I respect and enjoy listening to Richard Stallman talk about technology and found his recent TED talk in Geneva worth sharing. This talk slips a bit outside the realm of gaming, but with Steam coming to Linux I think these kinds of discussions are important.

Richard's talk is essentially about the principles of free software and why they are critically important for a free society. I agree with many of his points, but like any philosophy or religion, I don't adhere to every component of it. A few years ago I did, going so far as to run a system that was nearly all free software save a few drivers. Over time, my thoughts changed as I enjoyed running certain non-free programs, like Steam and games. That said, the underlying philosophy of the Free Software movement is important and alive and well even if one doesn't adhere to every element of it.

Lately i've been thinking that while important, free software is just a step in the path to digital freedom. One important part, and possibly more important is that our digital life should be accessible to us in open formats. It seems to me that the digital content we consume and create like pictures, music, documents and video should be available only in completely open formats. Since I use Mac, Linux and Windows depending on what I am doing, keeping my digital stuff open in formats that they can all understand is really important. This is one reason I prefer Steam games that ship on all platforms because if the things we consume can be run anywhere, then we don't need to be tied down to any particular system.


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