This brings me back to the quoted simile. I reject the comparison of free software programmers to autoworkers trying to unionize the company. A better comparison would be that someone writing free software is like a hippie who grows his own coffee beans and sells them at the side of the road by his farm. You can’t buy them at Tim Horton’s or Dunkin Doughnuts because the hippie doesn’t like what the big chains do with the coffee.
So you go to the hippie or you don’t drink the coffee he grows. The problem is that you bought yourself a shiny espresso machine that only takes pods distributed by the manufacturer.ASo even if you buy the hippie’s beans, you can’t make yourself any coffee with them because the machine won’t take them unless they’ve been shipped to the manufacturer and packaged into little special pellets.
How is this the hippie’s fault for not liking big coffee chains or espresso machines? You can drink plenty of coffee, and you can buy a plot of land and grow your own coffee to be distributed by the espresso machine maker. You can buy a different kind of espresso maker that takes ground beans directly. The hippie is free and you are free. The hippie hasn’t shut down the big chains, but that isn’t his goal. His goal is to sleep at night, comfortable that he has made choices compatible with his personal beliefs and that he has given other people the freedom to make choice compatible with their personal beliefs.
I can think of no greater definition of freedom.