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  3. <head>
  4. <title>Classification of Free Software as a World Cultural Heritage</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body>
  7. <p class="postit">
  8. This project was discontinued. The pages here are kept for archiving
  9. purposes.
  10. </p>
  11. <div align="center">
  12. <h2>Classification of Free Software as an intangible world
  13. cultural heritage</h2>
  14. <table width="30%" summary="Menu">
  15. <tr><td>
  16. <ul>
  17. <li><a href="done.en.html">Work done</a></li>
  18. <li><a href="support.en.html">Supports</a></li>
  19. <li><a href="links.en.html">Links</a></li>
  20. <li><a href="contact.en.html">Contact</a></li>
  21. <li><a href="press.en.html">Press</a></li>
  22. <li><a href="help.en.html">How to help</a></li>
  23. </ul>
  24. </td></tr>
  25. </table>
  26. </div>
  27. <p>A working group has been set up in January 7th, 2002 by
  28. <a href="http://www.april.org/">APRIL</a> and <a
  29. href="http://fsffrance.org/">FSF France</a>.
  30. The original idea is from Pierre Jarillon (<a
  31. href="http://www.abul.org">ABUL</a> president). The objective is to have Free
  32. Software classified as an intangible world cultural heritage by the
  33. <a href="http://www.unesco.org/">UNESCO</a>.</p>
  34. <p>Why? First you must understand it would benefit to the Free Software
  35. community, but also to humankind as a whole. Free software is not only about
  36. computer science, technique or even licenses. It deals with freedom,
  37. equality and fraternity. Freedom to copy, to study, to modify and to
  38. redistribute software or documentations. Equality, same rights for every
  39. user, without discrimination. Fraternity, because we talk about sharing and
  40. mutual help. Moreover Free Software is already part of the humankind heritage,
  41. in fact. We are trying to obtain a UNESCO recognition. The previous values
  42. are common to the Free Software community and the UNESCO.</p>
  43. <p>Now let's see what the community could expect from this recognition. First
  44. a strong support, because the UNESCO is a major organisation, with an
  45. important aura. It could give a major recognition to Free Software, and a
  46. very large diffusion. Sort of planetary promotion. Finally, it would also
  47. bring legal protection to Free Software (via the UNESCO legal services),
  48. against looming <a href="links.en.html">threats</a>.</p>
  49. <p>We'll begin by ethic/philosophical arguments. We previously talked about
  50. freedom, equality and fraternity values, about our philosophy which is
  51. beneficiary for humankind as a whole. We also add the transparency value,
  52. which prevails in our community. Finally you should keep in mind only
  53. Free Software can be considered as world heritage. "To serve humanity with
  54. software, software should be free, because software belongs to human
  55. knowledge. Proprietary software does not belong to human knowledge." (Richard
  56. M. Stallman, GNU project founder and <a href="http://www.fsf.org">Free
  57. Software Foundation</a> president).</p>
  58. <p>Now, the social arguments. It's a question of mutual help and knowledge
  59. sharing. To make tools (and even much more than tools) available for
  60. everybody. It seems to meet UNESCO values. Free Software allows a situation
  61. where nobody limits others freedom. Nobody forbids you to copy, to use, to
  62. modify or to redistribute, nobody chains you up. Let's add Free Software
  63. allows a quicker development for developing countries (not only them, it's
  64. also true for other countries). They also allow protection of cultures and a
  65. better ease of use, due to multilingual support.</p>
  66. <p>Technical arguments? Free Software has already proved itself (stability,
  67. performances, etc). It's also essential in the field of computer security,
  68. because it's the only one which gives transparency and verification, in a
  69. field where there can be no blind confidence in this or that software
  70. editor. Internet would be pretty different from what it is now without
  71. Free Software (60% of web servers, large part of email or DNS servers, etc)
  72. and the Network would have grown slower without it. Free Software brings
  73. continuity: you won't be blocked by an editor disappearance or trapped in the
  74. version race ("sorry version N-1 is no more supported and nothing runs with
  75. it, and you'll need to change all your hardware to use version N, whose
  76. files are not compatible with version N-1"). Finally Free Software is about
  77. benefit from work already done, not reinventing the wheel, "sitting on
  78. giants'shoulders" (one can see further).</p>
  79. <p>What about independence? First, there is independence of governments. Not
  80. just voters or citizens to satisfy, no election dates to muddle decisions.
  81. Secondly, independence of companies. Not just market shares, consumers or
  82. shareholders. Finally, independence of political parties. And no frantic
  83. pursuit of profit in contempt of everything else, no obligation to release
  84. unfinalised versions. Even if a government, a company or a party develops
  85. a free software, user freedoms are protected and everybody can carry on with
  86. the project in their own way if necessary.</p>
  87. <p>And now, the facts: Free Software is already part of the world heritage,
  88. as previously said. And it has numerous supports, from governments,
  89. associations, firms, and more and more users. Even the UNESCO has a
  90. <a href="http://www.unesco.org/webworld/portal_freesoft/">Free Software
  91. portal</a> and leads <a
  92. href="http://www.unesco.org.uy/informatica/consorcio/index.html">actions in
  93. Latin America</a>.</p>
  94. <p>Group leader: Benoît Sibaud (bsibaud@april.org)</p>
  95. </body>
  96. <timestamp>$Date$ $Author$</timestamp>
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