Free Software and poverty
The world of proprietary software, licences, and other legal and technical instruments, function in such a way as to inhibit sharing of knowledge and information, keeping elements of these as the exclusive patrimony of the enterprise which created the software, while in the Free Software world, somewhat similar to the public domain, knowledge is regarded as belonging to humankind.
Educommunication-media education in general and information and communication technologies in particular, are approaches inherent to the educational activity of the Salesian Society. On the other hand, its preferential option for the young who belong to popular and marginalized sectors of society and the defence of their rights is one of the constitutive characteristics of the Salesian spirit.
With the support of the SC Department
The Social Communication Department, at a meeting in Sao Paulo (September 2007), saw the need to clarify and think about the terminology and principles involved in Free Software; about its evangelical, ethical, educational, economic motivations. It also saw a need to clarify thinking about 'open source' as open code, a culture and a movement; the complexity of the relationship between FLOSS and ethics; and how Salesian Centres of formation to communication could reduce the 'digital divide'. Also, this meeting recommended that Salesian Institutes of Higher Education (IUS) analyze FLOSS, especially its cultural and educational aspects and organize a Congress in Quito, for October 2008.
Towards the end of February 2008, Fr Luciano Bellini sdb, Rector of the UPS set up the organizing Commission for the Congress, and invited other to be part of it. This group began planning the Congress, setting out the title as an 'International Congress on Free Software and the Democratization of Knowledge'.
The Congress sought to strengthen and promote social responsibility through use of free software and democratization of knowledge. Over four days the Congress developed the following themes: Production and consumption of knowledge at the frontiers of the digital world, by Michel Bauwens (Belgium); ethical and political dimensions in the culture of free software, by Charles Escobar (Ecuador); rights and equity in the democratic construction of knowledge, by Fr. Julián Fox sdb (Rome), and educommunicative perspectives in the 'so-called 'third environment' (digital)', by Ismar de Oliveira Soares (Brazil)
The Congress proceedings were also fed via videoconferencing to UPS campuses in Cuenca and Guayaquil, as well as via Internet. F/LOSS was also offered for installation to all participants.