With hardware prices falling, more and more people are buying computers. However proprietary software can be expensive, so many people opt to install pirated or illegal copies of such software. The Free Software movement addresses this issue. For example, GNU software is a complete set of free software packages to have your PC/Laptop fully operational. ‘Free’ here doesn’t just refer to the cost, which is usually zero or negligible. It is free as in FREEDOM. That is, FSF talks about the freedom to use the software, to understand it, to distribute it and modify it.
Some of the important free software available are: Operating Systems like GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, Open Office (containing Editor, Spreadsheet, Presentation Tools), and GIMP (a Painting and drawing tool). Bangalore is seeing a lot of activities related to the free software philosophy. Many of us at the Forum for Science and Development (FSD), the Free Software Users Group (FSUG), Bangalore and Free Software Foundation (FSF), Karnataka are planning various events to spread the idea of Free Software. FSF – India is the Indian chapter of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). FSF India is committed to advocating, promoting and propagating the use and development of ‘swatantra’ software in India.
FSUG – Free Software Users’ Group – Bangalore is a group of Linux and free software enthusiasts in Bangalore. FSD is a science organization interested in the free software movement. After a lecture from Kiran Chandra from FSF, Andhra Pradesh, the FSD folks in Bangalore were inspired to start similar activities in Bangalore. Since many from FSD are not computer savvy, a meeting was held in National Games Village, Koramangala to introduce the philosophy of Free Software and GNU/Linux. FSD then organized the visit of Eben Moglen, who is the lawyer for Free Software Foundation. Moglan spoke to the highly enthusiastic Bangalore crowd on the philosophy of free software vs. proprietary culture. We are now planning to take the free software movement to schools, colleges and NGOs.
Many social activists themselves work with proprietary technologies like those from Microsoft. NGOs will benefit from free software like GNU/Linux as they can focus their funds on the actual tasks they are involved in. We plan to conduct regular ‘Free Software Install’ workshops. We encourage interested people to come with their laptops or PCs and we can help install GNU/Linux.
Free Software Foundation (http://www.fsf.org) | FSF-India (http://www.gnu.org.in) | FSUG–Bangalore (http://bangalore.gnu.org.in)