Taglife lessons

Three predictions for Free Software in the 2020s

From January to May 2020, I completed an independent study at the Rochester Institute of Technology on Business and Legal Aspects of Free/Open Source Software. This was the final credit for my completion of the Free and Open Source Software and Free Culture minor.

That semester, I traveled to different international FOSS conferences (before COVID-19), analyzed contemporary changes and trends in Free Software, and reflected on where I think we are going. I am sharing an edited version of my final report here, as a look into my “crystal ball” for what is coming to Free Software in the 2020s.

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Your Software Freedom is not my Software Freedom: A reflection on Chadwick Boseman

Trigger warning: Grief, police violence, death.

This blog post was first written on August 28th, 2020.

Today is a sad day. Chadwick Boseman is dead. At 43 years old, he lost a terminal battle with stage IV colon cancer. As his great light dims, I am left to wonder what loss will happen next in 2020.

But like the ashes of a phoenix, we will rise. His death reminds me of the fierce urgency of now, as said by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That in the moment of darkness that follows death, a new bright light will emerge. It is just so human for us to cling to the embers of hope, in the fear that we will one day be delivered from suffering.

Boseman was a social leader and source of inspiration for many. His life and many roles championed racial equity on the Hollywood screens. Boseman was passionate about what he did. He led a committed life.

Boseman’s death caused me to reflect on the definition of Freedom in the movement I am embedded within: the Free Software movement. Yet in this community I value, there are seeds of discontent. The fierce urgency of now has revealed that systemic social injustices continue to exist in our society, as they have for centuries. The generational question we must answer as witnesses to this moment is: will we continue to tolerate the systemic faults within our society? Or must we imagine a more fair society? A more just society? I know we can because we have to.

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Hannah/Honor Loeb: A reflection on death and forgiveness

[tw – death, grief, gender discrimination]

Grief is a strange emotion. One text message read early in the morning can send your day into a long walk down the beach of your own memories. Memories flood back, making us conscious that these lost moments of time were never really lost to us, but locked under deep layers of interlocking memories and contexts that only had to be connected back together, like a broken circuit. Today, my memories and heart are on my former summer camp roommate and friend Hannah/Honor Loeb. (I knew her as Hannah in her life, but at time of death, she identified as Honor, so that is the name I will use for this post.)

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How did Free Software build a social movement?

The Free Software movement is rooted to origins in the 1980s. As part of a talk I gave with my colleague and friend Mike Nolan at FOSDEM 2020, we analyzed how the Free Software movement emerged as a response to a changing digital world in three different phases. This blog post is an exploration and framing of that history to understand how the social movement we call “Free Software” was constructed.

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Maladjusted

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1967)

Why FOSS is still not on activist agendas

On December 13th, 2006, author Bruce Byfield reflected on why he thought Free and Open Source Software (F.O.S.S.) was not on activist agendas. My interpretation of his views are that a knowledge barrier about technology makes FOSS less accessible, the insular nature of activism makes collaboration difficult, and FOSS activists reaching out to other activists with shared values should be encouraged. On December 13th, 2019, is FOSS on activist agendas? The answer is not black or white, but a gray somewhere in the middle. This is my response to Byfield’s article, thirteen years later, on what he got right but also what he left out.

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Fedora Appreciation Week: Tribute to a legacy

I was reviewing one of my old journals this morning and re-read an early entry from when I was studying abroad in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The entry was a time when I learned more about a man named Seth Vidal by chance. Reading this entry again the week before Fedora Appreciation Week motivated me to share it and add to the stream of stories surrounding his life and passing.

The entry is lifted out of my journal with minimum edits. I thought about fully revising it or updating it before publishing. Many parts I would write in a different way now, but I decided to let it be. It reflects my perspective at that particular moment and time at 19 years old. It is more personal than other posts I’ve published and maybe it’s a little uncomfortable for me to share, but I felt like it was worth doing anyways.

entry002: 2017-02-12

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Six months later: 3 things I learned from deleting Facebook

Six months ago, I deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts. Beyond data privacy concerns, social media became a virtual band-aid applied to moments of weakness and sadness for me. I became more aware of the effects of social media on my mood and general outlook on the world, as I explained in my decision to delete my accounts. Six months now passed since I deleted my accounts. Along the way, I learned a few lessons on creating a healthy diet of media and pop culture consumption in a world of constant connectivity and endless memes.

This article explains changes I made to how I use social media and my smart phone since deleting my accounts. Hopefully you find these tips useful too.

The picture is dramatic, but when you spend more time thinking about how you use your phone, you realize how the world uses our phones and the Internet. Photo from SparkXL.
The picture is dramatic, but when you spend more time thinking about how you use your phone, you realize how the world uses our phones and the Internet. Image credit: SparkXL.
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How a smart phone makes time irrelevant

It’s 2pm in the afternoon and the weather is becoming cold after so long. On this brisk November day, an old professor steps out in the corner lobby of the college. The golden rays of the sun cast a warm, radiant glow, leaving a bright, inviting air. This small moment of time is meaningless in an infinite universe of possible moments.

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