Tomorrow, March 16, is Richard M. Stallman’s 60th birthday. Stallman, also known as “rms,” is the father of the Free Software movement and the creator of the GNU Project and the GNU General Public License, or GPL. Some of the GNU stuff ended up in Linux, which is why he insists that anyone who speaks to him must call the operating system “GNU/Linux.”
Stallman was once a prolific coder and self-proclaimed hacker, but now is more of an activist who spends much of his time traveling, giving speeches, distributing his “pleasure card” (as opposed to “business card,” geddit?) and wooing ladies. He’s also famous for having one of the most demanding contract riders in all of the world, one that lists a long list of rules governing the temperature of his sleeping quarters, what kind of pets he likes (parrots are best, but don’t buy one just for his visit!), how to speak to him and a list of foods he will not eat: “I do not eat breakfast. Please do not ask me any questions about what I will do [sic] breakfast. Please just do not bring it up.”
A few years ago, when Linux was the cool new thing, Stallman seemed to be everywhere, usually arguing with someone in the “open source” movement and explaining why “free software” is not the same as “open source.” Hard to believe, but the world grew tired of this important debate and lately we don’t hear much from Stallman.
But in honor of his special day, I’ve compiled some of my favorite Stallman videos. (I’ve left out the ones where he goes nuts at some event and starts shouting at people, but you can find them on your own.)
Here is Stallman showing off his incredibly good Spanish accent and then singing his Free Software Song:
And here is Stallman, an avid folk dancer, busting a move to Soulja Boy:
Here is Stallman patiently enduring a stupid question from an insufferable nerd, and then (at about 1:56) quickly eating some gunk that he’s dug up from between his toes:
And here are some of Stallman’s worshippers performing the Free Software Song. But I warn you – once you watch this video, you will never be able to unwatch it. Consider yourself warned.