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Bastien Guerry

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Dec 05, 2023 04:00 PM
Photo of Bastien Guerry
Name:
Bastien Guerry
Location:
Paris, France
Company/Organization:
Etalab
Project Contributions:

Bastien Guerry is a programmer. He is now working for the French administration, helping public agencies move to using more free software and educating them in how to share and build free software together.

I became interested in free software when I was studying philosophy, circa 2000. I was amazed by the promises of the early Internet, but also concerned that it could lead to an increased asymmetry of power between human beings. If knowledge is power and software is knowledge, then, I thought, free software is a way to fight asymmetry of power. This is because free software enables everyone, whether "user" or "developer," with the same freedoms equally.

One day, I discovered GNU Emacs, and I was hooked. I dove into the manual, joined a few Emacs mailing lists, and learned a bit of Emacs Lisp. Then, I started spending a lot of time learning how to program, always grateful that so many people were willing to share their experience and skills on public mailing lists.

A few years later, I read the book From Counterculture to Cyberculture by Fred Turner, who debunks the myth of a digital revolution made by the invisible hand of the so-called "collective intelligence." After reading this book, I was convinced that public institutions should play a greater role in the free software movement. Believing I could have an impact as a free software promoter by joining the French administration, I decided to put my energy there and to try building a dedicated free software unit.

This is an exciting moment for free software in European public administrations, as units responsible for promoting the use and publication of free software, forming a network, and working together to solve problems.

My blog is at https://bzg.fr (https://bzg.fr/en/ for English posts), and you can reach me at bzg@gnu.org.

Photo Copyright © 2023 Bastien Guerry. This image is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

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