A Nairobian Perspective.
Free software is software that respect users freedom and community: users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change, and improve the software. Free software is a matter of liberty not price, free speech not free beer.
The free software movement began with Richard Mathew Stallman RMS in the 1980s. In those days source code used to be passed around among peers. RMS started the GNU project to build a completely free operating system.
Open Source is about code quality while Free Software is a matter of user empowerment. Users need control over their computing.
Some students will grow up to become software authors and proprietary software makes this hard; lack of access to the source code. How sure are we that Mpesa does not share or even sell our data to third parties; we can not know except trust their servers in London, and that it was initially a project co-founded by the government of Kenya. How sure are we that Equity bank insisting on biometrics and coercing users on its telcom "Equitel" does not track them around. The use of hard cash increases the spread of Covid-19, what we need are decentralised, peer to peer, self-hosted, federated infrastructures that puts users in control of their computing. Clown computing creates a single point of failure, its other peoples' computers.
The Kenyan government needs to embrace free software because governments are accountable to citizens. We need to know what they do with our data.
Its bad that proprietary tools become de facto standards. Sharing is good, and Free Software can be profitable.
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