Starting my internship at the FSF
by Tal Schechter
Hi, my name is Tal Schechter, and I am the new campaigns intern at the FSF for the Fall of 2009. I am currently enrolled full-time at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, as a third-year student concentrating in science communication and ancient Jewish text scholarship. I have been playing with computers since my parents got an Apple II Classic in the early nineties. Questions of "Tal, why does this not work anymore?" were soon to follow. Finally, at 13, I broke away from Macs, with the first PC to enter the household. Both before and after the new PC, I had been going to computer camp, where I had first heard about Ubuntu, Gentoo, and other things people called "Linux."
An avid "Linux" user for some time, it was not until my first year of college that I encountered the concept of GNU/Linux and free software as different from open source. With the aid of the GLUG there, I learned about the importance of the user's freedoms. While I had been aware of the openness of the operating system I was using, it was not until I learned about the freedom aspects of free software that I was propelled into a proactive projection to convince other people that GNU/Linux is a better choice of operating system for them from moral, ethical, social, and economic standpoints.
At this point in time, I reach out to both avid computer users and to those who feel they don't know anything about computers, to try and educate them about the merits of using free software. As a person concentrating in science communication, I am concerned with the lack of lay explanations of free software. I hope that in my work as an intern at the FSF and beyond, I will help to explain the importance of user freedom to everyone, regardless of prior computer knowledge.