The “character” I like most about the free software community is that it is not afraid of setting itself audacious goals. I like that in a person, especially when combined with a cunning plan, good ethics and a capacity for work, and if you think of the free software community as a gaia-like “living creature” it very much has those same traits.
As a community, we’ve done amazingly well in terms of challenging the historical epicenter of computing – the supercomputer and data center – and driving change there. Linux now represents a healthy and growing share of infrastructure in large organisations globally. Apache and other infrastructural components have established the new de facto standard for software in the back office: freedom. It would be easy to declare victory.
But, as anybody who flies in the backseat of a military plane to land on a carrier and declare victory will tell you, it would be premature.
The real challenge lies ahead – taking free software to the mass market, to your grandparents, to your nieces and nephews, to your friends. This is the next wave, and if we are to be successful we need to articulate the audacious goals clearly and loudly – because that’s how the community process works best.
With that in mind I think I’ll serialise in this blog a speech I’ve enjoyed giving recently, which lists a set of challenges and goals, obstacles and mountains to be overcome on our way to making free software the de facto standard for home and office computing. History shows that the free software community can organise itself to attain any well articulated goal around which there is broad consensus of it’s merit and difficulty. Perhaps these ideas will be food for thought in those lofty circles