Hi all. Well, this is one post that i believe every person who comes to this Blog must read. There have been many arguments made by many people to me regarding why they should use Free Software. This post is regarding this matter. And this post is made from my heart rather than from my mind :)… coz Free Software and its ideals are a part of my heart rather than my mind :).
Lemme start by asking you a common question i usually ask to people. “Are you using an Original version of Microsoft Windows operating system in your machine??”. In 99% of the case, i get the answer “NO”, and that too especially in India. The other 1% will most probably be Laptop/Netbook/PC owners who got Windows pre-installed with their machine; who may not receive the Original OS disk; making it almost impossible to re-install. If you belong to the 99% i mentioned above, then you are “intentionally breaking the law”. I don’t think this is what you wish to do :). Most people do it knowingly or unknowingly. And the companies who make these proprietary software, say that you are doing “Piracy” !!!. This is not just limited to Microsoft; well-known proprietary companies like Adobe, Steinberg (creators of Nuendo), Digi Design etc…all follow the same principle of “Piracy”…
“Piracy” is a very controversial term which is linked to software. Pirates are people who hijack ships at sea and steal all the goods and things…and sometimes even kill you!!. But in software, you are taking a copy of the software from someone else. Which means, the person from whom you copied the software, is still having that software with him. So how can it ever be “Piracy”??… you havent stolen anything from him/her !!. As far as i know, this process of taking copy is called “Sharing” and not “Piracy”.
All the companies who release proprietary software discourage you from “Sharing” with anyone else. They have pictured sharing as an act of Theft !!!.. I don’t think you will agree with this. Well, I don’t. Its nothing but GREED that runs these people. Do you think its fair??. And they even have legal backing from the court of law. Which means, if you are caught, you could be put in Jail. Then you might argue with me that, if i wont get caught, then why bother ??.. Well as i said, then you are a thief…no matter how decent you are in this society, and you are intentionally breaking the law!! ..
I was also once in such a dilemma. My conscience was telling me that i am doing something wrong… but i did not have a choice.. So went on a quest to find a solution for the problem and found out about “Free Software”. Free Software gave me freedom to share and give as many copies as i wanted to my friend and it was encouraged!!.. You have no idea how happy I was :). Later on i came to know that i also got the freedom to view the source code of the program, Modify it and re-distribute it any way I wanted. And now I am enjoying the fruits and Benefits of the migration i made from proprietary software.
Another very important factor why people prefer Free Software, is because most of these softwares that are released for General use are Free of Cost too. There are some excellent replacements for many proprietary softwares available in Free Software. And most of these are Multi-Platform. Which means, they will work in GNU/Linux, Windows, Mac OS etc. This has been made possible only because of the source code availability.Free Software addresses the Human-ness in us. Encouraging us to share our knowledge and do good to others. Its principles are not just focused on software, rather, using software as a tool to spread good thoughts in the society; eliminating anti-social factors such as greed for money, theft etc.
I believe I have now addressed the 99%; why you need to switch to Free Software and encourage its use. Well, now i will address the rest 1%; ie the people who have “Original” copies of proprietary software. Well, the question I ask them is this – “Do you know what the software you are using is doing behind the screen??”. Well, the answer is a definite NO!. Only the people who made this Proprietary software of yours will know exactly what your software is doing behind the screen. And trust me, they “don’t want you to know” whats going on behind by saying that “It’s a business secret..” or that “End user need not know whats inside. He just needs to get his work done efficiently.” . And this is exactly what whole world is doing. People don’t wanna know whats going on inside !!!
Well, imagine this situation. What if… and I am saying it again “WHAT IF…” this proprietary “original” software of yours is designed to secretly spy on your data??. Now you will tell me “stop raising false notions about proprietary software….can you prove they do it???”. So i humbly reply.. “No i cant… because I don’t have their source code… But i can prove to you that Free Software doesnt…because i can view the source code and learn exactly what it does… even modify it, if i find a flaw!! . So why risk my machine and data on something that i am uncertain about like proprietary software.” . Millions of users around the globe are viewing the code and using it. And they are telling me that its safe to use it… Whom would you listen to??? A company that claims that its safe, or a million people telling you in a single voice that its safe by showing you proof???.. I would prefer to stand with the latter :).
I believe this post gave you a clear-cut idea on “Why you opt for Free Software??” . Also in this age which is highly dependent on technology and Internet, your freedom is of utmost importance. If it’s not valued, then one day a “Corporation” may take charge of your life and become your dictator online.. I request you to opt for Free Software if you value yours as well as the freedom of your children and the generations to come… 🙂
Also please read this link. It’s about the issues related to “Windows 7” operating system. Its a campaign which points out some serious security issues of “Windows 7” operating system as well as the Monopoly nature of Microsoft, who purposefully included these security threats into the operating system :
Windows 7 Sins
A Little bit of History :-
Software was not always Proprietary, nor is Free Software something that sprouted up recently. In the early days of computing, Software was passed around together with the code for all to study and modify. But in the early 80s, certain companies like Microsoft came into picture and decided to make a business out of it. It’s these companies that started to sell software without giving out the source code. They felt that giving of source code would take away their edge in the business and their competitors would make better software out of it. More over, it was easier to implant a spy code into the software, so that the company could monitor the use of their clients secretly if wanted. And once the computers and software became popular, people started to take it for granted that source code will never be given with software. More and more companies sprouted up which followed the same mode of business; ultimately making the End Users or people like us totally dependent on them. Even if there was a small issue, we had to depend on them and wait for their mercy to get it fixed. And more over, whats most frustrating is that… We were not permitted to share the software amongst our friends and relatives; thus creating a divide. They started to colonise the virtual world with the tried and tested “Divide and Rule” policy. Well, the Free Software movement is the Freedom Struggle against this colonisation. Join and be liberated… 🙂