When I was laid off in 2007, I felt dismayed and lost as I took my cardboard box of personal items on the bus ride home. I was so distraught, I got onto the wrong route. The bus driver had took pity on me and rode me home anyhow after noticing me still on the bus at the end of the line. When home that afternoon, I sent out an email blast to about a dozen friends then went to sleep. The next day my phone rang off the hook with all sorts of opportunities. While I already had something lined up, it was really comforting to know there where hundreds of folks pulling together for me. Neighbors look out for the good citizens, not just the rock stars.
That is when I realized, open source users are a little more close-knit than a community, we share a way of life with those around us. Even those we have never met, we care about each other and we care about the rest of the world too, even Microsoft Windows users. The Bill and Melinda Foundation has incredible monetary wealth but they do not have the ability to be there in the time of need to every Microsoft customer who caused their wealth. On the other hand, those who contribute to open source have a neighbors who care no matter where you live. We will be there when it comes to free software help and we will be there when the real trials of life get tough.
Why would people be so giving? The foundation of open source is belonging. Everyone to the hardest working contributor to the new user is equally entitled to their license. You do not need to pay thousands of dollars, go to a certain school, work for the right employer, or live in the right country. Open source is a free gift to all. Like grace, those who receive it want to share it. We stand together as neighbors living everywhere changing the world where we live.
We have spread out globally. Our seeds have been planted. The harvest is June 30, 2011. Just in time for Jon maddog Hall’s 5-10 year world domination prediction to come true.
One such neighbor is Ken Starks who founded the HeliOS Project. Out of Austin Texas while Micheal Dell has made a fortune from selling Windows and Linux systems, Mr. Starks changes lives by giving away Linux desktops to over a thousand families in his community. Since this is someone who is giving all he can to his non-profit efforts, he did not have enough for medical bills when he collapsed this summer. As good neighbors, we did provide. Here is the outcome in the words of Mr. Starks…
“There is no Linux Community. The best we’ve achieved is in forming warring factions that use the vast real estate of the Internet to wage bloody war against each other.”
Recent events, prior to my illness have changed my mind and I publicly apologized for such foolish thoughts.
But this…this outpouring of Love and Concern and Compassion. It has driven me both to tears and to my knees in thanks…in gratitude and in humility. As much as I profess to being a writer, there are no words, no means of expression to convey my thanks to the hundreds of people that helped me. And trust me…it was needed.