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Free software & the law: A lighthearted trip down memory lane

Robinson Tryon

Since its beginning, the free software community has found novel ways of hacking the law to serve the greater good. Though starting with copyright, as patents and trademarks became increasingly relevant for projects, our leaders and lawyers found it necessary to include specific language in new and updated licenses. Whether this is your first conference or you've been a part of the FLOSS community for decades, come enjoy a lighthearted, informative look at the relationship of Free Software and the Law over the years, plus a glimpse into the legal future of libre hardware and the Internet of Things (IoT).


6 years, 8 months ago

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LibrePlanet 2017 video · LibrePlanet 2017 · LibrePlanet · lp2017 · video

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LibrePlanet 2017 Videos (libreplanet)


CC BY-SA 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.


We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.


Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.


In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.


The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.