Springingtiger's Blog


Thank You Jimmy

I was, as I do every week, reading Micro Mart when I came upon this week’s “Company Profiles” The Wikimedia Foundation  and it set me thinking. What did we do before Wikipedia?

Well I know what I did, half my hallway is full of the Encyclopedia Britannica, it’s huge, heavy and cost hundreds of pounds. There was a time when I was for ever looking up things and the Britannica with its three part, logical layout was great. I loved my Britannica, I still do, but I rarely open it now.

Over the last few years, whenever I had a question to answer, my first reaction has been to go online, first into Google and, inevitably, thence to Wikipedia. I know people have reservations about the information in Wikipedia, but I generally find it meets my needs and I know that if accuracy is vital I still have my Britannica and, of course, there is a paid for online Britannica which is good value compared with the cost of buying a weekly magazine.

Anyway this is a gratitude blog to say thank you to Jimmy Wales for his vision and determination to make Wikipedia free to all. It amazes me that something like Wikipedia exists, free to use, supported by donations and by the millions of people who give up their time to contribute to the text. Ok there are a few malicious idiots who corrupt Wikipedia with deliberate inaccuracies, but for the most part the contributors must be acknowledged for their selfless generosity.

Our society today is polluted by grasping, bankers, politicians and businessmen intent on profiting at the expense of others. One of the things I love about the internet is the generosity of some of its users, I am a Linux user and appreciate the people who are willing to share their time and knowledge to enable me to use it. The many people who doggedly preserve the ideal of free open source software. Those generous people who share their creativity, whether in writing, music, or the visual arts. There are some pretty amazing people doing amazing things, please respect them, don’t rip them off and if you can give back please do. If it is the people who share that are the soul of the internet, then the profiteers are a cancer and the trolls a disease. And so today I am grateful for those who share online, thank you for making my life richer!

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