Stallman offers prizes for finding free software faults

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Stallman offers prizes for finding free software faults

'GNU Bucks' up for grabs.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has set up a reward scheme for programmers who spot commercial software buried in free software distribution packs.

Users finding commercial software need to notify the distributor and the FSF. If the report is correct they will receive a 'GNU Buck' to the value of pi, signed by FSF founder Richard Stallman.

"By spurring users to find and report problems, this new awards programme will help make sure that the FSF-endorsed free distributions of GNU/Linux stay really and truly free," said FSF executive director Peter Brown.

The FSF is taking an increasingly aggressive attitude towards the free software issue, and has been taking on some of the biggest players in the business. The organisation recently criticised Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7, and won a court action against Cisco after the firm used unauthorised free software in its Linksys routers.

"Ever since we published the guidelines for what it takes to be a free system distribution, we have been looking for practical ways to deal with the issue of non-free software that is accidentally included in these distributions," said FSF licensing compliance engineer Brett Smith.

"These are steps that are within our means and the means of distribution maintainers. This new programme does a good job of striking that balance."

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