Free Software? Why?

In this post we won't get into the details of Free Software, what is the story behind it and the history, rather, we want to focus on its importance.

Nowadays basically all the software use, at least in some part, free software. Starting from big companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo to more specific sectors like ArcGIS. Here an awesome book about this topic.

Underestimated freedom

During the COVID-19 pandemic we all are experiencing a lot of changes during or day to day life: online schools and universities, companies using smart working and, why not, remote beers with friends.

All this is possible thanks to software. But why using free software is crucial in this moment?

Because free software becomes your software when you start using it. When you open a window, click on a button you become part of a community.

You can ignore this fact and keep using the software thinking is free (free = free of charge) and not free (free = free as freedom) or you can start thinking the importance of collaboration, in any form:

  • testing the software and reporting bugs
  • start chatting with the community and the developers
  • help translating
  • financial support

None of the above choices is appealing? OK, the next time you need a service (consulting, training, etc.) choose who is supporting the software, who makes it, who is envolved in the community.

Important consequences

Why is so important to choose the right tool, the correct software to use? Because it is about your freedom (if you think freedom is not important you can safely skip the post).

During the COVID-19 pandemic we are seeing at some very important stuff going on:

  1. Many schools, companies and public authorities have chosen Zoom for the remote calls. Zoom experienced a big security breach that could have lead to a theft of personal information

  2. Italian INPS website (INPS is the public social service) experienced a lot of problems. This article (in Italian) explains what are the problems of the process. Moreover, all INPS software costed a lot

  3. ESRI is distributing free licenses to students until August 31st. And then what will happen? And when a student becomes a worker?

  4. Safe Software is following the same path of ESRI, but even more sneaky by distributing free licenses until 30th September to give a free tool to use during the pandemic. And then?

There are a lot more of these examples out there. We are finding the last two really informative: taking advantages of a so delicate moment (university - pandemic) to free share useful tools.

If you rely on this situations, well we hope you won't wait until the next pandemic to get a free copy of the software.

Do you get the importance of freedom?

Free as speech

Italian language has two different words to define the concept of free by distinguish free as freedom and free as beer: somebody paid your free cold beer.

Since ever we believe that the defense of freedom, of all freedoms, is a crucial for the humanity. What we directly do is to protect the freedom of the software by contributing actively in all ways we know.

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