|Spawning A Campaign
||[May. 24th, 2009|11:27 pm]
Carefully, Correctly Wrong
As part of the Manchester Free Software group, I suggested a while ago that we should lobby MEP candidates for their opinions on matters relating to free software, particularly the software patent legislation which keeps appearing before the European parliament and which damages small software producers, both free and proprietary.
Being a busy sort of chap, I didn't get round to this until Friday night, when I worked up this half-finished draft letter. I was going to come back to it, but first this e-mail hit my inbox; it seems that somebody at the FSF noticed my wiki updates and turned it into a major campaign.
On the one hand, I think the action will get a lot more attention this way; on the other hand, I think the finished sample letter is rubbish. It doesn't mention software patents, doesn't have any links in it to further background on free software (Stephen Fry's free software video is very worth watching), and just generally assumes far too much knowledge on the part of MEP candidates.
I'm also a bit cheesed off that nobody mentioned it to me. Given the text is on a GFDL-licensed wiki, and Manchester Free Software got credit, I don't have any reason to complain - my group has certainly got credit (and you can check the history on the wiki page), but it would have been polite to drop me or the group an e-mail perhaps.
Anyway, I'm going to edit the text a bit to address some of the complaints before I send it off. I'd encourage everybody reading this to contact their MEP candidates too (a list of contact details is provided) - the issues surrounding free software are important in their own right, but also affect proprietary software and small businesses across Europe, making them vulnerable to the big American giants like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft.
Update: I've made the changes to the sample letter.