Monday, December 21, 2009

Linux Monday

Linux Monday: Getting Philosphical

Last Linux Monday I was all pragmatic about how to optimize the kernel. Now let's get philosphical with the ideological underpinnings of the Free Software Movement:

If you're really really into it, here's a long interview with free software guru Richard Stallman and his anarcho-libertarian worldview:
In that Stallman is such a renowned programmer, if he'd chosen to travel that route, it's not inconceivable that he could be a billionaire like his co-generationists Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Instead, he's never owned a home. Or a car. Or even a cell phone. He admits, "I think my main expense literally is food."

His lifestyle is a pointed rejoinder to this mediated consumer culture of litigiously enforced copyrights, trackable GPS-equipped cell phones, radio-frequency identification chips, and omnipresent surveillance cameras. And his pronouncements — on matters technological, but also geopolitical and environmental — mean to stir us to join his fight.

The tricky part: far fewer people than he'd wish share the courage of his convictions.

David Sterry is on a more down to earth level, but preaching the same gospel: "It is a choice between contributing to a growing community of hopeful free software users or settling for a life of product activation, vendor lock-in, and increasing developer power."

I'm more sympathetic to this stuff than most; I've long admitted that my Linux curiosity was driven largely by anti-Microsoft corporate contempt. Plus there was this old machine I wanted to fix up, no Windows license, and the free as in no money aspect appealed to me. But in the past few weeks, as I re-compile kernels, I've come to appreciate the free as in freedom aspect of it as well.

And, while we're dreaming here, imagine the perfect ISP.

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