THE FREE SOFTWARE movement is trying to recruit European election candidates to fight big software business interests in Brussels.
Campaign group The Free Software Pact has already recruited 96 candidates in France and Italy. This week it appointed open source operator, Mark Taylor, to lobby candidates in the UK. It is also establishing campaigns in Germany and Spain.
Mark Taylor told the INQ: "A massive amount of the politics that's relevant to free software happens in Europe. Its phenomenaly important for people who care to ask their MEP candidate to sign the Free Software Pact."
Europe was where the battle between proprietary and open source software was being most fiercely fought, he said. The interests of big business were influencing the European legislature in ways that threatened still to introduce software patents, end net neutrality, and promote proprietary standards.
The Free Software Pact has been dormant since 2007 when it won the backing of all 12 candidates in the French Presidential elections.
"It is something that unites all political parties," said Loic Dachary, campaign co-ordinator in France. "The right likes free software because it saves money. The left likes free software because it helps people who have nothing."
The campaign strengthened the French commitment to open source that has seen French MPs and police use free software alternatives to Microsoft on their desktop computers.
"There is definitely a sentiment of independence which we push with free software," said Dachary. "It saves you from the domination of external companies."
In the UK, the Green MEP candidates Derek Wall and Caroline Lucas have already signed up to the Pact. µ
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