Free libraries and free software

Today’s post doesn’t have anything to do with Learn Python The Hard Way, but I thought it was worth sharing all the same.

It’s about my love for free software.

Today I got an itch to make some beats. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the gym lately and I’m never without my MDR-V6s. I know, I know — it’s terribly uncool to be dancing on the treadmill with giant headphones on. (But they’re the best, y’all!) My gym mix is ever-changing and all about energy. This morning I enjoyed some new Trust, old Skrillex, way too much Nikki Minaj, a few songs I heard on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and always, my girl Speakerfoxxx. I love a heavy, driving beat to keep my moving forward and push myself to the limit. (Go girl, go girl, go girl.)

So, I thought — why not try my hand at it? It’s probably really hard, I thought — but I might have some fun.

Because I’m all about free software, all I had to do was open up my terminal and issue one simple command:

get-itOh, apt-get. You are so very delightful.

In about a minute, it appeared. My heart fluttered and my face broke out into an irrepressible smile. At the risk of sounding silly, I shared on Twitter: “gosh, i love free software. sudo apt-get install x gives me the same feeling as walking into the library as a kid: the world is mine.”


But that was exactly it. When I was a kid, the library was my favorite place. I exhausted the school’s collection and begged for trips to local branches. I was a little local library connoisseur, calling them by their full, proper names, and even noting the county system — yes, I was a nerdy kid!

I craved the promise that the library held: the world could be mine. Who knows what I might find in the stacks, between the pages?

That feeling rushed me when I installed LMMS. And it could have been anything. The other night, I couldn’t figure out how to do something, so I googled and found that I needed to install something very small. Though it didn’t work and I had to make another choice, it felt profoundly empowering to be able to even try. It’s thrilling to know that the work of some of the world’s brightest, most generous and principled developers is always out there for me to discover when I need it, just like the great works of literature that lined the shelves of my childhood libraries.

And LMMS? Well, I’m now the proud creator of a fifteen-second track that is actually pretty enjoyable, perfect for a first attempt.

Thanks, FOSS.