FSF in Class Assignment (Fernando & Bryam)

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a non-profit organization that has a main goal of promoting user freedom as well as defending the rights of the people who use this free software. Richard Stallman founded the organization on October 4 1985. Stallman is a software freedom activist and computer programmer who pioneered the concept of copyleft which opposes the idea of copyright laws and instead is used to give rights and distribute content to all. The organization has a belief that stems on the idea that the world, and society as a whole has become more and more dependent on computers and the software that drives said computers. By promoting freedom of software use and development, they are attempting to prevent governments and large corporations from regulating and restricting use of software and technology that has become increasingly common to all. The use of software and technology is not exclusive to large business and corporations, individuals, schools, and the normal domestic home has use for computers and the software embedded within their systems.

Some of the main thin things that the FSF works on is maintaining historical articles covering the free software philosophy. Free software means that the software’s users have freedom and this is not about money. The FSF also sponsors the GNU project which is project to provide and operating system that is licensed as a free software. This program is like that of windows or mac but it doesn’t have the same restrictions They also fund development systems for people who have GNU. Some of these include full email shell services and mailing lists. They also fund a source code repository and center for free software development called Savannah. The FSF campaigns against threats to computer user freedom like the Digital Restrictions Management and software patents as well. “Free software” means software that respects users’ freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Thus, “free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer”. We sometimes call it “libre software” to show we do not mean it is gratis.

Some of the campaigns that they are currently involved in: The Free Javascript campaign which: “is an ongoing effort to persuade organizations to make their Web sites work without requiring that users run any nonfree software. By convincing influential sites to make the transition, we raise awareness of the need for free software-friendly Web sites and influence the owners of other sites to follow.” The PlayOgg campaign which “promotes the use of free audio and video formats unencumbered by patent restrictions, rather than MP3, QuickTime, Windows Media, and AAC, whose patent problems threaten free software and hinder progress. We also promote the use of the new “video tag” standard as an alternative to Adobe Flash for embedding audio and video in webpages. Find out more about PlayOgg at playogg.org or at the campaign wiki. You can also join the PlayOgg volunteer team to push companies and services to use Ogg by joining the mailing list.”

The organization claims that the best way to support them and their mission is to use free software, and essentially spread the word about their goals to provide software access to all.

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One thought on “FSF in Class Assignment (Fernando & Bryam)

  1. He makes a good point about creating a shared environment where software is exchanged and how this could drastically improve the performance of these programs and create new pieces of software using help and input form everybody in the community, but I feel like there should be a better regulation about who’s allowed to access what. A hacker might destroy some programs all together and not to mention a lot of people losing work in fields relating to creation of software for sell.

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