Free Software Song Rocks!

I still find the Free Software Song inspiring in some way although I know it will never ever win a Grammy Award or whatever. So, I thought I would share this to all of you especially those who are starting to lose faith in free software. Also, to all FOSS developers and advocates who are looking for some motivation, perhaps this will help.

No less than Richard M. Stallman wrote the “Free Software Song”. Here’s an interesting and rather funny story on how it was written:

I wrote the free software song at a filksinging session at a science fiction convention. It was a "bardic circle" session, which means each person in turn around the hall had the chance to either sing or ask someone else to sing. I had just had my turn, and there were 20 or more people there, so I knew it would be a long time before I had another turn. I decided to pass the time writing a filksong. This meant I was not starting with any particular inspiration in mind. I had to look for what to write about and how.

So first I asked myself, what topic should it be about? I realized I had never written a filksong relating to free software, so I figured it was time I did.

Then I asked myself, what tune should I use? I realized I had never written a filksong using Bulgarian dance music, so I figured that would be a good thing to do for once. I chose Sadi Moma because it is not too fast or complicated, and is easy to sing.

By the time it was my turn again, the song was ready. After I sang it, someone else in the room said, "That has an anthem-like quality. You should show it to Richard Stallman." (That year was the time I was a little famous and I was a guest at the convention.)

I said, "I am Richard Stallman."

She said, "Oh, I'm sorry!"

I responded, "Don't be sorry, it's fun when that happens."

Now, here’s the lyric:

Free Software Song
by RMS

Join us now and share the software;
You'll be free, hackers, you'll be free.

Hoarders may get piles of money,
That is true, hackers, that is true.
But they cannot help their neighbors;
That's not good, hackers, that's not good.

When we have enough free software
At our call, hackers, at our call,
We'll throw out those dirty licenses
Ever more, hackers, ever more.

Join us now and share the software;
You'll be free, hackers, you'll be free.

You can listen to a recording of Richard M. Stallman singing the Free Software Song HERE. You can also download it in Ogg Vorbis format HERE.

A cool rhythmic version of the song can be found HERE, or download it in Ogg Vorbis format HERE.

Jono Bacon recorded a heavy metal version of the song but I can’t seem to find it now. So if you know where it is, please drop us a comment.

Here’s a video of RMS singing the song...


  1. Okay. STOP. That was absolutely horrendous. It feels better to listen to a rock banging an aluminum sheet. I would say "No". How about you Randy?

    Randy, "Noo. I would have to say no on this one. Dawg, you'd be better off writing software."

    Simon, "Paula?"

    Paula, "Ummm. You have a great hair and a talent for making software. I'd say build on that and we'll see what will come out of it."

    Simon, "Paula, is that a yes or a no?"

    Paula, "No."

    Kara, "Maybe next time."

  2. I can't believe you left out the interpretation by the GNU Stallmans, IMO the best rendition. The video is from the end credits to the film Evolution OS.

  3. A collection of files for the free software song are available on the GNU site, including Jono Bacon's heavy metal version.

  4. :)