Blog / 2015 / Free Yourself!

August 26, 2015

This is the talk I did at the beginning of July in France, with English subtitles. I’d love a chance to redo the presentation in English, but this will have to do for now.

The TEDx talk that I refer to in this video is available here.

While the week I spent at the Rencontres Mondiales du Logiciel Libre was an overwhelmingly positive experience, it wasn’t without difficulties. Mainly, I’m referring to the fundamentalists I met there.

Like the zealots of any ideology, free software fundamentalists are annoying and sometimes dangerous, but the most ill-advised aspect of their fanaticism is that it accomplishes only the opposite of their goal. Instead of getting everybody to do like they do because what they do is clearly so right, their attitude is wildly off-putting.

This wasn’t the first time I’d run across this breed—to be honest, I’m pretty sure I have been one in my own free culture way at one time or another on my journey as an activist. The most amusing instance of the RMLL fundamentalists’ inability to face reality happened after my talk, when one of them asked me why I use a Mac computer and its evil proprietary software. They asked me this despite the fact that the whole point of my presentation was that we can only find freedom together, each working towards it in our own perfectly imperfect manner.

The truth is that the fundamentalists on either end are not my favorite people. The world isn’t just black and white. The exciting parts are in all the shades between the extremes.

Ultimately, it’s an excellent reminder for me to work at being less closed and righteous in my activism. I’m not going to be able to reach everybody—I’ll never be able to get every last person to question their outdated paradigms—but I can always work at being more welcoming and inclusive.

UPDATE

May 30, 2018

There’s an expanded and all around better version of this talk that is in English here!


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