Quick list: Problems for Free Software in Romania

I’m Bucharest this weekend for the Coliberator conference, organised by FSFE associate organisation Ceata. In one of my talks, I presented FSFE, and talked about things we can work on together.

In the discussion that followed, we collected problems that Free Software is facing in Romania. It’s a rough-and-ready list of points, collected on a public Etherpad – if you have more, please add them, and give me a ping in the comments. (Just keep it limited to Romania, please.)

  • afraid of Free Software
    • afraid of change
    • afraid of having to learn something new
  • companies pressuring politicians to avoid change
  • user organisations afraid of lack of support
  • corruption
    • can’t make hidden deals with Free Software companies as easily
  • Lack of collaboration between activists and groups
  • Users are unfamiliar with Free Software programs
  • hardware sometimes doesn’t support Free Software
  • Too little Free Software use in education system
  • Education system doesn’t emphasize Free Software well enough
    • Asset: Free Software used for training at Bucharest Politechnical Institute
    • Asset: some courses on GNU/Linux use at University of Bucharest
  • Misconception that Free Software is more buggy than proprietary software
    • caused by the fact that we don’t hide problems
  • Government forces people to use non-free software
    • MS Windows reqired for end-of-high school exams
    • Flash widely used in education – platform
    • government is contractually obliged to use non-free software through their hardware contracts
  • Office suite: People blame Free Software programs for lack of compatibility
  • Getting unlicensed proprietary software is much easier than using proprietary software
    • and people consider proprietary software to be more professional

Sure, it’s a long list of problems, and most of them are issues that we know well from other countries. The good news is that the list also contains some very specific issues, such as the Flash-based education platform. These things present a clear target, and may well be footholds on the steep climb to solving the other, less well-defined problems.