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  Wikipedia: Free Software Foundation

Wikipedia: Free Software Foundation
Free Software Foundation
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a non-profit organisation founded in 1985 to support the GNU project and to promote education about free software (free as in freedom).

Up until the mid-1990s, most of FSF's resources went on paying people to write free software. Today, there are many companies and individuals writing free software, so FSF uses it's resources to assist the wider free software community.

Current work of FSF

; Maintaining the Free Software Definition : FSF maintain many of the documents that define the Free Software movement

; Guardian of copyrights : FSF holds the copyrights to all GNU software and some non-GNU Free Software. They require copyright assignment papers from each contributor to GNU packages so that they can defend the software in court if a dispute arises, and so that if there is a need to change the license of a work, it can be done without having to contact all contributors that have ever worked on the software.

; GPL Enforcement : FSF have the resources and the will to enforce the GPL and other GNU licenses. FSF handles around 50 GPL violations per year and tries to bring the other party into compliance without involving the courts. As of January 2004, no one has yet taken FSF to court over a copyright dispute.

; Legal Education : FSF hold seminars about legal aspects of using the GPL, and offers a consultancy service.

; GNU Licenses : The GNU GPL is the most widely used license for Free Software projects. The current version (version 2) was released in 1991 but FSF are working on a version 3. FSF have also produced the Lesser General Public License (LGPL), and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL).

; Project Hosting : FSF provide project hosting via their Savannah website.



On November 25, 2002 the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals. In December 2003, they had over 1900 members. On March 5 2003 they launched a Corporate Patronage program for commercial entities. As of January 2004, they have 40 corporate patrons.


FSF has a board of directors, but it's hard to keep track of who is on the board. Richard Stallman is President and founder, Bradley Kuhn is the Vice President and CEO, and Eben Moglen is FSF's General Councel. Bradley Kuhn runs the headquarters in Boston which usually has around 12 staff members. Richard Stallman spends most of his time away from the office giving talks in the US, Europe, South America, and India. Eben Moglen handles legal issues, and works on new licenses for FSF.

Sister organisations

In 2001, Free Software Foundation Europe was founded in Germany to act as a "hub" for the Free Software organisations of Europe. In 2003, Free Software Foundation India was founded in Kelera.

See also: GNU, Richard Stallman, free software, free software movement

External links


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona