European politicians were told to wise up to the business benefits of free software by the founding director of the Free Software Foundation at the Linux@Work Expo in London Wednesday.
Robert Chassel of the Free Software Foundation also told business representatives that their company's future privacy and security could depend on adopting free software.
"Most politicians don't know anything about technology, but will usually do the right thing if they are educated," said Chassel. "We need to talk to bureaucrats, civil servants, and talk to the politicians in Brussels."
Chassel believes that making people pay every time they install an application is wrong. "What this is about, what free software is about, and what you are about, even if you don't know, it is creating a better society."
Chassel recommended free software for British businesses primarily because they would not have to worry about getting caught out by piracy laws.
Challenged, Chassel sought to allay concerns that software developed freely might not meet the standards of proprietary software: "Many of you are starting up a business and you want really good security and privacy. That's what free software provides."
Free software refers to applications that are released under one of a number of special licences. The most common of these is the GNU Public Licence. This gives anyone access to the application source code and stipulates that anyone may be freely redistribute that application so long as they do so under the same licence. The Linux operating system is distributed under this licence.
Take me to the Linux Lounge