As we wave goodbye to 2008 I thought now seemed as good a time as any to look back at the work done by the Free Software Foundation over the past year.
The FSF 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 languages.
Current campaigns include:
- ACTA — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is an imminent threat to the distribution and development of free software.
- DefectiveByDesign.org: FSF’s campaign to eliminate Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). DefectiveByDesign.org is a broad-based anti-DRM campaign that is targeting large media companies, unhelpful manufacturers and DRM distributors. The campaign aims to make all manufacturers wary about bringing their DRM-enabled products to market. DRM products have features built-in that restrict you and spy on your activities. These products have been intentionally crippled from the users’ perspective, and are therefore “defective by design”. We aim to make it clear that DRM is an anti-social technology and practice.
- PlayOgg.org: FSF’s campaign to promote Ogg, a free alternative to proprietary formats like MP3 and AAC
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?
I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year.