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MandrakeForum.com: Thus spoke Richard M. Stallman

Dec 25, 2000, 18:21 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Deno)


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"First part of the speech was "why did I start GNU project" info. Official RMS biography only says: Stallman graduated from Harvard in 1974 with a BA in physics. During his college years, he also worked as a staff hacker at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, learning operating system development by doing it. He wrote the first extensible Emacs text editor there in 1975. In January 1984 he resigned from MIT to start the GNU Project. Without stating the REASON why he left the MIT lab and started GNU project."

"When Richard M. Stallman started his programmers career, world of programming was much different from what it looks like today: back then, ND-agreements and shrink-wrap licenses simply didn't exist, and sharing code was considered normal behavior. Then someone came to idea that he can make a lot of money by NOT sharing the source code, and started the avalanche which ultimately led to Single-click patent and UCITA. The form in which RMS first encountered this brave new world for the first time was somewhat bizarre: Xerox donated a laser printer to the MIT lab he worked in, and this printer was controlled by proprietary software. This printer was great, but it often jammed, and "no source" meant that they had no way of implementing the "printer jammed" warning as they did for other printers, used in the lab. As you can imagine, walking up and down or camping next to printer turned out into a somewhat annoying experience... Worse yet, some time later, Stallman actually met a college which had source code of printer controlling software, and refused to share it because he signed the NDA! Instead of accepting this bizarre situation as "normal", RMS turned around, quit the job at MIT and started the GNU project. (the rest is a history)"

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