“Public Software”: a serious symptom of the crisis in the Free Software Social Movement

“Public Software” The so-called Public Software is a political project which aims to remove the Free Software main feature: the Freedom. It tries to put the people in the role of mere “viewing public”.

The Free Software Social Movement historically called the participation of the entire society for the transformation of the surrounding reality, it aimed to create PRODUCERS of free culture, free software, free computer networks and free hardware in order to achieve a freer society . Produced tangible results as well as GNU/Linux, the Internet Protocol, Wikipedia, Firefox, eMule, BitTorrent and many other tools that not only were suitable for all, but can also be produced / used by anyone.

By removing the idea of working for freedom, some people is trying to avoid disturbing the political/economical interests of the various national governments when adopting free software because the migration process will be carried out using partly Proprietary or Open Source Software as for instance the one that produces Canonical (Ubuntu). So the say “public” and avoid to say “free”, because the ideas of Free Software Foundation (100% free software!) could anoy these political/economical interests.

Thus the Social Movement of Free Software is excluded in its philosophical basis and asked to participate only if it does not generate “controversy” (http://solar.org.ar/spip.php?rubrique59) and agree to talk about Public Software rather than referring to Free Software.

Recently the chief of staff of the Argentine Government, Anibal Fernandez, released a video interview (http://www.anibalfernandez.com.ar/te-lo-digo-yo/309-video-entrevista.html) Public speaking and inviting the free software activists to stop using the “free” software terminology. There are 70 million dollars at stake “for the creation of technology-based firms” (http://www.mincyt.gov.ar/index.php?contenido=noti_empretec).

A few days later, Martin Olivera, who has served as President of the NGO SOLAR (Software Libre Argentina), published on his blog (http://blog.martinolivera.com.ar/?p=169) an explanation of why Adding to the Federal Bureau of Public Software “PJ Digital” (http://www.pjdigital.org/2010/08/09/pjdigital-inicio-el-armado-d”Public/).

From the Peronism movement they say that “the PJ Digital now opens a space for public discussion of the software, which is a political discussion that can be carried forward on a political level and from a Peronist view but open to all who want to participate”.

Obviously they want to make the adoption of Free Software their partisan achievement but not to speak of political freedom because these friends of big business, dont want the people’s emancipation. In any case, the national bourgeoisies want “their” working classes to work for them and for the State taking care of their extraordinary profits, giving to the people a “finished” software, in many cases with available source code but:

Without the necessary activity for the people to take all the freedoms of free software? 0) The freedom to run the program, for any purpose 1) The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt to your needs. 2) The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor. 3) The freedom to improve the program, and release the improvements to others, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

How will free software (bad called “public”) get to the people? Will the people know something about the 4 basic freedoms?

In the website of the CLAD (Latin American Centre for Development Administration) regarding the issue, not even once mention the word freedom or liberty (http://www.clad.org/reforme/boletin-324/proyecto-software-p). CLAD is an international project that brings all States benefiting from the definition of “Public Software”. The project began in Brazil (http://www.softwarepublico.gov.br/) and now spread to Argentina and other countries.

There is much talk of “Public” but these projects are woven behind the public, or at least people are called to be “viewing public” rather than producers of reality: the calls to the vaunted “Federal Bureau of Public Software” was not done to all the activists of the Social Movement of Free Software: rarely summoned some which could be aligned with the National Government of Kirchner. The rest were excluded from any prior notice.

It is remarkable that into the NGO SOLAR it had happened as follows: one day someone asked what it meant “Public Software”, days later Aníbal Fernández did the video interview published on his blog to leave “Free Software” denomination, the NGO SOLAR bureaucracy responds with a critique (http://solar.org.ar/spip.php?article784) (calling it an “add”) “In this context the question arises why a project of far-reaching as Equal Connect incorporates proprietary software the laptops of the boys. The very idea of “public” is challenged by this action, which goes directly to one of the places where teens spend more time to socialize, which ultimately build their idea of citizenship. “and then the President of the NGO joins the Public Software and yet with endless excuses. We already know that the one that denominate, dominate (http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=111147).

Yes, the very idea of “public” is questioned, not only by the action of distributing computers with proprietary software, but also by the manner in which meetings are being held without calling the “public” in general, the call is not free.

So: the Open Source accomplished through the assistance of States and bureaucratic NGOs to conquer new positions and render the computer struggle for emancipation which is the Social Movement of Free Software.

This sad trip is a great example about why the free software philosophy is so important, why it is so important to defend against the confusion of some politicians of different states defending oppressors and an unjust capitalist system in which it is “necessary” to subtract the people’s freedom so a wealthy social class can perpetuate in power.

Public Software = Gattopardo: Change everything so that nothing changes.

The Social Movement of Free Software has a fundamental task for the emancipation of society: to build horizontal organizations, free and independent from states and oppressive business that want to use “Free Software” or “Public Software” only to generate large profits for the capitalists and juicy win elections while population is intended to play the “Public Viewer.”

References (in spanish):

Source (in spanish):

Made it with charm and jed from a rxvt-unicode terminal.


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