I finally joined the Free Software Foundation. This is an organization that supports free software. Not free as in price, but free as in information. They believe that when you buy or are given a piece of software, you should be given all of the code for that application so that you can customize or enhance it to your liking. Additionally, you should be free to review this code to verify that it doesn’t harm your system and only performs as advertised (no hidden back doors or vulnerabilities).
The FSF maintains and enforces the GNU Public License, a license commonly used for open source software. Their protection ensures that software like AIM Sniff and BaseballNuke can exist in a start-up engulfing corporate society.
I should have joined the FSF long ago but for whatever reason, I always found somewhere else to spend my money. Lately, I’ve been starting to become more aware of software politics and freedoms that we are losing because of things like intellectual property and patents. This new found awareness has finally had me open up my wallet and lay down some bills towards a cause that has given me so much in my career. I think that it was my early introduction into the open source realm that gave me insight uncommon in the IT field. I had a different way of looking at things that has made me very succesful at an early age.