Wed Jun 25, 2014
This was my favorite part of my interview with The Setup:
What would be your dream setup?
Let’s start with the easy ones. I would like (1) an e-book reader that has the portability and battery life of a Kindle, runs free software out-of-the-box, and doesn’t support DRM; (2) an open-source maps application for Android/CyanogenMod that can provide biking and public transit directions for any city that I happen to be in; and (3) a usable open-source password manager that syncs to mobile devices, integrates with browsers, and meets some set of minimum security requirements. (I’ll work on the latter if someone else does the first two.)
Slightly more ambitious: every device should come with root access for the user if they want it. Going down the stack, it would be nice if all computing devices by default ran a free BIOS and other free firmware on top of easily-modifiable, open hardware.
Respecting the autonomy of users by allowing them to understand and modify their devices is crucial for creating widespread technical literacy and, subsequently, a world in which ordinary people can detect when their rights are being threatened by technology providers and governments. I have a crazy dream that, someday, ordinary families will sit down at their kitchen tables to install software updates together and read the change logs aloud over breakfast.
Shooting for the stars now: let’s design computers so that software engineering doesn’t force us to occupy constrained, mostly-immobile positions in florescent-lit rooms for 8+ hours every day. I’d like to code and go backpacking at the same time.