Richard Stallman, a key player in the free software movement, will deliver a talk, “Free Software in Ethics and Practice,” from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center for Student Innovation. His talk is free and open to the public.
Stallman launched the development of the GNU operating system in 1984. GNU is free software that can be altered or expanded by anyone. GNU, in combination with kernel Linux, is now used by millions of users around the world. Stallman’s talk will include a history of the GNU operating system, but will focus on the philosophy behind the free software movement.
RIT and its Center for Student Innovation is heavily involved in the free software movement. Steve Jacobs, a professor in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Science’s Interactive Games and Media department, directs RIT’s involvement in the One Laptop Per Child Initiative—an effort that seeks to provide impoverished children with a unique, rugged, low-cost laptop that is loaded with software that encourages self-empowered learning.
“Richard Stallman’s philosophy of free software is the philosophical grandfather of the One Laptop Per Child Initiative and the sugar software program that it runs,” says Jacobs. “We hope his visit inspires people to get involved in One Laptop Per Child and other free software and hardware efforts around the world.”