Literacy rates are one of the great achievements of modern times, and I would suggest the most unsung achievement, simply because like fish and water, we fail to notice the world of literacy around us.
I, unapologetically, believe that software literacy is on the same order of importance as literacy itself. To be able to command a CPU like a pen and paper will be a fundamental skill for the next generation.
As an example, try replacing "software" or "IT" or "Digital" with "reading and writing" when you hear discussions next. Phrases like "outsource our reading and writing", "project managing the reading and writing upgrade of the council" or my favourite "do we own the reading and writing we are paying for?"
If one accepts this proposition - that reading and writing source code is analogous to, and as important as, reading and writing human languages- then I believe we can discuss everything else in the manifesto and campaign.
If you do not believe, then almost nothing I say will make sense or provide a compelling narrative.
If you wonder why Open Source seems almost a fanatical ideal at times around here, just remember the value we place on literacy today, remember that the natural state of a book is to be opened and read and inspire the next book. In just the same way, the natural state of source code is to be open and read, and inspire the next version.
When I was a child my father bought a sinclair ZX80 and when you turned it on, the black screen flashed waiting for you to type in instructions that the CPU would run:
10 PRINT "Hello" 20 GOTO 10
Everyone who touched a computer at my age wrote that. But few children were as lucky or priviledged as I.
Now computers that make the ZX80 laughable in power are in pockets of most children. But when you turn on your iPhone the blinking cursor is nowhere to be found - it waits not for your commands to perform - it runs other people's apps curated by Apple. It is not your computer.
So I will try and change a small corner of the world for the better - I will marshall my arguments - open source is more economically efficient, a better use of taxpayers money, meets economies of scale, improves innovation, derisks change, removes us from the upgrade procurement cycle.
All of these are true.
But they are not why I do it. And for that I offer no apologies.
And if you saw an illiterate world that could be so much more, nor would you.