26 May 2006 Burgundavia   » (Journeyer)

Reclaiming our public spaces

After reading Paul Graham's excellent essay on How to start a Silicon Valley and the website of the Project for Public Spaces, I have realized that the Free Software and Open Source communities can do more to bridge the divide between us and those who advocate a more human world such as librarians, teachers, philosphers, scientists, environmentalists, and social activists. They help the poor, the weak, the ignorant and the forgotten. To them computers are ivory towers with flashing lights. To be feared and respected. And they cost a bundle, money and time sorely needed elsewhere.

So how do we engage our allies? Talk to them about copyleft, Creative Commons and freedom of information. Tell them about them about the wonders of Free and Open Source software. So what if business people think Linux is not ready for the desktop? These are not business people! We can give them high quality software at a price they cannot beat, backed with a philosophy they can agree with.

Where do you start? Go volunteer at a local NGO. Better yet, organize a technology night for a bunch of them. Get your local LUG involved. There are a million myriad ways, limited merely by your imagination.

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