This is one question not many of us, who are not involved with the Free Software Movement would be even aware of.
When knowledge becomes a commodity, the society built around such a knowledge market is prone to grow diametrically polarized. This in turn, perilously reflects on the economic status of the involved sections of people. Depriving knowledge from people puts them in a handicapped position, and renders them a life, which is more of a struggle against unequal opportunities for survival. This, on a prolonged period of time, culminates into a society which has nothing but a glaring disparity in the conditions of its population, staring at a bleak future.
India, is the best example that can be taken into consideration.
With the Digital revolution at its zenith across globe, and also in India, the knowledge we just spoke about has/is being digitized. Apart from the commoditization of knowledge in its real form, the extra commoditization of its digital form inherently has been more successful, only in a capitalistic point of view.
In a nationalistic. or a humanitarian perspective, all that has come to be of Digital Knowledge is that, it is a costly commodity, like a sports car or a posh flat.
In India, or any developing country, enabling people by imparting them skills that will help them lead a decent life is what is most required. In today’s world, it naturally converges to using technology. But, when the knowledge behind the technology is being used to create a gradient in the society, as it is a commodity in the hands of profit makers, it is imperative that all the knowledge is brought back into the community, and used for the betterment of the community.
Free Software Movement, has this far succeeded in its attempts of setting this knowledge free, free as in freedom (also in monetary terms, either zero or little cost). When the society owns the knowledge, it knows what it has to produce for its growth, rather than some monopoly deciding what the society might need.
Talking on these important lines, Freedom in the Digital world is very much necessary for the society to grow equal, so that we do not allow deep opportunity gradients created everywhere.
Freedom at a user level in terms of privacy and security are also facets of the movement. But, in an Indian context this Freedom makes more sense in the ‘gradient lessening’ aspect.
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