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Author Topic: Free software, free society  (Read 915 times)
isthisthingon
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« on: October 22, 2009, 12:41:14 PM »

Nicely written article.  One of the key aspects often overlooked in our competitive, corporate world is the effect it has on the digital divide.  A few clips:

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The meeting, entitled "Free Software, Free Society", expressed its disgust at the exclusion of any debate on use of Free Software in the official proceedings of the WSIS despite the best efforts of the Brazilians and others to put it on the agenda. Richard Stallman, Founder of the Free Software Foundation, was cut short after just 2 minutes in an attempt to get Free Software discussed at an official WSIS roundtable on "Creating Digital Opportunities". Speakers at the Free Software meeting were angry at what they saw as WSIS bowing to the corporate interests of the commercial software manufacturers.

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But, as Pierre Ouedraogo, representing French speakers from the African Association of Free Software Users, explained to the Geneva Free Software meeting, there is another good reason why people in the developing countries should support Free Software - the need for creating "digital diversity". "If we leave the market to make choices for us it will choose to exclude many of us"

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Lessig, a prominent US lawyer on copyright issues, insisted "All forms of creativity are always about adding to what others have done before" and described present copyright restrictions as being contrary to the original purpose of copyright and now representing a major restriction on a free society.

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It is this spirit of cooperation represented by the Free Software movement that takes some getting used to for many people. We have become so used to living in a competitive world that it has become difficult to imagine people sharing programming code and cooperating together in the way that Free Software is produced. But as a recent Free Software publication advocating its use in schools maintained "It is indeed a strange world when educators need to be convinced that sharing information, as opposed to concealing information, is a good thing.

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And, last but not least, one other way to contribute to Free Software development is advocacy. Most people who start using Free Software do soon become enthusiasts; its success has largely been built through word of mouth.

Full article: http://www.virtualactivism.org/articles/04/chris-freesoftware.htm
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