On 4 October 1985 Harold Abelson, Robert J. Chassell, Richard M. Stallman, Garald Jay Sussman, and Leonard H. Tower, Jr. incorporated the Free Software Foundation, Inc. The application included also the GNU Emacs General Public License, the GNU Manifesto, a list of software which was already written (Bison, MIT Schema, Hack, plus a list of several Unix utility replacements).
And today, their message is more important than ever. We are surrounded by software, in our computers, our tablets, our phones, our gadgets and even our watches. It matters more than ever that this technology works for our benefit, and not counter to it.
The FSF’s four freedoms – to use, inspect, modify and share our software – really is the only mechanism currently available that goes any distance towards achieving this.
I’m tempted to say long may they continue but, in truth, I would much rather see a situation in which they are no longer needed.