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You are here: Home Bulletins 2010 Fall 2010 Bulletin FSF at 25!

FSF at 25!

by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Jul 18, 2011 03:04 PM
The FSF has turned 25! To help us celebrate you can join us in kick-starting the new year with support for our new free software adoption campaign, Why aren't we using free software for that?

We've learned that the key to helping institutions adopt free software is to educate and empower decision makers to question why free software isn't being considered or used. Our campaign will provide the inspiration to ask these critical questions and the materials to help make the case for free software.

"When you look at who's using free software and why, it begs the question, why aren't we using free software for that?"

To help demonstrate that free software is used even in the most mission-critical situations, we've published a new resource featuring executives from high-profile institutions talking about how and why they deploy free software. Some examples: Mark Schulz, the leader of the Grid Deployment group at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), tells us how the scientific community at CERN uses free software extensively and how the Large Hadron Collider depends on GNU/Linux; Daniel Risacher, of the US Department of Defense, shares how Free Software is critical to the armed forces' ability to adapt to new challenges; Jimmy Wales, asserting that ``free knowledge requires free software,'' justifies his intransigence on Wikipedia's use of free (and only free) software; and Steve Rubinow, the CIO of the New York Stock Exchange, explains how free software's effectiveness in handling the demands of the industry and the fact that it is so well supported make it a logical choice for the entire electronic exchange-and-trading industry.

These profiles provide a fascinating picture of the success of free software and reinforce that it is the freedom of free software that inspires its use. Read them all at

"Free Software is software you can study, modify, and share without restriction. Around the world, schools, governments, businesses, and leading technology and research institutions are adopting it. What's our plan for moving to free software?"

Free software is the better ethical choice, and publicizing success stories helps decision makers make a case for their ethical push for free software adoption. We will be highlighting an ongoing series of interviews with executives from a diverse range of organizations that have chosen to adopt free software.

"The free software community is a worldwide movement of people dedicated to the goal of freedom in the use of technology. Anyone can be part of this community and we can share in its benefits."

In a world where media companies educate children not to share, the ideas presented by the free software community can seem foreign and threatening. What are these people's motivations for collaborating to produce and share valuable software?

Publicizing the motivations people have for participating in the free software community can go a long way to reinforce the trust people should put in its use. That's why we've also published a new resource: Meet the Free Software Community, a series of profiles to inform and inspire. On the list:

  • Matt Mullenweg, cofounder and lead developer of WordPress, highlights the benefit of freedom in helping build a business: "As a businessman I love building on free software because you can be certain of your rights and freedoms with regards to the software."

  • Chris Blizzard, Firefox product and platform manager at Mozilla, talks about the expectations he has when working with free software: "My first operating system relationship was built on free software. I grew up with radical transparency in my computing life--that's hard to grow away from."

  • Marina Zhurakhinskaya, Senior Software Engineer working on GNOME desktop at Red Hat, speaks about how our community is able to adapt to deliver freedom for all users: "Free software is an important social movement and a welcoming community. Working on Free Software is varied and rewarding and is impacting usability, accessibility, and access to computers in poor communities."

Improving access to advocacy materials

Our campaign also aims to make sure that free software advocacy gets a higher priority in the community.

It's an unfortunate fact that the most popular distributions of GNU/Linux provide little in the way of free software advocacy materials for new users. I've spoken with the community representatives of Fedora, Ubuntu, and OpenSUSE, and they all have expressed a desire to see FSF-developed advocacy materials find a home in their distributions. But it isn't just the major distributions that have a duty to educate their users--all free software projects should consider distributing advocacy materials as part and parcel of their work, and we aim to help them make that a reality.

When the benefits of sharing and cooperation are understood and valued by society, free software is the natural choice.

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