Libreboot.Org Urges Support for Proposed ‘Free Software’ Law in New Hampshire

Libreboot.org is publicizing an event this Tuesday of "global importance to Free Software projects, and the movement as a whole... If you live in New Hampshire or in one of the neighbouring states, especially Massachusetts, please listen up! "If you are further away and unable to reach New Hampshire all that easily, please spread the following news anyway. It's important." An important bill is being proposed in New Hampshire, which would enshrine much of what we know as Free Software into law... [H]ere is a paraphrasing of what it proposes: - Specifically bans state-run websites from serving non-free javaScript to clients - Creates a commission to provide oversight, watching the use of Free Software by state agencies - Bans state agencies from using proprietary software — maybe this could include schools, in the future! - If a person is tried in a criminal case, they have the right to audit the source code of any proprietary software that collects evidence against them - Encourages data portability (able to transfer data from one program to another) - Bans certain non-compete clauses and NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) pertaining to Free Software projects - Bans state/local law enforcement from assisting with the enforcement of copyright claims against Free Software projects - Bans state agencies from purchasing non-free software if free software exists, for a given task.... At first glance, it may not seem that the bill affects individuals, but don't be fooled; this is a hugely positive step forward for everyone! If the state is using Free Software, that most likely means it'll be used in education as well. Although perhaps not immediately and readily apparent, this is a stake in the heart of proprietary software's current dominance, because it would remove one key element of its attack against us; its abuse of education services. If education services are using Free Software, that means they'll probably have children (the ones being educated) using it too. This is a huge step, and it will result in more Free Software developers in the future. Free Software will become more and more mainstream to the masses, which can surely only be a good thing...! [I]magine if more states like what they see and start to copy the new legislation. Now imagine that countries besides the U.S. start doing it, inspired by the US's success (and I think it will be a resounding success). Imagine a world where Free Software, free as in freedom, is the default everywhere. Imagine a world where Free Software licensing is required reading material in schools. Imagine a world where any five year old can install a free operating system such as GNU+Linux, and Computer Science is mandatory in schools from a young age. Imagine filing your tax returns with Free Software, exclusively. Imagine not even thinking about that, because it became the norm. Imagine a world where proprietary software doesn't exist, because it is obsolete; entire generations of people are taught to value freedom, and to staunchly defend it, helping each other learn and grow (and produce better software in the process, with less bugs, because people are now free to do that, without relying on some evil company)... Free Software is a revolution that we in the Free Software movement have rigorously upheld and fought for, over many years, but we still face an uphill battle because children are not taught in schools about free computing, nor are they encouraged to learn; they are taught to view computers as products to throw away every 1-2 years, that they can run a few apps on but otherwise are not allowed to do anything with. The concept of a general purpose, fully reprogrammable computer is heavily suppressed in mainstream culture. Most people in the world do not run a free operating system; the idea of a computer being a mere appliance is normalized (as opposed to the idea of it being a highly liberating tool for development and the expansion of human knowledge).... Something is happening in New Hampshire, which could redefine our movement and give free software real power instead. The post links to a state representative's tweet describing how supporters can testify in person to support the bill. "If this bill is passed in New Hampshire, more states will likely follow," argues Libreboot.org. "It will lead to a massively renewed drive to liberate all computer users, and U.S. laws tend to be copied/pasted around the world too. This bill, if passed, will have a hugely positive impact on Free Software at a global level... "The proprietary software companies like Microsoft and Apple will also be there, trying to argue the case against the use of Free Software."

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