When we think of organic food it soon comes to mind, aaaaaahhhhhh, but it is very expensive! Yes, buying it at the supermarket is expensive, but just as there are organic food at more affordable prices, there are many ways to migrate and use free software…
The first comparison we make is in relation to the difference between the unreal facilities of the supermarket versus the temporalities and family farming of organics. That is, it is not real and sustainable to buy strawberries all year round, fruits and vegetables have seasons to be produced and if you want to eat everything all the time, you will eat a lot of agrotoxics! In the same way free software is cultivated by a community of activists and developers in a collaborative and non-profit way, so it is not fair to compare it to the same logic of productivity as proprietary software (in the case of organic, the supermarket!).
This doesn’t mean that they are worse or more difficult, it means that when you commit to use them you need to take into consideration that you are breaking the client and service logic and entering a project where the community speaks louder, just like with organic food. But let’s get to the ABC of free software:
What is Free Software? There are 4 freedoms that make a piece of free software:
•The freedom to run the software as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
• The freedom to study how the software works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1).
•The freedom to redistribute copies so that you can help others (freedom 2).
•The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3).
So the precondition is to have access to the source code.
Right, but what is source code?
Some people compare the source code to a cake recipe, the step by step that makes the computer software work, but when it comes to free software and the freedoms above, we prefer to see free software as a whole kitchen (the kitchen is the S2, without food there is no revolution!), where you can not only see and reproduce a recipe, but reinvent from it, eat with friends, have help to do the dishes and increase the icing on the cake, the more hands and minds involved, the better!
The benefits of using free software are many, as are the benefits of organic food:
You know everything that goes into your meal: free software is open source and auditable, that is, anyone who knows that code language can make sure that the software does exactly what it says it will do, and only that, without backdoors, suspicious backups or surprises!
You encourage small production and conscious consumption: by using free software instead of proprietary software, you encourage the developers’ community and have the chance to get closer and give feedback by volunteering for the improvement of the software you use.
No poison (virus):most virus are made for the Windows operating system, a minority are made for MAC and an even smaller minority are made for free software (also known as Linux). This means that when you opt for a free operating system, you practically don’t have to worry about viruses! 😉
You can eat everything organic or buy only what is most essential: there are many possible combinations of healthy eating as well as digital care, you can migrate all your food to organic (in the case of free software, change your OS (the base of your machine, example of proprietary are Windows and Mac, and of free Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, the list goes on and it is full of options…) or you can choose which foods you consider most important to consume organic – certain more sensitive programs like encrypted messenger Signal and key-storing programs KeepassXC.
Right, but when we talk about food we think of the ready-made fruits, vegetables and cereals, but at some point they were seeds…
GM (Genetically Modified) seeds are owned by companies and are full of obstacles: we have to pay to use them, we cannot reproduce them (in the case of seeds, every time you need to plant them you have to buy new seeds, they are no good for replanting, they are sterile) and we cannot modify them or crossbreed them (there is inspection by GM seed companies to ensure that they are not being reproduced or modified), they are produced for profit and not for the food sovereignty of the people. Heirloom seeds, on the other hand, belong to communities, they foment seed banks and exchanges between farmers, they are made by us for us, we can modify them and they are free, based on the economy of giving, abundance and solidarity.