The person writing, Robert, bought his daughter a computer for her 14th birthday. He got what they could afford, and due to financial constraints that meant not much. Price often isn't the compelling selling feature for business users in the "first" world (gah, I hate that term), but for many others it is. In this case, it made all the difference. The best part is that this family is not getting cheated because they don't happen to have endless amounts of disposable income: they get to participate on their terms without limitation.
So just what difference does free-as-in-freedom software make? Robert speaks eloquently and clearly:
"I cant tell you how much I appreciate
the work you all have done. Its a work of art. If I could thank each and every one of
you I would.
You have given her the world to learn and explore.
So if you get frustrated or tired in
your work for Open Source/Free Software, just remember that somewhere in Missouri
there is a 14 year-old girl named Hope, an A-student who runs on the track team,
who is now your biggest fan and one of the newest users of
Yeah, I'm a little misty eyed now. Maybe you should be too: with what skills we have we're making a difference. It may not solve world hunger in this decade or bring about instant world peace, but together we are undeniably improving things in our own little way by contributing in a positive fashion to the ethical stature and fairness of our societies. There are few other achievements in life as important, valuable or rewarding.
I believe that untangling the various miseries in our world will occur in the form of a long series of small steps taken by many people as part of their daily lives. Who knows what the people of the world will do tomorrow because of what we are doing today.
Indeed, a bright future requires a little bit of Hope. To Robert: thanks for the reminder. Hugs, peace and love.