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Linux Will Save The World

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Remember Apple's famous 1984 commercial? That is one of the most brilliant TV commercials of all time, which isn't surprising- Ridley Scott directed it, and legendary advertising agency Chiat/Day produced it. It is a superb piece of filmmaking that still gives me chills, even in the lo-fi YouTube version.

And then the spell wears off, and I realize Orwell was a prophet, the commercial bears no relationship to the product, and the athlete's Apple shirt should have a penguin logo on it instead of the Macintosh logo.

Free As In Entitled

Sometimes I feel like a dinosaur, and me and my fellow dinosaurs are moving towards extinction, because we place supreme importance on freedom. But we seem to be a dwindling minority. You know what stories perform the worst on Linux Today? Anything that pertains to freedom- software freedom, the GNU Foundation, the Software Freedom Law Center, civil rights, and law. Technology is front and center on the big issues of the day. If we didn't have FOSS we would be in an even worse mess as a society, because then technology would all be centralized and controlled by a very few people who have proven their hostility to civil liberties, privacy, and basic decency.

I don't believe it is exaggerating to say that Linux/FOSS is all that stands between technology tyranny, corporate tyranny, and the hope of something better. Who else is keeping up the pressure for openness and accountability in the tech industry? Plus access to public data, open document formats and industry standards, an open Internet, openness in government... it is true that my memory isn't what it used to be, but I do not recall Bill Gates, Scott McNealy, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, or any of the other billionaire tech celebs emitting so much as a single word of concern for any of these, or performing any meaningful deeds. The forces massing against our personal freedoms are larger and stronger than ever, and all these fine masters of the universe can think about is yet more ways to fatten their fortunes.

Before anyone mentions "But they give lotsa stuff and things to charity!" please keep in mind that taking with one hand while giving with the other isn't charity, it's image polish. Success doesn't require exploitation, though that seems to be a minority viewpoint these days.

Maybe LT readers get enough of this elsewhere; I hope that is the case. Because I get real tired of the hordes of noobs who enter FOSS with attitudes of entitlement, and who make loud demands and complaints. I'm still not over the KDE4 debacle- what a shameful hyperbolic whine-fest. Is this the future of Linux, perfect free shiny toys for the spoiled? Increasing numbers of demanding, ungrateful users who think they are owed everything, and who give back nothing, not even courtesy?

Couple that with increased corporate control of Linux, and where does that leave us? It doesn't look much different than proprietary-land. Maybe I underestimate the power of FOSS to keep the suits honest. Maybe I'm wasting a perfectly good bout of pessimism. I very much hope so.

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