Green party

Green Party backs calls for open source software adoption

30 August 2007

The Green Party of England and Wales today backed an international call from the Free Software Society (FSS), New Internationalist, Friends of the Earth International and People and Planet in calling on social activists and progressive organizations to join with them in rejecting Microsoft's Vista operating system, and to encourage instead the adoption and use of free open source software (FOSS).

The advent and use of free software is a promotion of the computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSS categorically state that free software 'is about freedom, not price. It is software whose authors intentionally extend users the freedoms to study, copy, modify and share their work. While proprietary software functions by dividing people and using technical restrictions to block communication between them, free software was created with individual freedom and social solidarity in mind.' (1)

Derek Wall, Green Party male Principal Speaker, backs the call. "Free software offers social activists an alternative to what a system like Vista represents. Using free software, we can further social and environmental justice without supporting growth based on waste, control and short-term profit."

He continued, "I would urge social movements to develop a migration strategy, including a commitment not to move to Vista."

Green Party female Principal Speaker Sian Berry added, "Along with signing up to the Free Software Foundation's call for more NGOs to take advantage of the benefits, The Green Party are extending this call to governments too. With every government hiring IT companies to create separate, proprietary systems, a lot of private profit is created. However, the governments will not own the source code at the end of the process and the companies can charge the same to each government they sell their software to.

"Under an open source model, governments instead collaborate with each other and pay IT companies to develop open source systems. This means the problem can be solved once and then implemented everywhere without charging taxpayers again and again for the same thing. Upgrades and further developments can be funded and carried out collaboratively too, and this can lead to enormous savings overall.

"Using more FOSS in government could do more than save money and development time, it could also free us from having to get involved with arms companies like Lockheed Martin, who are now in the final round of selection to run the 2011 UK Census." (2)

Groups and individuals who support the statement are being asked to add their own signatures at freesoftwarefreesociety.org. The statement will be used to encourage non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop policies in support of free software, and, through the collection of free software adoption success stories, encourage the development of organizational migration plans to free software.

To read more about Sian's views on FOSS, go to her New Statesman blog at www.newstatesman.com

ENDS

1 - freesoftwarefreesociety.org2 - censusalert.org.uk