Richard Stallman's personal site.

For current political commentary, see the daily political notes.

RMS's Bio | The GNU Project

St IGNUcius


I am a Saint In the Church Of Emacs

Stallman is a saint in the Church of Emacs—Saint IGNUcius.
I bless your computer, my child! (jpeg 31k, photo by Wouter van Oortmerssen)

Emacs was originally an extensible text editor written by Richard Stallman, but it became a way of life and a religion. To join the Church of Emacs, you need only pronounce the Confession of the Faith:

There is no system but GNU, and Linux is one of its kernels.

If you become an expert user of GNU/Linux, you can celebrate that with our ceremony, the Foobar Mitzvah, in which you chant a portion of our sacred scriptures — that is to say, the source code of the system. In the Church of Emacs we have put an end to the priesthood of technology: everyone is free to read our sacred scriptures.

Sainthood in the Church of Emacs requires living a life of purity—but in the Church of Emacs, this does not require celibacy (a sigh of relief is heard). Being holy in our church means exorcizing whatever evil, proprietary operating systems have possessed computers that are under your control, or set up for your regular use; installing a holy (i.e., wholly) free operating system (GNU/Linux is a good choice); and using and installing only free software with and on the system. Note that tablets and mobile phones are computers and this vow includes them.

Join the Church of Emacs, and you too can be a saint!

People sometimes ask if St IGNUcius is wearing an old computer disk platter. That is no computer disk, that is my halo — but it was a disk platter in a former life. No information is available about what kind of computer it came from or what data was stored on it. However, you can rest assured that no non-free software is readable from it today.

In addition to saints, the Church of Emacs also has a hymn—the Free Software Song. (No gods yet, though.) Hear the song sung by Saint IGNUcius himself.

Some of the early epistles of the Church of Emacs were collected years ago before the establishment of sainthood.

Saint IGNUcius says: Some people don't realize that Saint IGNUcius is Saint IGNUcius's way of not taking himself too seriously. Therefore,

Warning: taking the Church of Emacs (or any church) too seriously may be hazardous to your health.

Return to Richard Stallman's home page.

Please send comments on these web pages to

Copyright (C) 2000 Richard Stallman

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.