Richard Stallman founded the Free Software Movement in 1983 and is the President of the Free Software Foundation. He also launched the development of the GNU operating system, intended to be entirely free software and thus respect users’ freedom. GNU is typically used with the kernel Linux in the Gnu/Linux combination. He is the original developer of a number of its key components, including the GNU Compiler Collection (gcc), the GNU symbolic debugger (gdb), and GNU Emacs.

Stallman has received many awards, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, The Association for Computing Machinery’s Grace Murray Hopper Award, and the Takeda Techno-Entrepreneurship Award for Social/Economic Well-Being. At the time of the GNU Zealand 2009 visit, he held seven honorary doctorates and two honorary professorships. He has a BA in physics from Harvard, and spent a number of years working as an operating system developer at MIT, before resigning in January 1984 to start the GNU project.

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