Recently, while having a discussion with a friend on how to handle a major technical issue in their college, I mentioned some collaboration opportunities that would have come up if they had chosen to use free software in the first place. When he said that “no one in the college will listen”, that got me thinking.
Do we only talk about something we consider useful if we feel that someone is listening to us? What do we loose by talking even when no one is listening to us? What if they started listening and we were not there to talk? Then that is our loss as well as theirs’!
Since we can’t know when (or whether) they are listening to us, one thing we can do is to keep talking!
Hence, if we want to talk about free software, it shouldn’t matter to us if those we are talking to don’t listen to us. I am confident that, over different points of time, different people will listen. If we can motivate ourselves to keep talking plainly, it will matter.
The next question is - how do we talk in an efficient manner? I believe recording thoughts in a publishable form is a good way to refer to them or share them later on. If we can write about whatever we want to talk about, it becomes “reproducible”. And the next time, we can re-use it to make a similar point.
So to summarize - (at least) in the context of free software, don’t stop talking just because you feel that no one is listening. They will listen sooner or later.