Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Stephen Fry explains the concept of 'free' software

I never cease to be amazed at the way raconteur and comedian Stephen Fry seems to have a fairly deep understanding of almost every issue, usually just before it hits the collective conscience.

So it was hardly a surprise to come across this video, which explains the concept of 'free' software better than most. Expect the issues he raises to be headline news tomorrow!

As the Pirate Party MEP (it's got nothing whatsoever to do with banditry on the high seas - but everything to do with digital freedom and good science), recently-elected in Sweden, prepares to take his seat as a member of the European Green Group, I thought regular readers of this 'blog would welcome a reminder that the 'free' in 'free' software doesn't just mean it doesn't cost anything (it usually does, measured more in time than money) but free in the sense that we can all do what we want with it.

And that's just good science. If a Microsoft or Apple had been able to take out a patent on the concept of biology, and control all research in the subject, we probably wouldn't have discovered antibiotics - and life expectancy would probably be 20 years shorter or so.

Freedom Fry - and Linux coders everywhere - I salute you!

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