Spring! Trees budding, lots of rain, birds singing. Time to turn to yard maintenance as well, which for me isn’t much, but for many is quite the ritual and often an expensive one at that. I wanted to blog about something lawn-related, but wondered how it fit into my technology angle – I think I got it.
I usually walk to work and have noticed a few prime properties whose grass appears eerily green. It seemed strange that the grass was so green so early in the spring, but on closer examination, I realized that the lawn was simply spray-painted green. Hmmmm. A little research and I found that this is a common practice with certain lawn care companies. They add coloring to their chemical spray for cosmetic reasons. No offence to anyone who pays for this type of service or does this for a living, but it really just looks silly.
Sometimes, we see the same thing with technology… spray painting a web site Web2.0, but not having it really be fundamentally changed, ignoring the true, organic nature of web2.0.
I came to a sudden realization recently and it can be expressed easily:
I started using OSS because it was free, using OSS has made me free.
(I’m finally getting what RMS means by free software!)
I just gave a round table presentation at the OLA (Oklahoma Library Association) conference titled OSS onramp, and I am relieved to have it over and quite excited with the feedback from it. The round table featured my fellow students from last semester who had used OSS in their projects. What I found quite touching was that my postings to the discussion boards about OSS, had a strong influence on their decisions to use OSS and they were all “converts” and as nearly zealous as I.
My semester project that I presented on was ossonramp.org. One of my goals in this project was to use only open source software in the creation of the site even to the extent of making sure that my hosting service was using OSS. I loaded my laptop with Ubuntu , used GIMP for image editing, InkScape (quite nice considering it is still at version .4x) for vector graphics, FireFox (of course), OpenOffice, and Drupal.
I am amazed at the quality of OSS and quite relieved to find all the tools I need without the costly hassles of EULA and all the restrictions that go with proprietary software.
I was speaking to a colleague who just returned from a trip to the U.K. and she commented on how in the tube there was a constant recorded message to mind the gap (between the platform and the train) which is still oddly stuck in her head.
Well, I am asking that you mind the gap as well perhaps not with any mind-numbing recording, but with apologies. It has been a big gap in my posting to this blog and it is not for lack of ideas, but for lack of time.
Posted in OSS, Technology