We need free and open-source tools for our work

It’s not enough for some of us to sprinkle a handful of digital resources into liberally-licensed common use. I think we should be more demanding about the kind of tools we use to wake them: software that is free to use, free to share and (if we have the skill) free to build upon. Our output should be in formats unencumbered by patents; we need te free to open our files in the future.

This kind of freedom is often expressed as term like “free as in freedom” but they are also usually free of charge. This allows us to experiment with no added financial risk: no small thing.

And it’s not a pipe-dream. I’ve used Linux on the desktop at home and work for almost a decade. But I know the Linux market-share is still pretty small, so I intend to point out tools that are available for Linux (so I can test them) and at least Windows or Mac, but preferably both. (And considering that the still-popular Windows XP is coming to its end of life in April, considering a Linux future for those machines will keep them useful and out of landfills. Like in China. Or Germany.)

I’ll be writing about these tools in the future. But the Hungarian-Transylvanian Unitarians do this today.

One Reply to “We need free and open-source tools for our work”

  1. While using open source is a good idea, most of us simply want to use the thing without getting hung up on technical details. This is why Microsoft is so profitable. For the same reason having open source tools for UU is a good idea, but we may not move that way. Using open source (I tried Linux and it is harder to use) requires greater knowledge of computers than using a Mac of Windows. I suspect that the number of congregations willing to invest in a job to keep up the open source stuff used is low. if it takes paying somebody to use the technology we will probably opt out.

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