The Goal

The goal of the Free Software Movement is to enable people to understand, to learn from, to improve, to adapt, and to share the technology that increasingly runs every human life. That’s what Eben Moglen said in his 23 February address at Harvard, as transcribed at Groklaw.

You know, I couldn’t have put it better myself, but then, that’s why I quote, instead of being quoted, so that’s all right. People (and they’re often spokespeople, too) tend to get a bit hysterical about the damage done to core values of the human race like profitability and things like that — but, when it comes down to it, getting more doss isn’t what it’s all about.

It’s about being a human, being created in the image of God. And God being in essence a Being of relations within Himself (thus the Trinity), and with us, we are supposed to be beings in relation with each other. And while being in litigation is a form of being in a relation, I don’t think it’s a good relation.

Sharing is a relationship that’s given pretty high priority by God, especially sharing when you’d rather keep your stuff to yourself. We need to share that which we have that will make our fellow beings happier. People are happy when they can make things (being created in the image of a Creator). People need to be able to make things. Sharing the knowledge to make things is sharing that which our fellows need. And just that is enough justification already for sharing the fruits of our individual intellectual pursuits.

We’re living together, and living together means sharing what we hold dear and which the other needs. And people need now, more than ever, a chance to master the technology that otherwise would live their lives for them.

And if you don’t care for the theology or don’t buy my argument, then there’s more than enough to convince any reasonable, well-thinking person in Eben Moglen’s speech, and much better formulated than what I’m trying to say.