Life is buggy, indeed!

I just couldn’t think what to write about. But I just had to write about something, its been long due! This is the best I could come out with, given my love for Free Software (become more of an addiction now) is now touching new heights, I am even typing this whole article on vim (its an awesome text editor, just like notepad) .So please bear with me!

Contributing significantly to the free software community, as well as contributing to the open source community has been my long term dream (Yes, both are different). It has become, like I have started relying more and more on free software. The more I use it, the more it amazes me, and the more I talk about it. So much so, that I have become a symbol signifying a weird taste. “A person who has a weird taste of an operating system? Seriously?”. Well yes, that’s what I believe is the general opinion. There is even a certain section of people who believe that I am marketing Linux. Well, no. I am not marketing linux here. There could be a million reasons one could hate something. Of course people hate people for all random reasons. But I hold the opinion that you can’t just love something without proper reasons. There are a million reasons one could fall in love with Linux. And I am not going to talk about that here. Just google, and you will find a million links to impress you.
I cannot not mention my experiences at my first ever Hacknite. For all those who think “Hacking” means just gaining access to someones account, I am sorry to disappoint you, that’s what crackers do! This is what you need to read to understand (somewhat) what happens at hacknites – To state the obvious now, we had to code for around 14 hours. Not non-stop of course.
We even took a stroll at 3 am (Yes, the campus is slightly scary at 3 am).To answer the “How the hell can you code for 14 hours?” question, people who are passionate about it, will do it. They don’t need a reason like a hacknite to actually be forced to code for 14 hours at a stretch. So what did I do at Hacknite. Me and some of friends, started off developing some app for Ubuntu (Again, something we learnt in Bangalore at the Workshop). As time passed by, we realized that we took 4 hours to fix a trivial problem. And that’s when we started interacting with others present there. We asked people why they find Hacknites fun. Hacknites attract scores of talented developers, designers and business people who all want to create something new in a day or two mainly. But there were any college students like us, completely new to Hacknites, there to just get a hang of what happens at Hacknites.

The first step I personally wanted to take towards contributing to Free Software was help out our own College’s GLUG(/GNU/Linux Users Group)- CEGLUG(CEGs GNU/Linux Users Group). It is probably one of the very few active GLUGs in Tamil Nadu. We decided to arrange a session on Ruby on Rails. And the person who took the session is the person whom I consider to be a close friend, and guide!  I actually have no idea how he would react when he reads this, but this has been the fact. Generally the turn out for such sessions are lesser than 10. But this time thanks to some incredible marketing (seriously) there were almost 50 people.

There has been something that’s been bothering my mind for the past 2-3 weeks. So much so that almost 50-60% of my time I spend in thinking about this alone. Although it might be too early to think about this, but how do I actually contribute to the Free and Open Source Community, and gain money out of it as well. The answer was pretty clear. Make my own app (No, not an android app yet). I came up with a random crude idea. That needed a lot of refining to do. I went to my friend and told him that I want to make the app using only free software, not even Photoshop. I was surprised by the response I got. “Are you sure you want to compromise on the quality of the product? Doesn’t that matter too?”

That answer just left me thinking. Irrespective of whether the person who asked the question was equipped enough with knowledge of alternative software, I am still forced to ask myself, and in turn ask you, does using free and open source software almost always mean compromising on quality?

PS: Linux is awesome! And its a Free Software! There is no question of any comparison between Windows and Linux. Linux wins it outright. My only doubts lie in a few other fields. Like image editing, posters etc.

7 thoughts on “Life is buggy, indeed!

  1. Actually what is the title of this post? I searched for it.

    Make money? Do something like this ? minting your own money 😀

    “using free and open source software almost always mean compromising on quality?”
    I have no idea how is this going to compromise quality. The web almost runs on linux mainly because of the quality. This is one place where you need start of art OS to serve, manage everyone. Regarding image editing tool, yeah the free softwares need to catch up but this is a generic comparison. Whatever, most of my problems are solved with free software/languages and i have all the freedom to mess with it, nobody is going to catch me, sue me and i am not at the mercy of someone to solve a problem which i can solve.

    • Ever amusing Vysakh Sreenivasan. I am a believer in free softwares, you know that. Its just that one person got me thinking. I seriously love the freedom to mess with my software! The quality of Linux as I said, and as you reiterated, is undoubted.

  2. Interesting thoughts there, Prashant. However, the compromise on quality may not be because open source software on Linux is not up to the mark, rather, it would be a compromise if the designer of the product is NOT allowed to use the tools he/she prefers, JUST BECAUSE it is proprietary software! That would inhibit the best results from the designer when it comes to image editing for example!
    It is certainly not a comparison about which software is better, but which software the designer is more comfortable used to!

    • I disagree Adnan. If you are to open source your product, then definitely you cannot compromise on the fact that Proprietary softwares cannot be used. Its about the ethics of Free Softwares than giving the designer the freedom to use whatever he/she prefers!

  3. Very well written Prashant.. And to answer your question.. It is not the quality of the product that is important.. In the end , it is the satisfaction of the personal self and the power of what you have developed and using free software to develop your app will definitely make it powerful..For instance , take the example of Facebook , which has a relatively simple GUI , infact there is nothing glossy about it but it is the content that it is trying to deliver which makes it as successful as it is today.. Really great to hear about the “Ruby on Rails”.. Keep blogging 🙂

  4. Good effort. I believe, free software is more than sufficient to work with. Alternately, if the quality is not good, can students pitch in and improve 🙂

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