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on why relighting the flame for Luminosity is not working


Published Dec 17 2014 via RSS

(People keep asking me about Luminosity and various other efforts I've laid to the side, and I owe them something better than silence. I've tried to write this blog entry at least four times in the last six weeks or so. I wasn't happy with any of the results so I just sat on it until I could phrase what I'm thinking and feeling in a more satisfactory manner. Hopefully this is it.)

So, as some of you have noticed I haven't done a Luminosity of Free software episode in a while. The reason for that relates to why I do Luminosity. Luminosity is a show for people in the free software community, an attempt to remind us all (including myself) of the positive, useful and interesting things going on out there in the community. The great software and the interesting social questions examined in depth ... that sort of thing. If the free software community was not there, however, I wouldn't have made even a single episode of Luminosity, even if free software itself was going strong (sans community).

Well, 2013 and 2014 have been tough years for my faith in the free software community. Free software itself is doing fantastic, becoming the status-quo for an ever increasing number of technology categories. More software products are based on free software than ever, more technology companies are actively creating, supporting and finding business success with free software and more people are also using free software. Free software has been thriving, but the free software community has become a bit of a shambles.

(I deleted 900+ words here that explained why I feel that is, including numerous real-world examples. On re-reading, I realized that the fallout from critique, accurate it may be, is not worth it. I also don't like spreading negativity for what will almost certainly amount to no benefit. Maybe that is why I'm publishing this version and not the previous four. Anyways ... back to what I wrote after those 900+ words:)

Without evidence for a free software community that is healthy and vibrant, I have no motivation to continue putting my energy into things such as Luminosity: that community was the motivation.

It is difficult to remain interested in, let alone upbeat about, a community that does not walk the walk it claims to. I understand that the "free software community" as it currently is works for a number of people out there. I also know of some projects which do have fantastic and wonderful communities around them. This has unfortunately been overwhelmed by the larger patterns of activity in the "free software community".

That said, I'm just as committed as ever to free software itself. I'm still earning my living working with free software, even if it means making some sacrifices to do so. I have no doubts that free software is taking over the world, is a technological force for positive change, is endlessly full of fascinating projects and ideas, and worth putting one's life effort into. I just don't think the free software community has a relevant role in any of that these days.

Ergo why Luminosity is not lit up: the community was the motivation.

p.s. to those I owe Luminosity postcards to, I actually have a cute little pile of cards on my desk that I've enjoyed collecting for this purpose. They will go out in the post over the holidays ...



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