I am a keen supporter of the open source and free software movements, but I have to admit that I prefer to spend my time learning new techniques and technologies, rather than churning out code for other people to use. Enthusiastic as I am, as a professional software developer I don't want to see my skills devalued down to nothing. So I'm very happy to push free software as a means to sell other products, like hardware or services, but I don't want to give away for free the only thing of value I know how to produce. Ivory towers are all very well, but nothing grows in their gardens...
Tricky issues of hypocrisy aside, I'm a huge fan of many free software projects. I've been using Linux since 1994, and just because it's no longer trendy that doesn't mean I'm going to switch to *BSD. Linux is an excellent solution to lots of different problems and it's been my desktop of choice for over a decade now.
I also use (both personally and professionally) a large number of free software tools. My favourite programming language is probably Tcl/Tk. I love its dynamic abilities - so hard to describe, but so easy to enjoy. I'm also a big fan of Perl, which is probably just as well since Perl is a lot more mainstream than Tcl and I earn a living off this stuff! I've been using both Tcl and Perl since 1995. This website is written in PHP, which is another fine, free software language. And of course, I do 'C' and have done for, blimey, nearly 20 years.
I also learnt Python, but concluded that if I'm going to keep any more scripting languages in my head I need a reason to do so. Tcl, Perl and PHP all provide solutions to different types of problems, but I wasn't so sure about Python. It seems to me to be a heavy handed way of doing things that Perl or Tcl could do better. It's only obvious advantage is its sensible handling of abstract data types, and that's the only reason I stick with it.
When I've got my act together a bit more I'll put a set of links here to any potentially useful bits of software I've written. For now, the list is pretty short:
The Web Image Publishing script I wrote for Linux Journal
The Web Photo Gallery script I use for my photos
A Greasemonkey hack for iii.co.uk to change the layout
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