- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (March 11, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0596002874
- ISBN-13: 978-0596002879
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,684,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software 1st Edition
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From Library Journal
In 1984, Richard Stallman launched the GNU Project for the purpose of developing a complete UNIX-like operating system that would allow for free software use. What he developed was the GNU operating system. (GNU is a recursive acronym for "GNU's Not UNIX,'' and it is pronounced guh-NEW. Linux is a variant of the GNU operating system.) This biography traces the evolution of Stallman's eccentric genius from gifted child to teen outcast to passionate crusader for free software. To Stallman, free software is morally vital, and for the past two decades he has devoted his life to eradicating proprietary source codes from the world. Savvy programmers revere Stallman; Bill Gates reviles him. Much of the fascination with Stallman lies in his messianic zeal, which Williams, a freelance writer specializing in high-tech culture, has attempted to capture here, drawing on a number of interviews with the unconventional Stallman, his associates, fans, and critics. The result is an esoteric and uneven work whose audience will likely be limited to the army of programmers drawn to Stallman's worthy cause. Buy accordingly. Joe Accardi, Harper Coll. Lib., Palatine, IL
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From the Author
I am the author of this book, and I welcome all feedback. You can reach me at my email address: email@example.com. O'Reilly is also offering a corrections page. If you see a portion [or portions] of the book that needs to be corrected or improved in any way, let me know.
The people at O'Reilly have also been gracious enough to publish this book under the GNU Free Documentation License. This means that readers have the freedom not only to copy and lend physical copies of the book but to copy and lend electronic copies as well. They also have the freedom to modify the book and make derivative versions with or without my permission.
Although O'Reilly has yet to publish and electronic version of the book, I have taken advantage of the liberties provided in the GFDL to create my own HTML-version of the book. This version is free [as in free beer] to read and free [as in freedom] to copy, modify and republish. My intention is to begin making my own modifications to the book, incorporating feedback received from initial readers along with my own changes, later this spring.
The site's title should give a hint ast to my intentions. Like Mozilla, I see FAIFzilla as the evolving "source code" for later versions of _Free as in Freedom_. Just as AOL/Netscape periodically dips into Mozilla to generate upgrades of its web browser, I'm hoping that O'Reilly, or any other motivated publisher, will dip into FAIFzilla to come out with second version of _Free as in Freedom_ sometime late next year. It's an experimental idea, but judging by the success of past O'Reilly projects -- namely, _Open Sources_  and _Cathedral and the Bazaar_  -- I think it might lead to interesting results.
Top customer reviews
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The writing is somewhat awkward at times. It starts at the famous story about the Xerox printer which triggered Stallman to start the GNU project years later. But then it actually moves to the biographer talking to Richard in the "now." It then moves back from now to history, to now etc. This is somewhat confusing and also the biographer is perhaps too much there and too much giving his opinions instead of writing the story (especially the last chapter).
The history stories of the book are pretty good though. The classic story about the printer and how emacs was created and the MIT AI Lab culture. From there it moves into the creation on GNU and its initial non-success. Also if briefly covers the conflicts between Stallman and the Open Source community, Stallman and other GNU members and Stallman and the biographer. In other words, it describes pretty well how hard it is to work together with Richard.
I like the book for the stories and its historical perspectives. I like the book for trying to describe how it is to work with a person like Richard Stallman and trying to explain that based in his history. I didn't like the writing style very much and the opinion of the author. If you are interested in Free Software history, then this would probably be a good book for you to read. Otherwise, you'd probably need to leave it where it is or just browse the free (as in freedom) internet version. 4 stars still though.
As a sidenote. It doesn't seem Richard Stallman himself is promoting this book or has made any comments about this book.
Even though there is free digital version you should have a copy in you library (for all GNU Linux geeks) :)
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the same shelf as computer programming methodologies.Read more