Opinion: Join the NJ Linux Users Group to Support Software Freedom Day Sept. 20!

Photo: Bob Murphy and Sam Sandus man the table at last years' Software Freedom Day. Photo Credit: Courtesy NJ Linux User Group
Bob Murphy and Sam Sandus man the table at last years’ Software Freedom Day. | Courtesy NJ Linux User Group

[NJTechWeekly.com heard that the NJ Linux Users Group would be hitting the ground in Montclair Sept. 20 to make people aware of free software and the people who make it possible. We asked organizer Bob Murphy to write about why the group feels it is so important for NJTechWeekly.com readers to support this initiative.]

Software Freedom Day, Sept. 20, is a world-wide celebration of free software and the people behind it.  All over the globe, users that appreciate free software gather and work together to further the use and awareness of free software. 

In India, there have been classes set up to educate people on the use of free software. In Russia, Spain, and Kuwait there will be talks about free software. 

This year, the NJ Linux User’s group will have a table set up on Church Street in Montclair to give out DVDs with Linux distributions, as well as free software for Windows.  We will talk to people on the street to make them more aware of what free software is and how it can benefit them.  The table will be set up outside of Simit House Bakery.

Free software ensures that users and developers can control the software that they use, can see how it is built to ensure that the software does what the users think it does, and allows them to share the software and any changes they have made to it.

From the Free Software Foundation:

“A program is free software if the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:

·       The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).

·       The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

·       The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).

·       The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.”

The NJ tech community would be well served by supporting free software.  Many in the community are already using it in their projects; from Apache, to PHP or Python, to Linux running the servers that make today’s rich web experience possible. 

By letting people know that the software is available, everyone can learn and build upon it.  We will be giving away software that ordinary users can take advantage of on their desktop computers, such as LibreOffice, Inkspace and the Gnu Image Manipulation Program, which will allow them to use powerful creative desktop software at no cost.  We are also distributing the GNU/Linux operating system which can be used on any desktop computer to allow the user to control how they use their computers.

I hope to  see and speak to many of you this coming Saturday, September 20th, in Montclair on Church Street, to talk about Free Software.




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