I approach the “free software”, freeware, “open-source”, conversation from the perspective of a person who wants to determine how each of these practices can help us follow the commands, “Give to all who ask of you, and do not ask for anything in return from one who takes from you”1, and “Give alms, provide yourself with treasure in the heavens”2. Both of which were given by my spiritual master, Jesus Christ. I am new to the concepts of “free software”, freeware, “open-source”, conversation, and I want to learn as much as I can about these practices. Because of My inexperience I may have some misconceptions in this area, but my current impression is that developing free software is, under most circumstances, a more effective way of following the commands of Jesus Christ I have cited, than developing freeware is. I want to know if this is true, and I also want to know if developing “free software” is always a more effective way of “giving to all who ask of us”, and of “giving to the poor”, than developing freeware is. I pose this as an open question to anyone who is concerned with healing the wounds that are tearing our world apart: a goal that will be accomplished if enough of us follow the teachings of Jesus, and to anyone who is concerned with living as Our Creator wants us to live. I hope to hear from every person who has an opinion on this matter, (or from as many people as possible). Based on my current level of understanding, I understand that the most significant difference between “free software” and freeware is that in the case of freeware the creator of this software maintains control of the source code with which this software has been created. Under what circumstances, if any, might doing this allow that software’s creator to give more to the poor? Might it allow that software’s creator to make future improvements to that software that would allow it to help the poor more, that that software’s creator would not be able to make if he or she did not maintain control of the source-code with which that software had been created. And if such circumstances might exist, what would lead to those circumstances existing, how often might they exist, and what would indicate to a person developing software if those circumstances were more or less likely to exist with regard to any individual piece of software he or she is considering developing. I know that answering these questions will require a thorough analysis of these issues, but I also know that doing this will be well worth the effort it takes, because answering these questions will allow us to determine how we can best use each of these practices to follow the moral laws of our universe told to us by Jesus of Nazareth. I especially want the help of anyone who has or might in the future be involved in the creation of these types of software. For this reason I will try to present this question and this letter to as many people as possible, and I will try to do this primarily by posting it on a blog I have recently created. Because this blog is new, it has had no visitors, and may for that reason be hard to find, and may not show up on many search engines. I hope that this soon changes, though, so if you are reading this, I ask you to try to answer the questions I have asked, and to try to do whatever you can do to increase the number of other people who see this letter. Whatever the relative merits of “free software” vs. freeware as means of giving to the poor, for either practice to work well will require a massive expansion of public libraries that provide non-obsolete public computers. Public libraries can help us all in so many ways that they should be more common and open longer hours than convenience stores. When this happens both freeware and free software will be effective means of giving to the poor. I would like to hear comments about how we can bring this about. I believe that some sort of a system through which a certain percentage of all software related profits be voluntarily donated to a public library fund would help make this a reality.
I have not learned many things about these matters, that may seem simple and trivial to most of you who read this. Still, to me they will be new, discoveries and will often be of momentous import. While parts of the questions I ask may seem to be remedial questions to most of you, the questions I ask are also central to the happiness and the well being of the most advanced and knowledgeable of us, because recognizing that any practice, skill, or concept that we consider using, must be considered in terms of whether or not it will help us live by the principles that will allow us to heal our world; (The principles taught by Jesus Christ), is the key to all human happiness. So while I write this letter in part for selfish reasons, I also believe the questions I ask will provide a service to all people who read it.
1. (Lk 6:30 (27-36), see also Mt 5:42- 48)
2. (Lk 12:33, see also Lk 18:18-25, & Mt 19:16-24)
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