[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[FSF] The Big Push 2009 -- Free Software Foundation Appeal

From: Peter Brown
Subject: [FSF] The Big Push 2009 -- Free Software Foundation Appeal
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2008 17:30:23 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20080925)

Dear Free Software Supporter,

Our community has made enormous progress in creating tools that enhance
communication and freedom -- with profound effect on people's lives.

Free software has become a model for how our society can progress
collaboratively, and members of our community are at the forefront in
expressing these ideals.

Join now <>
Donate now <>.

Please Digg:


Advocacy, diplomacy, and education are a vital part of the work the Free
Software Foundation does for the free software community -- but to clear
a path for free software adoption, our work has to also reach beyond
this community. We reach a wider audience with important campaigns on
related ethical issues, such as Defective By Design -- our campaign to
eliminate DRM, which has had a profound effect on the way people look at
digital restrictions on music, games, electronic books and video. And as
web applications and other network services become increasingly popular
and convenient, we are working to ensure that computer users are not
asked to give up their freedom in order to use them. Our release of the
GNU Affero General Public License and ongoing discussions with the
** group represent a solid foundation to tackle this issue
and help our community further develop free software alternatives for
the benefit of society.

Today, there are many questions that the free software community needs
to tackle -- Does your employer or school require you to use Microsoft
software? Are you required to use proprietary formats to interact with
your bank or local government? Are your children being trained to use
Microsoft or Apple rather than learning how to be in control of the
computers they use?

As advocates for free software, we can challenge the status quo and
so-called convenience of using the invasive tools of proprietary
software companies, because the opportunities for change have never been

The Free Software Foundation through its End Software Patents (ESP)
campaign filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Federal Circuit (CAFC) in their *en banc* hearing of *in re Bilski* --
<> -- the *Bilski* ruling gutted, if not
technically overturned, the *State Street* ruling that in 1998 opened
the floodgates to the patenting of business methods and software. The
vast bulk of software patents that have been used to threaten developers
writing software for GNU/Linux distributions running on general purpose
computers has in theory been swept away. The *Bilski* ruling undoubtedly
represents a breakthrough for free software and a success for our
campaign, and with this ruling we are on the path to lowering the
threats that institutions face when considering adopting free software.

Completely free distributions like the FSF-sponsored gNewSense are now
viable, something that just a few years ago seemed far out of reach. Our
[work with SGI earlier this year <>
means that 3D graphics acceleration can finally be achieved with free
software and gNewSense.

The relaunch of our [High Priority Projects list
<> highlights that the
proprietary software for which there is currently no free alternative
and that users feel forced to use is dwindling and being tackled

Hardware manufacturers friendly to free software have given us the first
free software smartphone, the Neo FreeRunner. The OLPC project gave us
the first free software laptop, the XO, that has quickly established the
low-cost subnotebook marketplace -- where the economics have made
GNU/Linux a popular choice. And for the past few months, FSF systems
administrators have been working on the forthcoming free software
friendly Lemote laptop, which Richard Stallman is using and that we hope
will be widely commercially available. The availability of free software
friendly hardware has never been greater.

The FSF has been campaigning for free and open formats and standards.
Our [free audio and video codecs campaign <> has been
winning hearts and minds, and Mozilla's Firefox web browser will soon
carry native support for Ogg, giving us an unprecedented opportunity to
promote free codecs. Our campaign alongside many partners for
OpenDocument Format (ODF) and against Microsoft's OOXML
<> has been successful, with many
countries adopting pro-ODF policies.

We celebrated the 25th anniversary of the GNU Project this year with a
breakthrough film from the English comedian Stephen Fry, who gave us an
important reminder of the alternative vision for the technology we use,
a vision where people don't trade freedom for convenience but instead
support development of tools that create a better society. More than 1
million people have watched the film and it has been translated into 32

Combined, these breakthroughs are important because they give us an
opportunity to put aside the claims of convenience that are used to
promote the monopolists' pervasive tools, and ask important questions of
our employer. Why are we using this proprietary software that locks us
to this vendor when we could be using free software that would give us
control? It gives us the chance to demand open government. Why is it,
that my local government is forcing me to purchase one vendor's software
to access public records, when there are free formats that we can use
that work with free software? And why does this school accept corporate
donations of proprietary software that come with handcuffs on my child's
education, rather than use free software that will give my child the
opportunity to be in control of the technology she learning to use?

Support us now in our big push to move these questions and more to the
forefront in 2009 -- become a member at <> or make a
donation at <>.


Peter Brown
Executive Director, Free Software Foundation

Please digg this story:


reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]