From The IGF: Next Steps In Open Source? Open Source Hardware 20/12/2017 by Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Open source software today has won in some ways, activists said at the regular Open Source Software Workshop at the 12th Internet Governance Forum in Geneva today. “The challenges for the free and open software community have changed,” said Mishi Choudhary, legal director of the New York-based Software Freedom Law Center. One big issue is that users more and more have lost control over the hardware they use and that state control mechanisms follow the perceived risks of fake news and hate content. UN Palais in snow this week for the IGF The methods to collaboratively code software today are even embraced by big companies like Microsoft and Google who reap the benefits of collaborative coding via Github, a platform for jointly developing code. And many countries have established at least some form of policies to promote open source software and are users, often without even realizing, several activists reported. The big issue today is to get back control over one‘s hardware. “Your devices will tell you if you are free,” she said. Choudhary also noted that the main battlefield here is not the desktop and laptop anymore, but mobile devices running on Android for example. Students have to be taught how to get “root access” to these otherwise closed-source handhelds, allowing them to change the code. Instead, schools, like the ones in the IGF host city of Geneva, are just using Google as the platform for all the services, one participant said. While Google agreed to change the software to meet some requirements for the schools, there is no transparency on the data from the Geneva Google school cloud. In other cantons, the Swiss data protection authorities before had asked Microsoft to localize the data in similar school projects. Satish Babu, director of the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS), said that in India, 4,000 schools are working on Linux and students easily turned to change and adapt the code for their respective needs. The ongoing concentration, Choudhary pointed out, allows for an easy way for governments to get to a lot of data in one place. Free and open source powered platforms are desperately needed to stem the tide of concentration. Image Credits: Catherine Saez Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Monika Ermert may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."From The IGF: Next Steps In Open Source? Open Source Hardware" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.