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Church of EMACS blesses GNOME-openoffice union

Go forth and compile, RMS tells The Reg

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Free software evangelist and a self-styled saint in the Church of EMACS Richard Stallman has blessed Sun's release of its StarOffice suite in an email to The Register.

The legendary hacker started the Free Software Foundation in the 1984 to create a free software Unix like OS, and the also drafted the GNU GPL license under which much of the Linux (or as he insists, GNU/Linux) OS is released, although several other significant open licenses are involved too. Stallman, more widely referred to as rms, says it should even temper opinions of Sun Microsystems.

"StarOffice is such a big and important contribution to the Free World that I feel we must reevaluate our view of Sun in consequence. Even if they don't contribute anything else, StarOffice constitutes a substantial change in their overall treatment of our community. We have a responsibility to recognize this," he writes.

Stallman says he has often cited Sun as an example of a company that refused to co-operate with free software developers, despite having a history of releasing source code up until the mid 1980s. "Over the past few years, Sun has showed a pattern of writing licenses that fall a few steps short of free software, and trying to convince the users that that is good enough."

This week the Mozilla project also announced it would adopt the GNU General Public License, alongside its own more restrictive Ts&Cs.

The EMACS editor and the free GNU C compiler gcc - probably the most popular development tool in use - were both created by Stallman. ®

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