Richard Stallman

On this date in 1953, computer programmer Richard Stallman was born in New York City. Stallman is a leader in the software freedom movement. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a degree in physics in 1974 and did graduate work at MIT. He has received many awards and several honorary doctorates, including from the University of Glasgow and Lakehead University in Canada. He is known for founding the GNU Project (GNU’s Not Unix) in 1983 while he was at MIT.

The GNU Project involves programmers working to create free software so a computer may run entirely on free software. The project met this goal in 1992 with Linux, a free operating system. The project continues to develop more software and advocate for free software, which is free to use, edit and distribute.

Stallman, based in Massachusetts, also promotes other issues, including medical marijuana, and supports the Green Party. He also has sported a button that reads “Impeach God” and identifies as an atheist. According to his website, Stallman was in agreement with FFRF’s challenge of President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiatives. “I think we have an excess of faith-based initiatives in recent years,” he wrote. (, Feb. 28, 2007.)

Photo by Thesupermat under CC 3.0.

Freedom From Religion Foundation