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Home  > Gender & ICT  > Women in FOSS > Article

Backlash at the World Summit
Christina Haralanova | 6 February 2006


The use of proprietary software, which remains under the control of the vendor rather than the user, forces democracies into a dangerous dependency from corporations.


The use of proprietary software, which remains under the control of the vendor rather than the user, forces democracies into a dangerous dependency from corporations - a risk that was showing at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in Tunis November 16-18, 2005, too. Unlike in Geneva 2003, where all of the summit’s 200 publicly available machines were booting Knoppix, the Tunis cyber-caf promoted Windows XP, and Microsoft’s large booth was speaking for itself.

This visible backlash was counteracting the declarations of governments, such as the Brazilian and Catalonian, of making Open Source a national strategy. It also matched poorly with the official WSIS principles, as stated in chapter 3 of the summit’s Plan of Action, which demanded "alternatives to proprietary software" and to "encourage research and promote awareness among all stakeholders of the possibilities offered by different software models".

Nevertheless a number of events featured free software, creative commons licences and free knowledge as central topics. Free culture evening sessions in the city of Tunis outside the official WSIS program attracted a number of fans as well as the Minimum Prize 2005 for Responsible Social Transformation awarding ceremony which honored Richard Stallman for GNU merits. This time his notorious performance of the "Free Software Song" was enobled by an accompanist of fame - Brazil’s minister of culture, Gilberto Gil.

More about WSIS

More about FOSS at WSIS





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