Free Software Foundation
From its founding until the mid-1990s FSF's funds were mostly used to employ software developers to write free software. Since the mid- to late 1990s there are now many companies and individuals writing free software, so FSF's employees and volunteers mostly work on legal and structural issues for the free software community.
Table of contents
Current work of FSF
- GPL Enforcement
- FSF has the resources and the will to enforce the GPL and other GNU licenses, but only for software for which it owns the copyrights; GPL'd software owned by others must be defended by their owners, since the FSF has no legal standing to enforce the GPL for them. FSF handles around 50 GPL violations per year and tries to bring the other party into compliance without involving the courts. As of January 2004, no one has yet taken FSF to court over a copyright dispute.
- GNU Licenses
- The GNU GPL is the most widely used license for Free Software projects. The current version (version 2) was released in 1991 but FSF are working on a version 3. FSF have also published the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL).
- Guardian of copyrights
- FSF holds the copyrights to most GNU software and some non-GNU Free Software. They require copyright assignment papers from each contributor to GNU packages so that they can defend the software in court if a dispute arises, and so that if there is a need to change the license of a work, it can be done without having to contact all contributors that have ever worked on the software.
- The Free Software Directory
- This is a listing of software packages which have been verified as free software. Each package entry contains 47 pieces of information such as the project's homepage, developers, programming language, etc. The goals are to provide a search engine for free software, and to provide a cross-reference for users to check if a package has been verified as being free software. FSF has received a small amount of funding from UNESCO for this project. It is hoped that the directory can be translated in to many languages in the future.
- Maintaining the Free Software Definition
- FSF maintain many of the documents that define the Free Software movement
- Legal Education
- FSF hold seminars about legal aspects of using the GPL, and offers a consultancy service for lawyers.
- Project Hosting
- FSF provide project hosting via their Savannah website.
- FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software
- An annual award.
On November 25, 2002 the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals. In March 2005 they had over 3400 associate members. On March 5 2003 they launched a Corporate Patron program for commercial entities. As of April 2004, they have 45 corporate patrons.
Board of Directors
- Geoffery Knauth, Senior Software Engineer at SFA, Inc.
- Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford University
- Eben Moglen, Professor of Law and Legal History at Columbia University and coauthor of the GNU GPL, Versions 1 and 2
- Henri Poole, Founder of CivicActions, a grassroots campaign technology consulting firm.
- Richard Stallman, Founder of FSF and the GNU Project, former maintainer of various GNU software, and coauthor of the GNU GPL, Versions 1 and 2
- Gerald Sussman, Professor of Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Richard Stallman: President
- Peter T. Brown: Executive Director (was GPL Compliance Manager and Controller until February 2005)
- Eben Moglen: General Counsel
- Dan Ravicher: Senior Counsel
- David "Novalis" Turner: GPL Compliance Engineer
- Janet Casey, Free Software Directory maintainer
- John Sullivan, Programs Administrator
- Ted Teah, Assignment Administrator
- James E. Blair, Senior Systems Administrator
- Justin Baugh, Senior Systems Administrator
- Bradley Kuhn: Executive Director until February 2005
- Leslie Proctor Public Relations
- Robert J. Chassell: Founding Director and Treasurer
- Tim Ney CEO 1998–2001
- Thomas Bushnell GNU hacker, GNU Hurd
- Roland McGrath GNU hacker, GNU Libc, Make, GNU Hurd
- Leonard Tower GNU hacker
- Mike Haertel GNU hacker, diff, grep
- Pete TerMaat GNU hacker, GDB
- Phil Nelson GNU hacker
- Jay Fenlason GNU hacker, sed
- Brian Fox GNU hacker, Bash
- Noboyuki Hikichi GNU hacker
- Paul Rubin GNU hacker, cpp
- Ariel Rios GNU hacker, Guile
- Randy Smith GNU hacker, GDB
- there was a "Steve"
- Jonathan Watterson (he organised the digital-speech project)
- Lisa "Opus" Goldstein: Manager of GNU Press
- Paul Fisher, systems administrator
There are usually around 10 employees in the headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. The office is managed by Peter Brown.
In 2001, Free Software Foundation Europe was founded in Germany to act as a "hub" for the Free Software organisations of Europe. In 2003, Free Software Foundation India was founded in Kerala. The 19 April 2001, The Free Software Foundation France was founded in France. On the 20th anniversary of the GNU Project (January 5 2004), the Irish Free Software Organisation was founded to promote free software in Ireland.
- The Free Software Foundation web site
- About FSF
- The Free Software Definition
- Documents about the Free Software philosophy
- FSF Associate Membership Program
- FSF Corporate Patronage Program
- Free Software Foundation Europe web site
- The Free Software Foundation India web site
- FSF India (official WWW site)
- The Irish Free Software Organisation