of its freely available redistributable and modifiable software, which has enabled a generation of research and commercial development". * 2005: Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in the category of "Digital Communities"


See also

*
Defective by Design Defective by Design (DBD) is an anti-Digital rights management, DRM initiative by the Free Software Foundation. Digital rights management (DRM) technology restricts users' ability to freely use their purchased movies, music, literature, software, ...
* Digital rights * Electronic Frontier Foundation * Free software movement * Free Software Foundation Europe * Free Software Foundation Latin America * Free Software Foundation of India * Hardware restrictions * League for Programming Freedom *
LibrePlanet LibrePlanet (literally, "Free Planet") is a community project created and supported by the Free Software Foundation. Its objective is the promotion of free software around the world by bringing every year an international conference to local commu ...


Notes


References


External links

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LibrePlanet
{{Authority control Free Software Foundation, 1985 establishments in Massachusetts 501(c)(3) organizations Charities based in Massachusetts Digital rights organizations Educational charities based in the United States Free and open-source software organizations Free software movement Intellectual property activism Non-profit organizations based in Boston Non-profit technology Organizations based in Boston Organizations established in 1985 Science and technology think tanks