Emacs and Free Software
□To quote the Emacs manual
“Emacs is the extensible, customizable, self-documenting
real-time display editor.”
“ The name “Emacs” was originally chosen as an abbrevi-
ation of Editor MACroS.”
□GNU emacs and Xemacs are two (of many) variants of emacs.
□We focus on GNU emacs. GNU stands for GNU’s Not Unix
□The orginal emacs was written in 1975 by Richard M Stallman
(RMS), the eccentric founder of the Free Software Foundation
(FSF) and winner of one of the MacArthur “Genius Awards”
□GNU emacs is one of many programs in the GNU platform initi-
ated by Stallman and others of the FSF
While we’re on the topic, free software? From www.gnu.org
□“Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand
the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not
as in “free beer.”
□Free software [...] refers to four kinds of freedom
* The freedom to run the program, for any purpose
* The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to
your needs. Access to the source code is a precondition for
* The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neigh-
* The freedom to improve the program, and release your im-
provements to the public, so that the whole community ben-
efits. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
What copyrights constitute free software?
Non-free methods of software distribution
1. Proprietary closed source software
2. Freeware - free in the sense of cost
Free methods of software distribution
1. Public domain
2. Copyleft - requires all modified and extended versions of the
program to be free software as well. Examples: GPL, LGPL
3. Free software that does not require derivative works to be free
(some X servers are like this)
The GNU people argue that the term “Open Source software”
does not-necessarily imply that the software is free.
Research academmics is an especially good place to use and dis-
tribute free software.
For the software we use we need
□The ability t