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.
The committee can be reached at: "committee at ifso dot ie"
(February 2006 to present.)
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:
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 (IFSO) is launched. Since June 2003, members of the fsfe-ie mailing list have been collaborating on issues such as software patents, and the European Copyright Directive. 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 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."
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.
In legal terms, the Irish Free Software Organisation is an unincorporated organisation. The IFSO Constitution states the following three objects:
Above these three objects, the IFSO Constitution defines Free Software as software that gives the user the following four freedoms:
A more detailed discussion of Free Software is available on IFSO's "About Free Software" page.