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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Software Freedom Day and its impact on our lives

SFD 2010

In two days, the world will be celebrating Software Freedom Day, an annual event held on the third Saturday of every September.

What's the hype about software Freedom anyway?

Freedom in the software field can be roughly defined as the 'ability to study, modify and freely redistribute a software without any restrictions'. Most commercial software that we use, for example Microsoft Office Word are closed source proprietary software which means that the user has no access to the source code and is bound by the terms and conditions stipulated by the manufacturer. The user has no right over the software he/she pays money for.

Why is this bad? Because our lives are increasingly becoming dependent on software. Our governments are relying on software to manage our information. If we do not know how the software works internally or if we are bound by licenses that grant the software manufacturer illicit access to our private data without our knowledge, we are in danger of losing our privacy or information secretiveness. We are paying for software which does more harm to us than it does good. so it is necessary that we have the ability to study and understand the software that we use to ensure its correctness and to trust it with our valuable data. For this purpose, we have to have complete freedom over the software so that no one can deny us the 'right' to do what we please with the software that we use.

Software Freedom Day is the day that we celebrate our freedom over software. The inherent purpose of this event is to tell the world loudly that we value and demand the freedom associated with any piece of software. It is also to increase awareness among people who ignorantly fall victim to the proprietary software death trap. This awareness is important because convincing proprietary software money mongers to embrace freedom is much tougher and a complete waste of time than making regular people aware of the disadvantages and risks associated with shackled software.

So, on the verge of Software Freedom Day 2010, let us rally together and tell the world loudly and proudly that we value software that gives us freedom over it, that which is transparent and that we want all the software to be shackles free. That and that alone is our way forward to a future that will be shaped by software and technology.
For more information, read about Software Freedom
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