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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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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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Wikipedia is a privilege

Originally written as an essay response for ENGL-450 Free and Open Source Culture at the Rochester Institute of Technology.


Growing up with easy access to the Internet grants the privilege of experiencing effortless knowledge and high availability of information. Wikipedia is an example of 21st century cooperation and collaboration. For many, it represents a beacon of free information and self-education. Some might credit it for charting wider participation in the movement towards free content and open resources.

Yet Wikipedia remains a tool of power and privilege, absent for many as societal myths perpetuate in the lives of children. As children are exposed to the Internet at earlier ages, their comprehension and correlation to the real world is in the context of living in a digitized society. In simpler words, everything they ever know always has technology, tablets, smart-phones, and smart devices present. There is no split experience of going from have-nots to haves.

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