[FSFE PR][EN] The Vista message: Upgrade to GNU/Linux now!

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Tue Jan 30 11:17:42 CET 2007

[immediate release]

The Vista message: Upgrade to GNU/Linux now!

Microsoft has recently been criticised for some of its decisions
regarding its Microsoft Vista operating system, that threaten our
fundamental democratic and social values.

"Unfortunately, many of the articles and statements about problems
with Microsoft Vista are not truly specific to Vista. Very similar
problems exist in any proprietary software," says Georg Greve, FSFE's
president. "Ever since the first FSF was founded in 1985, the Free
Software Foundations have understood and worked against the threats
that proprietary software poses to our society."

He continues: "Because these dangers are more widely understood today
we have seen an unprecedented move to Free Software by governments,
users and companies alike in the past years. The more proprietary
software makes use of its absolute control over the user, the more
people are starting to look for alternatives."

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is encouraging all users of
proprietary software to consider all costs and alternatives:

Free Software has proven a strong tendency to be more reliable, more
secure, and more in line with our democratic and social values. The
choice should be easy to make.

In 2006, the FSFE launched its Freedom Task Force (FTF), an activity
that offers education and services in Free Software licensing, one of
the important issues to consider for any government or company
investigating a switch to Free Software. The FTF also answer queries,
provide training on all levels, and help to implement best practices
in all organisations. With a network of legal and technical experts
throughout Europe, it's perfectly equipped to deal with these issues
on a daily basis.

One of the technical issues that the FSFE is working on is freedom
from Digital Restriction Management (DRM). This technique gives
industry a hitherto unprecedented power over anything consumers do
with their devices and arbitrarily decide and change what the user may
do with the digital information at her disposal, completely bypassing
national or international laws.

FSFE vice president Jonasu2013berg explains: "While DRM is a separate
issue in some regards, it's important to realise that the media
channel providers are pushing for DRM primarily in proprietary
software. This is because they know that with proprietary software,
the user has no control over it, and there is no way to restore his or
her legitimate rights. When using Free Software, the user can change
and adapt the software, or have someone do it, thereby bypassing the
most unacceptable restrictions. So it is no wonder that the industry
is pushing for products such as Microsoft Vista and other proprietary
software: It gives them more control over what the user can do."

All of these aspects should be taken into account when looking
forward.  The COSPA-project, funded by the European Union, considers
it an advantage remain "independent of software vendors". And even
more importantly, it highlights the fact that Free Software leads to
the creation of new software businesses and one step towards reaching
the European Union Lisbon goals of making Europe the most competitive
knowledge economy by 2010.

FSFE considers this a unique opportunity: With the release of Vista,
users will need to upgrade to a new operating system that will feel
different and require some time to get used to its functionality. The
same is true for any modern GNU/Linux distribution.

It is about the same investment in effort, but it will give you
control over your own data.

About the Free Software Foundation Europe:

   The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
   non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
   involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
   participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation
   in the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
   Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
   furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
   modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these
   issues, securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving
   people Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are
   central issues of the FSFE.


   Free Software Foundation Europe
    Belgium:     +32   2 747 03 57
    Switzerland: +41  43 500 03 66
    UK:          +44  29 200 08 17 7
    Germany:     +49 700 373 38 76 73

   Shane Coughlan, FTF Co-ordinator, FSFE extension: 408

   Joachim Jakobs, Media Relations,  FSFE extension: 404
                                             mobile: +49-179-6919565

   Further information: http://fsfeurope.org

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