One thing that is challenging the free software movement is communication.
Communication skills are quite a “known skill” – persuading people is not really cutting edge – people have been persuading other people about $stuff since forever.
The question is, therefore, how we can be better at communicating free software, given we know how things, historically, have worked for others?
Example 1: The Open Data Movement.
The open data movement is not the same as the free software movement, but *is* much younger.The open data movement has had considerable success in various fields, and considering that in 2008, barely anyone had heard of it, has had a meteoric rise to popularity.
Why is that? What has it done that we can copy and emulate?
Example 2: Wikimedia Foundation.
Wikipedia is not, in essence, a free software project (it’s a free knowledge project) but it communicates better than the free software movement.
Find someway you’re happy with to watch their videos and tell me they don’t manage to communicate in powerful ways::
Children in Peru write their own history on Wikipedia
The free software movement has code that powers millions of servers, that runs in space, that has connected millions of people, that has underlined millions of businesses… but we don’t talk about it.
Perhaps we could start doing? How?
Example 3: Coding as standard for schools.
In the UK we’ve seen massive boosts in young people coding – there’s a massive push to get young people not just to be passive consumers but to be creators. This is the proverbial, “everyone plays games, but only a few people know how to make them” or “everyone uses apps on their phone, but how can you personally make one?”. With the rPi and all that that brings, we have free software, for the first time ever, being pushed into the hands of school children.
This is tremendous news – and a massive opportunity. How can we communicate better about this?
Find someway you’re happy to watch this:
It’s 2013. From that video, go back and look at how many people in that video, work for organisations that aren’t businesses primarily based around free software infrastructure. I count, two, arguably soon, one?
In 2013, to have a job, how can you afford for it not to be free software? how can we communicate that if you’re looking for work in today’s world, employers are crying out for experience with free software systems? I mean, really, seriously, ASP.net isn’t a threat, it’s a joke. How can we get that across to people?
Basically, I think better things could be done, and the people who do those things, are the ones that will choose which way the future goes.