This is the outline for my Toastmasters Program Project 03
Last week when I talked about free software, most of you here registered blanks.
This week, I will try again and this time round,
I will relate free software to something close to everyone's heart: food!
Everyone like good food, in particular singaporeans.
Whenever we discover good food at a restaurant or coffeeshop,
we would bring our friends and family there
and then encourage everyone to eat and grow fatter in the process.
I think most of us here, after eating the good food,
would simply call for the bill, compliment the cook perhaps
and then walk away and to patronize the place again
some other day when you have a craving.
I am wondering if any one of you here would ask for the recipe?
Yes, the recipe.
The list of instructions on how one can prepare the food.
The recipe will tell you what are the ingredients,
the actual steps and process of cooking that particular dish.
But why would one want to ask for the recipe why you can simply
go back to that restaurant or coffeeshop?
If you are like me, you would never have enough.
You would like to eat until your stomach really cannot take it.
If that is the case, you will end up paying a lot.
So if you have the recipe, you can cook up as much as you can eat.
Secondly, the food is good but it might not suit your taste perfectly.
You might like it better with more vegetables or less spicy.
In short, you want to customise it or improve upon it.
With the recipe, you have the ability to simply make the food
taste even better to your liking.
You are then welcome to share this improved recipe with
anyone who is keen to learn.
Thirdly, you cannot always depend on the source.
Perhaps, you have a craving for this food on a holiday
but the restaurant or cafe is not open then.
Or you wanted to add in additional stuff to your dish
such as more vegetables or more meat but the chef would simply not comply
because that would alter his or her signature dish beyond recognition.
All in all, you do not want to be held hostage where your stomach is concerned.
So now you have the motivation to ask for the recipe.
We now come to the question of why the chef will share the recipe with you.
If you think about it, the recipes of all the world's famous dishes
are all open and freely available.
For example, you should be able to find the recipes of dishes
such as the Beijing Roast Duck or the Buddha Jumps Over The Wall
in books or in the Internet.
In addition, you must have watched some TV programmes whereby famous chefs
show you step-by-step how their signature dishes are prepared.
Really, what the chefs are selling to you is not the good food itself
but more of their art of cooking.
Perhaps, I should give you some time to digest this?
Therefore, a good chef will not hesitate to give you the recipe
because he or she knows that it takes a lot more than just the recipe
to cook up the dish.
Suppose you somehow managed to get the recipe somehow,
you may wonder what you can do with the recipe since
you probably, like me, only know how to eat and do not know how to cook at all.
No problem, what you can always do is to get someone else
to cook and you can volunteer to wash the dishes.
So much for food, I shall now briefly relate what I have said to free software.
In the context of software, source code is like the recipe.
It contains instructions for the computer to build the software.
And free software is a special type of software that comes with the source code.
With the source code like the recipe, one can easily make enhancements
or customization to the software.
You may not know how to program but you can always get someone else to do it.
You are then free to pass the improved source code to anyone else who could then
further contribute to continuous software development.
With the source code, you are also entitled to make as many copies
as you need without the need to fork out a large sum.
In conclusion, I have related on how free software is like good food.
They give you the freedom to freely modify and distribute the underlying
the source code or the recipe.
I hope I have provided you with some food for thought this evening.