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Richard Stallman, born 1953, is a technology expert and software activist known for launching the GNU project in 1983 and for other roles and technological development. Born in New York City, Stallman was educated at Harvard and MIT, and eventually became a proponent of open-source software.
Stallman has traveled the world arguing for freer and more transparent software products. For example, he suggested an alternative to the now popular Wikipedia as a means of offering free information to the public on the Internet. Stallman’s GNU Project sought to create a free operating system similar in some ways to the popular Unix OS design. Stallman has promoted various types of free software and has criticized technology companies for aggressive trade practices. Stallman also speaks out against things like surveillance and other issues around the egalitarian use of technology.
Stallman has won various honors and awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship, an honorary doctorate from Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology and membership in the United States National Academy of Engineering.