Richard Stallman is the founder of the
GNU project, launched in 1984 to develop
the free operating system GNU (an acronym for "GNU's Not Unix"), and thereby
give computer users the freedom that most of them have lost. GNU is free software:
everyone is free to copy it and redistribute it, as well as to make changes
either large or small.
variants of the GNU system, based on the kernel Linux developed by Linus
Torvalds, are in widespread use. There are estimated to be over 17 million
users of GNU/Linux systems today.
Richard Stallman is the principal author of the GNU C Compiler, a
portable optimizing compiler which was designed to support diverse
architectures and multiple languages. The compiler now supports over
30 different architectures and 7 programming languages.
Stallman also wrote the GNU symbolic debugger (GDB), GNU Emacs, and
various other GNU programs.
Stallman received the Grace Hopper Award from the Association for Computing
Machinery for 1991 for his development of the first Emacs editor in the
1970s. In 1990 he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, and in
1996 an honorary doctorate from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.
In 1998 he received the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer award along
with Linus Torvalds; in 1999 he received the Yuri Rubinski memorial award.