Software Freedom for Macedonia?
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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