@nolan started a thread about free software yesterday, and I wanted to share a metaphor.

Pre-microcomputer days were like living in an apartment with a landlord.
Microcomputers were like getting a starter home after a luxury apartment.
Micros grew into less micro, but also started to resemble condos. You owned everything between the paint, but the structure wasn't yours.
A lot of people grew up in starter homes and didn't like the condo. Free/open OSes become common.

One of the aspects of being a computer enthusiast back then was the feeling that your computer was like a little place you lived in. When the Internet opened its doors in the 90s, it was like being in a massive neighborhood party.

Nowadays, with the ascent of mobile devices, most people's experience with computing is as a prosthetic. An inseparable device that enables you to interact with modern society. No one feels like they live in their phone.

To stretch the metaphor to its breaking point, FLOSS enthusiasts had finally gotten their homes just the way they liked it...

and a bunch of soulless corporations took it and turned them into factory dormitories, full of identical robots that just talk to prosthetics. mentioned recently that some kids were talking about *files* as though they were an old person thing. This is a cultural disconnect going way, way past the free/proprietary software divide, where at least you have some simulation of property. The notion of ownership at all is fading away, at least in the digital realm. The young understand that they pay for *access* to media and software, not *ownership*, and most of them (anecdotally) seem totally comfortable with that.^D

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