[NetBehaviour] Behind the doors of the Free Software Foundation.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Sat Aug 30 12:31:55 CEST 2008

Behind the doors of the Free Software Foundation.

By Bruce Byfield

The purpose of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) is probably obvious 
from its name -- but what does promoting free software mean in terms of 
everyday activity? Examining the roles of the organization shows how 
complex the FSF's advocacy role has become. It also reveals the range of 
services available to the free software community, and helps to explain 
how such a small group has had such a major influence on computer 

As a 501(c)3 charity in the United States, the FSF is run by a board of 
directors. The current board includes FSF founder and president Richard 
M. Stallman and long-term member Henry Poole, but, in the last few 
years, new faces have appeared on the board.

According to director Benjamin Mako Hill, "The board's most important 
responsibility is to protect software freedom and to decide the FSF's 
goals and tactics. That means that they are ultimately responsible for 
the GNU General Public License, the LGPL, AGPL, and GNU Free 
Documentation License, for FSF-copyright-assigned software and manuals, 
and for much of the infrastructure of running the GNU Project. As a 
result, board members must first and foremost be committed to the cause 
of software freedom."


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