Tag Archives: Open source software

Free speech and free software

Gillmor in Russia

Dan Gillmor of the Center for Citizen Media is visiting Russia. That’s part of one of his pictures above.

His web site is one of the sites I’m evaluating for my research topic: building sustainable, objective, findable journalism on the web. Over time, Gillmor has built up credibility about the idea of Citizen Media, because of his dead-tree book, his blogging and his affiliation with Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University Law School.
His postings from Russia add to my belief that “citizen journalism” is only fueled by oppression. He’s mildly surprised that the concept of citizen media is going globally so quickly, but I think that the state of free speech and a free press in other countries adds to people’s yearning for tools to help them speak freely.

Please note: I understand oppression doesn’t just come from governments. Imagine a dystopia in which we all work for one company, Bogoohooazonfa. That’s as frightening to me as worrying about oppressive governments.

But “citizen” involvement is going on in the business world too. Open-source software — free, shared software that is open for modification and development by others — is continuing to evolve. That movement has the potential to not only change how people publish online, but also how they publish in print. Perhaps in the future, even newspapers and magazines could be published with open-source software instead of expensive proprietary systems.

The Raleigh area of North Carolina is right in the middle of those open-source developments, because the company Red Hat is there. You can learn more at Red Hat Magazine.