Contributing to free software requires privilege. Even regular contributors might sometimes find themselves without it.

Time, focus and money. You might find yourself lacking in one of these at various points in your life.

While software projects from startups move like streams, most free software projects move like glaciers. They move slowly but they keep moving for decades.

Being away from a project doesn't mean you have to give it up. You can join back later.

#FreeSoftware #Privilege

@njoseph Just because I'm seeing a lot of public push-back: I agree. Reminds of a quote from this article:

"A surprising amount of OSS is made by former big tech developers. They can afford to subsist on meagre revenue—for a time—because their pay and stock options have left them free of debt and with well-stocked savings accounts."

Dunno why people seem triggered by the word "privilege" TBH. I've got gobs of it myself. Take responsibility for it. It's a form of power.

@ryan Dude, OSS is not F. OSS is a business model. Free Software is, among other things, an ideology that states that everybody should have equal access to software and equal opportunities to contribute to it.

That is literally the opposite of a privilege.


@njoseph @josemanuel @ryan Free Software takes care of the of the copyright restrictions that prevent people from having access to software and to contribute to it. and it's extremely important.

but Free Software can't solve all of the other societal issues that do prevent other people from contributing, and trying to fix those is also important.

As an example, later on you say “you can just contribute [various types of small fixes]”: that's pretty easy for somebody who has had a lot of free time while young to learn how to move around in the FOSS community, and now has less free time because of family/work/etc.

it's not the same thing for somebody who never had the chance to do so: for them even a small contribution means taking a lot of time learning new tools, new platforms and new community behaviours, and people from less privileged situations tend to have very little free time.


For sure we have a privilege: being able to code.

It's the privilege of scribans in Ancient Egypt and we should work hard to invent an alphabet that free the rest of the world from our power, as we tend to serve the Pharaons of our age.

We continuosly raise complexity, either accidentally or as an explicit entry barrier to "the market" (think of modern browsers) while we should always keep it so low that literally everybody could read and modify the code.

That's what turned from a quest for to an expression of power and -privilege.

I recognize such privilege but as @jcbrand noticed, it doesn't give anybody any entitlement on my work.

It just give me the will and energy to look for solutions that turn such privilege into a freedom that everybody can use for real (but not without study: even if you want to drive a car you have to study how to drive, and a computer is much more powerful - and socially dangerous - than a car!)

@njoseph @josemanuel @ryan

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