Linux for "DoublePlusHuman"
I have a purpose in life. It is the evolution of what I call "DoublePlusHuman" which represents a human individual that is free of all self-contradiction, superstition and coercion. That is the ideal and every progress towards it in my view comes with a tremendous world changing potential. What does this have to do with Linux and Free Open Source Software you might ask? Keep reading.
Individuals who fit the definition of "DoublePlusHuman" do not deny themselves their appetite for growth of personal happiness, wealth and power any more than a flower doesn't deny itself the "right" to flourish as far as the water in Earth and sunlight from the heavens could let it. Neither however seek to do this at the expense of another's personal growth because that would create win-lose relationships which will ultimately come back to harm them (becoming a form of self-contradiction). This means that DoublePlusHumans accept technology advancements as opportunities for growth of personal happiness, wealth and power.
They recognize that technology is just an extension of human beings and a part of what sets us apart from most other species on this planet. It is the tools we build to accomplish what we otherwise wouldn't be able to, and more efficiently. If one dreams of going to space, as so many of us do, and believe it to be one of the next steps in our evolution we need technology. If we dream of augmenting our physical capacities (as some do) we need safe technologies. If we dream of creating artificial sentient life, again, that life starts with technology.
However, by virtue of being DoublePlusHuman, without self-contradiction and superstition and seeking no coercion their uses of technology would always be positive in so far as positive is defined as non-destructive towards the self and the others, ways of using technology which will not cause others to come to subservience to you or you to them. Are you beginning to see how the concept of Free Software (as in freedom) begins to fit into this vision?
This is one of the underlying reasons why I so often insist on not focusing so much on "Linux" as an operating system, but rather an ecosystem from which operating systems can be built in their own right. It isn't merely an alternative OS we are building. It is a brave new world in which intellectual property plays a smaller or ideally no role because it is an incoherent idea, because it gives one the unjust power over the other, because it creates cases where one set of rules is imposed on the other regardless of the existence of prior agreement. The Free Software world isn't completely without this problem, but it's as close as we've gotten to emulating a free society and therefore worth promoting and trying to steer to where I believe it would be most effective in achieving a real free society.
I also recognize the power of Free Software, as available as it is to everyone, against the institutionalized injustice. A free operating system in the hands of a tech savvy activist is probably going to be more effective in many activism efforts he or she may undertake than a closed down operating system such as Windows or even Mac OS.
This said, not all activists are tech savvy and not only tech savvy users or activists are the ones worthy of experiencing a free operating system. This is why I support the idea of building more user friendly free OS's in which everything just works so that a user can go about his or her business, whatever it may be, without running into technical issues. Unfortunately, there is still some ways to go and I feel that a part of the reason why things are progressing so slowly is because the prevalent mentality among Free Software users, contributors and developers is that all of these "Linux distros" are a one OS rather than multiple OS's which could shine even brighter if they were let stand on their own rather than a part of this "Linux" conglomeration.
So specific distros sacrifice some of their own potential to fit this fold and when any dares to make even little independent moves (such as Ubuntu adding their own notification system for example) many chastise them for it. There's a sense of entitlement that has developed according to which every innovation one makes upon an existing voluntarily freed work must be "contributed back" immediately instead of kept for the marketing purposes of the project for which it was developed. It isn't even that such innovations aren't free to take and add to your own, but people criticize if you aren't the one who do this work for them. This helps to diffuse consolidation of specific distros into operating systems that can stand and compete on their own right, not only with other Linux based OS's, but most importantly with Windows and Mac OS X.
"Divided we fall", I suppose, what they fear. But I have another one for you: "competition results in better quality products". Insisting that all that is based on Linux must be developed as part of a single OS, in mutual cooperation, you are insisting on reducing the quality of the end result by diffusing the benefits of competition. The result is that every distro, due to their effort to fit that fold, to some extent feels like a frankenstein. Just look at the current state of Linux audio systems.
The same can be said for the anti-commercial attitude of this "Linux community". Even Richard Stallman would say that his idea of Free Software is not at all anti-commercial. It's not about things being free of cost, yet people typically deplore those who dare charge for anything. If we were a little more open to commercialization of the Linux based OS's ecosystem that too would help revitalize the specific offerings which can offer the best value for money. And we've been through the analysis already. Many Linux advocates know that there's a psychological value attached to things which cost some money as opposed to things which are completely free.
I believe Free Software in general including the Linux ecosystem, cannot realistically be treated as a New OS, but a whole new market of operating systems and applications which operates on somewhat different, more consumer friendly, assumptions and expectations. The markets function best when there is competition and when their actors act fully in their own self interest without coercing the others to act on it. Thus the insistence on integration and unification is harmful. Competition is a form of cooperation as well. The difference is that people cooperate on their own terms and for their own individual benefit rather than for a share benefit over which there may or may not be agreement. I'd say competition is actually the best form of cooperation there is.
Once Free Software movement becomes a fully market driven movement and a new kind of market of its own it stands a chance of running over the remaining proprietary markets as people begin to see real benefits and value in the many excellent offerings (various awesome FOSS operating systems) that are available (which would be better than they are under the current common paradigm). It would be a step in this "DoublePlusHuman" direction.