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You are here: Home Bulletins Bulletins from 2009 Spring 2009 Spreading software freedom worldwide

Spreading software freedom worldwide

by root Contributions Published on Dec 18, 2009 01:26 PM
by Peter Brown, Executive Director

In introducing people to the concepts behind free software, we use the analogy that to use free software is to make a political and ethical choice asserting the right to learn, and share what we learn with others, where free software can be the foundation of a learning society -- where we share our knowledge in ways that others can build upon and enjoy.

This brings me to news of the release of our latest textbook, Introduction to the Command Line. It is now available for download or as a printed book from the GNU Press for $20. The book is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

I realized from my involvement in the planning for this book -- from planning the book sprint organized by Adam Hyde of FLOSS Manuals, to the subsequent editing and production -- that we must all take responsibility for learning, understanding and using the command line as an extension of our support for free software. We must ourselves know how to work from the command line, understanding it as a right and a political necessity. We must be able to review and compile source code and be able to encrypt our data and correspondence. This kind of widespread literacy is an antidote to proprietary software.

Having easier and less powerful graphical user interfaces is absolutely fine, but we should see it only as a stepping stone towards empowering ourselves to use the same set of tools that a developer would use -- tools that give us individually more power and freedom on our own computers. The great news is, thanks to the no-nonsense examples given in this book, it is now much less daunting for newbies to learn than I had previously imagined. Please help spread this book, help translate this book, and encourage people to learn the command line as an extension of their support for free software.

In this issue of the FSF Bulletin, we have expanded the number of pages to give more space to free software activists campaigning around the world. The power of the Internet means that free software activism has no borders and we can work as a global community and aid each other in the actions we take locally. is our contribution at attempting to connect all the users, developers and activists working on important campaigns, to empower them and raise their profile. We are also collecting links to all the important free software resources we can find and we are encouraging the formation of local and regional free software activist groups to take political action in support of free software. We hope that in building LibrePlanet, we can learn important lessons and improve our own outreach efforts.

This summer, why not spend some time helping to expand and dip a toe into free software activism?

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