Three cheers for the Free Software Foundation. The organistion has had a reputation of being  a group of bearded weirdos with little to do but indulge in arcane arguments about the definition of 'free' and 'open'?

The FSF might have seemed like a techie version of CAMRA at times but it seems to have developed some of the latter's campaigning zeal right now. The organisation has just launched a campaign to aid organisations move to free software, crucially recognising that the majority of users don't care less about the more esototric aspects of free software licensing but do want software that works, do want software that they can share with others, and who are probably fed up with the system crashes and malware from their Microsoft-driven machines.

It sounds obvious but the FSF has never fully stretched out to embrace these users before now - it's often been seen as a closed club for geeks, so this step is to be applauded. Many users will be encouraged by seeing some familiar names on the list of free software programs: Mozilla, MySQL, PHP, OpenOffice are all names that will be familiar to many computer users and the FSF hope that users will embrace that familiarity to show that this is not a big step into the unknown.

It will be interesting to see how the FSF campaign is going to shape up - is the organisation really going to go into full-on campaigning mode, ruffling a few feathers along the way. Life will certainly be interesting.


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