Please find below a very interesting interview of Maddog by Cesar Brod :
Latinoware’s participants cannot imagine having a Maddog-Free Latinoware. The godfather of free and open source software, the one responsible for sparking the first port of Linux outside the Intel’s 386 processor family and one of the main visionaries in the IT industry is coming again to Latinoware where, again, he will be followed by a hurd of picture takers. Probably the main reasons Jon “maddog” Hall (president of Linux International and one of the leaders of the Cauã Project) always attracts crowds to his talks are, at the same time, his eternal evangelism words and the ability of opening the eyes of people for new and exciting opportunities with free and open technologies. In this interview, Maddog answers some thought provoking questions asked by his long time friend, the program coordinator of Latinoware, Cesar Brod.
Cesar Brod: People coming every year to Latinoware already expect your presence in the event and, as usual, you will have again a big crowd watching your talk. It is being now more than ten years since you first came to Brasil to talk about free and open source software. What do you believe people really get and what do you think people still don’t get at all in relation to free and open source software?
Maddog: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” – Abraham Lincoln. I point out that the phrase “people still don’t get at all” is a problem, because I to think that many people “get” some of the points of Free Software some of the time, but most people do not “get” all of the points all of the time.
For some people “Free Software” is something they can pull down of the Internet and use to solve their problems without having to pay a royalty or a license fee. In many countries this argument has little pull, since they do not pay for a lot of their software.
For others, such as developers or enterprise people, Free Software represents software that they can get bug fixes or extensions for quickly so they can continue working. Or use their own extensions to develop a better solution than their competitor.
For trainers and consultants it means that by studying the software and the source code to that software they can be just as expert in that software as the person (or people) that wrote it, and therefore command a premium for their services.
For governments Free Software represents a way to keep their brightest and best university-trained programmers in their own country instead of having them migrate other places where they can get good jobs developing software. Free Software means potential longevity of a solution to the government’s needs, and to maintain sovereignty over their own computing systems, safe from embargoes or privacy violations from another country’s government.
I often try, in my mind, to extend the present day to the far future. What would happen if we had seven billion people using our systems of today? Would the queue at the help line be five days long, or only three? Would I get 500 patches to wade through on “Patch Tuesday”, or would the vendor also patch on Thursdays in the future?
For certain people, like myself, who have had the misfortune of seeing the computer industry evolve from one of service to one of products, and the luxury of having the time to look into the future to a day when we have to meet the needs of another five billion “desktop” users….we can see how computer products as we know them will fail, and software built on good service will be the key to delivering the next five billion “desktops”. ….