About IFSO

  1. IFSO - The Irish Free Software Organisation
  2. How to contact IFSO
  3. The IFSO Committee
  4. History
  5. Legal Status


IFSO - The Irish Free Software Organisation

IFSO was founded in January 2004 with the aims of promoting and protecting software which comes with the freedom to study it, modify it and redistribute it: Free Software. Notable examples of Free Software include the GNU/Linux operating system, the OpenOffice.org office suite and the Firefox web browser. IFSO seeks the wider use of Free Software, and a wider understanding of the benefits that software freedom brings through independence, transparency and the ability to collaborate with others. IFSO would also like to see businesses which write, deploy or support Free Software being encouraged. IFSO works to ensure that new legislation does not restrict the writing of Free Software so that Free Software can continue to flourish.

IFSO is an associate organisation of the Free Software Foundation Europe.


How to contact IFSO


The IFSO Committee

The committee can be reached at: "committee at ifso dot ie"

Current committee

(February 2006 to present.)

Glenn Strong, Chairman.
E-mail: "chairman at ifso dot ie"
David Cathcart, Secretary.
E-mail: "secretary at ifso dot ie"
Teresa Hackett, Treasurer
E-mail: "treasurer at ifso dot ie"
Malcolm Tyrrell, Webmaster.
E-mail: "webmaster at ifso dot ie"
Ciarán O'Riordan.
E-mail: "ciaran at fsfe dot org"
Phone: +32 477 36 44 19

Previous committees

IFSO would like to thank previous committee member Aidan Delaney for his work.



The origins of IFSO lie, jointly, in two events in June 2003:

  1. The creation of the fsfe-ie mailing list, a mailing list for discussing Ireland-related Free Software issues.
  2. A casual dinner with Bradley Kuhn (then of FSF), organised around Gu4dec, where Irish Free Software supporters met face to face.

Following a call on the fsfe-ie list, thirteen people met on 2nd July 2003, to discuss Free Software issues. The main issue discussed was the European Software Patents Directive.

We decided to hold more meetings and members of the fsfe-ie list decided to collaborate to warn MEPs about the dangers of the Software Patents directive.

On January 5th, 2004, we formalised our common goals and launched the Irish Free Software Organisation. The launch announcement is quoted here:

"January 5th 2004, Irish Free Software Organisation[0] (IFSO) is launched. Since June 2003, members of the fsfe-ie[1] mailing list have been collaborating on issues such as software patents[2], and the European Copyright Directive[3]. With Ireland holding the presidency of the EU for the next six months, political lobbying in Ireland will be of increased importance. The fate of the software patentability directive is still undecided, and we now also have the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive[4] to deal with. In the coming months, we also hope to work on spreading education and adoption of Free Software in Ireland. By no coincidence, today is also the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the GNU project[5]."

Note: some of the links provided by the numbers in square brackets have been updated since the original announcement.

On April 5th, 2005, IFSO became an associate organisation of the Free Software Foundation Europe.


Legal Status

In legal terms, the Irish Free Software Organisation is an unincorporated organisation. The IFSO Constitution states the following three objects:

  1. The name of the club shall be Irish Free Software Organisation ('IFSO')
  2. The club shall promote and defend Free Software.
  3. Priority will be given to items particularly relating to Ireland.

Above these three objects, the IFSO Constitution defines Free Software as software that gives the user the following four freedoms:

  1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  2. The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs.
  3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
  4. The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits.

A more detailed discussion of Free Software is available on IFSO's "About Free Software" page.