Breaking the dependency on proprietary software: A call to nonprofits to refuse Microsoft Windows 7

Free Software Foundation“sinking money and time into proprietary software is inconsistent with the core values of freedom and progress.”

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has launched the next stage of its “Windows 7 Sins” campaign at http://windows7sins.org, making the case against Microsoft and proprietary software by writing to 500 leaders of the most influential nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide, asking them to make the switch to freedom-respecting free software, and to help foster awareness of the ethical importance of computer user freedom.

The letter warns these “Windows 7 decision makers” about the “lack of privacy, freedom, and security” they will suffer should they adopt Windows 7, and makes the case that they should instead adopt free software by outlining seven major areas where proprietary software like Windows is hurting society: invading privacy, poisoning education, locking users in, abusing standards, leveraging monopolistic behavior, enforcing Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), and threatening user security.

FSF executive director Peter Brown said, “The dependency of organizations working for social change and improvement on software owned and exclusively controlled by Microsoft is leading society into an era of digital restrictions, threatening and limiting our freedoms. Free software on the other hand, is about freedom, not price, and it is designed to give you the ability to study and improve the software for your own needs. Today, we’re asking leaders in the nonprofit sector to switch to the free software GNU/Linux operating system for all their desktop and computer infrastructure needs.”

The GNU/Linux operating system is readily available, easy-to-use, and supported by numerous vendors and a worldwide community. GNU/Linux distributions come with thousands of freely licensed software applications, including complete accounting and fundraising solutions suitable for charities.

FSF campaigns manager Matt Lee added, “Charities, NGOs, and other nonprofit organizations that choose proprietary software are undertaking bad public policy, often through misinformation or a failure to see their technology choices as connected to their social missions. We hope to alert these decision makers to the positive contribution they can make to society by switching their organizations to free software. I hope these groups will make a public policy commitment to freedom and join a growing list of organizations who understand that sinking money and time into proprietary software is inconsistent with the core values of freedom and progress.”

More information about the campaign, including the text of the letter and a mailing list that will provide subscribers with information updates and action alerts, is online at http://en.windows7sins.org.

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