Free knowledge experts speak their mind

By   |  September 22, 2005

Pablo Machon, a founder of the Free Knowledge Foundation(FKnK), told delegates at the second International FLOSS and Free Knowledge workshop yesterday that the successes of the free software movement had created a valuable example of how a similar free knowledge system could work.

Machon, himself a free software advocate, said that current systems often make knowledge innacessible to citizens and the founding of the FKnK, was an attempt to \”empower communities through knowledge. We are trying to bring knowledge to the people,\” he said.

But more than that, said Machon, there is a need to make users self-sufficient and more than just passive consumers of information. They should also be users of the system, creators of knowledge and contributors. \”But in all of this we must make them understand the philiosophy. That this is about \’freedom\’\”.

He said that just as the free software movement shows it is possible to \”help your neigbour, legally, the same could be said of information.\” And like free software, access to information (code) encourages users to be more than just users. It encourages them to participate, said Machon.

This, the second Free Knowledge workshop hosted by the CSIR\’s Meraka Institute , includes representatives from Europe, Africa and South Africa. The first Free Knowledge workshop was held in April of this year.

The series of workshops is an attempt to produce \”comprehensive proposals towards realising this vision and having a real impact on capacity building and quality of life,\” according to Kim Tucker of the Meraka Institute\’s Open Source Centre, convenors of the event.

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