Only one week left to register your Software Freedom Day team!

Posted by greebo on Jul 13, 2006 10:38 AM EDT
Software Freedom Day; By Pia Waugh
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One week left to register your Software Freedom Day teams for free stuff! Let's look at why Software Freedom matters now more than ever!

In an increasingly digital age more and more of our everyday lives are based on technology. How we interact with each other, enjoy different media, vote, get paid, and even navigate our roads. Technology underpins our very way of life, our basic freedoms such as freedom of association, freedom of thought, freedom of choice and much more, yet many people do not realise the importance of transparent and sustainable technologies, what we call Software Freedom.

What do we mean by Software Freedom? Well, we've already seen where closed technologies have caused major issues in undermining our basic freedoms. Untrusted electoral systems lead to civil unrest and a lack of trust in governing bodies. [1] Spyware that watches what we do without our knowledge on our computers, a gross breach of privacy. [2] Region encoding of movies introduces an artificial barrier to the international content we have access to, where is our personal choice? [3] Proprietary data formats means that we end up with vendor lockout to accessing our own information! [4] Software Freedom can be maintained by transparent systems (such as Free and Open Source Software) that are based on open, secure and sustainable standards including data formats and communication protocols.

Software Freedom Day is a yearly celebration of Software Freedom and why it is important. With one week left to register teams on the Software Freedom Day website we urge you to participate in one of the most important education campaigns in modern times. There is a Start Guide on the website with ideas, and it could be as simple as a community BBQ.

This year there is also a great competition to encourage teams to be inventive and put the hard yards in to making this year the best Software Freedom Day ever! We have some famous faces lending a hand with the LUG Radio crew helping us judge the competition entries, and with Alan Cox, Jeff Waugh, Aaron Seigo, Andrew Tridgell and more famous faces offering to sign the tshirts for some of the competition prizes. There is also some tasty hardware generously donated from IBM up for grabs for the best team submissions. Check out the competition page for details.

Rock on for Software Freedom Day all around the world!



Date: 16th September 2006

[1] Several countries around the world currently use electronic voting booths that are based on closed source software, and have been proven to have extremely dubious credibility. Closed source means you can't see what is happening in the system below the hood, which means you can't tell if the program is doing what it is supposed to do. You can't be sure there are no backdoors and you certainly can't be sure the results are credible. Would you really trust a newly bought car to drive across the desert when the hood has been welded shut?

[2] Sony had spyware included on a series of music CDs that installed itself silently on Microsoft Windows machines and logged what people listened to. This spyware was the first of a new wave of spyware that is extremely difficult to detect and remove.,1848,69601,00.html

[3] DVD region coding has seemed to be a corporate strategy to ensure movies are released around the world in a controlled fashion, and can be possibly used as a way to avoid certain movies getting to certain countries. Many people own region-free DVD players particularly in regions where they do not have a very active movie industry and want to get overseas movies that are not released locally. Under US DMCA style legislation that is being pushed into US bilateral trade agreements around the world, even using a region-free DVD player would be potentially criminal.

[4] Try accessing a document you created 10 years ago in modern software? Unless you used a plain text or basic html, the chances are slim. Why should we not be able to trust the technology to access our poems, essays, stories, love letters and resumes in the future?

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