Talk: "Use the edge, strong man!" - Free Software in the European Parliament

Free Software in Politics
Saturday 12th of November, 2011

by Erik Josefsson

Over the years, there has been numerous resolutions, petitions and declarations calling for Free Software in the European Parliament. All good initiatives, all with good intentions, hard working activist communities behind, and with well meaning and supportive politicians - but have they really delivered the change we called for? In the bleak back-light of the recent 36.000 desktop "upgrade" to Windows 7 and "unusual" procurement procedures worth millions of Euros, should we conclude the state of Free Software in the European Parliament would have been even worse without these efforts?

My answer is yes, but we need to find new ways and complementary methods to established political tools. Starting with a call for help at FOSDEM in February the European Parliament Free Software User Group added the perspective of "proof of concept and running code" to the activists' toolbox in that regard. And as EPFSUG has both patrons, members and supporters, there is something for everybody who wants to help to:

Estonian independent MEP Indrek Tarand is a member of the Greens/EFA Group and has been the host of most EPFSUG meetings. Do you know any MEP who likes Free Software? Ask him/her to become a Patron! Do you know how Free Software can improve your working environment? Come and tell the people who work in the European Parliament! Are you developing free software tools to serve democracy? Come show it!

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