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FreeM started its life as FreeMUMPS, written for MS-DOS and ported to SCO UNIX by a mysterious individual going by the name of "Shalom ha-Ashkenaz". It was released to MUG Deutschland in 1998. In 1999, Ronald L. Fox ported FreeM to the Red Hat Linux 5 of the GNU/Linux operating system. Thereafter, maintenance was taken over by the Generic Universal M Project, which changed its name first to Public Standard MUMPS and then by popular request to FreeM.

When GT.M was open-sourced in late 1999, FreeM and GUMP were essentially abandoned. L.D. Landis, the owner of the original GUMP SourceForge project, and one of FreeM’s significant contributors, passed maintenance of FreeM and ownership of its SourceForge project to John Willis in 2014. At this point, FreeM would not compile or run on modern Linux systems, so steps were taken to remedy the most pressing issues in the codebase. Limitations on the terminal size (previously hard-coded to 80x25) were lifted, and new $VIEW functions were added to retrieve the terminal size information. $X and $Y intrinsic special variables were updated to support arbitrary terminal sizes, and FreeM was once again able to build and run.

In February of 2020, work began in earnest to build a development and support infrastructure for FreeM and begin the careful process of refining it into a more stable and robust product.

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