[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[libreplanet-discuss] Free software: community vs. brand

From: Jim Garrett
Subject: [libreplanet-discuss] Free software: community vs. brand
Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2018 09:12:10 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:52.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/52.6.0

A few broad thoughts have been coalescing in my mind since LibrePlanet
2018, and I'd like to offer them for whatever use they might have for
anyone.  I'm not asking for information or necessarily any response.

I have three main thoughts:

 1. The existence of a community compassionately interested in the role
    of information and computers in society is a more compelling
    argument for Free Software than our software itself.  (That's not a
    comment on the quality of our software.)
 2. The percentage of humanity who has even thought of software as
    something that /could/ involve freedom, as we understand it, is
    approximately 0%.
 3. When I tell people about Free Software, I think they view it within
    the framework of a brand choice, which is the wrong frame with which
    to start a discussion.

Consequently, I'm going to change my elevator talk to "It's a community
of people interested in the role of information and computing in
society."  And if that piques their interest, I'll talk about the four
freedoms and taking control of our computers.

Some observations that have led me to these:

  * I didn't truly understand the larger issues around software freedom
    before attending LibrePlanet.  Seeing the community together and
    hearing the discussion occurring within it opened my eyes.  I was
    expecting a technical conference instead.  This year, for the first
    time, my wife joined me at LibrePlanet.  I think it made an
    impression on her, as it had me.
  * I proudly wear my GNU hat, and occasionally people ask me what "GNU"
    is.  I say something like "It's the project for software freedom,"
    to which I get a puzzled look.  Then I say, "It's the basis of the
    operating system that uses the Linux kernel," and they nod and feel
    satisfied.  I sense that they perceive that I've made an operating
    system choice for whatever utilitarian reasons they think people
    make such choices, because /they can't yet imagine other reasons/
    for choosing software.
      o The fact that I work in Cambridge, MA, USA, not far from where
        LibrePlanet occurs, and where Free Software began, and that the
        person I'm talking to is often with a well-informed PhD
        scientist, only underscores how little the message of software
        freedom has penetrated mainstream consciousness.  (If in fact
        PhD scientists are better informed than anyone else, typically. 
        But no worse-informed, I'd imagine.)

Jim Garrett

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]