From Thiruvananthapuram Declaration
FREE SOFTWARE, FREE SOCIETY
The Thiruvananthapuram Declaration
May 29, 2005
We are currently living in a world that is increasingly getting interconnected and the issues of our concern are becoming global. Along the way, new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) transformed the process of knowledge construction and dissemination in our society. This process is transforming other fields of human creativity as well — including music, painting or writing. Human history is calling us to take note of this change. Creative works today live in a digital world, travel at the speed of light, get transformed in seconds, become part of several other creations, and grow in a number of other ways.
As society transforms drastically, we — students, engineers, IT professionals, social activists, lawyers, elected public representatives, media persons, film-makers and concerned citizens — urge our world to take note of the immense potential opening up for humanity, and to ensure that technology is harnessed in the needs of the time to tackle the wider concerns of our planet.
Free Software has convincingly demonstrated to the world we know that knowledge building is enhanced by freedom, openness and social consciousness; and that such features are very effective in creating a fairer society and enhance the cause of the social good.
In the new networked and digitized society, the intangible (non-materialistic) aspects of reality are becoming more important in comparison with the material ones. Several years of materialcentered development has not helped humanity to create a better world for all; or even for the majority on this planet.
To face the challenges of the day, we need a new model of development centered around non material aspects of life —including collaboration, sharing, and compassion. Such a society is evolving today on the foundations of freedom, collaboration and shared knowledge.
We call it the gnowledge society (see http://www.gnowledge.org).
In our view, the gnowledge society will and must prefer: freedom over bondage; sharing over monopoly; public good over private profit; participation over exclusion; cooperation over competition; diversity over uniformity.
We find that patent, copyright and other legal and institutional systems related to human knowledge are not suitable for the development of the gnowledge society. These systems were created during the industrial revolution, and then continued in spite of major changes in how technology shapes our lives. These systems were not designed for, and therefore cannot cater to, the emerging gnowledge society. For the development of human society, it is imperative that we promote the collaborative development and free sharing of knowledge.
Such principles are not only consistent with, but even mandated by, the spirit of human rights as defined by the present legal system.
We, the participants at the Free Software, Free Society conference in Thiruvananthapuram underline the following:
We call upon the social and political institutions to eliminate systems that hinder the development of the gnowledge society.
We demand that every human being works for a more fair distribution of knowledge for all, and for a world based on knowledge sharing and collaboration.
Agreed upon in Thiruvananthapuram, South India, amongst the participants at the Free Software, Free Society Conference, by participants from the countries of: Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Italy, Norway Uruguay Venezuela.