What are we all in this occupation for, anyway? All of the work I do goes towards making my company more profitable, and to provide its customers a better product (thereby making them more profitable). What is the end result of this? A better business economy. But I'm perfectly happy as I am now... I don't need a better car, better residence, etc. What if I built a cabin and hunted and fished and gardened and maybe dabbled in other small jobs? I'd have just as much fun as when coding (though I might still pine for it; but I pine for the outdoor life now). This applies to OSS, too. What, really, are we accomplishing through what we develop?
I'm definitely not Luddite; I have no problem with technology. In fact, I really love it. My question is more rhetorical in nature; I'm hoping to encourage discussion more than I am trying to make a statement: what does our relentless pursuit of technology gain me or anyone else? The answer seems to be nothing that we do not have already. I think what I'm realizing is that maybe technology should be no more than a pastime, at least for me. Technology is a means more than an end. And right now, for me, I think it's in definite danger of becoming an end.
Technology is good, but not intrinsically. Health- and safety-improving technology is good. And the ability to travel, etc., etc. But the overwhelming majority of us simply pursue nebulous things like interoperability and efficiency. Alas, all that pursuit still hasn't brought us much closer to technology as a means: ubiquitous computers disappearing under the covers of everything and making our lives nice and simple (a typical goal). What do we really gain from little things like one-click shopping and real-time package tracking? (I'm speaking as a non-shareholder here.)
Undoubtedly I'll be made to eat these words, despite my painstaking editing. Understand this: these are currently still-nebulous thoughts bouncing in my mind for which I'd like to hear others' opinions. This is not some sort of grand sociological or political statement.