Principles vs. Mortgage Payment

Mark Pilgrim talked about his previous on patents at IBM, and felt ashamed to be in this patent-filing business.

Finally, I reached the now-or-never moment with my manager. I considered quitting anyway. I considered my mortgage payment. I took stock of my personal finances. My mortgage payment won out. I sat down and did what they paid me to do. It’s hard to live up to your principles. If it were easy, your principles probably aren't worth a damn anyway.

I believe that "freedom" is a core principle that many of us hold towards software. However in reality, many are still working on proprietary software that comes with extensive EULA that limits the end users and other developers in every way. There are actually companies who deliberately obscure the specification to make interoperability difficult, so to increase the effort of the competition. Shocking!

However, when such principle is confronted with other needs in life, in this case the mortgage payment, sometimes it does not take much struggle to sacrifice the principle, saying No to open source. Oh, I still have a big mortgage to pay off, one wife and two kids to feed, etc. It is simply too hard to live up to the principles that worth more than a damn, so I cave in.

I do believe however, that there is an alternative -- to actually live up the principle and take the consequence. In some sense it would actually be a more logical action if we so much believe in that principle. Trusting in Jesus is a great principle but do expect unwelcoming from the world. Pray that I won't cave in.