Terminator, The Matrix, I Robot and many other movies deal with an exciting topic of what happens when humans gain the powers promised by a certain technology. Will the robots rebel? Could internet turn into SkyNet? Will advanced nano technology allow building bombs that make nuclear weapons seem like sticks and stones? What about merging ourselves with technology?
In so many ways further technological development seems akin to playing with fire and powers once only prescribed to gods. Are we up to the challenge? Are we ready? And if not, how can we become ready? Technology could give us the power to destroy, but it could also give us the power to create a world of unimaginable prosperity and freedom. It could be used to enslave, but also to liberate the potential of each individual.
We need to identify the *good* uses of technology and we need to evolve our social and cultural mentality to the point where destruction and enslavement wont even be a temptation anymore. If that ideal is an utopia, if it cannot be reached then perhaps we are already doomed.
It is not enough to have Richard Stallman travel around the world endlessly giving standard Free Software speeches among other things repeating how Open Source is not the same thing as Free Software and how the operating system widely known as "Linux" is actually "GNU/Linux" (because GNU project in fact started that OS). It is not even enough to have Free Software supporters constantly keep pointing these things out and arguing why they believe so.
Due to the increased diffusion of "Open Source" as a term this article suggests its gradual phase out in favor of the original "Free Software" term and renaming of the "Open Source Initiative" into "Free Software Business Initiative" (no matter how controversial the proposal may be).
There are three ways we could look at Microsoft's recent approaches to the "Open Source" phenomenon.
- 1. They are in a process towards genuinely embracing Free Software or Open Source.
I have created a petition at the Number 10 website essentially proposing that GPL v3 software in the UK be granted immunity from patent infringement - therefore requiring an alteration of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act.
The petition will run until 10 November 2007 and can be signed by persons who hold British citizenships, or by persons residing in the UK.
Look at the petition
Here are a few paragraphs of justification:
In our earlier article, "Facts and Friction on Open Source and Free Software" we have explained where "Open Source" is coming from and what is its relation to Free Software and the Free Software Foundation that represents it. One of the points made was that the term Open Source deliberately de-emphasized a certain aspect of what defines Free Software as originally specified by the FSF in order to make Free Software, albeit under the new term, better appeal to the business world.
Have a look at LINA. It's a really clever idea - it solves the same problem as Java tries to solve: making all operating systems equivalent using a virtual machine so developers won't have to support multiple platforms. But there's a difference: LINA doesn't require the developer to work with different tools than he is used to, such as the Java compiler, because LINA is linux. Also, there will be a large amount of software available for it from the start, again because LINA is linux.