The role of Free Software in a world that doesn't care

14th October 2016

The Free Software movement is about personal and social liberties. Giving the owner and user of a computer control over it. But most people don't see the problem with a small number of multinational mega-corporations having control over everyone's computers. They think: “Apple and Microsoft know what they're doing, and they do a good job, so why would I need Free Software?”

Accepting that most people reject the Free Software message, what can the Free Software movement contribute to the world?

  1. The Free Software community can educate people that it's possible for things to be different. That it's possible for software to be individually or community developed. That the code needn't be kept secret from the users. That software is not magic, but scripting that can be understood. There is no advantage of being ignorant so this is a message for everyone.
  2. If someone becomes disillusioned with the proprietary platforms they are using, or finds that the proprietary software industry is not catering for their specific needs, the Free Software community is there for them. The community writes Free Software and supports people who want to learn it.
  3. The Free Software community, and the Free Software foundations [EU, US], critique the proprietary software companies. This helps protect even users of proprietary software. If a proprietary software company violates their user's rights, articles will be written and awareness campaigns will be run. If they try to lobby through some legislation or trade agreements that harms computer user's rights, comments will be submitted to legislators and petitions will be arranged.

So, I think Free Software is truly there for everyone, even people who do not use or care about it. And I think that the Free Software movement will be an ever-important guardian of the people's rights as we move into an extensively computerised future.

a group of friends at a cafe sharing media on a tablet. their mobile phones sit on the table