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|Originally Published: Friday, 5 November 1999||Author: Maurice Entwistle|
|Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles||Page: 1/1 - [Std View]|
GNU/Linux and the Global Village
A few months ago I wrote an article entitled "Linux as model for World Community." It was published here on Linux.com. I was thrilled at Red Hat's November 1st announcement of the establishment of the (RHCOS) foundation. Its goal? To ``advance the social principles of Open Source for the greater good ... that will sponsor, support, promote and engage in a wide range of scientific and educational projects intended to advance the social principles of open source for the greater good of the general public." Obviously, I was not the only one thinking along these lines....
I have great hope for the future. I think most GNU/Linux enthusiasts are also optimists. We see a brighter future with more freedom. In fact, in regard to voluntary effort, what community has more members, more contributors than GNU/Linux? When so many parts of the modern world are alienated, lacking in common goals, community, GNU/Linux shines as an exception.
Hillary Clinton has written articles and a book about the need for "global village." I only say this to point out that polls must have shown this to be a big issue. Time, Newsweek and the local press have all, over the last couple years, run numerous articles about the lack of community in our society. This lack is a psychological stress, on families, parents and children. A return to community spirit is sorely needed.
Of all the sources I have found on the Internet (a truly global event) nothing caught my community spirit, or tapped my volunteerism, as GNU/Linux. I felt, without knowing why, the desire to contribute. Not being a programmer, all I could do was write. So that's how I contribute to the cause. If there is any feeling I can clearly name, one that drives my contribution, it is a sense of bringing people together in freedom.
Richard Stallman has repeatedly stated that one of his ideals is to encourage and enable the "freedom to cooperate." If there is anything that will guarantee freedom and democracy in the future, I believe it will be a free and open Internet. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of hypertext, is spending the rest of his life trying to keep HTML common and universal, uncorrupted with proprietary extensions, that would restrict browser use and access. http://www.w3.org/
I have written before that if we do not have a free (as in freedom) non-proprietary Internet, we will loose our freedom. And if there is anything that will create a global village, the Internet will do it. How many major corporations would love to have a proprietary handle on the Web? What large corporation can you think of that is working towards that? And if there is any one community that can prevent that, it is GNU/Linux.
I write for Linux.com as a volunteer. It is my contribution to the cause of freedom. That is how I see supporting GNU/Linux, a way to promote the ideals of open communication, which freedom and democracy require. If I could program, I would do that. What can you do?
Third-world countries, and areas of the world with less wealth will need Free Software like Apache and GNU/Linux to participate in the future global village. The Internet will foster freedom and democracy like no other system the world has seen. GNU/Linux is, to my mind, one of the strongest forces in the world for bringing the world to cooperation, to freedom, to democracy, creating a global village.
If you're new to Linux, just heard of it, and are intrigued? If the call of freedom, of open source software appeals to you? And if the continued freedom of the Internet makes you want to get up and serve? There is one small thing you can do. Go buy yourself a GNU/Linux program or borrow one from a friend. Spend some time and effort to install it! If you're about to buy a new PC and you're afraid to install GNU/Linux yourself, you can find it pre-installed now from several vendors. A google search is all you need to do.
I wrote this article with Star Office 5.0. I assure you it is just as good as Word. My KDE desktop is prettier than the proprietary one I formerly had to use. This article is submitted via Netscape, via GNU/Linux. So, with a little effort, you too can support the global village, even if it's just by giving GNU/Linux a try.
Maurice Entwistle (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes from his home. He believes GNU/Linux is about freedom. As freelancer, he invites anyone with writing or copy editing needs to rfq via email. He likes to eat too!