Microsoft software banned at WSF
With over 300 computers provided for participants and the press, organisers of the WSF preferred to provide open source software products and blocked all Microsoft related products at the forum.
Participants attending the WSF, which for the first time took place in Africa, said this was done as a way of promoting the free social movement and at the same time also as a way of fighting Microsoft’s “imperialistic tendencies”.
In its sixth year, the WSF runs parallel to the World Economic forum and represents alternative social and political views to those dominating the Davos conference.
Anoop Sukumaran of Focus on the Global South said that since one has to pay licences for Microsoft’s software, the multinational computer technology corporation was, in a way, controlling the flow of global information.
“The unfortunate thing is that the whole third world, including almost all of Africa, is being forced to use Microsoft products, through the pretext of trade treaties like the WIPO and the WTO”, Sukumaran said.
“The open source movement is providing Linux, a robust free software operating system. Everybody owns it and it can be shared. And this is what WSF is all about: a free society, a movement fighting for ownership of free resources”, he said.
As of July 2006 Microsoft reported annual revenues of over US$44.28 billion.
Participants from the International South Group Network who advocate the use of open source software handed out free copies of Kubuntu Linux, a free software operating system, at the WSF.