Software Freedom Day struggling in Europe

Many events are planned for this Saturday's Software Freedom Day in the developing world, but one of the founders is disappointed about the lack of activity in Western countries

Events will be taking place worldwide on Saturday to celebrate Software Freedom Day, but most of the buzz is in the developing world, according to one of the organisers.

Henrik Nilsen Omma, one of cofounders of Software Freedom Day, said on Wednesday that there are a lot of activities planned in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but things are a lot quieter elsewhere.

"In the UK there's not much happening. In fact, many Western countries are not doing very much at all," said Omma, who is based in the UK.

One exception is Australia, which has around 15 teams doing different events around the country. He said there were various possible social reasons why developing countries have got more involved in this initiative.

"I have been wondering about why that is," said Omma. "It could be because there is more of a social profile to open source in Africa and Asia — it's about empowerment. Also, open source communities are more fluid in developing countries, while in the West they're already quite established."

Omma said it was a shame that more wasn't happening in Europe as it is important to educate the public about alternatives to proprietary software.

Over 200 teams across the world have registered to take part in Software Freedom Day. Activities include handing out free-software CDs, lectures and demonstrations on free software. Some teams have planned more interactive activities, for example, on the Thai island of Phuket, members of the public can take part in a Tux painting competition.