Kids and Open Source Software

When I was young (I'm thinking about 11 years old here), I didn't have access to much software, even though I had a computer. Frankly, there wasn't much software to have access TO, but that's not the point. Even if it was there, I couldn't have afforded it.

One of the first things I did when I got my first computer (a C=64) was learn how to program it (in BASIC). I wanted to do more but the documentation that came with the computer didn't go deep enough. I had only one issue of one computer magazine (RUN), which I read over and over for years, and I'll never forget the which ad claimed its software could write programs FOR ME based on simple descriptions. I wanted it so bad, but couldn't afford it and couldn't talk my parents into buying it for me. I didn't even know what a compiler was. All I knew is I wanted to make my own games.

Look at what kids can get their hands on now, for free (Linux, open source software in general). What access they have, even without an internet connection. Oh, to be 11 years old and have my first computer again. Much more intimidating, but with so many more possibilities.

Thank you to everyone that's contributed to this. And my 3 year old daughter thanks you too, even though she doesn't know it yet. ;-)

Written on May 16, 2001