When I was getting into the industry in the mid-to-late 90s, it seemed like we were witnessing the peak of an epic battle between proprietary and free software.
This war was embodied at the proprietary end of the spectrum by Bill Gates and Microsoft. The ultimate proprietary extractors, dominators, and conquerers. And at the free-software end of the spectrum, by Richard Stallman and Free Software Foundation. The ultimate software freedom fighters.
And there’s no doubt that these two men were diametrically opposed on many of the key questions about how software should be made and distributed. But that stark contrast also had a tendency to overshadow the way in which they were strikingly similar.
Keynote on the topic of open source, markets, debts, purpose, and no less than the meaning of life. Delivered at RailsConf 2019. Also available as a long read below.