The US state of New Hampshire has been at the forefront of legislating in favor of “people-friendly” technologies like cryptocurrencies/blockchain before, so it’s not surprising that it is expected to imminently start considering incorporating free and open source software, i.e., software freedom principles, into law.
According to Libreboot – a free software project whose main goal is to “liberate” computer firmware contained in a machine’s BIOS – considers the planned January 11 reading of New Hampshire’s bill HB1273 a major event in the history of the free software movement, and, from the legislative point of view, one of global importance as far as official adoption of software freedom policies and philosophies goes.
The changes proposed in New Hampshire are indeed unusual in the world of lawmakers who are more often than not poorly educated, technology-wise, and poorly aware of the consequences closed, proprietary systems have on the economy and society.
Persons put on trial would have the right to audit the source code “of any proprietary software that collects evidence against them,” while state agencies would be banned from buying non-free software if free alternatives are available.
Among the many important proposed provisions is that which bans state agencies from using proprietary software – and Libreboot adds, “maybe this could include schools, in the future!”
And speaking of education, the blog post makes sure to stress the difference between (free) and open source, and proprietary, closed source, i.e., non-free software. It is stressed that the best way to refer to the former is free software, where “free” refers to, “free as in freedom.” Citizens are urged to support this upcoming New Hampshire bill.
The free and open source tech movement has always been about more than the ability to control, audit and share code; it is a way of thinking strongly aligned with others that value freedom and choice, as a path towards a truly equitable society that encourages critical thinking, especially in a era where technology reigns supreme in all aspects of life.