This Memorial Day weekend reminds us all of those who sacrificed their lives for freedom and to protect a way of life that is based on freedom. While considering the brave men and women who stood up for what is right over the past 250 years, it made me realize a similar thing about Linux. No one has given his life for Linux but certainly there have been sacrifices. But, like their armed soldier counterparts, it isn't about the sacrifice, it's the freedom you big dummy.
We have the freedom to choose the operating system we use on our computers. We have the freedom to choose the software that's installed in that operating system. We also have the freedom to say "No" to non-free software.
We have freedom.
It occurred to me that the people who sacrificed countless hours, talent and money to these free software projects weren't doing it for fame or fortune but to give all of us the freedom to choose. That's freedom.
I suspect that there are very few people who really want to die for a cause, regardless of their passion for it, but those sacrifices give the rest of the world a freedom that is beyond price. It's almost beyond comprehension.
I applaud and praise all those who've given of themselves for the good of us all. Thank you for our freedom. Thank you for your sacrifices. Thank you for our ability to choose. It is by standing on the shoulders of giants that we see farther than those who came before us.
Here is a list of those I wish to thank for these freedoms. These are the veterans of the free software movement. These are the ones who've sacrificed much for the common good.
Miguel de Icaza
Guido van Rossum
There are others who've given much to the good fight as well. These are the ones who came to mind immediately as the free software leaders.
So, the next time you boot a Linux system, think of these people who had no idea that they were affecting history, were changing they way the world works and were changing computing forever.
Without these great people standing on the shoulders of giants, I might be typing on an IBM Selectric XXXV and you'd read this a dead tree version of this article in three or four months.
Congratulations to those of you who recognize these great people and their contributions to the world you now enjoy.
Can you think of any more people that I need to add to the list?