Software Freedom for Macedonia?

David Sugar, maintainer of GNU Bayonne, pushes a Russian car into the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, and reports on the state of the free software movement there.
Connecting new hackers with history

The problem the hacker community faces in Macedonia is that, especially in regard to their age and historic isolation, they do not have anyone who fully understands free software philosophy in the country. They have ideas of what this means and certainly can and have read things including the many things Richard Stallman has written, but they lack the full perspective or history that we enjoy here and so lack some of the understanding that comes from it. It was this reason, I think, that they wanted specifically an FSF "speaker" present. As it happens, I mostly spoke about free software philosophy and our common values while I was there, including in my main speech, and so I think this part of my trip worked out very well.

Returning from Macedonia also proved a most unique challenge. Igor was late picking me up at the hotel that morning. We were delayed several hours in the border no-mans land once again. By the time we reached Sofia, they had already closed boarding for the flight, and even though it had a half-hour before departing, there was no means for them to get me on the airplane. There is only one daily flight, as it happens, from Sofia to Frankfurt. Also, while there were later flights to other German cities, that particular flight connected with the very last flight available from Germany to the US that day.

I have learned that the people of Macedonia do care deeply about software freedom, and that they relate to it in regard to their own unique cultural history and national identity. With their recent elections and change of government, there is new hope that software freedom will become part of the agenda of their national government, for it already is part of their society.



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Brain washed people

Anonymous's picture

Slavonic FYROMians, as you call them, previously Vardarians and before that pure Bulgarians should not be blamed because they were brain washed by communist Tito and now days by fascist VMRO. You should pity them because they are Bulgarians who due to brain washing are ashamed to admit it. Except of course all these free minded who redescovered their origins and got Bulgarian passports.

As for Alexander, FYROMians, except those in Pelogonia, live in the country of Dardanians and Illyrians and other enemies of the ancient Macedon, which clearly was Hellenic and created the Hellenistic world and spread the Greek language all the way to Asia and Egypt.

OSS community should be careful in adopting country names not recognized by UN in order not to contribute further to this conflict between FYROM and neighboring countries.

By the way, as long as 3 mil people in Northern Greece live in the region of ancient Macedonia and call themselves Macedonian Greeks, Greece will be unable to recognize FYROM, which truely is Western Bulgaria previously occupied by Yugoslavia, under another name, much as it will not be able to recognize a Peloponnesian country or a Thessalian country outside its borders.

Re: Software Freedom for Macedonia?

Anonymous's picture

I think it's nice of your side to describe your trip to Macedonia or FYROM if you prefer as a nice thing. Altough I am for software freedom for Macedonia,FYROM, I think while we argue about the historical matter with our neighbours, we should concentrate on the matter which was brought up by somebody who has interest to bring some of its knowledge on the Balkan. Thank you for your interest in this matter and greetings from SmartFreak form MAcedonia(FYROM).

Re: Software Freedom for Macedonia?

Anonymous's picture

Interesting and for sure more than good that our neigbhoors are interesting for us so much.

We have here one saying like this:

Behind the good horse (or car if u want) there is lot of dust

So, Go Greek ppl, make allways a coments against us, finnally the time will show who is wright.



BTW Do u know that Greek on thair own lenguage means "GAY", so they preffer to call them selfs Hellas


You manage neither English

Anonymous's picture

You manage neither English not the Greek language vey well. You only show your ignorance and stupidity. Moron is a Greek word and fits you perfectly.


Anonymous's picture

Read The F(riendly) History...

ask your B.P(rofessor)F.H.

Re: wrong subject

Anonymous's picture

The subject should be "My trip in Bulgaria and Macedonia"

Re: Software Freedom for Macedonia?

Anonymous's picture

I can tell that there is two options about Greek-Macedonian conflict:

1. They dont have much education about their history and history on the Balkan people at al.

2. They know everything perfect but they dont want to believe in that so they tell facts just to profit from that.

I think that is enough.

born Macedonian living Macedonian

Re: Install the history

Anonymous's picture

"... if you think that Bulgarian version of the history is free ok, just share it with us, but don't try to force us to install it ..."

This explain a lot. That's what you do Macedonian: just install

the new version of history (if the history has a bug - e.g not writen appropriately). That's what you study in shool:

to install the history.

Note that patch for history is distributed by your government :))

Freedom: software, knowledge, mind

vladimirg's picture

On knowledge: I'm afraid only the future would allow the opinions about history on all countries in the region (Macedonia, Trukey, Greece, Bulgaria) to converge on simple facts. I hope historians and people who write school textbooks on history will become conscientious enough.

On mind and software: Because the future is in the future, and we need something to happen _now_, we must concentrate on the things that stick as together and are moving us into a better future. The point is the free software development (in wide sense).

Simple history facts: Cyrillic script was modelled on the Greek upper-case letters in the early Middle Ages and was first introduced in Bulgaria in the 9th century(!). Much later, it became the

Re: Software Freedom for Macedonia?

Anonymous's picture

1. There are very few USA citizens whoever actually leave their country, never mind their continent. Cool that you traveled, and cool what you went for.

2. Microsoft is currently getting grief from the European Union over monopolistic behaviour. The things that they did are currently described as "restraint of trade." I'm not sure of Macedonia's status as regards the EU (to my shame...) but It would be worth anyone who was and is being affected by this to contact the EU Monopolies Commission.

3. The free software movement should contact every company that was affected by M$'s behaviour. Showing the simple financial benefits of using Open-Source Software, as well as the ability to avoid the software audit problems, will convince most. Especially as they won't have to worry about a large multi-national dictating terms of trade.

4. Since the Open-Source Software/Free Software philosophy is based upon an accurate measurement of the energy costs of software developement, the computing service industry could be incredibly strong. This would give a large number of employment opportunities for the Free Software programmers.

4. The Macedonian Govt. should be involved immediately. A large multi-national Corporation has just tried to bully/bribe a number of their local companies to the detriment of their local industry.

5. The Macedonian Dept. of Industry should be involved as this is an ideal opportunity for Macedonia to develope an indigenous Software industry.

6. The EU is considering the wholesale adoption of Open-Source Software. This would also be an opportunity for the Macedonian Govt. to not only bolster their indigenous software industry, but also to cut their software costs by up to 70%, while ensuring that the money spent stays inside the Macedonian economy, rather than going to their trade deficit.

7. Considering the age-range of the local Free-software advocates/programmers, there is also the opportunity to cost-effectively develope an excellent Graduate/Post-Graduate university research program, which would translate, long-term, into a large amount of foreign capital and trade flowing into Macedonia.

Go Free Software. By behaving like that publicly Microsoft have completely screwed up. Use the opportunity wisely and well.

Meaure Twice.