[fosscom] 4th July meeting

V. Sasi Kumar sasi.fsf at gmail.com
Wed Jul 1 22:33:25 PDT 2009

On Wed, 2009-07-01 at 21:57 -0700, parminder at itforchange.net wrote:

> As we discuss the issue of wider adoption of FOSS and its integration into
> policy frameworks, which I understand will dominate the meeting, I think
> we need to also deliberate upon our linkages to broader movements for
> social justice and equity. That is where our commitment to FOSS comes
> from.

I agree that FOSS does contribute to reducing the 'digital divide'. But
I am not sure FOSS can bring about social justice and equity, especially
in a country where the majority has no access to a computer. On the
other hand, the use of FOSS by the government helps to reduce
expenditure and frees that money for other purposes. Moreover, the money
spent remains in the country. On the other hand, a ten percent increase
in the efficiency in implementing government programmes and programmes
focussed on social justice could, possibly, bring about greater
improvement in social justice and equity.

I am not sure that the commitment to FOSS comes from a sense of social
justice and equity. I think freedom, per se, is a value worth fighting
for. In fact, if it is just a question of access to software, the
companies, or even the government itself, could solve the problem by
distributing free copies of software for those who cannot afford to buy
licensed copies.

> I do feel that while there is a strong movement for FOSS, and that may be
> largely driven by the desire of techies to have freedom of and vis-a-vis
> their tools, there is not enough recognition of many new forms of
> 'closeness' of technology model which could be as or even more dangerous. 

I don't think the freedom is only for techies or for their tools. Every
user enjoys the freedom.

V. Sasi Kumar
Free Software Foundation of India
Please visit http://swatantryam.blogspot.com 

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