[linux-audio-user] Carlo's vision, was Re: Attracting more Linux audio developers

Dave Phillips dlphillips at woh.rr.com
Sat Dec 23 14:48:10 EST 2006

Leonard Ritter wrote:

>On Sat, 2006-12-23 at 18:54 +0100, Carlo Capocasa wrote:
>>Somebody has to start. That's you. That's us. Please help.
>Exhausted, Carlo ended his speech and looked around. The crowd stared at
>him quietly. Noone spoke. The mood was tense. Then, a single clap of
>hands. Another one. Now two people were clapping slowly. Three. A dozen.
>The sound turned into a small crackling campfire, amplifying, and now it
>was like a wildfire, a widespread applause, which culminated in a rush
>of the ocean, waving back and forth through the audience. The people
>stood up, cheered and whistled. Carlo was speechless. A tear escaped his

But at the core of it, Carlo describes the spirit that motivated me to 
get into Linux in the first place. By the late 1980s it was already 
apparent to me that Microsoft's design philosophies had little or 
nothing to do with where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do with 
computers. And the Mac was the "computer for the rest of us" only if you 
could afford it. By the early 1990s I felt trapped by design decisions 
that simply cut out my accustomed work methods, and discovering Linux 
was like finding a new home world.

Recently a correspondent asked if I was a programmer. I replied that I'm 
a musician who learned something about programming when he discovered 
the value of the computer to a musician. I'm interested in realms of new 
possibilities, and Linux has consistently offered such possibilities.

I agree with Carlo, I believe that Linux's political aspects are 
extremely important, if only because Linux represents a wholly other 
approach to the creation, distribution, and use of computer software. 
The approach certainly appeals to my sense of liberty and freedom, and 
as a tool for empowerment it's an inestimable gift (ditto for the great 
work of RMS and the GNU project). I'm keen on self-reliance, I hate 
being told what to do (i.e. unquestionable authoritarianism), and I like 
high-quality software tools. As it happens, only Linux feels comfortable 
enough for me.

It's pretty easy to parody Carlo's plea. That's okay, I think Leonard 
was having fun, his reply brought a smile to my face, and it reminded me 
that "If men did not laugh at it, it would not be the Tao". We got a 
good thing growing with Linux, but we do have to tend to it, else it 
withers and dies. Me, I'm not too worried. After all, Leonard is himself 
one of the newer Linux audio software programmers, and his work too 
continues the great tradition of GPL'd open-source and freely available 
software. I don't mind if the ranks aren't suddenly ballooning in 
numbers, I see a few new names per year getting into the fray.

When I was active in co-ops I heard a lot about the theory of radiant 
change. This theory posited that large-scale social reforms weren't 
really possible with our currently entrenched systems (schools, 
governments, churches), but that an individual's Right Action would 
itself light the way for others to consider their motivations. I'm not 
temperamentally well-suited for groups anyway, so the theory sits well 
with me. I have tried to light some distance on the way, just as so many 
others have done for me. Personally, this is how I'll continue to 
contribute to Carlo's utopia. Do I imagine that I'll really see things 
change as I'd like them to change ? Oh no, I have no illusions about the 
enormity of the task. But to paraphrase Nietzsche, it's better to leap 
and fall than to simply back away from the abyss of challenge.

Peace out, and a happy holiday season to everyone.



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