Porto, Technological City


The FSF and the FSF Europe participated in this year's Porto, Technological City, an event dedicated to Free Software in Portugal. This year's edition was held on October 12th, in a historic old market in the riverfront of the northern Portuguese city of Porto, an area which has been declared world heritage by Unesco.

This year the event consisted of an exhibition by Institutions and Companies that develop and work with Free Software, a GNU/Linux Installation Party and a series of lectures. The lectures were held in a conference room installed in the middle of the bulding, around which the exhibition booths and a cyber-cafe were set up.

National Association for Free Software

Among the highlights of the event was the announcement of the creation of the “National Association for Free Software” (in Portuguese: “Associação Nacional para o Software Livre”), ANSOL. The announcement was made by a group of free software advocates who have been working during the last months towards the participation of Portugal in the recently created Free Software Foundation Europe.

The association will be a non-profit organization committed to the promotion, development, research and study of Computing Freedom and its socio-political, cultural and technological implications. A Web site for the association has been created, and a first draft of its bylaws has been written. The initiative has awakened the interest of free software enthusiasts in Portugal, who are discussing in the association's mailing list the schedule for the first General Assembly at which the governing boards will be elected.

FSF participation

The vice-president of the FSF, Bradley Kuhn, and the vice-president of the FSF Europe, Loïc Dachary, were the two special international guests in the event. Bradley Kuhn gave a talk on “Software Freedom, the GNU Generation and the GNU General Public License” and Loïc Dachary spoke on “Free Software Development and Associations Throughout the World.”

A booth was set up for the FSF and the FSF Europe. The event was also a good opportunity for the founding members of ANSOL to meet and exchange ideas with the vice-presidents of the Free Software Foundation and the Free Software Foundation Europe.

Free Software and the Portuguese government

The Portuguese government has taken some important steps in defense of the Free Software movement in Portugal. The mayor of the city of Oporto, Nuno Cardoso, has supported the initiative of a group of Professors and students of the School of Engineering of the University of Porto, that last year launched the idea of this event. Porto's City Hall has provided the organizational infrastructure of the event.

The Portuguese minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Mariano Gago, attended the event and in an interview to the local media talked about the importance of non-proprietary systems in public administrations throughout Europe and in the Portuguese school system. Alberto Martins, the Portuguese Minister of Public Administration and Reform of the State, delivered a talk on “Technology in the Public Administration and in the Reform of the State.” Several other public officials were present, including the president of the School of Engineering of the University of Porto, Dr. Carlos Costa.