Preaching the Libre Software Gospel

7:05 PM

Perhaps the Libre Software Community should take heed to the old joke about the two preachers who both preached from the subject, “You’re Going to Hell”.  The same message draws different reactions.  The difference lies in the tone of the preacher.  Libre software advocates should pay attention to the tone of their message.  It is true that many people simply buy various devices based on functionality and not based on what they may be free to do.  But libre software advocates need to craft a solid message with a tone that inspires people to accomplish greater things.

The joke goes something like this.  A church calls a preacher, who preaches every Sunday morning on the same message.  The message is, “You’re Going to Hell!”.  The church starts losing members.  Eventually, the church dismisses the pastor, and calls another.  The old preacher heard the church had started growing again, and decided to visit.  He heard the new pastor preaching from his very same subject, “You’re Going to Hell”.  Yet, people were stirred up.  People were coming forward and joining the church.  The old pastor asked one of the deacons, who responded, “Well, when you preached it, you sounded like you wanted us to go to Hell.”

Look, I know from personal experience what it is like to be caught up in software licensing hell.  And I won’t get into the printer torture I experienced, which, funny enough, is one of the key issues that gave the Free Software movement its impetus.  I also know that device manufacturers should recognize the right – the freedom – of their customers to use a device in ways they did not anticipate.  I believe that is crucial to a given person’s experience.  But we cannot run around sounding like we want “the people” to actually go to software hell.  We want to liberate, not berate.

The challenges of digital freedom are real.  And it’s an even greater challenge to inspire people, who think they are doing well just to figure out a new device, to see beyond the limitations of what the manufacturers and software developers say that device can do.  The notion that anyone should be free to use the gadget they own however they wish is not important to some people because they themselves will never dare to tinker with their own device.  How do you inspire people to care about the freedom of others, when they themselves do not care about their own freedom?  I hear so many people who say they don’t care whether they can modify their device.  Well, that’s exactly the problem.

via Ever Forward » Blog Archive » Preaching the Libre Software Gospel.


Read the rest of this article. It's very good and thought-provoking. We need the competition between distributions and projects. That's what keeps the creative juices flowing.


xjonquilx | Mepis, Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux, Oh My!

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