Free Software Bugs Me Sometimes, But The Alternative….

I’ve been using Ubuntu full time on my laptop for about a year now, and it is great. Not just that it’s easy to use, runs fast, and gets out of the way, but mainly that it’s Free Software. You know, Free as in Freedom, which I think is a great social good – that people can control the machines they buy, study them, and share their knowledge and modifications. I’m not usually going to exercise all those rights, but it’s great they’re there, right? I don’t need to invoke the eight amendment everyday, but other people having that right keeps me safe and it’s there when I need it. So hooray for Free Software!

But my wireless card is so fucking flaky, oh my god, I don’t know what to do. Screw you, Linux, and all your wifi fuck-ups. I really need internet on my computer. It’s!…. fucking!… Fuck! It’s the reason I have a computer! Internet! For lots of people they’re synonymous! You, and the whole Ubuntu stack (but mostly you, Linux and Intel, because it’s a driver issue) are trying my patience with the whole Free Software shit. Fucking Free Software.

Then I went home this weekend and did some of my usual tech support for the family and got a great refresher on why I do still love Free Software. It started with my sister’s iPod. She was using it to play videos on a television, then wanted to add an .avi file to the playlist. Sure, I thought. Add the file and whatever codecs you need to the iPod, then… Wrong! Apple doesn’t let you. They broke your iPod in a way that denies you that right, then you have to go to great lengths to get back control. So maybe let iTunes convert it for you… Nope! ITunes wants nothing to do with you unless you buy from them. Damnit. Solution? Handbrake. And since my sister installed Handbrake, I got to show her how to also start ripping DVDs. Media lockdown backfired.

Then it was DIVX Player crapping up her computer. Devil Be Gone! And got her some VLC. Oh, your school’s internet filters content? May I interest you in a little bit of Tor? Just let me know when you take that laptop to China. I was on such a free software kick, I got into rooting my Android phone. Cyanogenmod looks awesome, and I want wireless tethering. I should be able to do wireless tethering, but Verizon purposefully broke my phone so I can’t, locked my phone in a broken state, then wants to charge me $30 a month for the fix. Fuck them! So I’m taking control of my devices! I got the instructions, a new ROM to flash on my Android Phone, I was downloading the kit to turn off secure boot….

Then the wireless card on my Ubuntu laptop flaked out. But it wasn’t intentional on behalf of the Linux Foundation, or Intel, or Canonical. It wasn’t for greed, and they really do want it fixed. It’s just an engeneering bug. So I’ll take this over “defective by design.” But please, please fix it.