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Why FOSS is still not on activist agendas

On December 13th, 2006, author Bruce Byfield reflected on why he thought Free and Open Source Software (F.O.S.S.) was not on activist agendas. My interpretation of his views are that a knowledge barrier about technology makes FOSS less accessible, the insular nature of activism makes collaboration difficult, and FOSS activists reaching out to other activists with shared values should be encouraged. On December 13th, 2019, is FOSS on activist agendas? The answer is not black or white, but a gray somewhere in the middle. This is my response to Byfield’s article, thirteen years later, on what he got right but also what he left out.

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Fedora Appreciation Week: Tribute to a legacy

I was reviewing one of my old journals this morning and re-read an early entry from when I was studying abroad in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The entry was a time when I learned more about a man named Seth Vidal by chance. Reading this entry again the week before Fedora Appreciation Week motivated me to share it and add to the stream of stories surrounding his life and passing.

The entry is lifted out of my journal with minimum edits. I thought about fully revising it or updating it before publishing. Many parts I would write in a different way now, but I decided to let it be. It reflects my perspective at that particular moment and time at 19 years old. It is more personal than other posts I’ve published and maybe it’s a little uncomfortable for me to share, but I felt like it was worth doing anyways.

entry002: 2017-02-12

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Wikipedia is a privilege

Originally written as an essay response for ENGL-450 Free and Open Source Culture at the Rochester Institute of Technology.


Growing up with easy access to the Internet grants the privilege of experiencing effortless knowledge and high availability of information. Wikipedia is an example of 21st century cooperation and collaboration. For many, it represents a beacon of free information and self-education. Some might credit it for charting wider participation in the movement towards free content and open resources.

Yet Wikipedia remains a tool of power and privilege, absent for many as societal myths perpetuate in the lives of children. As children are exposed to the Internet at earlier ages, their comprehension and correlation to the real world is in the context of living in a digitized society. In simpler words, everything they ever know always has technology, tablets, smart-phones, and smart devices present. There is no split experience of going from have-nots to haves.

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