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I often receive in my news feed, from groups active in the promotion of using alternative to proprietary software, updates on various actions of the European Union (EU) related to the promotion of open technologies and software (rarely the EU makes use of the term free software, which is clearly superior to open source in terms of freedom and rights).

Let me first make it clear that I am not against EU promotion of teams competing against big tech companies for free software development. After all, EU money is nothing more than the money of European citizens. Investing government funds in the use of free software is an investment in freedom of information and thus ultimately an investment in the emancipation of society itself. For example when there is a grant to a group or an individual developers who, as everyone need to make a living, then they are more committed to making software or free software research. As long as, of course, the state does not exercise control and pressure over decisions and their operation through subsidies (see open technologies supported mainly by the USA Russia or China, where they are clearly to promote state control and the power of states over the people.

The truth is that in recent years the EU tries to show more open and friendly to free technologies through related campaigns.

Can the EU be the beacon in the darkness of commercial non-free and malware?

The answer comes through the analysis of the very nature of the EU. It is now clear that in Brussels there is a bureaucratic mechanism that is not independent of economic interests and ideological prejudices in favor of a neoliberal model. Yes, through the real pressure of an ever-increasing movement against the big tech and the constant breach of our personal data, the leaders of the states of Europe are forced to pay attention. However, this is unfortunately temporary and concerns secondary non-key parameters of technology. Furthermore, central planning both at the level of the union and of individual states, especially the powerful ones such as France and Germany, which at the time of swearing in unification they have their own agenda which is not at all hostile to the use of proprietary software and hardware even in the most central services of the state, such as education, hospitals and even in the army.

Suppose, however, that there were more friendly governments with sincere intentions to contribute to the use and promotion of free software. Could they succeed?

As the issue is extremely political, there is the obvious example of Greece, where its citizens voted NO to the referendum back in 2015 and, the EU "institutions" not only did not respect people's right to democratically decide their future but went so far as to close the banks and openly threatened even ministers of government. Of course, here one may wonder about the sincerity and intentions of the SYRIZA government.

My view is that whether we are talking about the central issues of our time, climate change, war / migration, health crisis, or other important but individual issues such as software and technology, the answer is not legislation and gradual transition but the abrupt change in course (especially for the environment we do have time ).

The intentions are different to the results. From the [announcement of the plan to limit and legislate the action of the big tech in EU] (https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-55318225) (Apple. Google. Amazon. Facebook and Microsoft) in December 2020, We reached a few days ago the revelation that these companies are the No. 1 lobbyist of the EU with the largest expenditures from any other industry to influence politicians. But even if the big EU countries decide for geopolitical reasons to disengage from the influence of American technology companies, I have no hope that they simply will not promote their own domestic companies and closed, commercial and non-free software.

Perhaps Morpheus was right: "They guard all the doors and hold all the keys. Sooner or later someone will have to fight them."

Posted Παρ 10 Σεπ 2021 11:33:51 πμ EEST Tags:

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