Opinion Former Article

Software freedom crusader Richard Stallman on European tour

Dr Richard Stallman, the global crusader for the freedoms of computer users, will be embarking on a lecture tour during February and March.

Organised and supported by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the tour will include nine lectures across Britain, and in Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris.

Dr Richard Stallman said: "With software there are two cases: either the users control the program or the program controls the users. The first is free software, and the other is proprietary software."

Bob Holland, organiser of the lecture tour, said: "The influence of Richard Stallman and the free software movement he founded is today felt well beyond the software developer community. ICT is a key sector for the IET and I'm naturally delighted that he has accepted our invitation to speak in this series."

In September 1983 Richard launched the free software movement, and announced the project to create GNU, a Unix-like operating system made of entirely free software. In October 1985 he founded the Free Software Foundation. GNU is widely used today, but most of its users are not aware of this, believing they are using Linux.

Stallman pioneered the concept of "copyleft" and he is the main author of several copyleft licenses including the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license.

Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time advocating free software, as well as campaigning against both software patents and what he sees as excessively restrictive copyright laws.

For more information, visit www.theiet.org.

Ends

Notes to editors:

- Lecture dates: 21 Feb: Amsterdam, 22 Feb: Brussels, 1 Mar: Cambridge, 2 Mar: Preston, 3 Mar: Dundee, 5 Mar: Sheffield, 7 Mar: London, 8 Mar: Brighton, 10 Mar: Paris
- Interview opportunities are available - contact the Press Office for more details.
- The IET is Europe's largest professional body of engineers with 150,000 members in 127 countries.

- The IET dates back to 1871 and has offices in Europe, Asia and the US.
- For more information, visit www.theiet.org.
Media enquiries to:
Robert Beahan, Press Officer
T: +44 (0)1438 767336
M: +44 (0)7595 400912
E: rbeahan@theiet.org

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