Weekly Musings 063

Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

This week, it's time for another letter about technology. As with my other musings on that subject, I'm not discussing the intricacies of any technology, but a more ephemeral aspect of it.

Before anyone starts reading between lines that aren't there, understand that this musing isn't an attack on or an indictment of free and open source software. Open source is the tech world in which I live. It's the world that I know best and the one with which I have the most experience. What I discuss in the essay you're about to read applies any technology. In fact, it applies to just about anything.

With that out of the way, let's get to this week's musing.

On Open Source and the Power User Fallacy

It wasn't that long ago that the free and open source (FOSS) world wasn't a pleasant place to be in. If you were someone who lacked technical skills and posted for help in a forum, you were as liable to get belittled as you were to get help.

And woe betide you if you wrote or said something that didn't mesh with the ideas or beliefs of some corner or the other of the FOSS world. On more than one occasion, I was on the receiving end of some nasty backlash. Yeah, fun times.

Thankfully, things have changed. For the most part, anyway. The free and open source software world is now a lot more open, accepting, giving, and tolerant. There are still pockets like the ones I just described, but they're fewer and smaller now. But the attitude that you need deep technical skills to be involved in or use FOSS persists.

That was brought home to me in March of 2019. That's when secure device maker Purism announced its Librem One suite of secure, open source web apps. I heard more than a few people say Why would you need something like that? Some of those people expressed that sentiment in tones of anger and outrage. More than was warranted, in my opinion.

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