Saturday, September 15, 2007

Software Freedom Day

Today is Software Freedom Day. According to Wikipedia:

"Software Freedom Day (SFD) is an annual worldwide celebration of the free/open-source software. SFD is a public education effort, not only to celebrate the virtues of free and open source software, but also to encourage its use, to the benefit of the public."

We don't usually link the two words "Software" and "freedom" together. After all, what does the high tech world of software have to do with freedom? However, freedom is basic to any human activity and software is no exception.

For example, the open standards movement is about your freedom to encode (create) and decode (retrieve) your own data. If you store data in proprietary formats, only the maker of that format knows how to unlock that data and you are now dependent on that vendor. This is like buying house but the keys to the house still remain with the builder. Why take the risk? Actively use open formats like ODF and OGG and avoid using proprietary formats like .doc and .mpeg which are proprietary formats.

The open source and free software movement is about your freedom to modify code and share it with others. It is for this reason that Linux can scale from tiny embedded systems to mighty supercomputers. Wikipedia is about your freedom to share knowledge and information with each other.

Over the next few years this movement will go from strength to strength because the open source and free software communities have shown that we can grow richer by sharing!

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