Essays and Articles

This page lists a series of articles describing the philosophy of the free software movement, which is the motivation for our development of the free software operating system GNU.

The most important articles are marked with asterisks, and listed first in each category. The other ones are in reverse chronological order.

About Free Software

Free software is a matter of freedom: people should be free to use software in all the ways that are socially useful. Software differs from material objects—such as chairs, sandwiches, and gasoline—in that it can be copied and changed much more easily. These possibilities make software as useful as it is; we believe software users should be able to make use of them.



Extension to other areas

Mixing free and nonfree

Free software and open source

Upholding Software Freedom

The GNU Project

The free software movement

The need for free software

Guide for action

Licensing Free Software

  • Licenses — General information on licensing and copyleft



Licensing traps

Legal Issues


The propaganda term “Intellectual Property

Response to SCO's attacks

Cultural and Social Issues

Digital society

Digital restrictions management and treacherous computing

Network Services

Accessing culture

Funding cultural works

Surveillance, censorship, lock-in, etc.

Terminology and Definitions