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<title>Philosophy of the GNU Project - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)</title>

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<h2>Philosophy of the GNU Project</h2>

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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
computing.</p>

<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>

<p>For further reading, please select a section
from the menu above.</p>

<p>We also maintain a list of <a href="/philosophy/latest-articles.html">most recently added articles</a>.</p>

<h3 id="introduction">Introduction</h3>

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<ul>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/free-sw.html">What is Free Software?</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/gnu.html">History of GNU/Linux</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/why-free.html">Why
       Software Should Not Have Owners</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>
  <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/when_free_software_isnt_practically_better.html">When Free Software Isn't (Practically) Better</a></li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/government-free-software.html">Measures governments can use to promote free software</a></li>       
</ul>

<p>
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<a id="TOCFreedomOrganizations">We</a>
<a id="FreedomOrganizations">also</a>
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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 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.
<br />
Please send broken links and other corrections or suggestions to
<a href="mailto:webmasters@gnu.org"><webmasters@gnu.org></a>.
</p>

<p>
Please see the
<a href="/server/standards/README.translations.html">Translations
README</a> for information on coordinating and submitting
translations of this article.
</p>

<p>
Copyright © 2011 Free Software Foundation, Inc.</p>
<p>This page is licensed under a <a rel="license"
href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/us/">Creative
Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License</a>.
</p>

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Updated:
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$Date: 2012/11/30 23:27:18 $
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