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Richard Matthew Stallman (often abbreviated as RMS) (born March 16, 1953) is a software freedom activist, hacker, and software developer. In September 1983, he launched the GNU Project to create a free Unix-like operating system, and has been the project's lead architect and organizer. With the launch of the GNU project he started the free software movement, and in October 1985 set up the Free Software Foundation. He co-founded the League for Programming Freedom. Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft and is the main author of several copyleft licenses including the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license. Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time advocating for free software, as well as campaigning against both patenting software and expansions of copyright law. Stallman has also developed a number of pieces of widely-used software, including the original Emacs, the GNU Compiler Collection, and the GNU Debugger.
Stallman has written many essays on software freedom and since the early 1990s has been an outspoken political campaigner for the free software movement. The speeches he has regularly given are titled "The GNU project and the Free Software movement", "The Dangers of Software Patents", and "Copyright and Community in the age of computer networks".
In 2006, during the year-long public consultation for the drafting of version 3 of the GNU General Public License, he added a fourth topic explaining the proposed changes.