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Richard Stallman, industry activist and founder of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has - once again - relinquished his role as maintainer of the phenomenally successful GNU Extensible, Customizable, Display Editor (Emacs).

The news was slipped out on the Emacs developers' forum and Stallman explained his reasons in a later interview.

He has stepped down from the role before, with three others assuming responsibility since he wrote Emacs in 1984. Even now, Stallman's hinted he would continue to be involved in Emacs development, although he wants to spend more time on other projects.

Although still listed as maintainer on the GNU Emacs site, Stallman has passed responsibility to Stefan Monnier and Chong Yidong who have both worked with Stallman on Emacs for some time.

Stallman, an outspoken advocate of free as opposed to open source software, devised GNU Emacs to create an extensible editor for developers. It was released under the GNU free software project and has grown from its original Unix base to become one of the most widely used code editors. Although written in C, GNU Emacs draws on the ideas of extensibility used in languages such as Lisp.

Confirmation of its importance arrived in January 2008 when it was revealed that Microsoft was hiring people to build a .NET version of Emacs.®

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