importance of free software
Posted by notKlaatu , 25 November 2008 · 131 views
Is free software really important?Actually, it is. Like it or not (and if you are here you probably like it) the world is dominated by teh Computer. It seems to me that if we support the big companies like Microsoft, Apple, Symantec, Adobe, Apple (yeah I know), Autodesk, Digidesign, and so on, and just keep taking what they are feeding us, the world will eventually become divided into two computing factions: those who can afford to compute and those who cannot. Those who know how to use computers will be able to get the cool jobs, and those who never got the training will remain computer illiterate and unable to get desirable jobs. We do not want this.Furthermore, we do not really want to remain stagnate. Computers and logic and programming and hacking -- these are things that enable ordinary people to find creative solutions to big problems. Even things that don't directly relate to computers can often times become much simpler when pondered by a mind familiar with the complexities of the computer. One of my favourite examples of this is the Unix philosophy of "one program to do one thing and to do it well". Modularity. Armed with this philosophical ideal, I have been able to take on some enormous (well, enormous for me anyway) tasks, break them down into components, and accomplish things that I would have not been able to even approach otherwise.And one more thing -- do we really need to be consumers?? It's so easy to go out to some department store and walk up and down the aisles like zombies and pick things up to purchase, and take the things home, and put them down, and forget why we even bought it in the first place. How much more satisfying to the creative spirit and to the esteem is participating in a project? helping create something, making something with real people who you can talk to or yell at or flirt with or whatever you want to do. It's a lot better than just going up to a faceless "company", handing over the money that you worked all month for, and then taking something away that you only get to play with on their terms -- it would be like buying a Lego set but only being allowed to make maybe one or two different models, and being told that if you attempted to make any other design, you were either out of warranty or worse yet a criminal.So yeah, software freedom is important. It's something that we need to support in as many ways as we each feel obligated to. It's a great model, I think, of a society that is free, communal (not in the oh-so-scary Leninist sense, yet not in the oh-so-cheesy Hippy sense either), open, free (yes, i know), and, I think, enlightened. There is much to be learned from Free Software. So let's support it and see where it takes us.