Dichotomy

Sunday, March 5, 2006

A friend and I were talking about how there are purists in just about any group you can think about. That got me thinking. He was right. Even in the mainstream leftist movement of my student days, there were those who always thought they were above everybody else. Except to the higher ups, that is.

Well the open source movement is no exception, I guess. For the linux movement in particular, there are those who are in it for the code and those who are in it for the cause. Those who are technically adept use linux because of the challenge that it presents. Altruistic, many are. Yet there are those that feel they should be held above the rest of the general populace because of their technical adeptness. There is within this group an equally tenacious inner circle of thinkers that shun all that does not conform to their way of thinking, so called purists. They are only open to developments that conform to their mode of thought and nothing else. They also have a propensity to scoff at everybody they think is below their level of skill.

Then there are those who use Linux because they believe in the cause of open source. Many of these people have little or no technical knowledge. Many of these people did not get college degrees in the field technology. What they have is interest in computing. What they have is a respect the principles of community and sharing. What they have is an acute appreciation of open source. All heart and no head.

I am part of the latter. I believe in open source because of its promise and the freedom it represents. I am, to put it simply, not a coder. I don't tinker with kernels or apps or anything of that sort. What I do is use what is there. What I do is make open source software useful to me and in turn share my discoveries with the communities I belong to. What I lack in technical skill, I try and make up for through advocacy.

Heck, before I used linux I did not even care about piracy. Now I use that issue to make a point. Illegal software is illegal software. Proprietary software is expensive. Open source is free, owned by communities that use it. That's the complete opposite of proprietary software, whose buyers only buy a license to use it. They aren't buying the software, just a license to use it. Hence, they don't own it. The contrast being software should empower people and not enslave them to the big fat bottomlines of giant corporations. Software should benefit people paying for it, not just those who write it.

Now, please excuse me if I come on too strong. Going back to the matter at hand, purists and hypocrites (another bunch altogether) just curb my enthusiasm. They have their subtle ways of making people like me feel like we don't belong. I once made the mistake of giving up because it got to me. It ain't gonna happen this time 'round. I still feel strongly for the Left, even though I've severed all ties with them. I still feel a tinge of guilt whenever I hear news of people dying useless deaths because they heed the purists and the hypocrites.

Well this time around, in a wholly different movement, my advocacy isn't going to stop because some senseless nitpicker wants to feel good by bashing others. I'm doing this for the cause. They have their part to do, I have mine. And that is to advocate the cause of open source. I just wish they'd keep their opinions to themselves and their mouths shut, so they don't make enemies of friends. I'd hate to be caught in friendly fire, because I will return fire if I'm caught in a corner. I will. Mark my word, I will.

4 comments:

ealden said...

Fides et Ratio :)

n0d said...

nice thoughts, sir...

Edu said...

Thanks for your comments, guys :-)

I have faith, ealden. I have faith.

Anonymous said...

ako ata ung friend na un ah!

you're right bro and somehow i found strength in your article.

keep it up!

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