Chris J Powell

Software Freedom Day

This past Saturday (September 15, 2012) was the 8th Annual Software Freedom Day and in all honesty…I completely forgot about it.  To say the least, I have been more than a little occupied with other activities lately but that is no excuse!  You may be asking what is Software Freedom Day or SFD as it is also known.

In its basic form it is a time that proponents of the Free Software movement around the globe unite to promote the ideals and benefits of Free Software.  This is not just Open Source although it does include Open Source.  Free Software is available for FREE always…with Open Source (depending on the license) there is a “payback” either in code sharing or in monetary cost.

The sponsors of SFD are varied but include some familiar names:

So the reality of the movement is that Free Software has become popular enough that it is just expected…or has it?  Microsoft is now moving towards an annual subscription model with its upcoming release of Office 2013 even Adobe is moving in that direction with a Cloud Based version of its popular Master Suite of Applications.  The reality is, by 2015 it is estimated that the Software Industry as a whole will be a US$384.5 Billion behemoth and much of this is available either as a comparable or better version for FREE.

So why do we spend money on Software when we can get it for FREE?  Why don’t we all just use Torrents and download the things we want for FREE?  Well if that was the case…life would be much easier…everyone who wanted one would have a Mac…the entire “App Ecosystem” would collapse and there really would not be any real reason to call it FREE because that would imply that the alternative is NOT FREE.

The reality of FREE Software is that it doesn’t always work as advertised (but neither does the stuff you pay for) and most people really don’t want to have to spend time Googling for assistance (although there are more than a few Tech Support people in the world that wish they could just push out a quick LMGTFY link to their callers).  It was the Free Software Day of 2005 that first got me really interested in Linux and Open Source.  I saw a Google Ad as I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of the Blue Screen of Death from an aging Windows XP computer and wanted something more.

To all the people around the globe that participated in the 2012 Software Freedom Day…thanks again…and next year, I PROMISE I WILL REMEMBER!



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