For those of us who grew up learning computing on mainframe computers, the personal computer was a revelation -- and the revolution. Finally, a computing device that we could do with as we wanted -- without paying by the minute for using it. Once we paid for our own personal computer, computing was free. Heh, we didn't pay for software, because we wrote our own, and then shared it. Imagine the excitement in 1983 when Borland released TurboPascal for a mere $50.
Too bad Bill Gates had to come along and ruin all that (cf. whiny memo on people should have to pay for software). Fortunately, Linus Torvalds came along to rain on that particular parade.
The Internet was the second freeing revolution in computing. Once you paid the monthly access fee, everything else was free. Today, I live and die by the Internet.
But things are getting depressing in the free land of personal computing. Wherever there is power to be gain, dictators abound. There's Amazon entering your Kindle and removing volumes from your private bookshelf. Apple deciding which software you cannot run on your iPhone. Microsoft determining which folders you cannot access on the networked computers you own. Autodesk pressuring you to not run a software release for more than three years. Not to mention the run-of-the-mill scaredy-cat dictators -- whether religious or atheistic -- running places like Iran and North Korea, so fearful of citizens communicating with anyone else.
Just leave us alone!