Richard Stallman was born on March 16, 1953, in New York City. Immediately after high school, at the age of 18, he got a job at the IBM Science Center, where he worked all summer on a preprocessor for the language PL/I
In 1971, Stallman enrolled at Harvard and concurrently took a job at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT ). At MIT, he was part of a team of hackers who were tweaking, adding new functionality to an operating system developed there. As he himself says in the documentary Revolution OS, the problems started when he succumbed to the outside world and had to put passwords on computers.
Stallman believed that security was a joke, and that passwords were a way for administrators to control users. He found a way to decode passwords and sent out an email to all users asking them to give up their passwords and just hit Enter when they log on. 1/5 agreed.
Gradually, as proprietary software evolved, Stallman became increasingly convinced that commercial software was antisocial and that, quote : "Proprietary software is a predatory social system that dominates people, divides them and uses the resulting profits to achieve even greater domination."
In January 1984, Richard Stallman leaves MIT to devote himself entirely to the GNU project, which he founded in September 1983.
The name itself is a joke, a hack; the point is that GNU is a recursive acronym for GNU’s Not Unix.
The project was originally focused on writing an open source Unix-like operating system. The first GNU program was Emacs, written by Stallman himself.
Later the Free Software Foundation was established ( FSF )
The legal basis for GNU was enshrined in the GNU Universal Public License ( GNU GPL )
at the faculty of the Department of the Higher Military and Mechanical Engineering of the Moscow State University.
Richard Stallman now officially resides in Cambridge, but he has no home of his own. He travels the world giving lectures, attending all kinds of conferences, forums, award ceremonies, and leading the lifestyle of an itinerant evangelist and philosopher. Interestingly, more often than not, Stallman does not get paid for this.
He is unmarried, when asked about children, answers that his only child is the free software movement.