Fri software som politisk bevægelse

James Love har en glimrende artikel på Huffington Post, hvor han forklarer, hvorfor han selv er glad for at bruge fri software på sin computer, og hvorfor andre “progressive” burde gøre det samme:

Like nearly everyone else these days, I use computers to write, read email, browse the web, store music and photos, and generally organize my life. Unlike most people, I’m using a free operating system, rather than Microsoft’s Windows/Vista, or Apple’s Mac OS. Specifically, I’m using Ubuntu, a popular distribution of GNU/Linux.

It’s hard to explain the experience without trying it. Using any Debian type Linux distribution (such as Ubuntu), it is very easy to find, install and update software. Pretty much everything I use is available at a zero price. Linux isn’t a program, but rather a collection of thousands of programs that work together, each maintained by different communities. Most share the source code they develop, allowing others to copy, modify and incorporate code into new and even competing programs.

Linux is a possible future, one that isn’t controlled by Microsoft or Apple, and one that responds to a different set of values. Ubuntu is so good that it now seems plausible to anticipate a significant shift from Apple and Microsoft to Linux. This would be no small thing, increasing the odds that the Internet will continue to develop in ways that empowers users. Linux provides a powerful counterweight to companies or governments that undermine innovation, privacy and freedom, benefits that should not be taken for granted or undervalued.

Med andre ord: Fri software sikrer, at brugeren har og beholder kontrollen over, hvad der foregår på hans computer, og gør det muligt at sikre sig mod regeringsstøttede og andre trusler mod ens privatliv.

Hele fri software-bevægelsen er en vigtig modvægt mod hele den tendens til overvågning og central kontrol, vi ser i de senere år, en bevægelse, der tager handsken op ved selv at skabe programmer, der kan fungere som modvægt til monopolernes kontrol over brugerne og regeringernes indgreb. Og så er det ved at være oppe i et stabilt teknisk leje, hvor man sagtens kunne installere det på sin bedstemors computer. Men læs endelig bare hele Loves artikel.

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