Recently I attended the funeral services for one of my best friend’s son. He was killed in action while serving in Iraq. I was reminded by many of his fellow soldiers that “Freedom is not Free!” I, like many others, have had a different opinion about why our troops are in Iraq and what they were fighting for. However, after this experience I was convinced, that no matter what your politics when you are in combat it is about only one thing, freedom. Over here we can debate and attempt to make sense of what is happening, but when you are in harms way it is about staying alive, staying sane, and going back home. For if you say that these men and women are serving their country so someone else doesn’t have to, then I say it is clear that they are defending freedom. As a disabled veteran myself, and a third generation veteran at that, I should have never forgotten this point. The men and women in our Armed Forces are serving for a multitude of reasons, but one thing you learn in the service is that you serve out of tradition, you serve out of respect, ultimately you serve out of integrity and honor. And one of the proudest traditions in our Armed Forces is that by serving in the U.S. Military you are protecting freedom.
So these thoughts were fresh in my mind when I heard Lawrence Lessig’s speech at the Open Source Business Conference. Professor Lessig’s general premise was that whether you share the perception (sound familiar?), we are currently in a war. A war against technology innovation, where our foe has many names, but the bigger foe is apathy. For what if we do nothing, and we lose this war? What will our future look like then?
In the conclusion of his speech, Professor Lessig requested one simple thing of the audience. If you care about this war and about the future of technology innovation, support the organizations that are actively fighting this war. He encouraged everyone to support them with as much money as we spend on monopolist companies. In an effort to help fulfill his request, I have compiled the following list of companies that I believe are helping to defend the freedoms we enjoy today. It is by no means a comprehensive list, so if you do not see your favorite defender of technology innovation, seek them out and locate their donation page. I hope you’ll know what to do when you find it.
- Free Software Foundation Donation Page
- Support the Creative Commons
- Support the Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Enjoy downloading open source software from Sourceforge.net? Then make a donation to keep them in business and serving files.
- Help keep GrokLaw on the case and reporting on legal events important to the Free and Open Source Software community.
- Finally, choose your favorite open source project or organization and make a donation, here a just a few you might consider:
I myself have some catching up to do. I bought a new laptop a couple of years ago and it came pre-installed with Microsoft Windows XP; I’ve got three daughters so we’ve compiled an extensive library of videos and DVD’s; so I know that I’m big time negative in balancing out my support of this war. I have donated to Sourceforge for their support of the SNAP Platform, but I’ve got a long way to go. How about you? Where are you sending your support?
Know of any other organizations worthy of our support that I missed?