Premises

Between September 2008 and March 2009 the Millenaris Cultural center of Budapest, in cooperation with the Hungarian Chapter of the Open Document Format Allience organized a series of public lectures and discussions called Free Libre Open Source Software Farm (FLOSS). The FLOSS Farm aimed at establishing dialogue between companies of new technology providers, vendors and the broader public. The primary goal was to raise awareness of open standards and open formats, and to stress their importance as one of the constituting factors of the public domain. The organizers believed that, as a result of such a public initiative, a growing number of users could form a community (or even a movement), or the public attention could raise the profile of open source communities and companies to counterbalance the pressure on the Hungarian government by major vendors. The primary target audience of FLOSS was therefore the informed citizens, the civil society, information professionals and technology developers, especially the new generation of users. It was less in focus – due to the limited resources and tensed political atmosphere – to target directly the state administration, although this latter scope seemed even more important, knowing the possible corruption in Hungarian public tenders as a common phenomenon in former Communist countries.

The program series was concluded by the successful public lecture of Richard Stallman – attended by more than 600 people – whose visit influenced quite significantly the Hungarian state procurement system, since open source softwares were included to the public procurement procedures as optional choices from May 2009 onwards. However the impact of FLOSS program on users is hardly measurable, regardless of the good media coverage, and the fact that the continuation of the event series have been requested by various communities – for example, one of the emerging OS portals: http://www.flosszine.org/ expressed interest to relaunch it again – the organizers realized that a different approch is needed to inform citizens and users about their right to choose between technologies and solutions, and also on platform dependecy which might limit their choices.

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