Free Software Foundation

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Free Software Foundation
MottoFree Software, Free Society
FormationOctober 4, 1985; 35 years ago (1985-10-04)[1]
TypeAmerican 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
Legal status501(c)(3)
HeadquartersBoston, Massachusetts, USA
Region served
Geoffrey Knauth
Slightly more than one million USD/year

The Free Software Foundation is an American organization founded by Honorary Doctor Richard Stallman on October 4th 1985 for the purpose of supporting and promoting free software. The organization provides legal and structural aid to the free software movement, it runs campaigns promoting free software and free software related issues and it publishes a series of widely used free software licenses such as the GNU General Public License.

Richard Stallman was president until he was squeezed out and forced to resign in October 2019.

The Free software foundation holds the copyright to many core parts of the GNU operating system such as GNU C Library (glibc) and the GNU Compiler Collection (gcc).

Current Organization


  • Geoffrey Knauth


  • Alexandre Oliva, Red Hat Brasil.
  • Gerald J. Sussman, Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT.
  • Henry Poole
  • Kat Walsh, American lawyer.
  • Odile Bénassy, long-time French free software activist.


The entirety of the current Free Software Foundation staff consists of:

  • John Sullivan, Executive Director, Clerk
  • Andrew Engelbrecht, Senior Systems Administrator
  • Craig Topham, Copyright & Licensing Associate
  • Dana Morgenstein, Outreach & Communications Coordinator
  • Donald Robertson, Licensing and Compliance Manager
  • Greg Farough, Campaigns Manager
  • Ian Kelling, Senior Systems Administrator
  • Jeanne Rasata, Membership Coordinator
  • John Hsieh, Deputy Director
  • Matt Lavallee, Operations Assistant
  • Michael McMahon, Web Developer
  • Ruben Rodriguez, Chief Technology Officer
  • Zoë Kooyman, Program Manager

There are, additionally, a number of unpaid and unemployed volunteers working for the FSF.


The Free Software Foundation certifies hardware that is free from proprietary firmware and other non-free software as with a "Respects Your Freedom" certification. Hardware certified so far include motherboards like the Talos II Mainboard and Talos II Lite, re-branded Wi-Fi cards, USB audio cards and a limited amount of other hardware.

Current Campaigns

The free software foundation has many long-running area-specific freedom-promoting campaigns including:


Rare old stallman holding sign.jpg
Richard Stallman holding a sign promoting free software.

The FSF was founded by Honorary Doctor Richard Stallman on October 4th, 1985. He remained president until October 2019. Geoffrey Knauth was elected new permanent president of the FSF in October 2020.

Latest FSF-Related News Stories

  • Free Software Foundation Turns 35
    The Free Software foundation was founded 35 years ago - on October 4th, 1985. The FSF plans on celebrating with a live video event broadcast from on Friday afternoon. FSF is one of the few organizations that fight for true end-user freedom, not just vague concepts like "open source".
  • The Free Software Foundation Folds On Their Only Free Video Formats Policy
    The FSF has been advocating the use of free file formats for more than three decades. They have so far been true to their own ideals. Multimedia on their website has, until now, been served using entirely free file formats and codecs. The FSF is now embracing the proprietary patent-riddled MPEG-AVC (h264) video codec as well as the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) audio codec that goes with it as fall-back option in order to reach more people.
  • Geoffrey Knauth Elected President Of The Free Software Foundation
    The Free Software Foundation has finally elected a new permanent president after FSF founder and long-time president Richard Stallman was squeezed out September last year. Geoffrey Knauth had served on the FSF board for over 20 years before he became president. French free software activist Odile Bénassy was added as a new member of the foundations board of directors.
  • Two New Motherboards FSF Certificed As Freedom-Respecting: Talos II Mainboard and Talos II Lite
    Free software enthusiasts may be frustrated with the enormous amount of proprietary non-free closed source software one is required to run in black boxes in order to use a free operating system with free software. The Free Software Foundation is making an effort to certify truly freedom-respecting hardware. They have now given the the PowerPC motherboards Talos II Mainboard and Talos II Lite from Raptor Computing Systems, LLC a "Respects Your Freedom" Certification.


  1. Corporations Division Entity Summary for ID Number: 042888848. Secretary of Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved on 2020-08-10.
  2. Staff of the Free Software Foundation. Retrieved on 5 October 2019.

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