Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Richard Matthew Stallman


  • Born: March 16, 1953, New York City
  • Parents: Daniel Stallman and Alice Lippman
  • Atheist
  • Hired by IBM New York Scientific Center
    • preprocessor for the PL/I programming language on the IBM 360
  • Harvard University
    • programmer at the AI Laboratory of MIT
    • regular in the hacker community: “RMS”
    • graduated from Harvard magna cum laude earning a BA in Physics in 1974
    • knee injury
  • awarded six honorary doctorates and two honorary professorships

Where it all began...

  • MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) installed a password control system in 1977
    • decrypt the passwords and sent users messages containing their decoded password
    • to demonstrate that they were not increasing security, but only hindering free access to each other's software and discouraging sharing it


  • AI truth maintenance system called dependency-directed backtracking with Gerald Jay Sussman
    • early work on the problem of intelligent backtracking in constraint satisfaction problems
  • TECO, Emacs, and the Lisp Machine Operating System
  • Copyleft
    • is a play on the word copyright
    • practice of using copyright law to remove restrictions on distributing copies and modified versions
    • requires the same freedom be preserved in modified versions
    • author surrenders some but not all rights under copyright law
    • GNU General Public License, Tiny BASIC
  • GNU Project
    • “GNU's Not Unix”
    • September 1983
    • free Unix-like operating system
    • free software movement
    • GNU/Linux operating system
      • incorrectly called Linux
  • Free Software Foundation
    • October 1985

Some humor...

  • “I am also a saint, in the Church of Emacs--Saint IGNUcius...”
  • "There are no godfathers in the Church of Emacs, since there are no gods, but you can be someone's editorfather."


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