Expanding the battlefield for Free & Open Source Software

The title of this post may sound rather belligerant, but it is for a reason. Ever since this Summer -longer in fact- I ended having several conversations with people from the FSF, OSI, April and FSFE (as well as other orgs). Something is becoming increasingly obvious: FOSS has come of age. Not just in server or cloud software, but in areas like content, biology, knowledge, hardware, 3D printing… in a sense the values, principles and concepts of Free & Open Source Software have permeated all these fields. Sometimes core ideas are the direct avatar of Free and Open Source Software, often licensing patterns and models that are similar at least in spirit to Free and Open Source Software licenses are becoming widespread among these circles. So why should we expand the battlefield?

Simply because many, if not all of these “new” fields are in an by themselves at the center of several major private interests and some of these players would be keen on establishing market and regulatory frameworks, in Europe and elsewhere that would render them proprietary, thus hampering innovation and access to knowledge, economic and social growth.

It is thus important to align and blend the various concepts and principles of digital freedom, maker’s independence and freedom as well as openness in general to make sure the same meme and message is being rightly communicated. Thanks to its roots dating back to the eighties and seventies, Free and Open Source Software might just have the right tools and the right concepts for this; perhaps it’s also because aside being a source of inspiration for many of these new trends this field has come up with the most elaborate legal and development apparatus which makes it the richest vector for nurturing and helping the cause. Last but not least, I wrote here before that software itself permeates more and more areas of our life; this stays true with Open Harware, 3D Printing, Open Courseware, Open Biology etc. Without software, without Free Software these would not even exist.

It’s time to expand the battlefield area and look forward to ever more exciting adventures….

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