Thoughts on Rails

Riding the Train of Thought


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One word. Sheer power. To make any human lay down anything as an sacrifice.

This same word is transforming the world of software today. Today we are observing a new movement for freedom. Freedom of thought, of ideas, of creativity. Freedom of source. This source is the driving force of computing.

Till a few years back, making software and selling it was a business run by few. Even fewer were the people who actually allowed people to see how a particular software worked. The people were blindfolded into believing that there was no such thing as freedom in software. Whatever the companies made, people had to use. Nobody was allowed to change the software to suit their own needs. At that time, such need was also not felt widely. But in the background (as always) a few people were working toward breaking the habit. The habit of letting the software company own you.

I will surely not deal with the history of free software / open source initiative. It's been done by many experts and has been done well. As always, my bad habit : ask google for details 🙂

The open source movement was'nt appreciated by most people until recently. It just di not occur to the people what they were losing by being slaves of proprietory software. Mainly, the freedom to change the software to suit their own needs. Those who discovered the joy of programming and the facts of open source simply could not resist the benefits. Thus this small number of hackers started growing by geometrical proportions…

As usual, the media had to poke it's nose and spoil the party. The propoganda caused many wannabe hackers to get into the same field as the real hackers. Now it must be noted (quickly) that the term 'real hackers' refers to people who love technology and computers and the term 'wannabe hackers' refers to the people who love the destruction through technology and computers.

Why am I writing abou this? What is my role in this?

Right now my role in the movement is nothing more than a person cheering up the leaders to move onward. I may be viewed as a soldier of the lowest rank, who is not too important, but is a part of the army.

I am writing for one reason – to make more people to understand why there is need of real hackers in the movement.

That rant brings us to the next logicalstep – asking “why?”. Why is there need for real hackers in the open source movement?

If you love technology already, you know why. If you are still questioning yourself whether you like computers or not, read on…

As we can clearly see that the wannabe hackers are basically of no practical use to any community. All they can possibly think of is how to break into other's computers and how to disrupt other's lives. Their sole motivation is fun at the cost of others. And a community can never thrive if such people try to be a part of it.

We need programmers, artists, mathematicians, writers… people with talent and dedication. Today, computers are not just number crunchers. They are used everywhere and everywhere means even by people with very less or absolutely no experience in programming.

The big companies can dish out software applications that suit most people because they employ people to do research on various aspects like asthetics, algorithms, documentation etc. These aspects are sometimes sidelined in the open source community. Thus the open source software not only becomes more cryptic, but also more daunting for the novice to even try. There is appreciable work being done today on these aspects, but again, we need more people!

If you are a good writer, you can be a freedom fighter too! Look up on any search engine, many projects are asking for help. If you are good at technical writing, you are most probably already into it. If not, stop asking for money for every word you write, do something that you will really be remembered for.

Mathematicians, you can help too! Good algorithms and nice hacks (you know what I mean) are always welcome. Today's graphic intensive applications require your help.

Artists, Lend a hand at asthetics! Beautify your freedom, make it dazzle! There is nothing like a beautiful logo for a project, or a beautiful new font! Window decorations, backgrounds, button designs and many more facets of computing await yuor touch.

Poets, have you thought about writing the error messages in poetic form? Do it! In your own style!! There's more… you can imagine the possibilities!

Translators. Need I say more?

And I surely hope the programmers know that they are needed just as always. If you are good at programming, support some software. If you are a good innovator, make some software. If you are a master of disaster, test out the software and help it to be bug-free and stable.

It ios also helpful to know that we do not have to sacrifice our lives to get this freedom. Volunteer work is all we need!! Attaining freedom just became a bit more easier, don't let it slip from your hands!

And after writing a few hundred words… let's make the long story short.

“Join the open source movement. Lend a hand. We need you. Thank You!”

*hashu bows to all*


Written by hiway

April 1, 2004 at 11:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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