Saturday, January 31, 2009

Free Software Foundation - A Worthy Cause

Free software is not all about saving money. I certainly do not mind paying for the applications and games that I have purchased if they are good, but once I purchase them I believe they should actually be mine. I think it would be quite silly if I purchased a movie and was only allowed to use it on one DVD player, but no one seems to find it silly when I can only install a program or game on one computer or run it on only one operating system. Championing Open Source software is not just something I do to save money, rather it is a way to exercise my rights to use what belongs to me. If I pay good money for a product, I should be able to use it however I want. Open Source is about giving the user freedom to share, study, and modify what they own.

Since it is not all about the money my husband and I have decided to increase our financial support to more of the Open Source projects that we believe in. Once a month we will pick a project we think is worthy and give them our financial support. I will then highlight them here so that others can learn about what they are doing. Since I am just really beginning to seriously explore Open Source we thought we would start the year off by highlighting and donating to the Free Software Foundation. The main goal of the FSF to is fight for the freedoms of computer users like myself. Here are some excerpts from their website that explain exactly what they do.

"The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a 501(c)3 donor supported charity founded in 1985 and based in Boston, MA, USA. The FSF has a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom and to defend the rights of all free software users.

"The FSF maintains the Free Software Definition - to show clearly what must be true about a particular software program for it to be considered free software."

"The FSF sponsors the GNU project the ongoing effort to provide a complete operating system licensed as free software. "

"The FSF holds copyright on a large proportion of the GNU operating system, and other free software. We hold these assets to defend free software from efforts to turn free software proprietary... We do this to ensure that free software distributors respect their obligations to pass on the freedom to all users..."

"The FSF publishes the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL), the worlds most popular free software license, and the only license written with the express purpose of promoting and preserving software freedom."

There are several ways you can support the Free Software Foundation, and of course financial support is always a great way to start. The FSF receives the bulk of their income from individual donors just like you and me. You can make a donation online or in the mail, or even become a member. Your membership can be paid in full or split up into monthly installments.

At the FSF website you can see this video from Stephen Fry as he announces the birthday of the GNU project. In it he explains the concept of "free" software in a manner in which I think you will understand and enjoy. I hope this will at least explain to you why I am so passionate about the Open Source movement.

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