Preamble of the Free Software Foundation Europe

Georg C. F. Greve <>

Upon entering the digital age, in which real and virtual space will equally determine the social, cultural and scientific development of mankind, the Free Software Foundation Europe has the long-term goal to raise and work on the questions this will necessarily raise.

In this regard the direct function is the unselfish promotion of Free Software as well as creating and propagating the awareness of the related philosophical and social questions.

As its acknowledged sister organisation, the FSFE will join forces with the Free Software Foundation founded by Richard M. Stallman in the United States of America. The latter, recognised tax-exempt charitable organisation in the USA, has been dedicating itself since 1984 to the promotion and distribution of Free software and in particular the GNU-System, a Unix-like operating system. This system is mostly known by one of its variants, GNU/Linux, which since 1993 has been used successfully on many computers.

The term Free Software in the sense of the FSFE does not refer to the price, but rather to the following four freedoms:

This definition of Free Software goes back to the idea of freely exchanging knowledge and ideas that can traditionally be found in scientific fields. Like thoughts, software is non-tangible and duplicable without loss. Passing feeds an evolutionary process, advancing thoughts and software.

Only Free Software preserves the possibility to comprehend and build upon scientific results. For scientists, it is the only kind of software which corresponds to the ideals of a free science. Accordingly, the promotion of free software is also a promotion of science.

The distribution of information and the forming of an opinion are done increasingly by digital media, and the trend is to foster the use of those means for a direct citizen participation to democracy. Therefore, a central task of the FSFE is to train proficient citizens in these media, thereby promoting democracy.

Digital space ("Cyberspace"), with software as its medium and its language has an enormous potential for the promotion of all mental and cultural aspects of mankind. By making it commonly available and opening up the medium, Free Software grants equal chances and protection of privacy.

Coining the awareness for the problems related to the digital age in all parts of society is long-term goal and a core aspect of the work of the FSFE.

Therefore the FSFE will seek to increase the use of Free Software in schools and universities in order to parallelise the education in real space matters with the creation of understanding and awareness of problems in virtual space.

Free Software guarantees traceable results and decision-making processes in science and public life as well as the individual rights to free development of personality and liberty of opinion. It is the job of the Free Software Foundation Europe to carry Free Software into all areas that touch public life or "informational human rights" of citizens.