MacArthur Fellows Program

Richard M. Stallman

Computer Programmer | Class of 1990

Title
Computer Programmer
Location
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Age
37 at time of award

Richard Stallman is a computer programmer and the founder of the Free Software Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting computer users' rights to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has developed an operating system called GNU (a recursive acronym for GNU’s Not Unix), which is compatible with UNIX. GNU is free software that can be copied, redistributed, or changed. Variant GNU systems, which use the Linux kernel and are often called “Linux systems,” have been in use since 1994; the GNU system was first released in 1996. Stallman is the principal author of the GNU Compiler Collection, a portable optimizing compiler that was designed to support diverse architectures and multiple languages. The compiler now supports over thirty different architectures and seven programming languages.

Stallman is the president of the Free Software Foundation. He also helped found the League for Programming Freedom, an organization of programmers working to preserve the freedom to write software.  He is the author of Free Software, Free Society (2001).

Stallman received a B.A. (1974) from Harvard University.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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