Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Freedom and Other Lofty Goals

I just finished listening to an interview with Richard Stallman by the guys at Gutsy Geeks and it has put me in a mood to ponder high minded ideas such as freedom and injustice.

Generally I would probably be classified as a moderate as far as my views on the world. Although, I wouldn't consider that an a accurate description. I generally hold to a few basic principles that place me in what others would consider the middle ground. I believe in freedom, love,community and forgiveness above all else. I will also accept compromise if it moves in a direction that is better than any alternative to problems that have no tangible solution. However, I hold fast to my beliefs if I believe that there is an solution to a problem and compromising is just side stepping the problem. For example I have no acceptable solution for a free(as in freedom) AutoCAD, running on a free operating system, alternative for my work. So I accept a horribly restrictive work experience because the consequences of not using it are greater than the rewards for standing my ground(I loose my job and my kids starve but I get to use only free software).

So, as a person who generally is willing to compromise, I am great full for those who won't. A person who holds to what's right, like Richard Stallman, even if it means making great sacrifice, make progressing towards a goal possible. If everyone accepts thing the way they are than there is no incentive to progress to the goal(completely free computing).

"Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." -Frederick Douglass

Computers are the greatest endeavor that man has had the ability to to make reality. It's impact is far greater than we now realize or dream. The computer's ability to liberate is equaled by it's ability to oppress. So carefully choose who you give your rights to in the digital realm. Free software is about more than price, it's about preventing a world where technology is used to control you. You would not stand for a hammer company making you sign an agreement to only use nails that it manufactures and then convince yourself, and your friends, that it's OK because they make the best nails anyways and then have to buy a new hammer when they change the nail so it does not work with your old hammer.

So that's my rant about why I love free software. Learn more about it at fsf.org.
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