But the implications of all this FOSS code is much more when one thinks of other parts of the world.
Many in the developed Western world, who have never experienced the need to fill kerosene into a little bottle and light a wick in order to see one's way at night, would be unable to understand real poverty. Not poverty as defined in the West where even the poorest of the poor still have a standard of living which would be envied in the Third World.
There are countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia where people often eat from the same bins as domestic animals. I have personally seen this in India - people often push animals away from food lying in bins, food which is still eatable, in order that they can consume it themselves. It probably makes you uncomfortable, gentle reader, to even think of such things at a time of conspicuous consumption like Christmas and New Year.
And it's for those people that this massive mass of code will really make a big difference one day.
Closer to home, there are others who benefit from FOSS without even knowing about it. From my own experience, there are 60 or 70 older folk who reside in the Australian state of Victoria who benefit from low-priced internet access - all because there is free software available to do the heavy lifting. This is, of course, a drop in the ocean - there are millions more who have been helped.
Oft times, we GNU/Linux users tend to take this abundant supply of code, this seemingly never-ending supply of programs that do anything and everything to meet our computing needs, very much for granted.
This probably being my last piece for the year, I thought it would be good to say a simple word of thanks to the legion of FOSS developers who have given time, sweat and often tears to create software that enables millions to enjoy the benefits that computer use brings.
There aren't too many people who turn back and say thanks but this is one grateful user who is ready and willing to say so publicly.
All of you FOSS coders out there - you have enriched more lives than you will ever know. Thank you for the code.
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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.