“Software, technology, knowledge and culture should be free!” summarizes the battle cry of the activists of “free”. It’s only by by putting free technology in the hands of free and empowered people that one can achieve wider freedom in the 21st century, according to Benjamin Mako Hill. But this situation can only be achieved by realism, hard work and training. “An education in free technology means an important step toward being able to realize ones autonomy as granted by free software” says Hill, who was a guest lecturer in the inaugural year of the Free Technology Academy (FTA). The FTA wants to provide university-level training to IT-professionals, educators, decision makes and IT-students. Is it possible to move beyond free activism and provide real-world training that appeals to university students and graduates and the market place? Is there a future for the Free Technology Academy? In order to answer this question, Jan Stedehouder, journalist and Dutch open source activist, looked into the first year results of the FTA and interviewed current students and the 2010 guest lecturers Benjamin Mako Hill and John “Maddog” Hall.
by Jan Stedehouder