The Long Game of Free Software

Sat, 25 May 2024

The free software movement is often likened to a David versus Goliath struggle. This metaphor symbolizes the challenges small teams of dedicated people face against powerful corporations and entrenched interests. It can sometimes be like that, but it can also be like a marathon. A marathon that will probably span generations. We are working towards a future where software freedom is a fundamental right for everyone. But how do we sustain our passion through such a long journey? How do we keep our eyes on the prize when the finish line seems so far away? One possible answer to this can be found by looking at Skinner's Law, the behavioral principle rooted in positive reinforcement.

B. F. Skinner, a behaviorist, suggested that behaviors followed by positive outcomes are more likely to be repeated. In the free software movement context, every contribution is significant, no matter how small. For instance, if you've successfully fixed a bug, reward yourself by sharing your achievement with the community. These small rewards reinforce the positive behavior of contributing to the movement.

Keep the impact of the free software movement in mind. Every line of code written, every bug fixed, and every user assisted represents a step forward. This is why you're involved in the free software movement. Remembering the bigger picture can fuel your motivation during challenging times. Acknowledge these wins, share them with your community, and revel in the satisfaction of contributing to something meaningful.

Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who share your passion for free software. Remember, you are not alone in this journey. A community's camaraderie and encouragement can be a powerful source of positive reinforcement. Together, we can overcome any challenge and make a real difference.

Break down your larger aspirations into smaller, achievable goals. This allows you to track your progress, experience a sense of accomplishment, and maintain momentum over the long haul.

Remember to indulge in well-deserved rewards for your efforts. It might be as straightforward as taking a break to indulge in your favorite hobby or rewarding yourself with a special outing.

Let's not just run this marathon; enjoy the journey, celebrate our milestones, and empower others to join us. Together, we can build a better future.

The free software movement is not just about us. It's about the future generations who will inherit the world. Our efforts today will shape the world in which our children and grandchildren will live. Let's make it a world of freedom, not subjugation. By applying Skinner's Law, we can sustain our motivation, inspire others, and ensure the torch of software freedom is passed on.