Essays and Articles
This page lists a series of articles describing the philosophy of the free software movement, which is the motivation for our development of the free software operating system GNU.
A list of the latest published articles is also available.
Wealso keep a list of Organizations that Work for Freedom in Computer Development and Electronic Communications.
About Free Software
Free software is a matter of freedom: people should be free to use software in all the ways that are socially useful. Software differs from material objects—such as chairs, sandwiches, and gasoline—in that it can be copied and changed much more easily. These possibilities make software as useful as it is; we believe software users should be able to make use of them.
About the GNU Operating System
Licensing Free Software
Laws and Issues
- Giving the Software Field Protection from Patents
- FSF's Position on W3 Consortium “Royalty-Free” Patent Policy rewritten
- How to Protect the Right to Write Software (whether it's free or not).
- In Felten v. RIAA, scientists are asking a court to rule that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) does not prohibit them from publishing their research.
- EFF “Intellectual Property”: MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) DVD Cases Archive
- Patent Reform Is Not Enough
- Saving Europe from Software Patents
- Europe's “unitary patent” could mean unlimited software patents
- Boycott Amazon!
- Amazon Boycott Success!, a letter from Nat Friedman to Richard Stallman.
- Letter from RMS to Tim O'Reilly in regard to a statement by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, on the duration of software patents.
- Amazon's patent on a system for placing a purchase order over the internet, with notes by Richard Stallman.
- Sequential Innovation, Patents, and Imitation is a paper that presents a mathematical model showing how patents can impede progress in fields like software.
- Harm from the Hague.
- Opposing The European Software Patent Directive, a slightly modified version of the article originally published in The Guardian of London, by Richard Stallman and Nick Hill.
- Soft sell. Richard Stallman's comments on the defeat of the EU software patenting directive. Published in The Guardian in 2005.
- Patent absurdity, an article by Richard M. Stallman published in The Guardian in 2005.
- Bill Gates and Other Communists. An article by Richard Stallman published in CNET News.com in 2005.
- The Anatomy of a Trivial Patent, by Richard M. Stallman.
- Fighting Software Patents - Singly and Together
- Software patents — Obstacles to software development
- Software Patents and Literary Patents, by Richard M. Stallman. Speaking of patenting artistic techniques, US patent (6,935,954) covers making game characters start to hallucinate when (according to the game) they are being driven insane. That is getting pretty close to the hypothetical examples cited in this article.
- Why there are no GIF files on GNU web pages. While this story is a historical illustration of the danger of software patents, these particular patents are now no longer a concern. For details of our website policies regarding GIFs, see our web guidelines.
Digital Restrictions Management
The propaganda term “Intellectual Property”
Cultural and Social Issues
- Clearly established cases of proprietary software that does nasty things to the users.
- The advantages of free software.
- The Bug Nobody is Allowed to Understand, By Richard Stallman.
- The Curious Incident of Sun in the Night-Time, by Richard M. Stallman.
- SCO, GNU, and Linux, by Richard Stallman, discusses how SCO's lawsuit against IBM pertains to the work of the GNU project. Please see the FSF SCO Response Page for more details on this subject.
- FSF's Statement in Response to Proposed Revised Final Judgment in Microsoft vs. United States, submitted to the US Department of Justice under the Tunney Act.
- U.S. Congress Threatens to Establish a New Kind of Monopoly, an attempt of the Congress to create a private monopoly over repeating publicly known information.
- The Right Way to Tax DAT
- Censoring My Software, by Richard Stallman.
- Funding Art vs Funding Software, by Richard Stallman.
- Android and Users' Freedom
- Ubuntu Spyware: What to Do?
- What's Wrong with YouTube
- Netscape and Free Software, an old article that clarifies some misunderstandings about an announcement by Netscape.
- Comments on Roderick Long's Article.
Terminology and Definitions
Upholding Software Freedom
BACK TO TOP
This page shares my best articles to read on topics like health, happiness, creativity, productivity and more. The central question that drives my work is, “How can we live better?” To answer that question, I like to write about science-based ways to solve practical problems.
You'll find interesting articles to read on topics like how to stop procrastinating as well as personal recommendations like my list of the best books to read and my minimalist travel guide. Ready to dive in? You can use the categories below to browse my best articles or scroll down to see every post by date and title.
Best Articles by Category
Browse my best articles and essays by category.
Interesting Articles to Start With
Not sure where to begin? These are the five best articles to start with if you'd like to understand my philosophy and approach to life.
- The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards in Life
- Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.
- The Paradox of Behavior Change
- This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent and This Happened
- Motivation is Overvalued. Environment Often Matters More.
All Articles by Date
Scroll down to browse all of my articles by date and title. Articles are listed in reverse chronological order with my newest articles at the top and my oldest essays at the bottom.