Are you concerned about the Microsoft $3 software?
... then read on.
It all starts with my electricity bill. For various reasons I was refunded 20,7 eur. on my bill last week-end. Not wanting the money to vanish in everyday expenses, I was thinking about what could be done with it.
And then I read more about the $3 Microsoft software. Mind you, it's just another classic move - this happens all the time around us, in fact I was pretty well prepared to do this kind of things myself, as part of any corporation. Analyze the market, understand your competitors, understand the customers, expand, segmentate, differentiate. Once you've had a hand at it, things like the $3 dollar software sound incredibly obvious and predictable.
Curious to see how the competition for GGL was doing, I surfed on the cool microsoft.com website - pretty impressed at how they match graphics and colors to make you feel you're special and deserve to use their products. I landed on the page about the $3 software - I was infuriated.
You see, Ikea pretending they're bringing your family together, Porsche telling you they sell ecological cars, I really don't mind anymore. But seeing Bill Gates presented as a hero giving "Unlimited Potential" to "empower both teachers and students everywhere" and be the one helping "the estimated 5 billion people that have yet to realize the benefits of technology" - ugh! Who on earth do they believe they are?
I have seen Microsoft extend its iron fist where it shouldn't have been - in schools in particular, from France (where I worked as an apprentice teacher) to Mali (through the eyes of a small humanitarian association ran by a close friend). Had it been cars or furniture or even computers - it's mostly fine with me. But software! It is my deep belief that software simply has nothing to do with the rest. I put my greatest hope in this concept of sharing knowledge - that empowered by this ability to copy ad infinitam, to build upon their own work, and to collaborate, humans can really do something great.
Replacing software with black boxes throughout the world just feels like wasting our chance. We're back to selling cars or TVs.
So. walking around with 20eur in my pocket and a boiling mind, I thought why not spend a day trying to do something about this. I paused working for GGL for 24 hours and concentrated on the $3 software. I spent 10eur on a new domain name, and after a week of various network problems with my host, here it is:
I see this as a personal move. But if you believe it fits within the scope of the GNU/Linux Matters association, then maybe we can integrate it in our projects. In this case I'll gladly "open up" the files in an SVN repository so everyone can participate. I don't intend to spend much time on this anymore. I simply feel happy that I kicked as hard as I could when I felt like it.
And the remaining 10eur? I'm still undecided whether to buy 3.33 Unlimited Potential suites, or modestly contribute to tiny development projects in Mali ;-)