Contributing to free software requires privilege. Even regular contributors might sometimes find themselves without it.

Time, focus and money. You might find yourself lacking in one of these at various points in your life.

While software projects from startups move like streams, most free software projects move like glaciers. They move slowly but they keep moving for decades.

Being away from a project doesn't mean you have to give it up. You can join back later.

#FreeSoftware #Privilege

@njoseph Just because I'm seeing a lot of public push-back: I agree. Reminds of a quote from this article:

"A surprising amount of OSS is made by former big tech developers. They can afford to subsist on meagre revenue—for a time—because their pay and stock options have left them free of debt and with well-stocked savings accounts."

Dunno why people seem triggered by the word "privilege" TBH. I've got gobs of it myself. Take responsibility for it. It's a form of power.

@ryan Dude, OSS is not F. OSS is a business model. Free Software is, among other things, an ideology that states that everybody should have equal access to software and equal opportunities to contribute to it.

That is literally the opposite of a privilege.


@josemanuel @njoseph Prevailing material conditions mean that not everyone *will* have equal opportunities to contribute. Being able to perform a significant amount of un-or-under-compensated work without suffering economic hardship necessarily comes from having at least some degree of economic privilege. I'm not saying OSS or FOSS propagate inequality.

@ryan Again, is contributing to free software un-or-under-compensated work? Yes, in most cases. But so is having a hobby. Do you consider having hobbies to be a privilege?

And nobody’s forced to «perform a significant amount» of work. You can just contribute a patch, a bug report, a translation, an improvement to documentation, etc. Or simply fork an existing project for your own personal purposes or to learn and improve yourself.

Moreover, contributing to (or just using) free software can help one land better paid jobs that will get them more time and better material conditions to contribute more significantly if they so desire.

So, again, I fail to see where the so-called privilege is.



@josemanuel @njoseph Yeah, not having to spend all one's time on bare survival does make one privileged compared to those who do. It's an advantage you take for granted, that you don't even notice most of the time, that you may not even *think* of as an advantage that some people don't have. I.e., a privilege (according to my understanding). Maybe this is where the communication breakdown is happening. Are we operating from different understandings of this word?

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