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[libreplanet-discuss] About Central American Free Software Meeting

From: Carolina Flores Hine
Subject: [libreplanet-discuss] About Central American Free Software Meeting
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2010 21:44:50 -0600
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Last week, our regional community gathered in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. I want you to know about the work we are doing and the results of our meeting.



2nd Central American Free Software Meeting took place in Costa Rica

From wednesday July 21st to friday 23rd, at the University of Costa Rica at Puntarenas, more than a hundred advocates and people linked to free software comunities from Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, as well as guests from Mexico and Germany, attended the 2nd Central American Free Software Meeting <>

This was the second edition of this meeting that had it's start at Esteli, Nicaragua on 2009. For three days, people linked to the Software Libre Centroamérica (SLCA) community worked together, coordinated future activities and shared ideas. This meeting is aimed to enforce agreements and ways to work as a group to ease free software advancement and development on the region. The schedule included diagnosis activities about the general situation of Free Software in Central America, working sessions on Business ventures, Women in Free Software, Public Policies and Education. Also, technical workshops were offered and a final declaration was written and aproved, to gather the agreements and working compromises for the next period. The final declaration of the 2010 ECSL (Declaración de Puntarenas) can be read following this link <>.

The local team for this 2nd ECSL has been supported by the University of Costa Rica <> and the National University (through it's project funded by UNDP and implemented by ProGesTIC <>). The activity's coordination is a result of the joint work of the UCR's Free Software Users Community (CSLUCR <>), the SLCA community and the Costa Rican Free Software Network (RCSL <>) with the following offices at University of Costa Rica: Social Action Vice-Rectory, Computing and Informatics School, Computing Center and the Pacific campus.


 Declaración de Puntarenas (english version)

*Declaración de Puntarenas
(Puntarenas Statement)*

*Comunidad Software Libre Centroamérica
(Central America Free Software Community)*

*- I -


Free Software is the software whose license guarantees its user and/or developer the following powers: unrestricted use of the software for any purpose; thorough inspection of the mechanisms of the software, use of internal mechanisms and arbitrary portions of the software to suit specific needs, manufacture and distribution of copies of the software, software modification and free distribution of both the changes and the resulting new software under these conditions. These powers presuppose access to software source code. Therefore, for a software to qualify as free software, the person who owns its copyright (if any) must ensure that users and/or developers have access to a copy of the source code for free, or through a charge for services which must not be significantly higher than the usual market cost of materials, labor and logistics needed for the manufacture and delivery of such copies, costs, prices and rates calculated by the time the code is requested .

Source or origin code is the complete set of instructions and original digital files created and/or modified by those who wrote it, plus all the supporting digital media files, such as data tables, images, specifications, documentation, and everything else that may be necessary to produce the executable software from them. Only those tools and software that are already freely distributed by other means, such as compilers, operating systems and libraries, may be excluded from this set.

Open formats and protocols are the technical specifications that are available to any user or developer to be implemented in a Free Software or any other, promoting competitiveness, interoperability or flexibility. These formats can become Standards when they are recognized, published and controlled by an organization that is responsible for its maintenance.

*- II -


We, members of the Central American community of users, developers and Free Software advocates have gathered in the city of Puntarenas, Costa Rica, to work together, coordinate and share ideas with the objective of enforcing agreements and ways to work as a group to ease free software advancement and development in the region.

*- III -*

Considering that the use of Free Software and Open Protocols and Formats:

1. Contributes to strengthen the national information and communication technologies. 2. Effectively contributes to the reduction of the social and technological breach. 3. Enables inter-operability of information systems of the State to provide effective and timely responses to the citizens, improving governance and the technological sovereignity, with a better investment of public resources. 4. Allows to improve storage capacity and security levels of systems to provide appropriate handling of citizens' personal data.

*- IV -*

And considering:

1. That social inequalities in education and technology access can replicate exclusion models and that Free Software can be a tool that contributes to participation, autonomy and empowerment of women in society.

2. That software and algorithms patents undermine technological development of our countries and our people's opportunities to become active participants in knowledge construction.

3. That the public institutions should share information on patent applications and amendments to the author's rights laws, so that this data is accessible free of charge and available through digital media, using Open Formats and Protocols.

4. That the information and studies made at educational and public institutions must be available in open formats -and standarized when possible, to allow free use, learning, improvement, collaboration and distribution.

*- V -*

We agreed to urge governments, educational institutions, research centers, civil society and all other related entities in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama to:

1. Develop different local and regional initiatives to promote creation and implementation of public policies, both executive and legislative, favorable to the recruitment and development of Free Software, for these tools to be increasingly present in the institutions of our countries and in the daily activities of the public.

2. Establish the use of Open Formats and Protocols as a state policy, and the use of Free Software in the Public Administration.

3. Stimulate people and business venture entities to promote initiatives basing its core business on free software, through dissemination, strengthening and workshops between companies and communities.

4. Contribute to strengthen the use of Free Software in business ventures in the region, thus promoting the development of local and regional information and communication technology's industry

5. Promote the notion of free cultural works in educational environments, as a gateway to the use and development of free and collaborative technologies, and to encourage the use of licenses alternative to the all rights reserved model, with the purpose of guiding the learning process from a standpoint of ethics and solidarity.

6. Promote research and development of software from a free licensing, building and access model, developed with Open Formats, seeking special incentives for those purposes.

7. Include general notions of author's rights and licensing schemes in the university curricula, and guarantee, both in technology related teaching as in general subjects supported by technological resources, that students can use the tools they deem appropriate, encouraging compliance with licensing and use of free access and distribution tools.

8. Establish within the plans and programs to promote and implement the use of information and communication technologies, mechanisms that respect identity, diversity of contexts, cultures, ethnicity and gender and to seek the development of operating systems and applications suitable for needs of some of these specific populations.

Issued at the city of Puntarenas, Costa Rica, on the twenty-third day of July of two thousand and ten.

Translation: Carolina Flores (Costa Rica) & David Narváez (Panama), based on the Esteli Declaration translated by Estrellita Chan (Belize).


"...all progress depends on the unreasonable man" [and/or women] (George 
Bernard Shaw) ¡Software libre para un mundo libre!

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