"Richard Stallman is one of the best-known figures of the
software revolution. Of all the other icons of the revolution, only
Linus Torvalds shares the same kind of name recognition. Stallman
wrote some of the most influential software of the age: tools like
GCC and Emacs, which have had profound roles in the development of
yet more free software. Linus Torvalds could not have written the
Linux kernel without these tools. Perhaps as importantly, or maybe
even more importantly, Stallman also crafted the GNU Public
License: the license that guarantees the preservation of freedom in
all its progeny.
"Unfortunately, all that name recognition isn't due to
popularity. Stallman remains the most controversial figure in a
community of leaders who don't fit the norm. Think of the others in
the group: Cox, Perens, and Raymond. To a man, they are outliers.
They are not normal in IQ, speech, thought, or action. None of
these men, however, evoke the same response as Stallman. Mention
RMS in a Linux crowd and you'll find people who love him, hate him,
and those who simply roll their eyes. People call him a whacko,
egotist, genius, saint, and communist. Precious few are ambivalent
about Richard Stallman..."