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<title>Essays and Articles
- GNU Project - Free Software Foundation</title>
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<h2>Essays and Articles</h2>

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<p>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.</p>
<!-- please leave both these ID attributes here. ... -->
<a id="TOCFreedomOrganizations">We</a>
<a id="FreedomOrganizations">also</a>
<!-- ... we removed this as an H$ section as it was duplicating the  -->
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<!-- have the URLs bookmarked or on their pages. -len -->
keep a list of
<a href="/links/links.html#FreedomOrganizations">Organizations
that Work for Freedom in
Computer Development and Electronic Communications</a>.</p>

<h3 id="aboutfs">About Free Software</h3>
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.</p>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/free-sw.html">What is Free Software?</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/why-free.html">Why
       Software Should Not Have Owners</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/shouldbefree.html">Why
       Software Should Be Free</a>  (This is an older and longer
       essay about the same topic as the previous one)</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/free-doc.html">Why Free Software Needs
      Free Documentation</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/selling.html">Selling Free Software</a> is OK!</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/categories.html">Categories of Free and
       Non-Free Software</a></li>
  <li><a href="/software/reliability.html">Free Software is More Reliable!</a></li>
<li><a href="/philosophy/when_free_software_isnt_practically_better.html">When Free Software Isn't (Practically) Better</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html">Why
       “Open Source” misses the point of Free Software</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/linux-gnu-freedom.html">Linux, GNU, and
  <li><a href="/philosophy/gnutella.html"
         id="Gnutella">Regarding Gnutella</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/schools.html">Why Schools Should Use
      Exclusively Free Software</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/my_doom.html">MyDoom and You</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/15-years-of-free-software.html">15 Years of Free Software</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/free-software-intro.html">Free Software movement</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/your-freedom-needs-free-software.html">Your Freedom Needs Free Software</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/fs-motives.html">Motives For Writing Free Software</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/gov-promote.html">How Should Governments Promote Free Software?</a></li>

<h3 id="aboutgnu">About the GNU Operating System</h3>

  <li><a href="/gnu/initial-announcement.html">Initial announcement of
       the GNU Operating System</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/manifesto.html">The GNU Manifesto</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/gnu-history.html">Brief history of the GNU Project</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/thegnuproject.html">The GNU Project</a>,
      a longer and more complete description of the project and its
  <li><a href="/fsf/fsf.html">What is the Free Software Foundation?</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/why-gnu-linux.html">Why GNU/Linux?</a></li>

<h3 id="LicensingFreeSoftware">Licensing Free Software</h3>

  <li><a href="/licenses/licenses.html">General information on licensing and copyleft</a></li>
  <li><a href="/licenses/license-list.html">A list of specific free software licenses</a></li>
  <li><a href="/licenses/gpl-faq.html">Frequently Asked Questions About the GNU Licenses</a></li>
  <li><a href="/licenses/why-not-lgpl.html">Why You Shouldn't Use the Lesser GPL for Your Next Library</a></li>
  <li><a href="/copyleft/copyleft.html">Copyleft</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/why-copyleft.html">Why Copyleft?</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/university.html">Releasing Free Software if You Work at a University</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/pragmatic.html">Copyleft: Pragmatic Idealism</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/javascript-trap.html">Javascript Trap</a> — You may be running non-free programs on your computer every day without realizing it — through your web browser.</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/vaccination.html">Viral Code and
  Vaccination</a>, an article by Robert J. Chassell</li>
  <li><a href="http://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/20050211.html">Censorship envy and licensing</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/x.html">The X Window System Trap</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/apsl.html">The Problems of the Apple License</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/bsd.html">The BSD License Problem</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/netscape-npl.html">The Netscape Public License Has Serious Problems</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/udi.html">The Free Software Movement and UDI</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/gates.html">It's not the Gates, it's the
  bars</a>, an article by Richard Stallman published in BBC News in
  <li><a href="/philosophy/microsoft.html">Is Microsoft the Great
  Satan?</a>  (An <a href="/philosophy/microsoft-old.html">older
  version</a> of this article is also available.)</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/microsoft-antitrust.html">The Microsoft Antitrust Trial and Free Software</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/microsoft-verdict.html">On the Microsoft Verdict</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/microsoft-new-monopoly.html">Microsoft's New Monopoly</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/lest-codeplex-perplex.html">Lest CodePlex
  <li><a href="/philosophy/plan-nine.html" id="PlanNineLicense">The Problems of the Plan 9 License</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/motif.html" id="MotifLicense">The New Motif License</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/using-gfdl.html" id="UsingGFDL">Using the GNU FDL</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/gpl-american-way.html" id="GPLAmericanWay">The GNU GPL and the American Way</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/gpl-american-dream.html" id="GPLAmericanDream">The GNU GPL and the American Dream</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/enforcing-gpl.html" id="EnforcingGPL">Enforcing the GNU GPL</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/selling-exceptions.html">On Selling
  Exceptions to the GNU GPL</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/freedom-or-power.html" id="FreedomOrPower">Freedom or Power?</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html" id="NoWordAttachments">We Can Put an End to Word Attachments</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/java-trap.html" id="JavaTrap">Free But
    Shackled - The Java Trap</a> (Although Sun
    has <a href="http://www.fsf.org/news/fsf-welcomes-gpl-java.html">
    relicensed</a> most of its Java platform reference implementation
    under the GNU General Public License, the issue described in this
    article still remains important)</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/fighting-software-patents.html" id="FightingSoftwarePatents">Fighting Software Patents - Singly and Together</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/software-literary-patents.html" id="SoftwareLiteraryPatents">
      Software Patents and Literary Patents</a>, 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.
  <li><a href="/philosophy/rtlinux-patent.html">GPL-compliant version
  of RTLinux Open Patent License in Works</a></li>

<h3 id="Laws">Laws and Issues</h3>

<h4 id="copyright">Copyright</h4>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/public-domain-manifesto.html">Why I Will Not Sign
      the Public Domain Manifesto</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/pirate-party.html">How the Swedish Pirate Party 
  Platform Backfires on Free Software</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/misinterpreting-copyright.html">Misinterpreting
  Copyright</a> is another essay
  by <a href="http://www.stallman.org">Richard Stallman</a> about the
  flaws in popular defenses of copyright law.</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/eldred-amicus.html">FSF's Brief Amicus
  Curiae in the Eldred v. Ashcroft Supreme Court case</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/push-copyright-aside.html">Science must
  “push copyright aside”</a>, another work of <a
  href="http://www.stallman.org">Richard Stallman</a> that appeared in
  the <a
  Nature Webdebates</a> in 2001, explains how copyright is impeding
  progress in scientific research.  You may also be interested in <a
  href="http://www.publiclibraryofscience.org">The Public Library of
  Science</a>, which is dedicated to making scientific research freely
  available to all on the Internet.</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/reevaluating-copyright.html">Reevaluating
  Copyright: The Public must prevail</a></li>

  <li><a href="http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/openlaw/eldredvashcroft/cyber/complaint_orig.html">
  Eldred v. Reno</a> is about a lawsuit to overturn a law that extends
  copyright by 20 extra years.</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/freedom-or-copyright.html">Freedom-Or
  Copyright?</a>, by <a href="http://www.stallman.org/">Richard
  Stallman</a> (an <a
  href="/philosophy/freedom-or-copyright-old.html">older version</a> of
  this essay remains online as well).</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/copyright-versus-community.html"
  id="StallmanTalkLSM"> Copyright versus community in the age of
  computer networks</a>: is a transcript of a keynote by
  <a href="http://www.stallman.org"> Richard Stallman</a> at
  the LIANZA conference in Christchurch, New Zealand, on October 12,

  <li><a href="http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/resources/feedback/OIIFB_GPL2_20040903.pdf">
  An English translation</a> of the famous decision of the District
  Court of Munich (Germany) regarding the enforceability and validity
  of the GPL. The translation was done by the Oxford Internet
  <!-- This link is broken
  <li><a href="http://www.humaninfo.org/copyrigh.htm">Examples of
  Excellent Copyright Policies</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/is-ever-good-use-nonfree-program.html">
  Is It Ever a Good Thing to Use a Nonfree Program?</a> By
  <a href="http://www.stallman.org"> Richard Stallman</a></li>


<h4 id="drm">Digital Restrictions Management</h4>
<li><a href="/philosophy/correcting-france-mistake.html">Correcting My Mistake about French Law</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/the-root-of-this-problem.html">The problem is
software controlled by its developer</a>, by
  Richard M. Stallman.</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/computing-progress.html">Computing
  “progress”: good and bad</a>, by Richard M. Stallman.</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/why-audio-format-matters.html">Why Audio
  Format matters</a> by Karl Fogel</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/opposing-drm.html">Opposing Digital Rights
  Mismanagement</a>, by Richard M. Stallman, answers a few common
  questions about DRM.</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/ebooks.html">Ebooks: Freedom Or
  Copyright</a> a slightly modified version of the article, originally
  published in Technology Review in 2000,
  by <a href="http://www.stallman.org"> Richard Stallman</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/ebooks-must-increase-freedom.html">
Ebooks must increase our freedom, not decrease it</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/can-you-trust.html">Can you trust your
  computer?</a>, a work by <a href="http://www.stallman.org">Richard
  Stallman</a> about the so-called “trusted computing”

  <li><a href="/philosophy/right-to-read.html">The Right to Read: A
  Dystopian Short Story</a> by <a href="http://www.stallman.org/">
  Richard Stallman</a></li>

<h4 id="noip">The propaganda
term <a href="/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#IntellectualProperty">
“Intellectual Property”</a></h4>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/no-ip-ethos.html">Don't Let
  “Intellectual Property” Twist Your Ethos</a>, by
  Richard M. Stallman.</li>

  <li>Comments from Richard Stallman
  on <a href="/philosophy/ipjustice.html">the ICLC's rejection of the
  IP Enforcement Directive</a></li>

  <li>Richard Stallman has
  written <a href="/philosophy/boldrin-levine.html">a review of
  Boldrin and Levine's “The case against intellectual

  <li><a href="/philosophy/not-ipr.html">Did You Say
  “Intellectual Property”?  It's a Seductive Mirage</a>.
  An essay on the true meaning of the phrase “Intellectual
  Property”, by Richard M. Stallman</li>

<h4 id="patents">Patents</h4>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/limit-patent-effect.html">Giving the Software
  Field Protection from Patents</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/w3c-patent.html">FSF's Position on W3
  Consortium “Royalty-Free” Patent Policy</a>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/guardian-article.html">Opposing The European
  Software Patent Directive</a>, a slightly modified version of the 
  article, originally  published in <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk">
  The Guardian</a> of London by <a href="http://www.stallman.org">Richard 
  Stallman</a> and Nick Hill.</li>

  <li>How to Protect the <a href="/philosophy/protecting.html">Right
  to Write Software</a> (independent of whether it's free or not)</li>

  <li>In <a href="https://www.eff.org/press/releases/princeton-scientists-sue-over-squelched-research">
  Felten v. RIAA</a>, scientists are asking a court to rule that the
  Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) does not prohibit them from
  publishing their research.</li>

  <li><a href="https://www.eff.org/search/site/dvd cases/">EFF
  “Intellectual Property”: MPAA (Motion Picture Association of
  America) DVD Cases Archive</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/patent-reform-is-not-enough.html">Patent
  Reform Is Not Enough</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/savingeurope.html">Saving Europe from
  Software Patents</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/amazon.html">Boycott Amazon!</a></li>

  <li><a href="http://www.researchoninnovation.org/patent.pdf"
  id="SequentialIPandI">Sequential Innovation, Patents, and
  Imitation</a> is a paper that presents a mathematical model showing
  how patents can impede progress in fields like software.</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/hague.html">Harm from the Hague</a>.</li>

  <li><a href="http://technology.guardian.co.uk/online/comment/story/0,12449,1540984,00.html">
  Soft sell</a>. An article by Richard M. Stallman published in
  <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk">The Guardian</a>.</li>

  <li><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2005/jun/23/onlinesupplement.insideit">
  Patent absurdity</a>, an article by Richard M. Stallman published in
  <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk">The Guardian</a>.</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/trivial-patent.html">The Anatomy of a
  Trivial Patent</a>, by Richard M. Stallman.</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/gif.html">Why there are no GIF files on GNU web pages</a>, 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 <a href="/server/fsf-html-style-sheet.html#UseofGraphics">policies regarding GIFs</a>, see our web <a href="/server/standards/">web guidelines</a>.</li>

<h4 id="ns">Network Services</h4>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/network-services-arent-free-or-nonfree.html">Network
  Services Aren't Free or Nonfree; They Raise Other Issues</a> an
  article by Richard Stallman.</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/who-does-that-server-really-serve.html">Who
  does that server really serve?</a>  by Richard Stallman published
  in <a href="http://www.bostonreview.net/richard-stallman-free-software-DRM">Boston

<h4 id="cultural">Cultural and Social Issues</h4>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/surveillance-vs-democracy.html">How Much
    Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand?</a> by Richard Stallman</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/nonfree-games.html">Nonfree DRM'd Games on
  GNU/Linux: Good or Bad?</a> by Richard Stallman</li>
  <li> <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2010/apr/06/digital-economy-bill-richard-stallman">Digital economy bill: One clown giveth and 
      the other clown taketh away</a> by
    <a href="http://www.stallman.org">Richard Stallman</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/digital-inclusion-in-freedom.html">Is Digital Inclusion A Good Thing? How Can We Make Sure It Is?</a> by
    <a href="http://www.stallman.org">Richard Stallman</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/wsis.html">World Summit on the Information

  <li><a href="/philosophy/lessig-fsfs-intro.html">The introduction by
  Lawrence Lessig</a>
  to <a href="http://shop.fsf.org/product/free-software-free-society/"><i>Free
  Software, Free Society: The Selected Essays of Richard
  M. Stallman</i></a> is available for reading.</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/wassenaar.html">Encryption software
  volunteers needed in countries without export control</a>.</li>

  <li>How to Protect the <a href="/philosophy/basic-freedoms.html">
  Freedoms of Speech, Press, and Association</a> on the Internet</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/privacyaction.html">Protect Postal
  Privacy</a>, a campaign to resist the proposed rule by the United
  States Postal Service to collect private information from

  <li><a href="/philosophy/ucita.html">Why We Must Fight UCITA</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/second-sight.html">Free Software and
  (e-)Government</a> — an article from The Guardian, by Richard
  Stallman (originally published under the title “Second

  <li><a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20070806183422/http://www.insnet.org/ins_headlines.rxml?cust=212&id=967">
  Free Software and Sustainable Development</a> — A short
  article by Richard Stallman regarding the use of proprietary
  software in cultural development.</li>


<h4 id="misc">Misc</h4>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/proprietary-surveillance.html">Clearly href="/philosophy/proprietary.html">Clearly established 
  cases of proprietary software that spies on or tracks does nasty things to the

  <li><a href="/philosophy/bug-nobody-allowed-to-understand.html">The
  Bug Nobody is Allowed to Understand</a>, By Richard Stallman.</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/sun-in-night-time.html">The Curious
  Incident of Sun in the Night-Time</a>, by Richard M. Stallman.</li>

  <li><a href="http://counterpunch.org/baker08192004.html">Why We Need
  “Free Software” Voting Machines</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/sco/sco-gnu-linux.html">SCO, GNU, and
  Linux</a>, by Richard Stallman, discusses how SCO's lawsuit against
  IBM pertains to the work of the GNU project.  Please see
  the <a href="/philosophy/sco/sco.html">FSF SCO Response Page</a> for
  more details on this subject.</li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/ms-doj-tunney.html">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

  <li><a href="/philosophy/new-monopoly.html">U.S. Congress Threatens
  to Establish a New Kind of Monopoly</a>, an attempt of the Congress
  to create a private monopoly over repeating publicly known

  <li><a href="/philosophy/dat.html">The Right Way to Tax DAT</a></li>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/censoring-emacs.html">Censoring My
  Software</a>, by <a href="http://www.stallman.org">Richard
  <li><a href="/philosophy/funding-art-vs-funding-software.html">Funding
  Art vs Funding Software</a>, by <a href="http://www.stallman.org">Richard

<h3 id="terminology">Terminology and Definitions</h3>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html">Confusing Words</a>
       which You Might Want to Avoid</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html">Why
       “Open Source” misses the point of Free Software</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html">“Open
       Source Software” or “Free Software”?</a>
       (This is an older essay about the same topic as the previous one.)</li>
  <li>Richard Stallman wrote <a href="/philosophy/drdobbs-letter.html">letter to the editor</a> of
       Dr. Dobb's Journal in June which further explains the distinction
       between the Free Software and Open Source movements.</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/categories.html">Categories of Free and
       Non-Free Software</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/fs-translations.html">Translations of the
  term “free software”</a> into various languages</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/why-call-it-the-swindle.html">Why call it the


<h3 id="upholding">Upholding Software Freedom</h3>

  <li><a href="/philosophy/use-free-software.html">The Free Software Community After 20 Years</a>,
       With great but incomplete success, what now?</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/mcvoy.html">Thank You, Larry McVoy</a> by Richard M. Stallman</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/social-inertia.html">Overcoming Social
  Inertia</a>, by Richard M. Stallman</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/compromise.html">Avoiding Ruinous Compromises</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html">
      Free Software Is Even More Important Now</a></li>

<h3>Philosophical humor</h3>

<li><a href="/fun/humor.html#Philosophy">Philosophy Humor</a>.
We don't have to be serious <i>all</i> the time.</li>

<h3>Links to more philosophy articles</h3>

<li id="Speeches"><a href="/philosophy/speeches-and-interview.html">Speeches and
<li id="ThirdPartyIdeas"><a href="/philosophy/third-party-ideas.html">Third party
<li id="Philosophy"><a href="/philosophy/">The main philosophy page</a></li>
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