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<title>Philosophy of the GNU Project
- GNU Project - Free Software Foundation</title>
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<h2>Philosophy of the GNU Project</h2>

See <a href="http://audio-video.gnu.org/">audio-video.gnu.org</a>
for recordings of Richard Stallman's speeches.
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<p><em>Free software</em> means that the software's users have
freedom.  (The issue is not about price.)  We developed the GNU
operating system so that users can have freedom in their

<p>Specifically, free software means users have
the <a href="/philosophy/free-sw.html">four essential freedoms</a>:
(0) to run the program, (1) to study and change the program in source
code form, (2) to redistribute exact copies, and (3) to distribute
modified versions.</p>

<p>Software differs from material objects—such as chairs,
sandwiches, and gasoline—in that it can be copied and changed
much more easily.  These facilities are why software is useful; we
believe a program's users should be free to take advantage of them,
not solely its developer.</p>


<div class="comment">
<p>The articles in the short list below give an overview of GNU
philosophy. For further reading, please select a section
from check the menu above.</p>

<p>We also maintain a list of above, especially
<b><a href="/philosophy/essays-and-articles.html">Essays &
Articles</a></b>, and <b><a href="/philosophy/speeches-and-interviews.html">
Speeches & Interviews</a></b>.</p>

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<p class="announcement">
See <a
href="/philosophy/latest-articles.html">most recently added articles</a>.</p> href="//audio-video.gnu.org/">audio-video.gnu.org</a>
for recordings of Richard Stallman's speeches.</p>
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<h3 id="introduction">Introduction</h3>

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  <li><a href="/philosophy/free-sw.html">What is Free Software?</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html">
      Why we must insist on free software</a></li>
  <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary.html">
      Proprietary software is often malware</a></li> Software Is Often Malware</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/gnu.html">History of GNU/Linux</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/pragmatic.html">Copyleft: Pragmatic Idealism</a></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/fs-motives.html">Motives For Writing Free Software</a></li>
  <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> Stallman</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html">Why
      “Open Source” misses Misses the point Point of Free Software</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/when-free-software-isnt-practically-superior.html">When
      Free Software Isn't (Practically) Superior</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/government-free-software.html">Measures
       governments can use
      Governments Can Use to promote free software</a></li> Promote Free Software</a></li>
  <li><a href="/education/education.html">Free software in education</a></li> Software and Education</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/limit-patent-effect.html">Giving the Software
      Field Protection from Patents</a></li>

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<div id="TOCFreedomOrganizations"> id="TOCFreedomOrganizations" class="right-column comment">
<p id="FreedomOrganizations">We id="FreedomOrganizations" class="announcement">We also keep a list of
<a href="/links/links.html#FreedomOrganizations">Organizations
that Work for Freedom in
Computer Development and Electronic Communications</a>.</p>

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<p>Please send general FSF & GNU inquiries to
<a href="mailto:gnu@gnu.org"><gnu@gnu.org></a>.
There are also <a href="/contact/">other ways to contact</a>
the FSF.  Broken links and other corrections or suggestions can be sent
to <a href="mailto:webmasters@gnu.org"><webmasters@gnu.org></a>.</p>

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of this article.</p>

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<p class="unprintable">Updated:
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$Date: 2022/07/17 19:30:07 $
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