The FSF: 30 Years of Building the Future
When one looks at how much proprietary hardware and software is out there today (think Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet/Google services and products), it may be hard to believe that the movement to try and open up at least the software-end of this problem has been around for 30 years now. And it is a problem. If you can’t look at the code of the software you are using, you can’t be sure it’s doing what “they” say it does, nor can you genuinely have control of that software.
Fortunately, our “closed garden” present isn’t without its heroic opponents: Enter the Free Software Foundation. For the past 30 years (literally since 1985), the FSF has existed to lead the charge in opening up software to users and coders alike. Even on the hardware-side of things, they have created the RYF Certification (RYF = Respects Your Freedom) that gives the “stamp of approval” to various hardware after rigorous going through testing (including a phenomenal laptop, the Libreboot X200).
While at times it may seem that more and more software and hardware is becoming closed-source and proprietary, the FSF has made many inroads to changing how easily accessible free software is (“free” as in “freedom”), and where free software is accessible, giving billions of people the opportunity to truly control their digital tools. And the FSF’s GNU General Public License is paving the way for how to keep that software free (again, as in “freedom”).
Also, I personally rely heavily on their reports and research on various pieces of software for my own work (including my podcast Sovryn Tech, and the very Dark Android Project you are reading now), and I am forever thankful that the FSF is out there doing this work. I’ve been a donor and member for some time now, and if you are interested in doing something actionable right now in our “Post-Snowden Era”, I very much recommend doing the same. Without the software they develop and support (the IceCat Browser, etc.), and the hardware they certify, we would likely be screwed as far as achieving anything remotely DAPS.
Check out this video if you want to learn more:
I can only hope that the Free Software Foundation and its heroic members are around for another 30 years, and that they see massive success in their missions and goals. I consider the FSF one of the most important organizations on the planet today, so if you didn’t know about the FSF before, get to know about it now. Just hit FSF.org. I consider it key to building any kind of a free (as in “freedom”) future.