Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The ethics of open source...

Missmc has been seriously derailed by this flu-like illness.  The saving grace is Missmc's little netbook arrived in the mail today.  Cute cute cute and light as a feather.  I have been sent into the world of Linux and Ubuntu and it does look like a nice place to get lost.  I suspect that the wandering geeky part of my brain will be in residence on this website for the next few weeks.

Part of the open source philosophy is that I might be a useful member of the community.  I am all for using free software, but, part of that bargain is giving back to the community by tweaking the programs.  Alas, Missmc does not code.  I feel an ethical dilemma sitting on my shoulder. I feel like a parasite.  Speaking of parasites, there have been a slew of articles outlining how parasites can modify the behavior of the host.  A fascinating study revealed a correlation between traffic accidents and infection with Toxoplasma.  This link was cited by Alex on MR last week.

Missmc has always toyed with a "there is something in the soil" theory about unrest in the Middle East.  Studies like this make me want to run out and collect some samples for analysis in regions that have a long history of turmoil.  Something in the local soil that gets in humans and makes people fight fight fight.  Anyone want to hire me to overlook a study?  I thought not.

Back to Ubuntu.  Will I, as a parasite, modify my host's behavior?  Possibly.  I can tell them about bugs, and, I've seen a few already.  That is only useful after I make sure they are issues not already known.  And I don't have time for that.  So...where can I send some flowers?

4 comments:

Geek Vader said...

Hi MissMC

The open source ethics are focused on changing the program, not on using the program.

If you happen to make a bug fix to Ubuntu, or if you happen to create a new operating system based on Ubuntu, ethically, you should share that change with the community.

But using Ubuntu does not come with the same constraints. You may use it guilt-free!

missmarketcrash said...

yeah...true...but, philosophically, it still feels like one should "participate"...

Geek Vader said...

That's easy enough:

http://shop.ubuntu.com/

:-)

missmarketcrash said...

heh.