The best things in life are free
There IS a free lunch, and money does indeed grow on trees.
Earlier this summer as I was sitting on my front porch, drinking a beer and watching traffic go by, I noticed the color red in the tree in my front yard. Curious, I inspected more closely and it was full of red fruit – nectarines. I've lived there three years, and it never had fruit before.
I didn't even know it was a fruit tree. The thing was full of fruit. I've been eating them all summer long now, they're delicious. And cost absolutely nothing whatever. I've also been giving a whole lot of them away, for free... but I could sell them if I wanted. The money would have grown on my tree! My neighbor made some excellent preserves from them, and gave me a jar. Free preserves from free fruit!
This past spring I bought a “Big Boy” tomato plant for five bucks. Those tomatoes would have been incredibly cheap, less than a penny each, but not free. Alas, lack of something as free as FOSS and something I pay for killed killed it – city water and a lack of rain. Tomato plants don't much like city water, and we've had no rain at all to speak of. I got one tomato off of it, thanks to the lack of free rain, and it was the size of a billiard ball. That was the most expensive tomato I ate in my life, thanks to the lack of something that's free.
FOSS people shouldn't say “free as in beer,” they should say “free as in rain.” Rain enjoys the ultimate freedom. It goes where it wants, and it costs no one anything. But when the rain decides it wants to take a vacation in Europe, you have a drought here. Lack of the free rain here in the US is going to cost everyone else in the world, because the corn crop – actually most crops – are decimated. They estimate we're going to get way less than half of what is normal. And the price of corn affects the price of all your food. ADM's slogan is accurate; the US is indeed “breadbasket to the world” (despite the fact that we grow little wheat in Illinois, most of that comes from Kansas). Corn is in everything. It, rapeseed, or soybeans are what your cooking oil is made of, and all of those crops are doing terrible. The sugar in your soft drinks comes from corn. Almost all animal feed comes from corn, affecting the price of meat. All processed foods will go up for at least a year.
So no matter where in the world you live, the price of your meat, cooking oil, and many other foodstuffs is going up, all because of the lack of something that is free – and that's a free something you cannot live without. Much like air, which is also free.
If you don't think money grows on trees you must not own a commercial orchard, because all their money grows on trees. Most of Illinois' money grows on cornstalks and bean poles and things like that. Paper companies' money all grows on trees. Well, mostly on trees, you need more than wood to make paper. But timber companies' money grows on trees.
Anyone who disparages something because it costs nothing isn't seeing reality clearly. “You get what you pay for” and “Linux is only free if your time is worthless” are incredibly stupid sentiments. If you buy Aleve or any other name-brand analgesic, you're paying three times what someone buying generic is, and you get exactly the same relief, because it's exactly the same drug. If you buy Green Giant corn for $1.50 per can, you're getting an inferior product to the generic on the same shelf that costs sixty cents, because Green Giant doesn't taste as good – they add high fructose corn syrup, making your corn taste like it was starting to rot and ferment.
As to Linux and your time, that used to be accurate, but no more. Installing it takes very little time (far less time than installing Windows) and will save you lots of time once it's installed. No more patch Tuesdays with reboots; patching Linux takes a single click and you're done. No reboots unless you're upgrading the entire OS. What takes ten to fifteen clicks in Windows takes one or two in Linux – provided, of course, you choose your distro wisely. You can't just pick a random distro and judge Linux as a platform, because all Linuxes are different, some in small ways and some in huge ways.
Not only are the best things in life free, but the two things you absolutely cannot live without, air and water, are free. The third thing you absolutely cannot do without is food, which requires free rain and which you can grow for free.
The best things in life are not only free, but in many cases, like water and Linux, the free commodity is superior to the one you pay for. Oh, and those free nectarines are the best tasting ones I've ever eaten, but then, all the others I've eaten were commercially grown and sold in a store. Home grown, free food is always superior to the stuff you buy in the grocery store.
You can keep that pile of gold. I don't need it, Mr. Midas.
Aug 09, 2012