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Activism Blog Post:

Part 3: My replies to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Vision Survey

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2/1/2016 - Part 3: My replies to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Vision Survey (Activism)


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Part 3: My replies to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Vision Survey
Monday, February 1st, 2016
12:22:54 GMT


Here's part 3 of the replies that I was trying to send in response to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Vision Survey.

Added to, edited, and reworded to some extent, with added HTML formatting and hyperlinks.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

(Quoted from the survey:) Why is free software important to you? Why do you use it? (End of quote.)

I suspect my entire life might have gone better in many ways if I had learned more about free, libre software and hardware earlier in life.

And if I had had more access to those things earlier in life, I might have learned much more about programming a lot sooner, and thus had a better chance much sooner in life of being able to make a living.

And avoiding closed source, proprietary software and hardware would have probably saved my financially struggling family quite a bit of money over the years. But for a long time, none of us knew any better.

So, my family, including numerous children (including me, when I was a child) suffered in part because the closed source, proprietary software and hardware industry took advantage of my family's naive, ignorant willingness to buy their overpriced, liberty-infringing junk.

Problems caused by closed-source, proprietary junk also wasted a lot of all our time.

Still, I don't consider the closed source, proprietary software and hardware industries the most evil industries in the world.

Having closed source, proprietary software and hardware was at least better than having no software and hardware at all, and I did learn plenty despite the many inherent flaws of anything closed source and/or proprietary.

Being stuck with a Mac, and very frustrated with not being able to use a ton of software that was available for non-Macs, made me extra-fascinated with cross-platform things like the Inform 6 programming language.

I'm still pleased that I can actually still use things I wrote in the 90's in Inform 6 on any recent computer! :-)

Nowadays, there's also Inform 7, which is one of the most unusual and remarkable programming languages I know of.

A pity it's closed source despite being gratis.

It was probably good that even from a young age, I acquired a quite justified distaste even for non-libre shareware.

As a child with no good way to make money to pay for shareware (or most anything else), I felt quite unfairly persecuted by shareware which would do nasty things to try to force you to buy it, like make you waste time waiting for a timer to go away, or make you reinstall the software every 30 days, etc.

I didn't like to bother my family to buy me shareware (or anything), and I was so disgusted by those nasty sales tactics that even as a child, I actually became determined to never buy any shareware like that, even if I could ever afford to do so.

Even ordinary non-shareware proprietary software didn't annoy me as much back then, though I felt unfairly deprived of that too, because there was pretty much nothing I could do as a child to earn enough money to buy most anything myself.

But I guess the shareware annoyed me more because even when I was a child, it seemed so obviously unfair and mean for the shareware authors to go out of their way to build in nuisances to mistreat, annoy, and waste the time of unfortunate people (such as children like me) who were poor through no fault of our own.

I didn't need to be harassed into buying those often quite fun and useful (despite being non-libre) programs. In fact, at the time, I would have happily bought them all without being harassed if I simply had enough money, and hadn't been harassed.

Nowadays, of course, I'm not happy (or not entirely happy) buying anything which is closed source, or which threatens liberty in any other ways. But as a child, I didn't understand the importance of that stuff yet.

(I'm still not a total puritan, though. I enjoy my Roku, Netflix, and enjoyed the streaming music services MOG and Sony's Music Unlimited before both of them got closed down. But if there were adequate libre alternatives, I'd much rather use those.)

I am actually glad I had the chance to use HyperCard, even though I was too young at the time to figure out how to do anything very complicated with that.

Here's someone's interesting blog post on HyperCard:

HyperCard was actually really cool (except for being closed source and non-libre), and I think it's wonderful that HyperCard made it so easy for even average not-very-technical people to create their own software.

(Quoted from the survey:) If you have contributed financially/been a member in the past, but no longer do, why did you stop? (End of quote.)

I can't comfortably afford to remain a paying member. That's the only reason I didn't renew.

I'm pleased to see it's now possible to pay $10 a month instead of $120 all at once, but that's still too high for me.

(Quoted from the survey:) Care to elaborate on your answers, or give us any other positive or negative feedback? (End of quote.)

On the topic of the money I've made from software:

From Sept. 2007 to April 2008, I sold a closed-source software product called the MagnaMural in the virtual world game Second Life.

In April 2008, I released it into the public domain, partly inspired by this essay:

Why Software Should Be Free

I never kept very careful track of my sales, but, I estimate I probably made less than $10 USD total selling the MagnaMural.

But, sometime after I made the MagnaMural public domain, someone gave me an approximately $20 USD donation in Second Life, which is possibly the largest donation I ever got in Second Life. (I'm not sure if it was because of the MagnaMural or some other reason, because the person didn't send a note.)

Perhaps other donations I've received were at least partly inspired by my free/libre software, but hardly anyone sends me notes along with their donations, so I don't actually know the precise reasons why most people donated.

(But, thanks to everyone! Hopefully your support will be well-rewarded by my increasingly good software projects and other things that I'm still feverishly working on.)

Oh, and until the end of July 2011, I used to host someone's non-libre freeware on my website. (Well, one thing was non-libre, and the other was libre.) Someone sent me $15 because of that software, but that's the only donation I'm certain was inspired by that software.

In 2012, someone gave me a MacBook and iPhone, apparently in the hope I would use them to make a living writing iPhone or Mac software. Fortunately, I managed to resist the temptation. :-)

At least it was nice to find out that I wasn't really missing out on much of anything by being unable to afford Apple crap. I was surprised by how unimpressive the screen was, even though that particular MacBook was from 2009.

Another problem was, I couldn't even open that MacBook to take the hard disk or battery out because the bottom was screwed on with tiny unusual screws which ruined the two mini-screwdrivers I tried to use on them. Just awful, especially compared to how easy it is to take the batteries out of a Toughbook.

At least I was able to run Puppy Linux on it. But that still wasn't sufficient justification to keep it instead of selling it and getting some cheap old Toughbooks instead on eBay.

I often wish there was a freelance job website similar to, but which is exclusively for libre jobs.

I've glanced at, but, I don't know if I'm at a high enough skill level yet to even dare to try to undertake the astonishingly high-paying jobs I've seen on there. And if it turned out any of those jobs were non-libre, I would have to refuse to do them.

Also, I'd rather just do small things that I feel more sure I can handle.

Or actually, I'd rather just work on my own projects like the Puppy Linux Setup Kit, and yet somehow get paid.

A long time ago, I posted various hopefully helpful posts at the FSF's forum. Just thought I'd draw attention to them.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

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Note by Apollia on Nov. 8, 2023: Please join my Patreon if you'd like to support me and my work!

My main personal website is now I'm still not sure what to do with Astroblahhh.Com, so it's mostly staying as-is for now.