What is the Free Software Foundation?

 [an FSF logo on black] (jpeg 8k) *no gifs due to patent problems

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, understanding, and modification of computer programs. We do this by promoting the development and use of free software in all areas of computer use. Specifically, we are developing a complete integrated software system named ``GNU'' (GNU's Not Unix) that is upwardly compatible with Unix. We are already distributing many of the components that we had to write.

The word ``free'' in our name pertains to freedom, not price. You may or may not pay a price to get GNU software. Either way, once you have the software you have three specific freedoms in using it. First, the freedom to copy the program and give it away to your friends and co-workers; second, the freedom to change the program as you wish, by having full access to source code; third, the freedom to distribute an improved version and thus help build the community. (If you redistribute GNU software, you may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, or you may give away copies.)

Other organizations distribute whatever free software happens to be available. By contrast, the Free Software Foundation concentrates on development of new free software, working towards a GNU system complete enough to eliminate the need for a proprietary operating system.

Besides developing GNU, FSF distributes copies of GNU software and manuals for a distribution fee, and accepts tax-deductible gifts to support GNU development. Most of the FSF's funds come from its distribution service. This is why we urge you to order CD-ROMs and manuals (but especially CD-ROMs) from the FSF when you can.


Other texts to read:


Return to GNU's home page.

FSF & GNU inquiries & questions to gnu@prep.ai.mit.edu. Other ways to contact the FSF.

Comments on these web pages to webmasters@www.gnu.ai.mit.edu, send other questions to gnu@prep.ai.mit.edu.

Copyright (C) 1996, 1997 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111, USA

Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

Updated: 20 Mar 1997 tower