Richard Matthew Stallman is known today for his outspoken activism for "free software," a movement closely intertwined with Stallman's own history in software development that has gained traction for its implications on 'larger' issues such as privacy, social class, and modern digital economics.
Following his successes in developing a free, UNIX-like computer system, the GNU project, Stallman has spent the last two decades as a prophet for free software. He has actively promoted ethical software buisiness practices, the development and the implementation of free software. He has campaigned against DRM, software patents and other systems that restrict users' freedoms. Stallman is the founder and incumbent President of the Free Software Foundation, a non-profit organization that has dedicated resources to the development of free software and worked on legal and structural issues for the free software movement and the free software community.
New York City, New York (1953)
Stallman was born March 16, 1953 in New York City to Alice Lippman, a school teacher, and Daniel Stallman, a printing press broker
IBM New York Scientific Center (1970)
Stallman was hired in the summer of 1970, following his senior year of high school, to write a numerical analysis program in Fortran. After completing the task, he swore never to use Fortran again and turned his attention toward writing a text editor in APL and a preprocessor for the PL/I programming language.
Harvard University (1974)
At Harvard University, Stallman "found a home." Throughout his undergraduate studies, Stallman was a programmer at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and became a regular in the hacker community. Stallman graduated from Harvard magna cum laude earning a bachelor's degree in Physics in 1974.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1974-1984)
Working as an assistant to Gerry Sussman, Stallman continued his work at the MIT AI Laboratory, eventually publishing a paper in 1977 on dependency-directed backtracking; this was an early work on the problem of intelligent backtracking in constraint satisfaction problems.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1983)
In September of 1983, Stallman announced his intent to begin work on the GNU project via Usenet messaging. In 1984, Stallman quit his job at MIT to focus entirely on the GNU project. Starting with only basic text editing and compiler compiler tools, Stallman would go on to develop an entire free, open-source UNIX compatible operating system.
Boston, Massachusetts (1985)
In 1985 Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation as a non-profit corporation supporting free software development and his GNU project. The foundation hired programmers to help build the system as well as develop legal copyleft systems to protect the integrity of free software.
After years spent recreating a UNIX compatible operating system only to reach a wall in the development of a free kernel, in 1992 Finnish developer Linus Torvalds published his own kernel under the free GPL licence, allowing users for the first time to run a completely free software stack with the GNU operating system and Linux kernel.
Read more at Stallman's official page