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Free Software and Wikimedia

w:MediaWiki is w:Free Software licensed under the w:GPL, and the Wikimedia foundation and projects like Wikipedia exist specifically because of the principle of w:Copyleft enshrined in it and in the derivative Creative Commons BY-SA and w:GDFL. And its not something we should take for granted.

Therefore Wikimedia Foundation should make every effort to adopt the free software Wikimedia Social Suite as soon as possible, instead of relying on 3rd party proprietary services for remote meetups and edit-a-thons, because Freedom matters more than convenience.

The articles on w:Appropriate Technology and w:Sustainable Development had no wikilinks to these articles, until I recently added them. When another editor insinuated that I was w:WP:Soapboxing for the POV of w:Free software, it made me aware all the more so for the need for this kind of internal advocacy, because industry mainstream is not neutral.

Due to the POV:commercial in the "mainstream" industry press, there is likely to be a w:WP:Systemic bias against free software in articles on wikipedia itself, of all places, a project built on free software and free content. Like not a single mention in either of those two articles? The mainstream press wants to talk about w:Open Source, because it fits with the commercial model, but this was a movement that began in the late 90's specifically as a POV to counter the negative perception of w:Free Software's licensing model. The average article that discusses this subject, both on and off wikipedia, gives w:Undue Weight to the philosophy of w:Open Source. This puts a person like myself in the place of advocate, and it seems to people that I'm soapboxing, when I try merely to restore balance to the discussion and to make people aware issues of freedom they may never have previously considered.

But the average reader and editor are unaware that mediawiki is free software, of the distinction between that and open-source, or how that relates to copyleft and to the creative commons BY-SA under which wikipedia articles are licensed. Thats a significant reason why our colleagues and comrades are unaware of the ethical issues at stake, and they make decisions on the basis of mere convenience, and end up using proprietary groupware for wikipedia teleconferencing. See my proposed criteria on m:Wikimedia Social Suite, and make w:GPL or similary licensing that respects the w:The Free Software Definition#The Four Essential Freedoms of Free Software a criterion for all software we adopt. Its not enough to do it right; we must explain how we did it, and why it was and is the right way to do it. Unless the simple are made wise, they may eventually stop doing it the right way.