"Begging the Software Gods"

"Begging the Software Gods" is an interesting read about what choices we make in Software and what they mean. A nice work of open source politics. I think I would not understate to say he is preaching open source ethics.

But I have one point to make: Unless you are (or employ) a mighty programmer, you are not as free as you feel after reading the article from your Linux system. ;-)

Update:
The point he makes is true and good. But in my view having a freedom is worth no more than you have the actual concrete ability to use it and gain direct benefit from it.

Now I think it should be made easier to actually do it, to benefit from that freedom. But e.g. finding a suitable programmer is often still complicated and not every open source project has a place to e.g. offer bounties. As he sais: it is not always an easy choice, but a worthy choice.

You have the freedom, but you can only really use it when you have someone with programming skills. And he did not mention that. (Of course that's not his point.)

The point I'm trying to make is that an infrastructure that enables the average non-programmer user (e.g. through money) to really take advantage of these freedoms (customize software) without much effort would have a positive effect for the open source community. It would give provide money to the programmers and help users in realizing the open source freedoms.

Now the other cool then is that you might actually get a programmer to write a feature for the same money you would have paid for a closed source software (esp. Microsoft Office vs. OpenOffice). And when you do, everybody can profit from that. If more people would see that and act like it, the whole community would profit.

4 comments:

  1. Unless you are (or employ) a mighty programmer, you are not as free as you feel after reading the article from your Linux system. ;-)

    I don't see why you would say that. The Freedom lies in the fact that if one wants it bad enough, no-one can stop him from having it. One can always hire or simply become a programmer.
    With closed source, you can't do anything even if you want to.

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  2. Thank you for your comment.

    I don't see why you would say that. The Freedom lies in the fact that if one wants it bad enough, no-one can stop him from having it.

    Well yes, I don't disagree with him or you. That's true. Of course the main point is that you do have a choice. You can do it.

    Now I think it should be made easier to actually do it, to benefit from that freedom. But e.g. finding a suitable programmer is often still complicated and not every open source project has a place to e.g. offer bounties. As he sais: it is not always an easy choice, but a worthy choice.

    You have the freedom, but you can only really use it when you have someone with programming skills. And he did not mention that. (Of course that's not his point.)

    The point I'm trying to make is that an infrastructure that enables the average non-programmer user (e.g. through money) to really take advantage of these freedoms (customize software) without much effort would have a positive effect for the open source community. It would give provide money to the programmers and help users in realizing the open source freedoms.

    Now the other cool then is that you might actually get a programmer to write a feature for the same money you would have paid for a closed source software (esp. Microsoft Office vs. OpenOffice). And when you do, everybody can profit from that. If more people would see that and act like it, the whole community would profit.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The point I'm trying to make is that an infrastructure that enables the average non-programmer user (e.g. through money) to really take advantage of these freedoms

    A better idea for such an infrastructure would be to make basic programming in simple languages part of education, similar to maths or physics. Unlike physics or chemistry however, such a knowledge can become practically useful to everyone and actively help increase freedom and public wealth

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  4. "A better idea for such an infrastructure would be to make basic programming in simple languages part of education"

    I don't think it would be an alternative as I don't think programming is something for everyone, just like math and physics. But I still agree, that programming and general IT classes should be mandatory today.

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