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You are here: Home FSF News Software Freedom Day in Boston is a Wealth for the Commons: Saturday, September 20, 2008

Software Freedom Day in Boston is a Wealth for the Commons: Saturday, September 20, 2008

by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Sep 11, 2008 12:30 PM
BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Thursday, September 11th, 2008 -- It's Saturday and a roomful of people are advising each other on modifying their mobile devices, optimizing their GNU/Linux systems and organizing for software freedom. But it's not a room full of experts -- at least not mostly. Artists, activists, students and others want the freedom to do anything they want with their computers and they're here to learn new tricks and garner shortcuts from each other.

The Free Software Foundation is hosting a Boston event to honor Software Freedom Day, an international holiday that was observed on every continent but Antarctica last year. The FSF will be one of more than 200 teams hosting events around the world. Boston's celebration is especially notable because this is where the free software movement began. Richard M. Stallman, FSF founder and president, started work at MIT on the free software GNU operating system twenty-five years ago.

The event takes place on September 20th from 10am-4pm, and participation is open to the public. More info about the schedule is available at http://groups.fsf.org/index.php/Software_Freedom_Day_in_Boston_2008, and RSVPs to membership@fsf.org are appreciated. The location is in Chinatown at the Encuentro 5 Community Center (http://www.encuentro5.org/), 33 Harrison Ave, 5th floor, Boston, MA 02111.

"It's great to take a day to celebrate the ideals of free software simultaneously with so many people around the globe. It emphasizes one of the most exciting things about this movement and community -- the ability to share and collaborate with people in all corners of the world. Last year's Boston event was incredibly well attended and received, and I think this year's will be even better," said John Sullivan, FSF operations manager and representative on the Software Freedom Day advisory board.

Free software, controlled by the community, is the ideal tool for keeping democratically elected leaders accountable. Keynote speaker Aaron Swartz of Watchdog.net will explain how he used free software in his project to free public domain books, government archives, and databases -- and how others can too. Later in the day, attendees will participate in workshops on diverse topics like using free software to make art and to get a great website up and running.

British comedian Stephen Fry recently made a video with the FSF in which he talks about free software and how important it is for society, saying that it is indicative of a culture that values transparency, accountability and "good science." The six-minute video, which can also be seen at http://www.gnu.org/fry, will be screened and discussed after lunch. Finally, the floor will be open for news and questions that didn't get covered during the rest of the day -- possible topics include free software development hurdles, hardware compatibility issues, and the state of software patent reform.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

About Software Freedom Day

Software Freedom Day (SFD) is a worldwide project to celebrate software freedom. Each community celebrates software freedom in its own way -- some groups focus on advocacy, some give away software and others use the day for outreach and education. Their home page is http://www.softwarefreedomday.org.

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