When the clock strikes 00:00:01 of 28 August, 2004 here in the Philippines, I will have no software or software-related technologies that are proprietary in nature actively running on my computer. This is my way of supporting the Software Freedom Day.
Free Software support our right to the freedom to obtain, learn from, modify and redistribute software, either gratis or for a fee, to anyone anywhere. We, the supporters of free software, believe this is a basic right of everyone in this day of extensive access to computing.
We all have a right to know what goes on in our computers. Free Software gives us the ability to do so.
Note that, by ‘free’, we mean freedom; not necessarily no-cost (although most Free Software are distributed gratis; that is, without the need to pay). Think of it as ‘free’ in ‘free speech’, and not as in ‘free beer’.
For those interested, here are a few Web links you should visit and read:
- Free Software Foundation — In 1984, Richard Stallman, president of the FSF, started the GNU Project; today, millions of people around the world use an offshoot of this project: the GNU/Linux operating system.
- The GNU/Linux FAQ — Most people address the GNU/Linux operating system simply as ‘Linux’; this is inaccurate. This FAQ will tell you why, as well as this essay by Richard Stallman.
- Philosophy Section of the FSF Web site — This section houses papers that document the principles the supporters of Free Software fight for. It also documents what the major threats are to software freedom, and why have the power to take it from us, among other things.
- Open Source Initiative — In 1998, with the release of the source code of Netscape’s browser offering, a new movement was born: the Open Source movement. Theirs is a pragmatic approach, barely bothering with the issue of software freedom. Although Free Software is covered by Open Source, strictly speaking, they are not the same thing.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation — is a grass-roots movement that is (and very often succeeds at) protecting our various electronic freedoms (like sharing media, software, etc. through Peer-To-Peer networks).
Software freedom is an important issue that’s being decided right now. There are quite a number of factors that threaten this freedom, like software patents. Please help us spread the word about Free Software, and see how you can go about using only Free software on a day-to-day basis.
Patrick Henry once declared:
Virtual shackles bind you the same as physical shackles, when you’re living in a virtual world.