How I Would Use OS to Solve a Problem in the World

Ben Heck is sponsoring a contest for a Raspberry Pi Laptop.

Here’s my entry.

Privacy, security, and information.

These are three things that any responsible internet user should be aware of. This includes the privacy of personal information ranging from personal tastes to financial information; security for everything from phone photos to government spying; and the ability to share information that we want with whom we want without restriction. Linux and open source are the prime means by which these things happen; but that’s not all. It also requires a grassroots efforts to educate and convince people to use new technologies and not simply follow the path of least resistance.

For example:

Privacy: Big data harvests everything about our lives and we should have the ability to opt out. More works needs to go into this but it has to come from the open source community who doesn’t have vested interests in getting advertising revenue.

Security: The DNC leaks to Wikileaks would never have happened if the DNC had a firm policy within their ranks to only allow official internal emails that are encrypted with GnuPG. Any hacks would have resulted in thousands of encrypted emails which could not have been easily leaked. What needs to happen next is that we need to get people to use this technology and to make the technology easier to use.  Projects like enigmail in Thunderbird are great but they are not easy for the un-saavy computer user to use. There is no excuse for shoddy security but it does explain why people on an individual level don’t adopt them more readily. Projects like GnuPG need to grow and evolve and from there become a part of our daily internet lives.

Information: What do you do when the things that you want to know and share are restricted by government regimes and overzealous lawmakers? You find new ways to share information. Projects like Tor get a bad wrap for being the means by which some truly evil people share pictures of abused children; but it’s also how people in countries and Iran, Syria, China, and others get information out. Projects like Tor need increased funding, visibility, and volunteers to keep it free and secure from any and all government and corporate meddling. If we’re not free to share our ideas then we aren’t free.

The challenge was to you how I would use Linux or Open Source to solve a problem in the world. I gave you three real world problems that can best be solved with Linux and open source software. I hope someone reads this and finds the suggestions to be things that the want to help with.