lobbying Free Software in competitions run by public institutions

Federico Bruni bruni at fsfe.org
Mon Aug 22 13:23:31 UTC 2011

Hi all,

I recently came across this discussion about lobbying free software:

Here's a brief summary of the case: a public portuguese institution[1]
has organized a composition competition[2] where the music submitted
must be typeset either by Finale or Sibelius (both proprietary
It seems that there's no particular reason behind this requirement.  The
organizers haven't explained why other programs are not allowed.
Probably, they will publish the score of the winner and they want to be
sure that the source is made by the software used by the big publishing
companies.  It's just a guess, as the source file is not required by the
competition rules.

The developer who started the discussion said later on:
"I think that it is worth it for a community of users of any free
software (where I mean free in every sense of the term) to be active in
contacting organizations whose rules are hostile to the free usage of
software.  It helps organizations learn about free software (both the
software itself and the mentality of freedom behind the software),
thereby encouraging these organizations to adopt policies that are
conducive to this type of free-ness / free-dom."[3]

I think that a user-based action is a good thing, but I'm afraid that
without some kind of guidance this kind of action won't be very
So I wonder if FSFE could be interested in organizing a campaign similar
to the PDFreaders campaign (which I really appreciated).
What I'm thinking of is a campaign which is neither too narrow nor too
wide in its scope. For example, lobbying in all the competitions:

a) run by public institutions
b) where free software is discriminated

What do you think?  Too much hassle?
What did you learn from the PDFreaders campaign?


[1] http://mmp.cm-cascais.pt/museumusica/mmp/museu/

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