For the past 20 odd years, I’ve spent at least half of my career getting paid to write free software, which means software that gives you the freedom to use and change it however you see fit. This seems like quite the appropriate topic for July 4, where we celebrate Independence Day in the US.
I haven’t been doing a whole lot of politicking recently, since I’ve been spending a lot more of my time on farming and software, and one of the things I’ll be working on in the next few weeks is a public release of the source code needed to compile the first binary code that runs when the computer first turns on.
This is what we call the ‘boot’ code (or bootloader) and it’s critically important because everything that happens after this point depends on what went on when the power first comes on. Two hundred and fourty-two years ago in 1776 we rebooted a new government operating system, in which we declared ourselves to be a country free from rule by a system of hereditary power transfer, and that we the people had the ultimate choice to determine our own destiny.
Now fast-forward to today, and our destiny is determined by the code running on our computing, communication, and electronic financial transaction systems. Do we really have the freedom to set our own destiny?
Not really, as most of the things that most of us use are locked and bound in ways that might give the signatories to the declaration of independence nightmares. What does your laptop or your phone do when you first turn it on? What does the program that first runs do, and what decisions does it make about what you can run that you may not even know about?
So it’s a really great start that I’m getting paid to work on freedom to boot the code you want to, it’s still limiting. There is a lot more to do. We need to make it so the entire design of the chip and the board it’s attached to, including the analog portions, memory controllers, and circuit board layout are something that are available to be changed.
When we get there, I’m going to have a version I call the q3ube, which is a computer that comes with all the software necessary to change any aspect of the design of the computer pre-installed. This means all the tools used to design the computer are available and capable of running on the computer.
So until then, I’ll be working more on infrastructure than campaigning, and when I have this, I hope to to be knocking on your door asking for your vote to take this infrastructure that respects your freedom and re-load our government on a computing environment that is built, maintained, and serves the people in our community, for our community.
Until then, remember that you can only vote for MayorTroy once every 4 years, and you can vote with your money every day, with every transaction. Please spend it on software and technology that supports your freedom.