Tech & Work

10 reasons open source will survive the apocalypse

When the apocalypse hits, Linux user and zombie fiction writer Jack Wallen posits that open source users will be one step ahead of the undead horde and their creators.

You may not be cut from the same cloth as conspiracy theorists, but it's becoming harder to deny the apocalypse will not only be televised, but that it will happen within the next century. Whether started by a twitchy government, a big business, or a street drug named for something our grandmothers once soaked in, I believe it's going to happen. When the apocalypse hits, only one side of the software fence will survive and that side is open source. And when the sky falls and the undead arise from the dirt, it'll be open source that helps bring the population back together.

But why? What makes open source so special that it can survive the apocalypse? Here are 10 good reasons.

1: By the people, for the people

Open source is software created "by the people, for the people." By its very nature, open source is the software champion for the human race. Once the apocalypse hits, open source software will be the only software that you can trust. But don't just take the software sight unseen — have a programmer with you to scour through the source to make sure no umbrella corporation has put in place any secret back doors or nefarious routines or functions.

2: The source is with us

When the apocalypse hits, the mantra of everyone should be "Trust no one," and this should extend to the software you use. The only software you will be able to completely trust is the software you create or vet. With proprietary software, you can never be sure what is happening in the background. Is that software monitoring you? Is that software sending information to the company that caused the human race to spiral into the abyss? These may seem like the questions of a madman, but when your life and the security of your information are at stake, you do not want to place them in the hands of software you cannot completely trust.

3: Absence of big business

The vast majority of open source software doesn't answer to big business; this means the software you use will not be driven by a hidden agenda. You can trust that open source software was not developed by a committee of suit-clad venture capitalists plotting to take over the world, one bit at a time.

4: Easier to build apps for open source

With the source available and with developers across the globe, open source software allows anyone with the skills to build applications. But not just any applications — you can build apps that seamlessly integrate with the platform you are working within. Open source means there is no obfuscation going on in the background. Developers have access to the APIs and all other bits and pieces necessary to roll their applications into the platform and into other applications.

5: Better, faster integration into other systems

You have the perfect idea for a zombie detection system, but you have to build it onto an embedded chip? No problem — open source is there for you. You want to create a communication system to enable the human race to be completely aware of status updates (health, positions, etc.) and you need that system to integrate into communication hardware? Not a problem — so long as you're using open source.

6: Less concern for the inevitable "super" viruses

Along with the virus that takes down the human race will come "super" viruses that will cripple Windows-based computer systems. Why would you entrust your survival to a platform as vulnerable to viruses as is the human race? If you give yourself and your systems over to Linux, you can be sure the rampant spread of viruses will stop at you.

7: No activation necessary from defunct companies

What happens when Microsoft and Apple are taken down by the apocalypse? If you want to use Windows or Microsoft Office, you'll have a joyful time activating that software. Instead of relying on software from a company that may or may not exist, use open source. You won't have to register, activate, or purchase — just install and you're good to go!

8: Hero DIYers

When the ash clears and the rubble is cleaned away, it won't be capitalism, consumerism, or big business that saves the day — the Do It Yourself (DIY) folks will be the champions of humankind. Open source is the best solution in all DIY projects, because it allows you to dig in deep and modify the application as needed. With that ability anyone with the skills can make that DIY project come to life, thanks to open source software.

9: No more PC support

What happens when PC support is no more? Those who depend upon it will suffer mightily, and those who do not will flourish. Open source software doesn't depend upon local IT support companies and companies that offer for-pay support to help keep software and systems running smoothly. Why? Well, for one thing, open source just runs well. It takes a lot to take down a Linux machine. A Windows machine? Not so much. After the apocalypse hits, when that proprietary system goes down, you're out of luck.

10: Keep data secure without relying on a third party

By the time the world has been crippled by the undead's desire to consume human brains, any data transmitted or stored will have to be safe. The second your cure for the disease gets into the wrong hands, you're sunk. Why depend upon lesser systems for your security? When everything has gone the way of corruption, you want to depend on open source for your security. Do not rely on anything that requires third-party software and systems to keep it safe.

Summary

You may think it's crazy, but even if you remove the idea of the apocalypse, my reasoning still stands. Even in a world not plagued by zombies and corporate corruption, open source makes sense on every level. But when the apocalypse does hit, those using open source will already be one step ahead of the undead horde and their creators.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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