Open software activists urge politicians to throw off digital shackles

Leading international figures receive an unusual gift

What do Mitt Romney, the Pope, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson have in common? Answer: they were all sent handcuffs by free-software activists in the past month.

European Union Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes, German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle and former British Local Government Minister Hazel Blears were also among the 100 individuals to receive the handcuffs as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of vendor tie-in.

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has asked the public to nominate politicians who could do more to promote open standards.

In the European Union, an open standard is one that is publicly available with no fees for use. It must be permissible to all to copy, distribute and use freely. However, the definition varies from country to country. "Open standards are a basic condition for freedom and choice in software; ensuring the freedom to access data and the freedom to build free software to read and write information," according to the FSFE.

Kroes was particularly pleased with her handcuffs, showing them off during a presentation in Lyon last week. "We must protect the openness of the Web and rid it of any digital handcuffs," she said. The European Commission is working on guidelines to make it easier for public authorities to use open standards, she said.

Asked whether the Pope was a particular proponent of vendor tie-in, the FSFE replied in an email that some activists are not happy with the Catholic Church's record on free software and open standards.

There are some Catholics who think the church should think more about "ethical" software, continued the FSFE spokesman.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?