[NetBehaviour] The Free Software Movement and the Future of Freedom; March 9th 2006.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Wed Jan 10 12:24:41 CET 2007

The Free Software Movement and the Future of Freedom; March 9th 2006.

The following is a transcript of a lecture given by Richard Stallman in 
Zagreb on March 9th 2006. The lecture was given in English.

Richard Stallman launched the GNU project in 1983, and with it the Free 
Software movement. Stallman is the president of FSF - a sister 
organisation of FSFE.

An audio recording of the lecture is online at:

Richard Stallman: What is Free Software? Free Software means software 
that respects the user's freedom. Software available to you but without 
respecting your freedom is called proprietary software or non-Free Software.

Proprietary software keeps users divided and helpless. Divided because 
each user is forbidden to share with other people, and helpless because 
the users don't have the source code, so they can't change anything, 
they can't even tell what the program is really doing.

But Free Software, which I believe is translated [into Croation] as 
slobodni softver, is software that respects the user's freedom. What do 
I mean by this? Because it's never enough just to say "I'm in favour of 
freedom", the crucial issue is always: what are the essential freedoms 
that everyone should have?


There are four essential freedoms for the user of a program.

* Freedom zero is the freedom to run the program as you wish, for any 
* Freedom one is the freedom to study the source code of the program and 
change it to do what you wish.
* Freedom two is the freedom to help your neighbour. That's the freedom 
to make copies and distribute them to others, when you wish.
* Freedom three is the freedom to help your community. That's the 
freedom to distribute or publish modified versions, when you wish.

With all four of these freedoms, the program is Free Software. If one of 
these freedoms is substantially missing - is insufficiently available - 
then the program is proprietary software, which means it is distributed 
in an unethical system and therefore should not be used and should not 
be developed at all.


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