The Struggles of Going Open Source

It's been about a week since my last post, and I do apologize for the delay. I just started a new job recently and with that comes a change in life style (I need to wake up early now). While the pandemic rages on I'll be working a 9 to 5 job at home using the greatest OS known to man, Windows 10 (...sorry, I threw up a little bit in my mouth there).

Even though I say Windows 10, the truth is because of a few programs I need to run, I actually need to use a Windows 7 virtual machine in Windows 10. Even on my gigabit internet connection, it's not that fast... During a team meeting I joked that if only we used Linux we might not have this issue, and to my surprise some of my bosses agreed.

Open Source just seems to scare the masses away. Not many if any businesses use Linux, BSD, RISC OS Open or any of the other free/open source operating systems out there. Windows has its dirty little fingers on the world and it refuses to let go.

What about open source programs? Certainly if you learned how to use something like K-Denlive or GIMP you could do a great many things without the hefty price tag. However, Photoshop and Premier/Final Cut Pro dominate the creative market and come with their own user license agreements that aren't always fair to the end user, yet leave the alternatives behind.

Gaming on PC is another issue. All the games comes to Windows and developers don't bother to make a Linux version. Hardware suffers similar issues with new processors and graphics cards being gimped on a Linux/BSD build. I would love to play a few rounds of Destiny 2 on my Linux gaming PC, but at this moment in time, it's just not a possibility, I need to run it in Windows.

In the smartphone world, you only get two options, Android or iOS. Some of you may say you can hack an Android phone and put a custom ROM on it. This is true, but what's also true is this will only appeal to a niche group. Even on a hacked Android device, you lose access to certain apps. You know, the really popular ones all your friends are using.

In a world where you can tally up the pros vs the cons of going open source vs being closed source it's amazing we chose the latter. Where we agree to EULA's we can't fully read and understand. Have applications never explicitly less us know what they do. And, essentially be slave to a handful of million, billion and trillion dollar companies. Why?

It Just Works

I can sing up to the mountains how much I love the work that any open source operating system is doing and the unique programs and work flows that they offer. However, as much as I love them I still from time to time need to use Windows for this or that. Why? Because it just works. I still have bad memories of not being able to view PDF's in Linux because Adobe dropped support and the alternatives just didn't work right.

I remember when I tried to convince my partner that she should use a Linux laptop. It didn't offer Word or Teams and as a teacher, it just wasn't going to cut it. I remember when I tried to convince her to use a Pinephone, but she would replied that she would lose access to Snapchat, Facebook Messengers, Google Maps, etc. It wasn't going to happen. Nothing works as well as her iPhone 11 Pro Max.

The world of open source is always playing second fiddle to these closed source OS's and programs that have no respect for us, steal our data, pry into our lives and offer little in return other than that they're industry standards. While my convictions keep me away from these types of things, I am envious. I drool over every new piece of tech whether that be a game consoles, a smartphone, or laptop knowing there isn't an open source alternative available.

If I think about it long enough, I can totally see myself getting swept up into an Apple or a Google ecosystem. Enjoying the harmony of all these different things working together. Hardly running into any issues, but if so being able to call a help line to fix it. When I think about these things I wonder if I made the right choice avoiding these luxuries.

I don't regret my choices though, and I will continue to use and sing the praises of all things open source. However, sometimes the journey is a struggle.