This letter writing campaign has ended. You can get involved in our current campaign to upgrade people from Windows to GNU/Linux at www.fsf.org/windows.
Send us your suggestions for organizations who would benefit from our letter.
As a decision maker within your organization, you undoubtedly strive to make choices that seek to improve the working lives of your employees, enhance the relationship you have with your stakeholders and donors and secure the independence and freedom for your organization to achieve its mission.
For many years, charities and nonprofit organizations like yours have relied on Microsoft and the Windows operating system, and because they threaten to stop supporting older versions of Windows in the long-term, and because their system is proprietary (not free/libre), you are dependent on them to provide regular security updates and fixes. Threatening to withdraw their support, they abuse their monopoly position to strong-arm you into adopting new versions of their software, even when you don't need the new "features" and even when updating negatively affects your ability to operate.
The dependency of organizations working for social change and improvement on software owned and exclusively controlled by Microsoft is leading society into an era of digital restrictions, threatening and limiting our freedoms. Microsoft Windows was engineered from the ground up as a Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and Treacherous Computing (TC) platform. Microsoft hides these defects under more benign-sounding names like "Digital Rights Management" and "Trusted Computing" -- the fact is that Windows is designed to limit what people can do with documents and digital media files.
As with Windows Vista, Windows 7 represents Microsoft's continued attacks against the security, privacy and freedom of your organization, and are no mistake. Microsoft has a history of manipulating computer manufacturers into installing its products onto the computers you purchase.
Because of Microsoft, many decision makers in the not-for-profit sector are wholly dependent on the Windows operating system for their organizational computing.
The root cause of this dependency is proprietary software (not free/libre) and with the release of Windows 7, you have an opportunity to break your organization's dependency on it.
Free software is about freedom, and not price. Free software is software that you can use and adapt independent of any one vendor, such as the GNU/Linux operating system or the business productivity suite OpenOffice.org. Free software provides all of the freedoms Microsoft tries to deny, and is therefore better in all areas: security, accountability and monetary cost. GNU/Linux and OpenOffice.org are available from numerous vendors ensuring competition for your patronage and your freedom to change supplier.
Free software is more secure because you, your IT supplier and the wider IT community are independently able to read the source code of and customize any program you use in your infrastructure. It saves you from relying on a secretive third party, and the public availability of free software code means that many qualified eyeballs, the security experts and researchers around the world, are continually studying and reporting on its integrity.
Replacing all your desktop systems with GNU/Linux will give you independence from Microsoft, access to thousands of free software applications, and help break the social ill of proprietary software. Thousands of organizations have already moved to free software. What's your organizational plan?
Investing in Microsoft's Windows 7 will only get you more stuck and more dependent on them.
Take the next step -- evaluate your organization's opportunity to use free software -- and sign up for regular announcements on making the move away from Windows and to receive information about the work of the Free Software Foundation: http://windows7sins.org/signup.
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