This is more like making a transcript of two very interesting conversations – one over phone call and the other over Google chat. The one over Google chat happened earlier – musician friend who’s doing his music studies in Berklee, (the very royal Music School we all know of) suddenly starts an argument asking ‘Why this insistence on Open Source, at all’. My usual instincts naturally turned it into a conflict, where I was putting much effort in explaining how it is much important to provide people with the four basic freedoms Free Software is concerned about. At one point he said, “Yes, but isn’t it a bit insane? It’s like saying that Clapton is an evil musician if he doesn’t, with all his cds, give separate tracks for everyone to mix and listen the way they want!” Well, it would actually be a little insane if he did so. We left the conversation there – I had to run to catch my flight back to India. A week later I was talking to my other friend over phone and we somehow came to the same argument in a slightly different mode – this friend of mine has been an Open Source contributor/ enthusiast for a long time now, currently doing quite a bit of very cool things in MIT (apparently getting a PhD degree there). If you are wondering, yes I am blessed with many cool friends. He quoted his colleague Brian, whose view is – ‘You can write a software in two ways. You can write it as a piece of work or you can write it as a piece of art.’ If you are writing it as a piece of art, you might want to have your identity protected. Here’s where I was reminded of my conversation with Salil. An artiste might not want his creation to lose the identity of his own self that is obviously very attached with that particular piece of art. So, that sort of saves us from the sin of calling the great Clapton evil. (I love him!) But what I would still be believing is – every individual should have the right to study the source and also to share it. Modifying a software in some random ways or even sometimes in some apparent organized way might be for no good. The creator has the right to protect it if he has to, I believe. Even if it does involve taking away the freedom to modify, from the users. It does not make the developer evil. It makes him an individual who wants his identity to be preserved in his piece of art, for good.