Today is Software Freedom Day: Sep15, 2012

These days, free software is everywhere. This site runs on WordPress, a totally free content management system and blogging platform and is hosted on servers that run Linux, a totally free operating system. The database running in the background, MySQL, is also free, as are many of the plugins and bits of code that shape the site. Your desktop or mobile device is also likely choc full of free software (you are, after all, reading!).

Software Freedom day was started in 2004 by a non-profit called ‘Software Freedom International’ (SFI), with the objective of raising awareness of free software and increasing its use.

Note, however, that the ‘free software’ in question does not refer to free-to-use software, such as most of what we feature on this site, but rather ‘unfettered’ software that can be freely modified and examined, also known as FLOSS (Free, Libre, and open source software), FOSS, or simply ‘open source’. Software Freedom Day is now celebrated every third Saturday of September.

Software Freedom Day logo mod

While the ‘Open Source’ movement was at one point greatly motivated by dislike of Microsoft and its licensing policies, esp. with respect to its Windows OS, open source software has not bumped Windows’ off of most individual user’s desktops, but rather veered of to fulfill what is perhaps an even more important role: it has had a key role in shaping the internet, as many if not most sites are served off off Linux servers and other open source software. It also is used to power the IT infrastructure of many businesses of all sizes.

Events commemorating ‘Software Freedom Day’ are held across the globe and sponsored by SFI.


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