It is a commonplace catchphrase in our times: nothing in life is free. Yet, some would argue that THE BEST things in life are free. Which philosophy you adhere to is purely based on perspective. However, that does not rule out the veracity of either, unless you are a pedantic lover of logic, willing to deduct statements to the bitter end.
Yes, bread isn’t free, clothes aren’t free, a house isn’t free, and, in many cases, good health isn’t free. Whether relationships are free or not is beyond the scope of this article (suggested reading: Sigmund Freud, Dr. Phil). So in essence, the essential things in life, which would be ‘ everything’ one needs, are not free. On the flipside, a sunset is free, water CAN be free, and i guess if you don’t get caught, THE BEST things in life can be free.
However, despite addressing the veracity of the aforementioned statements, we still have not addressed the central question: who decides what is free or not? The obvious answer would be: the ones that are offering. In the case of sunsets and rock-filtered water, and white sands, God (or ‘Nature’ if you are a savage pagan) would be the seller. And in the case of bread, clothes, house, and health, man is the seller. So, what we can deduct from this exercise is that man charges for everything while God (or ‘Nature’ for the savages) gives things away for free. I guess it only makes sense that since man has taken over most of what God (or ‘Nature’, sick of doing parentheses for the savages) has made, most things in life are not free.
However, things are ‘a’ changing. Open Source Software is changing the landscape of the world. However, this landscape does not boast of anthills and mole holes or daffodils or sunflowers. It is a virtual landscape. If you are using Mozilla Firefox right now, then you are in that space; if you are using Open Office Writer instead of Microsoft Word, then you are in that space; if you are using Wikipedia, then you are in that kind of space.
The world is getting things for free that it never thought it would. These days, instead of buying Microsoft Windows for 200+ dollars, one can get Linux for free; instead of getting Internet Explorer, one can get Firefox for free; Instead of using Microsoft Office for 300+ dollars, one can get Open Office for free, for the same quality, and sometimes more.
How in the hell did groups of creatively-minded people with remote alliance end up challenging the multi-billion-dollar powerhouses that were Microsoft and Apple? They did not have the start-up investment, the business drive, or the stranglehold over politicians that most big corporations do. However, almost for the first time in the information age, products that rival that of unimaginably powerful corporate juggernauts come for free.
The revolution is underway, below the radar.
Now, there are a lot of open source projects underway, not just in the virtual world, but also in the real world: http://osliving.com/sourced/real-world-open-source/remarkable-real-world-open-source-projects/ . This can become a phenomenon not just in the virtual world but also in the real world if people choose to combine their strengths to defeat Goliaths of the modern era. Their names might not be David, but they represent the essence of the underdog, the modern underdog that shows the middle finger to the powers that be by just doing what they love – create.
Soon, we’ll have more people saying that the best things in life are free with the origin in a certain movement called the ‘open source’ that started noticeably with Linux and such. It will be a testament to those that dedicated their time for the Open Source movement from the beginning. It is not in the nature of man to deny his fellow man the best possible existence. It is only a matter of time when man learns to be as generous as God or Nature, providing for free, what is needed.
(This article is dedicated to Wikipedia)
– Openness is the only way to go forward