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2017 WINNER'S PODIUM: Richard Stallman

Please join me in congratulating Richard Stallman. He has been selected as the 2017 winner of the Annual Bruessard Award. Richard Stallman is being recognized because he is the spark who ignited the flame behind the popular and burgeoning free and open source software (FOSS) movement. In 1984, Richard Stallman launched the Free Software Foundation (FSF). At that particular point in time, he also initiated the GNU (GNU's Not Unix) project, whose chief aim was to create totally free software. Richard Stallman will be among the first to point out that free connotes freedom to share, change, distribute, use, and even sell the software at will and as desired—say, without any fear of becoming a party to a copyright, patent, or trademark infringement lawsuit. Free does not mean a perpetual guarantee of software availability at $0.00 cost to the user.

Wait a minute. Hold up. "FSF? GNU?," what is that you ask? Rewind the tape. It is time to take a brief stroll down memory lane. It is time to go back in time to the beginning of the Richard Stallman saga. The genesis and inspiration for it all began during the 1970's with AT&T Bell Laboratories, Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson, and their UNIX operating system as discussed in the next video.

Watch (AT&T Archives: The UNIX Operating System)

Richard Stallman is another one of those old-school programmers in the mold of Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson, the creators of the UNIX operating system. During his young adulthood years, Richard Stallman was the beneficiary of a free-wheeling computing culture, and it was similar to the computing culture prevalent at the time when programming legends like Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson were at their creative peaks during their young adulthood years.

The Richard Stallman saga began in earnest with the advent of the personal computer (PC), which has existed since the 1970's. However, in 1981, IBM popularized the PC when it released the IBM 5150 PC model into the marketplace. The IBM PC became an instant hit within the economy's business sector as opposed to its household sector, in part, because most households could not afford to purchase one. The IBM PC soon became the standard for personal computing. With the business community's embrace of the IBM PC, it followed that entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to make money by creating applications for businesses to use on the wildly popular IBM PC. The business community wholeheartedly embraced software applications such as dBase (launched in 1981 for the IBM PC for database processing), WordPerfect (launched in 1982 for the IBM PC for word processing), Lotus 1-2-3 (launched in 1983 for spreadsheet processing), and Harvard Graphics (launched in 1986 for creating presentations).

Etan J. Tal's IBM Selectric II Typewriter

IBM Selectric II Typewriter

Popular software applications such as the aforementioned ones in the above paragraph as written for the PC, in conjunction with printers, were the catalysts for confining the typewriter to the dustbin of history and propelling it into extinction. Ironically, IBM, the company to popularize the PC also was the company to popularize the typewriter. Before the PC, clerical workers composed all business correspondences on typewriters. Students completed their school term papers on the typewriter.

Microsoft was successful at refining and enhancing the graphical user interface (GUI), which originally was conceived and pioneered by Xerox PARC during the 1970's but later popularized by Apple. The GUI greatly enhanced the PC's usability and made the PC a more exciting machine to use when compared to the old command-line paradigm for personal computing. And, with Microsoft's 1990 release of the Windows 3.0 operating system for the IBM PC, the rest of the story, as the saying goes, is software "proprietary" history. Microsoft later augmented its Windows operating system with its office suite (launched in 1990 for Windows consisting of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and later Access) and other interesting software offerings such as Visual Basic (launched in 1991 for Windows), FoxPro (launched in 1993 for Windows), and Internet Explorer (launched in 1995). Microsoft seemed unstoppable, that is, until the influence and impact of Richard Stallman began to be felt.

Engelbert Reinek's IBM PC (Introduced in 1981)


Paulire's MS-DOS/Windows Operating System Timeline

MS-DOS/Windows by Paulire

Kristiyan Bogdanov's Windows Family Tree

Windows Family Tree by Kristiyan Bogdanov

The reader should note that Apple always has run parallel to—and in competition with—the IBM PC and Microsoft with its popular Apple/Macintosh PC line, operating system, and comparable software offerings such as AppleWorks and iWork. Apple always has enjoyed a devoted and loyal user base. To be sure, the Apple II PC (launched in 1977) preceded the 1981 launch of the IBM PC. In addition to Apple, other more prominent early PC rivals in the bustling PC space included Wang Laboratories, Commodore International, Tandy Corporation, Osborne Computer Corporation, Atari Corporation, Kaypro Corporation, and DEC/Compaq/HP, to name a few.

Marcin Wichary's Apple II Computer (Introduced in 1977)

Apple II Computer

Apple/Mac OS (Operating System) Timeline

Mac OS

Richard Stallman had been on the computer scene long before the advent of the PC. Richard Stallman hailed from an earlier generation of free-wheeling computer programmers. Computer programming code during Richard Stallman's early career was readily shared among programmers, though limited by the number of available software applications. As they pertained to the PC, notions of copyrights and trademarks came into prominence after the 1981 release of the IBM PC and the popular embrace of the PC by the business community. By 1984, Richard Stallman had become dismayed by and disillusioned with the trend towards an entrepreneurial focus on developing proprietary, copyrighted software applications.

Richard Stallman is a pacesetter because he stepped forward and decided to go against the "proprietary" grain. He stood in opposition to the proprietary trend. Amid all of the turmoil and upheaval in the PC space and contrary to the popular rush to get rich by copyrighting and trademarking everything PC-related, Richard Stallman longed for and sought a return to the good, old-fashioned days of freely shared software programs without any copyright restrictions to impede how the software could be used and improved. Richard Stallman's free-software efforts have been both the direct and indirect inspiration for other pivotal developments in the free and open source software movement. Some other notable developments to follow in the spirit of FOSS included these:

  • Linus Torvalds' 1991 development of the kernel for the Linux operating system.
  • Tim Berners-Lee's formation of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 1994 to establish a uniform standard for creating web pages. Recall the browser wars of the 1990's where different web browser makers implemented varying standards for rendering web pages, which sometimes caused web pages to display differently from browser to browser.
  • Brian Behlendorf's launch of the Apache web server in 1995, which has been commonly used to host websites and web applications.

With Linus Torvalds' contribution of the Linux kernel, there now existed a free operating system called Linux on which to run the free and open source software applications. These developments came together like a marriage made in Heaven, so to speak. They provided the general public with free software, a free operating system on which to run the free software, a free markup language for creating web pages, and a free web server to host websites and web applications at nominal cost. A popular quotation often used in commerce is this: "If you build it, they will come." And came they (users) did to embrace the FOSS movement. The only missing link—and, to some extent, it remains a missing link and challenge even today as of 2017—is the availability of affordable hardware on which to run the free software and free websites. Despite the impediments imposed by the cost of hardware, as time passed, Linux's popularity continued to soar. The icing on the Linux cake, so to speak, was the emergence of the more standardized, sophisticated, and versatile X-based graphical user interfaces or window managers to complement the Linux operating system. Free and open source operating systems and software applications have always suffered from a stigma of being second-rate and a bit more cumbersome to use compared to their proprietary brethren. The emergence of sophisticated X-based desktops was sort of a turning point where Linux began to overcome some of the second-rate stigma. Updated X-based window managers have begun providing Linux users with the ease of use, friendliness, and simplicity that most users expect to experience while using the latest state-of-the-art computers.

Development of a Salamander

Caitlin Smith's Adult Tiger Salamander

Tiger Salamander

Slowly but surely, much like the developmental stages which living things must undergo, free and open software applications have begun emerging from their collective childhood shells, finding their footing, and standing on their own merits, so to speak. Before long, free and open source applications will be viewed as having come of age into fully mature grown-up applications. The salamander video and photo above serve as a metaphor to symbolize a coming of age for FOSS and Linux. Much like, say, the development of a salamander, FOSS and Linux have undergone their own growing pains. The next four images depict the development or timeline of FOSS and Linux.

ScotXW's Linux Kernel

Linux Kernel

Kulandru mor's Some Popular Open Source, X-Based Graphical User Interfaces or Desktop Environments for the Linux Operating System

Popular Free Desktop Environments

VARGUX's Conceptual Map of FLOSS (Free Libre Open Source Software)

VARGUX's Conceptual Map of FLOSS

Linux Operating System Distribution Timeline with Major Players

Linux Operating System Distribution Timeline

As illustrated by the next graphic, the reader should note that the Linux operating system hailed from or was derived from the broader UNIX family. The Linux operating system represents but one branch of the broader UNIX family tree.

Eraserhead1, Infinity0, and Sav_vas' UNIX Timeline

UNIX Timeline

Another crucial player in the FOSS movement was Brewster Kahle. In 1996, Brewster Kahle decided to create an index of the World Wide Web. The outcome of Brewster Kahle's vision and efforts was creation of the Internet Archive website. Not only does the Internet Archive maintain an index of all websites in the form of its Wayback Machine but also it serves as another freely accessible storehouse of knowledge. Collectively, the pacesetting FOSS efforts of humans such as Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds, Tim Berners-Lee, Brian Behlendorf, Brewster Kahle and others could have the long-term effect of leading to a smarter planet, a safer planet, and a wiser human species. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not add that the opposite scenario for humankind's future also could become a reality, but I am the eternal optimist. I would rather think that all of this advancement in human science, technology, and knowledge, in the end, does not turn out to be little more than a "Wild Goose Chase" (Steele Pulse) down the road of inevitable human doom.

Arguably, Richard Stallman's free-software philosophy was the guiding light behind the larger free-to-use business model so prevalent on the World Wide Web today (as of 2017). Popular and free-to-use web browsers such as Internet Explorer (launched in 1995), search engines such as Google (launched in 1998), mapping applications such as Yahoo! Maps (launched in 2002), social media websites such as Facebook (launched in 2004), etc. were formed in the spirit of the free and open source software movement. Suffice it to say that, mainly by borrowing a page from the playbook of free radio and free television, for-profit private business enterprises such as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! and Facebook did figure out a way to generate revenue from their free-to-use products, namely, through advertisements presented to their large user bases. It further should be noted that a major criticism of the free-to-use business model employed by for-profit, web-based enterprises is that users often sacrifice or give up a measure of privacy in exchange for the free-to-use privilege.

Some notable not-for-profit websites also arguably to have been inspired by the free and open source software movement include websites such as Internet Public Library (launched in 1995), (launched 2001), (launched 2009), and (launched 2009). The human imagination becomes the limit as to how these freely available software resources and web applications can be harnessed or put to use.

Although I empathize with Richard Stallman's perspective about software being free to use, modify, share, and distribute without impediments, I must confess that I am not quite the purist as is Richard Stallman. I am more a proponent of freedom of choice, which embraces both the proprietary and non-proprietary approaches. In my opinion, more consumer choices are better than fewer. I think that the consumer should be free to choose whether to patronize the free-software model (such as, say, free and non-proprietary GNU software applications like LibreOffice and Trisquel Linux) or the paid-software model (such as, say, for-profit and proprietary software applications like Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows or like Apple iWork and macOS). To be sure, sometimes FOSS programmers have pursued careers at for-profit corporations. Their FOSS programming efforts generally have been performed in their spare time as a hobby or as a labor of love. In other instances, entrepreneurs who have become wealthy through private enterprise also have donated time, resources, and money to not-for-profit enterprises such as those engaged in FOSS initiatives. Academic institutions, governmental entities, and for-profit software companies, too, have been big boosters of the FOSS movement, for instance, Google, IBM, MIT, and NASA. Generally speaking, however, the small, individual, citizen donors usually have been the ones to keep many of these not-for-profit FOSS enterprises financially afloat and solvent—and, to some extent, advertisements and a paid version of the application, too.

It has been stated that no greater gift is there than the gift of love. Clearly, these FOSS applications represent labors of love. In the process, these FOSS applications have the potential for enabling all humans to lift themselves by the bootstraps by becoming PC-literate and educationally enlightened in a somewhat affordable way. But, as the saying goes, money makes the world go around. It is the profit motive that powers the engine of entrepreneurship. The profit motive is the thing that keeps the wheels of innovation turning. Without the profit motive, there would be business stagnation instead of business innovation. Proprietorship and proprietary, therefore, are intricately linked to the free enterprise system of private ownership of property coupled with the economic law of supply, demand, and price. Admittedly, in an effort to make money, the profit motive also inspires entrepreneurs to produce all too many superfluous products. Scare resources are wasted when these superfluous products are brought to market. The larger point, however, is this: The non-proprietary and not-for-profit software model is admirable, but the proprietary, for-profit model most likely will prevail due to the overwhelming strength of the profit motive. Free is a powerful inducement to utilize an open-source product, but free and open source also must be accompanied by high quality to win the votes and confidence of consumers. The profit motive and corporate success, in turn, are driven by broader societal values and fringe benefits such as personal desires to attain wealth, fame, celebrity, status, honor, distinction, living the good life, privilege, power, and so forth.

To be certain, most innovations in the software industry have emanated from the for-profit, private sector. To stay competitive, witness how an icon-based, PC-oriented Microsoft Windows 1.0 of 1985 has morphed into a very different tile-based, multi-device-oriented Microsoft Windows 10 as of 2017. Witness how Microsoft Office of 1990 has morphed from a menu-based paradigm to a ribbon-based paradigm as seen in Microsoft Office 2016. Witness how crash-prone Microsoft Internet Explorer of 1995 has morphed into a more robust and stable Microsoft Edge of 2015. The FOSS community usually takes its software design cues from the profit-motivated private software sector, and in that respect, the FOSS community is a follower rather than a leader. But, as Mozilla Firefox has demonstrated by surpassing Microsoft's web browser both in popularity and in versatility, when many FOSS programmers come together to crowd-source or pool their talents and put their collective minds to the task at hand, then the profit motive can be overcome and surpassed by the more utilitarian motive. I realize that many of Microsoft's detractors commonly refer to Microsoft as the evil behemoth out of Redmond, Washington—or some other similar terms of disdainfulness—who is casting some sort of a wide proprietary shadow of unrelenting dominion over the entire software industry. Yet, when the indirect spillover effects also are factored into the equation, there is no denying that for-profit, private corporations such as Microsoft and Apple are responsible for creating millions of (good-paying) jobs.

The following "software wars" graphic is included here to mimic or depict the tensions and upheavals between various (for-profit and non-profit) players in the software space—albeit the graphic seems to depict GNU/Linux/FOSS encircling and closing in on reigning software ruler Microsoft, while a besieged Microsoft battles to fend them off. Personally speaking, I like Microsoft. I (along with many businesses, institutions, and organizations) enjoy using Microsoft's—and Apple's—proprietary products. And, as popular as Microsoft's products are, it should be acknowledged and emphasized that FOSS software applications are equally capable of performing the same tasks as comparable Microsoft products.

Li-Cheng (Andy) Tai's Software Wars

Software wars

Wgsimon's Microprocessor Wars

Microprocessor Transistor Counts 1971 to 2011 and Moore's Law

Guillem, Wereon, Hotmocha, and Christoph S.'s UNIX Operating System Wars: The Major Players

UNIX Timeline

The reader also should note that, as the three "competition wars" graphics immediately above illustrate, the competition has not been limited to software applications. There also has been ongoing competition between microprocessor makers such as Intel and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices); the microprocessor often is described as being the brain of the PC. There even has been best-in-class competition within the UNIX family and also along the various branches of the UNIX family tree. Perhaps no greater is the competition for best-in-class recognition than the many flavors of the Linux operating system.

As of the 2010's, a similar competitive scenario is being repeated in the smartphone space including the corresponding apps space that run on smartphones. During the 1980's, there existed the PC hardware, operating system, and software application competitive dynamic. Though the PC and its applications remain very popular as of 2017, during the 2010's, it is the smartphone manufacturers and smartphone app developers who fiercely are competing against one another for dominion in the marketplace. The development of new and interesting smartphone features and apps has been all the rage of the 2010's. The smartphone has introduced a new dynamic into the computing experience. Instead of the point-and-click GUI and computing experience native to the PC, the smartphone has introduced users to a new touch-and-pinch GUI and computing experience.

Do the 2020's promise to see a transition or ceding of the competition in the field of microcomputing from the smartphone space and over to the cloud space, especially as microcomputing relates to the business community? Time will tell. The reader should note that inherent in the cloud model is a departure from the PC software pricing model whereby users of the software made a one-time payment and took possession of a shrink-wrapped box of software. In cloud computing, software applications are stored in the cloud instead of being stored on a PC. By virtue of software applications residing in the cloud instead of on the owner's personal computer, a new pricing model is more amenable to users making ongoing rental payments or paying recurring subscription fees to access the cloud software applications. From the standpoint of software suppliers, the cloud rental pricing model also represents one way to combat the problem of free file sharing of proprietary software applications or the making and selling of unauthorized and illegal copies of software applications. From the standpoint of consumers, cloud computing offers a convenient, malware-free computing experience absent the need to endlessly update the software application or operating systems as these tasks will be performed behind the scenes in the cloud. In cloud computing, the latest malware-free and virus-free version of a given software application is always available at anytime, from anyplace in the world with a web connection, and on any type of computing device; simply sign-on and start using the software in the cloud. The next three videos serve as reminders that, as of 2017, despite the onslaught of the smartphone and despite the rise of cloud computing, PC competition remains as vigorous and vibrant as ever.

Watch (GUI Evolution 1981 - 2009)

Watch (Top 10 Best Operating System)

Watch (Best Linux Distros 2017: Choosing the Right Linux Version for You)

While it is true that money makes the world go around, it also is true that there is more to life than making a lot of money, which represents the core of Richard Stallman's impact and legacy as it pertains to software. The strength of the free and open source software movement resides in the fact that it taps into the charitable, philanthropic, and altruistic aspects of human nature. The free and open source software movement seems to recognize the fact that, when the veil of ignorance and poverty is lifted for one human, then the entirety of humanity benefits. Declining poverty rates and economic stability in society, in turn, tend to lead to greater political and social stability. Greater stability and higher education in society, in turn, tend to lead to higher moral compasses and more civilized behavior within the human family. As more humans become educated, it enhances humankind's chances of finding new solutions and new approaches to solving the many biological, sociological, and international challenges facing the human species. The point is this: Whereas the FOSS community might not be directly responsible for creating millions of jobs, the FOSS movement greatly can contribute to a realization of millions of computer-literate and knowledgeable humans—at a nominal cost to society.

Today, as of 2017, FOSS has evolved. FOSS has come to mean many things since GNU's 1984 inception. In effect, as of 2017, software applications can be described as running a gamut. They can be placed on a spectrum or continuum. At one end of the spectrum is the public domain and totally free software with no restrictions on use. In the middle is the partially free software with some restrictions on use. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the rather restrictive proprietary software with lots of conditions on use. The following two graphics provide an overview of the different types of software licensing, in general, and the spectrum of free and open source software licenses, in particular.

shaddim / Mark Webbink's Types of Software Licenses

Software license classification

David A Wheeler's Spectrum of FOSS Licenses

FOSS software licensing spectrum

Thanks go to Richard Stallman. He is the one who laid the foundation, paved the way, and planted the seeds for a now blossoming FOSS movement. Accordingly, listed in the table immediately below are some of the more popular categories and types of free and open source software applications. Typically, within the Linux environment, these listed FOSS software applications come bundled with the operating system or could be loaded into a given Linux environment with a software package manager. In many instances, there are versions of these FOSS applications that also run in the Windows and macOS operating system environments. Perusing the table below, do you agree that Richard Stallman has started something special? Do you admire and applaud what Richard Stallman has started by way of the FOSS movement? Are you astonished and impressed by how much has been accomplished by the FOSS movement since its 1984 inauguration?

Some Popular Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Categories and Applications for Multiple PC Operating System Platforms

Note: Click a red, numbered category label to sort the list by category.
FOSS Application's Name FOSS Application's Website Category
FOSS Application's Name FOSS Application's Website Category
LibreOffice LibreOffice 01 - Office Suites (Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation, and/or Database Bundle)
Apache OpenOffice OpenOffice 01 - Office Suites (Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation, and/or Database Bundle)
Calligra Suite Calligra Suite 01 - Office Suites (Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation, and/or Database Bundle)
ONLYOFFICE Desktop ONLYOFFICE 01 - Office Suites (Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation, and/or Database Bundle)
WPS Office for Linux WPS Office for Linux 01 - Office Suites (Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation, and/or Database Bundle)
StarOffice Legacy Version StarOffice Legacy Version 01 - Office Suites (Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation, and/or Database Bundle)
AbiWord AbiWord 02 - Word Processing
FocusWriter FocusWriter 02 - Word Processing
Ted for Linux Ted for Linux 02 - Word Processing
The Gnumeric Spreadsheet Gnumeric 03 - Spreadsheet
GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) GIMP 04 - Graphics
Inkscape Inkscape 04 - Graphics
ImageMagick ImageMagick 04 - Graphics
Krita Krita 04 - Graphics
digiKam digiKam 04 - Graphics
MyPaint MyPaint 04 - Graphics
Pinta Drawing and Image Editing Pinta 04 - Graphics
jBrout Photo Manager jBrout 04 - Graphics
Blender 3D Creation Suite Blender 04 - Graphics
Art of Illusion 3D Modelling Art of Illusion 04 - Graphics
Storyboarder Storyboarder 04 - Graphics
Synfig Studio 2D Animation Software Synfig Studio 04 - Graphics
MySQL MySQL 05 - Relational Database
PostgreSQL PostgreSQL 05 - Relational Database
Glom Glom 05 - Relational Database
Kexi Kexi 05 - Relational Database
MariaDB MariaDB 05 - Relational Database
Impressive Impressive 06 - Presentation
ffDiaporama ffDiaporama 06 - Presentation
Scribus Scribus 07 - Desktop Publishing
LyX - The Document Processor LyX 07 - Desktop Publishing
GnuCash GnuCash 08 - Finance
Money Manager Ex Money Manager Ex 08 - Finance
SQL-Ledger SQL-Ledger 08 - Finance
HomeBank HomeBank 08 - Finance
Skrooge Personal Finance Manager Skrooge 08 - Finance
Grisbi Finance Manager Grisbi 08 - Finance
Manager Accounting Software Manager 09 - Accounting
Miro Music and Video Player Miro 10 - Multimedia
VLC Media Player VLC Media Player 10 - Multimedia
Audacity Multi-track Recording and Editing. Audacity 10 - Multimedia
InfraRecorder CD/DVD Burning InfraRecorder 10 - Multimedia
CamStudio - Desktop Screen Recorder CamStudio 10 - Multimedia
Clementine Music Player Clementine 10 - Multimedia
Amarok Music Player Amarok 10 - Multimedia
Audacious Audio Player Audacious 10 - Multimedia
Juice Podcast Receiver Juice 10 - Multimedia
KDE Non-Linear Video Editor (Kdenlive) Kdenlive 10 - Multimedia
OpenShot Video Editor OpenShot 10 - Multimedia
HandBrake Video Transcoder HandBrake 10 - Multimedia
FFmpeg FFmpeg 10 - Multimedia
QWinFF Media Converter QWinFF 10 - Multimedia
Kodi Home Theater Software Kodi 10 - Multimedia
XpdfReader XpdfReader 11 - pdf Tools
Evince Evince 11 - pdf Tools
Okular Okular 11 - pdf Tools
MuPDF MuPDF 11 - pdf Tools
PDFtk Free PDFtk Free 11 - pdf Tools
PDF Chain PDF Chain 11 - pdf Tools
Perl Perl 12 - Standalone Programming
Python Python 12 - Standalone Programming
OpenJDK (Java Development Kit) OpenJDK 12 - Standalone Programming
Scala Scala 12 - Standalone Programming
Qt Open Source Qt Open Source 12 - Standalone Programming
Anjuta DevStudio Anjuta DevStudio 12 - Standalone Programming
ClamAV Antivirus Engine ClamAV 13 - Antivirus
Sophos Sophos 13 - Antivirus
Mozilla Firefox Firefox 14 - Web Browsers
Chromium Chromium 14 - Web Browsers
Midori Midori 14 - Web Browsers
Waterfox Waterfox 14 - Web Browsers
QupZilla QupZilla 14 - Web Browsers
Tor Browser Tor Browser 14 - Web Browsers
ELinks - Full-Featured Text WWW Browser ELinks 14 - Web Browsers
Apache HTTP Server Apache 15 - Web Servers
Hiawatha Webserver Hiawatha 15 - Web Servers
Fenix Fenix 15 - Web Servers
Brackets Brackets 16 - Standalone Web Page Authoring Tools
Bluefish Bluefish 16 - Standalone Web Page Authoring Tools
KompoZer KompoZer 16 - Standalone Web Page Authoring Tools
openElement openElement 16 - Standalone Web Page Authoring Tools
eXeLearning eXeLearning 16 - Standalone Web Page Authoring Tools
WordPress WordPress 17 - Integrated Website Content Management Systems
Drupal Drupal 17 - Integrated Website Content Management Systems
Plone Plone 17 - Integrated Website Content Management Systems
SilverStripe SilverStripe 17 - Integrated Website Content Management Systems
Tiki Tiki 17 - Integrated Website Content Management Systems
OpenNebula OpenNebula 18 - Cloud Computing
OpenStack OpenStack 18 - Cloud Computing
ownCloud ownCloud 18 - Cloud Computing
OSGeoLive OSGeoLive 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
GRASS GIS GRASS GIS 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
uDig Desktop GIS uDig Desktop GIS 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
QGIS QGIS 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Marble Virtual Globe and World Atlas Marble 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
GanttProject Project Scheduling and Management GanttProject 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
ProjectLibre ProjectLibre 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Dia Diagram Creation Dia 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
FreeMind FreeMind 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
7-Zip File Archiver 7-Zip 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
PeaZip PeaZip 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
LibreCAD LibreCAD 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
QCAD - Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) QCAD 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
BRL-CAD BRL-CAD 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
SpeedCrunch SpeedCrunch 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
GraphCalc GraphCalc 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
CouchDB CouchDB 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
eXistdb eXistdb 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Moodle Virtual Learning System Moodle 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Sakai Learning Management System Sakai 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Gibbon Education Management System Gibbon 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Ring Ring 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Pidgin Pidgin 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Gajim Gajim 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Instantbird Instantbird 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
DuckDuckGo Web Search DuckDuckGo 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Kdenlive Open Source Video Editor Kdenlive 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
OBS Free and Open Source Software for Video Recording and Live Streaming OBS 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Jitsi Video Conferencing Jitsi 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Trelby Screenwriting Program Trelby 19 - Miscellaneous Applications
Trisquel GNU/Linux Trisquel GNU/Linux 20 - Operating Systems
Parabola GNU/Linux-libre Parabola GNU/Linux-libre 20 - Operating Systems
FreeBSD FreeBSD 21 - Some Alternative Operating Systems to Linux (Highly Recommended to Try It by Booting LiveCD before Installing, or Using A Test PC for Installing)
MINIX MINIX 21 - Some Alternative Operating Systems to Linux (Highly Recommended to Try It by Booting LiveCD before Installing, or Using A Test PC for Installing)
OpenIndiana OpenIndiana 21 - Some Alternative Operating Systems to Linux (Highly Recommended to Try It by Booting LiveCD before Installing, or Using A Test PC for Installing)
ReactOS ReactOS 21 - Some Alternative Operating Systems to Linux (Highly Recommended to Try It by Booting LiveCD before Installing, or Using A Test PC for Installing)
Haiku Haiku 21 - Some Alternative Operating Systems to Linux (Highly Recommended to Try It by Booting LiveCD before Installing, or Using A Test PC for Installing)
NeoK12 NeoK12 22 - Online Learning
Curriki Curriki 22 - Online Learning
OpenStax CNX OpenStax CNX 22 - Online Learning
OpenClassrooms OpenClassrooms 22 - Online Learning 22 - Online Learning
Commonwealth of Learning Commonwealth of Learning 22 - Online Learning
OpenLearn OpenLearn 22 - Online Learning

Perhaps one of the most important things that the reader can take away from this tribute to Richard Stallman is this: Altruism lives and thrives on planet Earth. No better example of altruism is there than Richard Stallman's idea of "free software for all." To paraphrase Neil Armstrong's famous pronouncement when he first stepped onto the Moon on July 20, 1969, the efforts of Richard Stallman and the cadre of FOSS programmers can best be characterized as one small accomplishment for individual programmers but one giant leap towards the democratization of knowledge across Earth. Richard Stallman and all free and open source software programmers are the unsung disruptors of Earth's status quo in a good way. Their altruistic and utilitarian efforts, in conjunction with the microcomputer/smartphone revolution, make the vision of "knowledge for all humans" more of a distinctive possibility rather than an illusionary dream. Consequently, perhaps the following three songs/videos capture the essence of Richard Stallman's altruistic software legacy:

Watch (Stevie Wonder, Visions)

Watch (Alice Coltrane featuring Swami Satchidananda, A Love Supreme)

Watch (BT featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw, A Million Stars)

Richard Stallman's missionary vision—and his life's work—has been devoted and dedicated to a world whereby, unencumbered PC software and PC device drivers were freely available for all to use, improve, and share without users sacrificing any privacy rights. Possibly, one of the neatest unintended consequences of the FOSS movement is the fact that it helps humans to remain honest and law-abiding citizens. That is to say, Richard Stallman freed humans to use their PCs without the accompanying guilty conscience of having wittingly or unwittingly obtained or used a so-called bootlegged or unauthorized version of an expensive piece of proprietary software. There are not too many humans who have not, at one point or another in life, possessed and used an unauthorized copy of a proprietary software application, mp3 song, avi-mpg-mov video, DVD motion picture, eBook publication, and so forth, on their computers. To be sure, to this date as of 2017, the file sharing—and selling—of unauthorized copies of digital products remains a very serious problem on the World Wide Web and in the underground economy or black market.

Hither A Computer-Guided Future: Heaven or Hell?

Looking to the future, computers can be used to perform benevolent deeds for the benefit of humanity, and they can be used to perform malevolent deeds to the detriment of humanity. Richard Stallman and the FOSS cadre of computer programmers have demonstrated how computers can be used benevolently for the betterment of humanity. The FOSS movement has demonstrated one such global unity of purpose whereby programmers from across the globe freely contribute their talents to the building of a complete software application and ultimately a computer-literate human species.

Thanks to movements such as FOSS (and offshoots such as, as time passes, computer use will become even more widespread across Earth. Software applications (including web applications) will become more powerful and sophisticated in their capabilities while, simultaneously, the capabilities of computer hardware will continue to improve and broaden in scope and depth. It is envisioned that, in the not-too-distant future, humans will be able to accomplish heretofore unimaginable tasks with computers. Again, the human imagination would be the only limitation as to what humans can accomplish with computers. It, therefore, becomes incumbent upon humans to use their newfound computing knowledge and concomitant power responsibly, cautiously, wisely, and benevolently as Richard Stallman envisioned.

As illustrated by the next bloc of videos, regardless of field of endeavor, computers—and other computerized "smart" machines—are expected to play an increasingly prominent and vital role in the day-to-day functioning of human society. If computing power is not harnessed responsibly, cautiously, wisely, and benevolently, then some foresee dire consequences—and even nightmare scenarios—for humanity, human survival, and life on Earth. Much like the atom can be harnessed for both peaceful purposes (for example, nuclear energy for human prosperity) and nefarious purposes (for example, nuclear bombs for human destruction), so, too, can computers and their programs be used to accomplish peaceful and/or nefarious deeds. In their never-ending quest for progress and in their never-ending pursuit of knowledge and a higher quality of life, humans must never lose sight of the fact that they remain the Earth's primary stewards and caretakers. Humans must never lose sight of the fact that the Earth remains their one and only known habitable home.

Watch (The World in 2050 - Future Study Presented by Frank Appel)

Watch (Intel IoT - What Does The Internet of Things Mean?)

Watch (Dr. James Canton | Machines That Think: The Good, Bad and Scary of A.I. | TEDxMarin)

A Pessimistic View of A Computer-Guided Future: Human Science and Technology Gone Amok, or Realizing Hell on Earth

What does the future hold for the human species and their computer-guided civilization? Following is a pessimistic or gloom-and-doom view of the future with computers and other computerized "smart" machines as the chief culprits in eliciting human extinction.

Watch (Eagle Eye - Trailer)

Watch (I, Robot - Official Trailer)

Watch (History of War - Fahrenheit)

Watch (Steel Pulse, Wild Goose Chase)

An Optimistic View of A Computer-Guided Future: Attaining A Global Human Unity of Purpose, or Achieving Heaven on Earth

What does the future hold for the human species and their computer-guided civilization? Following is a optimistic or rosy view of the future with computers and other computerized "smart" machines propelling humans to a vastly improved quality of life and a greatly expanded life span.

Watch (REVOLUTION OS Trailer)

Watch (Alice Coltrane featuring Carlos Santana, Bliss: The Eternal Now)

Watch [Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, Spring - The Four Seasons (Performed by Academy of St Martin in the Fields featuring Julia Fischer)]

Watch (Lonnie Liston Smith, Dreams Of Tomorrow)

Watch (Stevie Wonder, Seasons)

Watch (Electro Esthetica, Space Opera)

A LibrePlanet Earth: An Excursion Through the Here and Now

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Earth: The Water Planet

PolarClock: The Passage of Time on Earth

Calendar: Date on Earth

Earth Moving Through Space and Time

Life on A Human-Governed Earth (Note: Place mouse cursor anywhere inside slide show's green border to pause slides; move mouse cursor outside slide show's green border to resume slides.)

Night and Day / Sleep and Wake on Earth

The Influence of Richard Stallman on Planet Earth: FSF/GNU/LINUX/FOSS Movement

Trisquel GNU/Linux

Trisquel GNU/Linux - Run free!

Parabola GNU/Linux-libre

Parabola GNU/Linux-libre

Open Source Fortran

Parabola GNU/Linux-libre

A Closing Crown of Gratitude and Glory to Richard Matthew Stallman

In closing, thank you, Richard Stallman. You are appreciated all over the world for your contributions to the advancement of humanity. We commend and applaud you for a FSF/GNU job well done. The human race has benefited immeasurably from your efforts. We love you, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors. May you stay well. Keep up the good work.

Watch (Earth, Wind & Fire, Gratitude)

Vijaykumar's Connecting the Dots to the Richard Stallman PC Saga and Legacy

FLOSS Timeline

Jasper Nuyens's Celebrating 30 Years and Counting of GNU-Linux

Celebrating 30 Years and Counting of GNU-Linux

Richard Matthew Stallman (a.k.a. RMS)

Richard Matthew Stallman


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