Members of the Massachusetts-based free software activist group Binary Freedom have started a campaign asking the state and local governments of the Commonwealth to make an exclusive switch to free software. The campaign, which is hosted on the governor's independent MyIssue Web site,
cites the following primary reason for making the switch:
Governments in Massachusetts are increasingly dependent on software to operate. Citizens access important services via the Internet, and critical public documents are now digitally archived. Buying new software isn't like buying new desks and chairs for the office anymore. The makers of software now exert substantial control over how government operates.
Most software currently used by Massachusetts governments is like a black box. It's proprietary, which means that the government and its citizens are not allowed to look inside the box to see how it works. Proprietary software also comes with a set of restrictions that prevent the software from being modified or copied without explicit permission.
We place the fate of our democracy in the hands of a few private entities when we accept these restrictions on the technology we depend on for everything from social services to voting information. Government needs to serve the public interest, and so has an obligation to remain independent of such control.
Due to the nature of the site, only Massachusetts residents have the ability to directly participate in the campaign. However, the group stresses that everyone is welcome to contribute to their cause by
* Becoming active and suggesting ideas for new issues under their broader Computing Freedom coalition by interacting with them on their Independent Free Software Activists mailing list.
* Taking action on other issues in the group's Action Center.