Today is Valentine’s day and I take the opportunity to follow the Free Software Foundation’s call to spread my love for Free Software.
I love Free Software! Usually people argue about using Free Software with technical or cost-related benefits like you’re able to look into the source code, incorporate your patches immediately or don’t have to pay any license fees. All of this is true, naturally, but I love Free Software for many more of its benefits.
I’m a strong believer in the societal benefits of Free Software: It makes you independent of certain vendors, their goodwill and additionally lets everyone in the world make software better. “Software will eat the world”? Absolutely. But I’m really not fond of a world ruled by software companies keeping the code that runs my life behind closed doors so that nobody will ever be able to inspect what’s actually going on there. Free Software gives me the opportunity to stay in control of my own life without being spied upon, dictated where or on how many devices I install it, how long I’m eligible to use it or in what way I change the way it works.
In the past 10 years or so Free and Open Source Software has grown out of the space of being used only by some highly tech-savvy kids who would munch Makefiles for breakfast and love to fire up GCC several times a day. Linux hasn’t conquered the desktop but Android - an open source Linux operating sytem - has definitely conquered the mobile world. Most people in the world already use Free or at least Open Source Software every day: Firefox, Chrome, OpenOffice/LibreOffice, Thunderbird, Wordpress, Drupal, VLC, the Apache Web Server and many more. Platforms like BitBucket and GitHub have lowered the barrier to release source code quickly. Thanks to all you out there making this possible!