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You are here: Home FSF News Environmental and social justice groups unite in support of free software

Environmental and social justice groups unite in support of free software

by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Aug 29, 2007 02:40 AM
International coalition of environmental and social justice groups condemns Microsoft Vista and calls for the adoption of free software

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Wednesday, August 29, 2007 -- Today, environmental and social justice groups united to call for the rejection of Microsoft Windows Vista and for society's adoption of free software, highlighting environmental concerns and technology restrictions associated with proprietary software.

The Green Party, New Internationalist, Friends of the Earth International, People and Planet, and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) have signed a statement at http://freesoftwarefreesociety.org calling on social activists and progressive organizations to join with them in rejecting Microsoft's Vista operating system, and to encourage instead the adoption and use of free software.

Free software operating systems are now widely available in a form called GNU/Linux. Free software is about freedom, not price. It is software whose authors intentionally extend users the freedoms to study, copy, modify and share their work. While proprietary software functions by dividing people and using technical restrictions to block communication between them, free software was created with individual freedom and social solidarity in mind.

Derek Wall, Green Party principal speaker said, "Free software offers social activists an alternative to what Vista represents. Using free software we can further social and environmental justice without supporting growth based on waste, control and short-term profit." He continued, "I would urge social movements to develop a migration strategy, including a commitment not to move to Vista."

The statement highlights the disposable-computer mentality embodied in the excessive hardware requirements of Microsoft Windows Vista. Often new hardware is necessary to support new software features, but the coalition says in this case, Vista's requirements are to enable the operating system to more effectively restrict the user at the request of media companies seeking to prevent copying of music and video files.

These restrictions create a problem not only for the environment but also for social activists, who according to the statement become "dependent upon software owned and exclusively controlled by entities that design their software in ways directly opposed to grassroots social change."

Peter Brown, FSF's executive director, said, "Free software is an issue of free speech when we depend upon our computers for social activism and political campaigning. Freedoms that we have been defending so vigorously for so long are being handed away through the adoption of software that restricts user freedom."

Groups and individuals who support the statement are being asked to add their own signatures at http://freesoftwarefreesociety.org. The statement will be used to encourage non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop policies in support of free software, and, through the collection of free software adoption success stories, encourage the development of organizational migration plans to free software.

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. Its Web site, located at www.fsf.org, is 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.

Media Contacts

John Sullivan
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
617-542-5942×23
johns@fsf.org

Joshua Gay
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
617-542-5942×19
jgay@fsf.org

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