Free as in Freedom [Paperback]
Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: March 2002
Pages: 240

Free as in Freedom interweaves biographical snapshots of GNU project founder Richard Stallman with the political, social and economic history of the free software movement. It examines Stallman's unique personality and how that personality has been at turns a driving force and a drawback in terms of the movement's overall success.

Free as in Freedom examines one man's 20-year attempt to codify and communicate the ethics of 1970s era "hacking" culture in such a way that later generations might easily share and build upon the knowledge of their computing forebears. The book documents Stallman's personal evolution from teenage misfit to prescient adult hacker to political leader and examines how that evolution has shaped the free software movement. Like Alan Greenspan in the financial sector, Richard Stallman has assumed the role of tribal elder within the hacking community, a community that bills itself as anarchic and averse to central leadership or authority. How did this paradox come about? Free as in Freedom provides an answer. It also looks at how the latest twists and turns in the software marketplace have diminished Stallman's leadership role in some areas while augmenting it in others.

Finally, Free as in Freedom examines both Stallman and the free software movement from historical viewpoint. Will future generations see Stallman as a genius or crackpot? The answer to that question depends partly on which side of the free software debate the reader currently stands and partly upon the reader's own outlook for the future. 100 years from now, when terms such as "computer," "operating system" and perhaps even "software" itself seem hopelessly quaint, will Richard Stallman's particular vision of freedom still resonate, or will it have taken its place alongside other utopian concepts on the 'ash-heap of history?'

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O'Reilly MediaFree as in Freedom [Paperback]
 
4.8

(based on 8 reviews)

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4.0

Free as in Freedom Review

By Danny Yee

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media Free as in Freedom [Paperback]:

"A generally sympathetic but far from hagiographic biography..." read full review.

 
4.0

Free as in Freedom Review

By George Woolley

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media Free as in Freedom [Paperback]:

A very good book.

This book delivers what it promises.

If you want to experience the story of "Richard Stallman's crusade for free software", get this book.

If you are interested in the open source movement, likely you'll want to read this book.

It's interesting, challenging and easy to follow.

http://oakland.pm.org/reviews/free.html

 
5.0

Free as in Freedom Review

By Kenneth Wilcox

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media Free as in Freedom [Paperback]:

This book was a nice introduction to the life of Richard Stallman. If anyone is interested in the GNU or Free Software Foundation read this book! It brings to light the reason why Stallman had to create the FSF/GNU. I've always liked what GNU was about, but after reading this book I think I have a better understanding of why something like this is necessary and needed. It was well written and a quick read, hats off to Sam Williams in starting this continuing project.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Free as in Freedom Review

By Stuart Gear

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media Free as in Freedom [Paperback]:

An extremely worthwhile purchase.

The book is well written and shows the many sides of a fascinating individual.

Besides instilling me with a great deal of respect for Mr Stallman, it made me realise just how warped some of my thinking was. Growing up in a Windows world, the thought of people actually HELPING other people with software wasn't something I had ever thought about. Profits are important, social conscious was not. Morals weren't applicable.

Thank goodness I've got THAT one sorted out. 8)

Go GNU !

 
5.0

Free as in Freedom Review

By John Gray

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media Free as in Freedom [Paperback]:

Much enjoyed this book. It definately portraits Stallman.

 
5.0

Free as in Freedom Review

By Collin Starkweather

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media Free as in Freedom [Paperback]:

Sam Williams' biography was well-written and well-researched, a suitable testament to a compelling individual who, regardless of whether you agree with his worldview or not, will likely leave a tremendously important legacy to the world. It kept me engaged from the first page to the last, and I would recommend it to anyone who holds even a remote interest in the world of free and open source software.

It is worth noting that I was at first under the impression that Mr. Williams did not sufficiently empathize with his subject given that he wrote about RMS not with unadulterated adulation, but with a perspective that presented both the qualities that make his rhetoric and force of personality so compelling and the qualities that often vex and frustrate those around him. This is a portrait of Richard Stallman warts and all. However, after exchanging e-mails with someone who knows him personally, I discovered that he "... believes that Richard is a hero and that future scholars will recognize him as a major intellectual influence."

If you are even remotely interested in tech sector or intellectual property in the digital age, buy this book. It will at the very least make you think. And it's a real page turner; the kind of book that you should not start reading late at night unless you aren't counting on getting any sleep anyway.

 
5.0

Free as in Freedom Review

By Rene S. Hollan

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media Free as in Freedom [Paperback]:

Finally! Richard Stallman's contribution to making the world a better place has been recognized in a work accessable to all readers: whether technically adept or not.

Free as in Freedom offers insight into the events that shaped Richard Stallman's ideals and ethos. A must-read for anyone struggling to understand why software freedom matters, and what drives its most dedicated advocate.

The book starts by giving a description of Stallman's early life and key turning points that make him the person he is today. Later chapters concentrate on the free software movement, maturation of the ideas that found legal representation as the GPL (GNU General Public License), as well as related topics as the similar-sounding, but ethically different, open-source movement.

Technology takes a back seat to ethics here: this work will appeal to anyone with a social conscience, hacker and non-hacker alike. While it is available under the GNU FDL (Free Documentation License), the hard cover edition will make an excellent addition to any library.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Free as in Freedom Review

By hackerlet

from Undisclosed

Comments about O'Reilly Media Free as in Freedom [Paperback]:

This is a must read for anyone interested in the field of computer software. Without reading this book, one cannot understand the full issues of software and its social impact.

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