Free Software Foundation

botond published 2020. 01. 31., P - 11: 02 time



The Free Software Foundation, or FSF, is a nonprofit organization founded by Richard Stallman on October 1985, 4 to support the free software movement that promotes universal freedom to study, distribute, create, and modify computer software. The software is a Copyleft ("share alike") is distributed under conditions such as its own GNU General Public license. FSF was established in Massachusetts, USA, where it has its headquarters.

From its inception to the mid-1990s, FSF's assets were mainly used by software developers to write free software for the GNU project. Subsequently, FSF staff and supporters focused on legal and structural issues for the free software movement and the free software community.

In accordance with the FSF's objectives, you intend to use only free software on your own computers.


The Free Software Foundation was founded in 1985 as a non-profit organization that supports free software development. He continued with existing GNU projects, such as selling manuals and tapes, and employed developers of free software systems. He has continued to do so and has supported the free software movement. FSF has multiple free software license managers, which publishes and may modify them as necessary.

FSF owns copyrights to many parts of the GNU system, such as GCC (GNU Compiler Collection). As the copyright holder, you are entitled to enforce the copyleft requirements of the GNU GPL (General Public License) in the event of a copyright infringement of any of the applicable software.

Between 2003 and 2005, the FSF also held legal seminars on the GPL and related laws. These were the first efforts to provide formal legal education in the GPL.

In 2007, FSF released the third version of the GNU General Public License.

In December 2008, FSF filed a lawsuit against Cisco for using GPL-licensed components supplied with Linksys products. Cisco was notified in 2003 about licensing issues, but repeatedly ignored its GPL obligations. In May 2009, the FSF closed the lawsuit when Cisco agreed to provide a financial donation to FSF and appointed a free software director to keep the company's licensing practices under review.


The GNU Project

The original purpose of the FSF was to promote the ideas of free software. As an example, the organization developed the GNU operating system.

GNU licenses

  • GPL (GNU General Public License): A widely used license for free software projects. The current version (version 3) was released in June 2007.
  • LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License): The license allows developers and companies to use and integrate the software component released under the LGPL into their own (even proprietary) software without the need for a strong copyleft license to release the source code for their own component.
  • GFDL (GNU Free Documentation License): Similar to the GPL, which grants readers the right to copy, redistribute, and modify a work (except for "invariant sections") and requires that all copies and derivations be licensed under the same license.
  • AGPL (GNU General Public License): This is a free copyleft license issued by the FSF in November 2007 and is based on the GNU GPL version 3 and the Affero General Public License (AGPL).

GNU Press

The publishing department of the Free Software Foundation, which is responsible for "publishing affordable computing books under free distribution."

Free Software Directory

This is a list of software packages whose items have been certified as free software. Each package entry contains 47 pieces of information, such as the project's website, developers, programming language, etc. The goal is to provide a search engine for free software and cross-reference users to verify that the package has been verified as free software. The FSF received a small grant from the UNESCOfrom the project. Hopefully, the library will be translated into many languages ​​in the future.

Maintaining Free Software Definition

The FSF maintains many documents defining the free software movement (Free Software Definition).

Self-managed projects

FSF runs software development projects Savannah website.


The abbreviation for "Hardware-Node", the h-node website, lists the hardware and device drivers that have been tested to be compatible with free software. This is a list of user-contributed and voluntarily supported hardware entries that are being tested by users before being published.


The Free Software Foundation sponsors many campaigns despite perceiving them as threats to software freedom, including software patents and digital rights management -DRM) - and the user interface copyright. Defective by Design is a campaign initiated by FSF against DRM. He is also campaigning to promote Ogg + Vorbis, a free alternative to proprietary formats such as MP3 and AAC. The FSF also supports "high priority" free software projects.

Annual honors

The FSF gives two awards a year. Since 1998 he has been awarded the "Advancement of Free Software" and since 2005 the "Free Software Award for Projects of Social Benefit".


Founded by FSF LibrePlanet organizes FSF members into regional groups that hold an annual international conference for local communities and organizations. The organization aims to support free software activism against Digital Restriction Management (DRM) and other issues considered important by the FSF.

Priority Projects

The Free Software Foundation maintains a list of "Priority Projects" for which the Foundation claims "it is essential to raise awareness of the free software community". According to the FSF, these projects"are important because computer users are constantly seduced to use non-free software because there is no suitable free alternative."

Current priority tasks include redesigning protected firmware (reverse engineering), reversible debugging a GNU Debuggerin, automatic transcription and video editing software development, Core Boot, developing drivers for network routers, and creating free software alternatives for Skype, Google Earth, OpenDWG libraries, BitTorrent Sync and Oracle Forms.

Previous projects that still require work include Free Java implementations, in GNU Classpath and the GNU Compiler for Java, which ensure the compatibility of the Java part of, and GNOME desktop environment.