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Mormon theology holds that freedom is a product of obedience to Mormon leaders and teachings. The line of reasoning goes something like this:

You can choose to obey and be happy, or you can choose to disobey and be sad. The more you disobey, the more it takes away your ability to make future choices, through chains of addiction and bad consequences. But obeying increases your freedom and opens up new choices to you. So always choose to obey.

Sometimes, disobeying leads to immediate negative consequences. Like being eaten by crocodiles. (Content note: violence, predation, jump scares)

That's why you should only want to have "good, clean, wholesome, Latter-day Saint fun," like these identically-dressed youth. (Content note: cringe-inducing)

You know why they're having fun? Because when you're scared to death that breaking the rules will get you gruesomely eaten, you are freaking desperate for your needs to be satisfied in a way that the rules will allow. (This is also why Mormons marry for all of eternity at 19, after six-week courtships.)

How desperate? This desperate.

A lot of people use Free Software desktop operating systems for reasons that make perfect sense. I didn't. I was a PC gamer and a creative, and the desktop designed to set hackers free left me in chains.

"They cannot help their neighbours"

I had written an entire real-time strategy game in Visual BASIC on Windows 98, using 3d graphics I rendered myself, when I was 16 years old. I always told myself I would learn to do something like that again, this time with completely Free Software. But I never did. Instead I spent years installing and reinstalling distros, and when I finally set out to learn Linux app programming I found that I had to write the documentation myself. Worse, no one else would ever read it.

Add to that the politics, the sexism, the white cismale good ol' boys' network (they call it a "meritocracy"), and the grotesquely rude billionaire in charge of the biggest Free Software OS, and suddenly the cult didn't seem so appealing anymore.

I switched completely over to Windows 8 a few days ago. Immediately afterwards, my laptop got infected with malware when I tried to install a dodgy utility. I knew it was my fault, just like everything bad that's happened to me since I left the Mormon church has been my fault. Has been God's punishment, Satan's having his way with me, spiritual crocodiles snapping their jaws around my neck.

I'm supposed to go crawling back

To the people who shamed me for liking things they didn't, told me to ignore needs that they didn't have, and didn't think it was a problem that pretty much no one like me was making decisions in their world.

But the rest of the world isn't like that. It's okay to like different things. It's okay to have needs that aren't met by one particular church or OS, even if lots of other people like them. It doesn't mean that you're broken or terrible. It doesn't mean you have to sacrifice everything you like, just to make them comfortable. And it doesn't mean you have to give up your dreams, in order to do work that they don't even value.

I'm glad that the GNOME Foundation's sponsors paid me, and that my mentor and the people who left me kind comments encouraged me to develop my skills. I just wish that it'd been the kind of culture that would've chastised the trolls, instead of letting them run loose and say mean, clueless things in the same room and in the same comment threads. And I wish that it'd been the kind of culture that valued newbie documentation enough to have already had it in place, instead of delegating it to an intern years down the road and then promptly burying it.

Microsoft's offering money for apps

And they are all about their app developers.

I have been utterly spoiled by Visual Studio and Windows 8 so far, after I learned to avoid dodgy apps. I have been reading comprehensive tutorials, often written by women, using languages (HTML/CSS/JavaScript) I already know. And I feel like when I learned Visual BASIC that first time, and make something that amazed myself.

I don't know what I'm going to be using or writing a year from now, but I like what I've done so far and I want to keep going. I'll let you all know what happens.

In the meantime, I have at least one story commission to work on, and I've also been working on the [community profile] fursonarpg. We still don't have a start date set, but it's been awesome to see so many people excited about it.

Free Software

Date: 2013-05-26 11:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] https://me.yahoo.com/a/YNMG3TwchtJ3yXye3coZUiO6mg--#1eb59
I find it interesting that you were capable of being hurt by your experience of free software. People become disappointed or disinterested in free software, but, to be hurt shows how much you believed. The whole "thin line between love and hate" thing.

This may be a bit controversial, since I'm making a very broad generalization, but, I think the people that manage to stick it out with free software year after year are mostly "allies" and not "believers". As you no doubt discovered, the believers, like new converts to any religion, are the ones that hold the line and the ones that try to enforce a moral or behavioral standard, but, they either become embedded in a reflexive, like-minded community or they burn out. I was a true believer, once, but, I'm an old man now. Too old for faith.

"Allies" take what they need from free software and also give back what they can.

Critically, most "allies" have as their goal something other than the freeness of their software. They're trying to build something -- a game, a service, a program, a community space -- for which free software can provide a building block or a baseline or freedom from royalties. And a good ally will use that building block and try to improve it as s/he discovers weakness or problems.

If, hypothetically, you wrote your Gnome docs in the process of trying to understand it so that you could use the GNOME SDK better for some project you were working on, it wouldn't have stung so much if no one else read them, because they served your primary purpose of helping you build something, and as a secondary purpose, they might help someone else. And, if that were the case, we might still have you as an ally, today.

Never forget that a proprietary program that *exists* is better than a free program that *doesn't exist*. So by all means write your software in whatever platform and language that makes you happy. Once it is complete, there is always the option to port it to a free software stack.

Just create something. Just do it.

Date: 2013-05-28 04:29 am (UTC)
burning_ground: (Default)
From: [personal profile] burning_ground
I switched completely over to Windows 8 a few days ago. Immediately afterwards, my laptop got infected with malware when I tried to install a dodgy utility. I knew it was my fault, just like everything bad that's happened to me since I left the Mormon church has been my fault. Has been God's punishment, Satan's having his way with me, spiritual crocodiles snapping their jaws around my neck.

Ugh, I remember the feeling well. I think I've reprogrammed myself enough so that, even while the feeling isn't entirely gone, my ideals aren't wrapped up in a bad cosmology. I can understand the real roots of ills now. But yes, the feeling is still there. X| Yeah cults!

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