Original press release from LSM organisation at http://lsm.abul.org/press/CPunesco.php3.
UNESCO responds to the request from the Free Software community to inscribe Free Software to the World Heritage List.
Bordeaux, Friday the 12th, 2002 - Five hundred Free Software users and specialists gathered at the ENSEIRB on the campus of the University of Bordeaux I (France) for a full week of promotion and sharing around Free Software during the Libre Software Meeting from the 9th to the 13th of July. M. Abdoulaye Diakité attended the last plenary session as the representant of UNESCO. M. Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation, and a group of Free Software developers gave officially to M. Diakité copies of GNU and Abuledu software and Debian system, of all which is Free Software.
Free Software is software which guarantees four fundamental freedoms: the freedom to use software, to redistribute it, and to modify and publish modified versions. Thanks to these freedoms, users from the whole world are able to translate, improve and adapt their software for their own needs. Thus, Free Software contributes to ensure the protection of local cultures, multinlingualism, development and conservation of information.
This is the reason why UNESCO, an organisation who defends the same values, was eager to respond to the invitation of the Free Software community and to take part in the LSM. "UNESCO has always encouraged the extension and the diffusion of knowledge and recognises that in the field of software, Free Software spreads this knowledge in the way that proprietary software does not allow. UNESCO also recognises that the development of Free Software encourages solidarity, cooperation and community teamwork between developers and users of new technologies". Declared M. Adbul Waheed Khan, from the UNESCO Communication and Information Department, in his letter to the organisers of the event.
So, by symbolically receiving the work of many thousands of developers, UNESCO receives at the same time the request to register Free Software to the Immaterial World Heritage List. During the conference, participants agreed that this classification would give support to the Free Software community in its opposition to software patentability which would hinder its development. This would also contribute to give a higher profile to Free Software in order to fight against the digital divide and to foster the independence of users of new technologies around the globe.
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