Top Ten reasons I like Open Source

by josephzizys

Why I like Open Source.

I like freedom.  I don’t like being  told what to do.  When my operating system tells me that I have to press ok or cancel, I feel like I am being dictated too.  When my operating system tells me that I am not allowed to use a piece of software at all, my conviction grows.  When my operating cripples music, insists on an internet connection to prove that it is payed for and so on, I know I am  the victim of a fascist regime.

If an open sourse operating system tells me I have to ok or cancel and I don’t like it I  can open the source code, find the module that asks the question and edit the code to give a third option, retry perhaps, or ‘back’ or whatever I like.   I can then recompile the module and My operating system now acts like I want.

This is the fundemental difference between being controled by the words (code) of others, and having control over the words that run the machines (computers) that you own.

Open source software is controled by you, it does not control you.  You are free to modify it, to hack it, to alter what it is and what it does, to pursue your own agenda, rather than be the victim of an agenda.

That is the first and foremost reason why I  prefer open source.  I  should say I have  never  actually done that, I mean  I have never  recompiled a single piece  of code, but that is not  the point, which brings me to  my second point.

I don’t know who wrote the code for Microsoft MovieMaker, but I do  know who  wrote thecode for the Blender Sequence Editor. If I  want to I  can write him an email or perhaps chat to him on irc and ask  him  aabout his plans for future upgrades and alterations  to his code.  I cannot do that with commercial software.  But it goes further, if  the auther I know has no plans to add the feature I desire I can talk  to other developers who might  be more amenible,  I can advocate and organise for features and functionality to be written by others for my benifit and the  benifit of others.  This is why I don’t need  to recompile code myself, others  will  do it  for me, this is  the second reason I  like open source.

The third reason I like open source is because it  is all (usually) free.  The GIMP  may not quite be  photoshop, and Blender might not match every feature of 3D Studio Max (although it does have many features that  3Ds dosen’t  have),  and  Lumiera might still be just  a gleam  in the eyes  of the Cinerella  CV developers, but  by not buying Vista,  Adobe cs3, Office 2007,  3dsMax, Reason  and so on, I save myself thousands and thousands of dollars,  I also  avoid  any legal issues of  piracy and copyright violation, I don’t pay a cent, and I dont commit a  crime.  Nice.

The forth reason I love open source  is that there are  so many programs out there  it makes  you head spin, browsing  through  getdeb, ohloh,  freashmeat, lxer, fsdaily,  planet  ubuntu, gnomefiles, and on and  on, scrolling through the  synaptic lists of availables, looking at linuxalt and osalt and  so on, checking out university department pages, over and over I come across nifty and  exciting pieces of software, often so obscure that if I wanted to buy a  comercial versionI  wouldn’t know how to start lookingand iwould probably end  up paying thousands or finding  that the open  source  version is the only thing that  exists.

The fifth reason I like open source is that it is open.  Microsoft talk about how  this  or that  open  source project violates thier copyrights, but how  do we  know?  Half Microsoft’s codebase  could be flagrently ripped off  from open  source for all we know, we can’t  read the code, they are closed.  Closed source  means secrecy, obfuscation and lies,  it means  hiding what  you have done and trying to trick others  into thinking no  one else can do it.  Open source is open, it is  about truth and sharing  and  communication, itis as awsome as that dude.

The sixth reason I like open source is because it fucks with economics.   It  is  a massive movement, comprising millions upon millions of lines of code, milions upon millions man hours worked,  all for free, all being  used  by productive  and innovative persons  for free, having a huge and pretty much unmeasurable impact on the software  industry and by extension on other  industries, all based on a paradigm that  ignores money, ignores  profit, and behaves  in a way that to a classical economist seems completely irrational.  The idea that people might be willing to work, for free, just to  see something materialise that might benifit many fucks up the most fundemental axioms  of positive economics, and I  like that.

The seventh reason i like open source  is  because it  fosters in me a feeling of belonging to a community where  I have no walls, where my efforts might  one  day ged  me a  nod from Linus or  a check  from  Donald, where someone in Bolivia might use my image as thier desktop  wallpaper  or  someone in Romania might code up that idea I  had for a feature  in Blender or That I might get ‘dug’, and that it is all a seemless continuity, I am not a  consumer, I am not an employee, I ama  member  of a community I both use and create and collaborate with others through a  free and transparent exchange of information.

The eigth reason I like  open source  is the learning.  I remember when I did not know whata  gnome was, or  the difference between a kernel and kettle, or  how to configure a mixed  home  wireless network, and when the command line filled me with nothing  but dread, I remember when I wouldnt have known  where to  start in researching fixes  for my onboard soundcard, and so on and so on.  Open source  has transformed me from a child in a cage, being handed ‘safe’ toys by mother  microsoft, to being a young man on the open plains, hunting for his own food.

Number nine is Linux and Debian and Ubuntu and the GIMP and Blender and Gnome and GNU and Open Office and Gedit and Ardour and Inkscape and Scribus and  Emacs and Latex  and  Lyx  and Fontforge and Dia and  Firefox and Sunbird and  Vim and Bash and Python and Glade and Lumiera and Synaptic  and  every other great fantastic project out there that I use so seemlesly and effortlessly on my crappy old  thinkpads (oooohhh, lets not forget Atheros and the  HAL).

Number  ten is  BoingBoing and Creative Commons and Distrowatch and Google and wordpress and Slashdot and Deviantart and Wikipedia and Mozilla and on and on to all the places in the world where I can communicate for free and freely.

So there you haveit, thats why I like open source, some of the reasons  anyway,I amsure more will occur to me as I go about my day.

… like xkcd, dinosaur comix, moo cards, miro, mythtv, eeepc, neuros….