Freedom Day at the Free Software Forum

Today is day three of the Free Software Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, which is undoubtedly one of the best Free Software conferences on this planet — and a very busy time for everyone present. Besides many meetings and discussions with various people from business and community, pro-freedom activism and presentations are easily filling the day. And to make it even better, today is a national holiday in Brazil, the day of national liberty.

Some of my personal highlights so far included a talk “Free Software — Social Movement or Technological Revolution?” on the first day just before the opening ceremony. Originally I had planned to give this talk last year already, but before I got the confirmation from FISL I was asked to participate in the United Nations WSIS Contributory Conference on ICT and Creativity in Vienna, which led to the Vienna Manipulations. Fortunately FISL accepted my talk again this year, so I could finally share some of the experiences and thoughts from working at the United Nations.

Yesterday we had a session to introduce the Free Software Foundation Latin America and its work. Richard Stallman and myself were invited as guests, so after Richard explained the importance and goal of the Free Software Foundation, I talked a little bit about the FSF network and the experiences in Rosario, Argentina. Just afterwards I then visited the session of Ciaran O’Riordan who talked about software patents, a topic painfully unknown to too many people in Latin America.

And today there was a session to talk about fully Free Software Distributions, in which Richard Stallman explained the importance of having distributions that are 100% Free Software, followed by a presentation of ututo by Daniel Olivera and a short presentation of AGNULA by myself, also explaining the work FSFE had been doing with its trademark license to keep AGNULA 100% Free. The discussion afterwards then moved more towards one of the hottest topics right now: the problems of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) for human society in general.

Besides these sessions, we were appalled when checking the DVDs distributed by Ubuntu and Kubuntu — David Turner had little difficulty finding the proprietary drivers on both DVDs, like the invidious drivers of NVidia. While there are unfortunately many distributions who do distribute these drivers, they never claim to be 100% Free Software, as Ubuntu and Kubuntu do.

In short: The alledged freedom is a marketing lie.

So Alexandre Oliva of FSFLA patched the DVD packages, which are now on display at the join Free Software Foundations booth here at the Free Software Forum. In case you are here, I definitely encourage you to stop by, also because we have great new stickers, t-shirts and pins. In case you are not here, don’t worry too much, though: Ciaran and I will be bringing at least stickers and pins to the GNU/LinuxTag in Germany.

About Georg Greve

Georg Greve is a technologist and entrepreneur. Background as a software developer and physicist. Head of product development and Chairman at Vereign AG. Founding president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). Previously president and CEO at Kolab Systems AG, a Swiss Open Source ISV. In 2009 Georg was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon by the Federal Republic of Germany for his contributions to Open Source and Open Standards.
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