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[GNU/FSF Press] FSF and Stephen Fry celebrate the GNU Project 25th anniv

From: John Sullivan
Subject: [GNU/FSF Press] FSF and Stephen Fry celebrate the GNU Project 25th anniversary
Date: Mon, 01 Sep 2008 23:06:50 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.110009 (No Gnus v0.9) Emacs/22.2 (gnu/linux)

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Tuesday, September 2, 2008 -- The GNU operating
system is turning 25 this year, and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has
kicked off its month-long celebration of the anniversary by releasing "Happy
Birthday to GNU," a short film featuring the English humorist, actor, novelist
and filmmaker Stephen Fry.

In the five-minute film, Fry compares the free software operating system to
"good science" and contrasts it with the "kind of tyranny" imposed by the
proprietary software produced by companies like Microsoft and Apple that it
replaces. He encourages people to use free GNU/Linux distributions like
gNewSense (<>) and free software generally, for freedom's

"Stephen has generously donated his time to the cause of free software. His
ability to communicate a technological and philosophical movement in terms of
the basic principles of sharing and user freedom -- ideas that everyone can
understand -- will introduce a new and broader audience to the benefits of free
software," said Matt Lee, an FSF campaigns manager and writer/producer of the

The video is available for download at <>, and the FSF is
encouraging supporters to share it as widely as possible. Many have already
posted an image of Fry linking back to the video on their blogs and web sites.
The film will also be distributed as an update to gNewSense users.

Peter Brown, the FSF's executive director, added, "We intend for the 25th
anniversary to be more than just a reflection on the history of the free
software movement, because despite all of the success brought about by the GNU
system and other free software projects, we still need a determined effort to
replace or eliminate the proprietary applications, platforms, drivers and
firmware that many users still run. In this light, the video of Stephen Fry is
not just a celebration, but a rallying call for the work that still needs to be
done. During September we plan a number of further announcements leading up to
Software Freedom Day (<>) on September 20 and the
GNU anniversary on September 27."

Today over 300 software packages are released under the auspices of the GNU
Project, and new programs are being added all the time. These programs range
from the original core operating system components to more recent additions
like Gnash, a free software answer to the threat posed by Adobe's proprietary
Flash player plugin; and GNU PDF, a reader for PDF files. Outside of GNU, the
Free Software Directory (<>) names over 5,000
additional free software projects, including Firefox-based web browsers, the
Apache web server, and Other well-known groups, like Wikipedia,
Creative Commons, and the free culture movement, cite the GNU system and the
free software philosophy as important inspirations for their decisions to make
similar commitments to freedom in their respective areas.

"Happy Birthday to GNU," along with more information about GNU software and
philosophy, are on display at <>.

### About the GNU Operating System and Linux

Richard Stallman announced in September 1983 the plan to develop a free
software Unix-like operating system called GNU. GNU is the only operating
system developed specifically for the sake of users' freedom. See

In 1992, the essential components of GNU were complete, except for one, the
kernel. When in 1992 the kernel Linux was re-released under the GNU GPL, making
it free software, the combination of GNU and Linux formed a complete free
operating system, which made it possible for the first time to run a PC without
non-free software. This combination is the GNU/Linux system. For more
explanation, see <>.

### About Free Software and Open Source

The free software movement's goal is freedom for computer users. Some,
especially corporations, advocate a different viewpoint, known as "open
source," which cites only practical goals such as making software powerful and
reliable, focuses on development models, and avoids discussion of ethics and
freedom. These two viewpoints are different at the deepest level. For more
explanation, see

### About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting
computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer
programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom)
software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants --
and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread
awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of
software, and its Web sites, located at and, are an important
source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can
be made at <>. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

### Media Contacts

John Sullivan  
Operations Manager  
Free Software Foundation  
+1 (617) 542 5942  


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