Free Software was started by all the original hackers who invented the first computers and the programs to run those computers. Ideas and information were shared freely, because that made sense. It was the best way to learn and make progress. It had been that way since the dawn of time.
Then corporate interests stepped in, creating a tremendous impedence to progress, poorer technology choices, the richest man in the world, and massive monopolies of power and information, all in less than 25 years.
By the late 80's, one man started a new idea: Dr. Richard M. Stallman from MIT. RMS started the Free Software Foundation, and invented a legal mechanism using copyright to protect your freedom. This is called the General Public License (GPL). Software copyrighted under the GPL grants users the perpetual right to use, copy and modify the software, instead of placing all kinds of restrictions on the user.
I guess it's all about regaining our original values as a society. In the good old days, a favorite recipe was shared, and the whole world learned what good cooking tastes like. Today, huge corporations own and control as much information as possible in order to confine you and I into a consumer society.
I stand for freedom.
Greg Rundlett (freephile) July 25, 2003
p.s. Please do not misunderstand my position. Free Software is not anti-capitalist nor anti-corporate. I am supporting a mechanism which helps preserve individual rights in the face of almost limitless power. Smart and ethical companies are huge supporters and participants in the Free Software model.