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Software Freedom & the status quo

Moved by Freedom - Powered by Standards - Charles.H SchulzNext Saturday, the 15th of September, we will all celebrate the Software Freedom Day 2012. As usual, it will be a worldwide event with lots of big and small conferences, parties and presentations happening all around the globe and driven by teams of volunteers. Such a day highlights the momentum of the FOSS community and the importance of Free Software, and it has done so for several years now with a growing success.

I wish to seize this opportunity to point out an often less discussed aspect of Free Software. While I’m not sure it was fully intended in the first place -it obviously was somehow- Free Software carries the important ability to break the status quo in various fields related to software. I have been discussing here in various instances how Free Software helps creating a level-playing field for competitors and how this ultimately benefits to software users (customers or not). As it turns out, Free Software breaks the status quo in markets that are rigged or de-facto monopolized and this is something that is now known. But what is less known and understood is the ability of Free Software to break the status quo even among large software vendors and established players, may they be customers, service providers, regulators or otherwise.