Why learning programming can save free software (Opinion)

Why learn programming

I have wanted to try for a long time ubuntutouch, the mobile operating system originally developed by Canonical and now continued by the community. I even went so far as to buy a generic tablet to root and install it, but its hardware was so unknown that I never managed to figure out how to do it.

By chance, I wanted a Moto G from 2014 that is on the list of compatible devices to fall into my hands, so as soon as I can I will try it. In preparation, I decided to take a tour of his app store. What a disappointment!

The folks at UBPorts do a great job; the operating system supports native applications in JavaScript, C ++, Python, Rust, and Go, while the interfaces can be made with QML or HTML 5. There is an integrated functional development environment and comprehensive documentation. However, the content of the store is of such a lack of imagination that it makes you want to cry

It is not about not having the same applications from the iOS and Android stores. It's about not having better applications. There are only webapps that are automatically generated with an application on top.

The same happens with Linux. As an Argentine soccer coach would say, "The base is" The problem is that we seem unable to take advantage of it

Why learn programming

Recently, in a videoblog I was accused of blaming Linux for not having more market share and not understanding that Windows is the leader because "It comes pre-installed on almost all computers." To disprove the second I only need two words; Windows Vista. Pre-installed in millions of computers it never exceeded double digits of market share. The same would happen years later with Windows 8.

As for the first, the fault of Linux is not having tried hard. We have all the tools to create quality software. But, we prefer to do derivative distributions and video player forks rather than disruptive applications.

Hence I am writing this series. Neither Adobe is going to give us a Photoshop nor Apple a GarageBand. If we want them, we will have to build them ourselves.
In a comment to a previous article, user Camilo Bernal wrote:

Well, I am not a professional programmer, but Linux has done very well for me for 11 years now. The only 'advanced' skills I've needed have been writing Bash / Python scripts and fiddling with some configuration files. Everything else has been delivered to me by the OpenSource community, compiled and ready to use. Fresh from Windows in 2010, I hated the terminal like nobody, and now it has become my favorite tool and the one I use the most :)

I would not know how to make a great application from scratch to solve a problem, compile it, provide it with a graphical interface and distribute it, but I do know how to use pre-existing programs with scripts and combine them to achieve any desired result, so in practice it is not necessary program professionally, and yet I have managed to solve complex Industrial Engineering problems in medium-sized companies.

My intention is not to go down the line. If I wanted to give sermons I would have studied for a priest. The purpose of this series of articles is to help people who want to go a step further, not forcing those who have what they need to do something they don't have to do.

In the first chapter of Six hats to think about, productivity specialist Edward De Bono proposes what he calls "Pretend ...". In our case it would be that If we adopt the methodology of professional programmers, we will end up becoming one.

It is not about making programming our way of life (unless you want to do it) It is, as I said above, that no one is going to give us the applications we deserve unless we make them ourselves. Of course, it is not something that is achieved overnight.

Saving free software

Long ago I commented an article on how open source projects that are not supported by companies are dying. The way to avoid this is by revitalizing the community of volunteer developers. The tools are there. Only the will is lacking.

A couple of months ago the campaign to remove Richard Stallman was known, powered by different members of free software projects (In my opinion supported by companies). As we all know, Stallman is still in his place because there were more who spoke out in his favor. What is not so well known is that little by little, those who promoted the campaign are giving up their role in the different projects. For once the battle was won, but, communities need new members to prevent commercial interests from imposing agendas that have nothing to do with the principles of free software


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  1.   Miguel Rodriguez said

    I agree, although what I regret the most is that there is so much genius with the inability to tolerate opinions.

  2.   JVFS said

    Thanks to all the developers and the work they have done is incredible. I have been working with Linux (Ubuntu) for more than 6 years and the performance has been more agile, starting with LibreOffice, Gimp and Inskape. These programs are fantastic and although I have tried programming, I have not been constant with that learning, but I am grateful again for all these tools and the ones that I have yet to discover.

    ¡Felicidades!