Free software movement

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The free software movement is a social and political movement[1] with the goal of ensuring software users' four basic freedoms: the freedom to run it, to study and change it, and to redistribute copies with or without changes. The alternative terms "software libre", "open source", and "FOSS" are associated with the free software movement. Although drawing on traditions and philosophies among members of the 1970s hacker culture, Richard Stallman founded and launched the movement in 1983 by founding the GNU Project.[2]

The free software philosophy at the core of the movement drew on the essence and incidental elements of what was called hacker culture by many computer users in the 1970s, among other sources.

Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation in 1985 to support the movement.



The philosophy of the movement is to give freedom to computer users by replacing proprietary software under restrictive licensing terms with free software,[3] with the ultimate goal of liberating everyone "in cyberspace"[4] – that is, every computer user. Stallman notes that this action will promote rather than hinder the progression of technology, since "it means that much wasteful duplication of system programming effort will be avoided. This effort can go instead into advancing the state of the art".[5]

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