Hi! My name is Michael Pagan (feel free to drop a line). I am not a GNU maintainer (yet), or a GNU contributor (yet); however, I AM a user!
Check out my profile.
Why Free Software?
I initially chose free software, because it was a fail-safe after one of my failed... proprietary expenditures. Essentially, I was a Microsoft Windows user. I had Windows 7 starter/home edition, and as I was browsing my local exchange one day, I encountered: Windows Ultimate Edition (an edition above starter/home, business, and professional-- hence the term "Ultimate"). How foolish was I to spend $300 on a CD that I was only allowed to install up to 3 times!? How foolish was I to believe that I was upgrading my computer, when in reality I was actually downgrading it!? What do I mean by downgrading? Microshaft is the expert at giving its users the shaft!
How did I get shafted?
The downgrade consisted of deleting my network drivers so that I could not connect to the internet anymore. Next, Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) tried to authenticate my licensed copy of Windows on my computer; however, because the installation accidentally (or purposefully... you be the judge!) deleted my network drivers, WGA could not verify my install and hence: My desktop background was replaced with an "Unathorized Windows" background, and Winblows itself became unusable. This was before I learned about software freedom and the effects of DRM, which is malware, and in my case: There were several types of malware that made up the core of that particular version of the Windows Malware Operating system; I do not lie, this has been verified!
How did I recover?
Luckily, my brother told me about GNU/Linux. Before I inserted the Windows Corrupt Disk, I made a copy of Ubuntu's installation images onto a Compact Disk (which I replaced with Trisquel a year later). After I got shafted, I immediately commenced the GNU/Linux installation... and I never looked back. Being a fond user of the command-line, I started noticing that many of the commands begin with g for some reason? gthis and gthat? Eventually, I pulled the manpage and started seeing the word GNU a lot. I did some research and encountered the GNU Website, which was also the same time that I decided to take the plunge and install Trisquel. The whole time I thought I was using the Linux Operating system, silly user... its called GNU!
Software Freedom Acceptance: Take it or leave it
I learn more about free software everyday. My first challenge began after I purchased my first RYF laptop right before LibrePlanet 2015, and realized that video sites that required Flash no longer worked for me anymore. I had 3 options at that point: 1. Back to Windows; 2. Continue life without online videos; 3. Engineer a solution and make the videos work without Flash. So... what did I choose? I chose freedom and I dived head first straight into source code. I studied HTML, GNU Bash, GNU Awk, and GNU Sed; wrote a few scripts; wrote a few functions; tested them; published them; and finally, viola... I could now see certain videos again. Shortly thereafter, I discovered more free software like Linterna Magica and youtube-dl, and the rest was history.
It used to be that whenever I had a problem I would call tech "support," but now I could just solve computer problems myself or see if other free software users have solved it for me. What a lovely community the free software movement has created!
Free Software Advocacy
Now that I've accepted free software... what next? Well, since there are no LibrePlanet teams in my area, I would like to create one. This will happen soon, but due to personal circumstances and work, I will not be able to set up a team in New Jersey at this time (maybe sometime next year in 2017). Until I've got my feet back on the ground again and leading a stable life, which is hard to do in this hectic world, I shall be studying more about GNU and free software in general. For those of you who are interested in setting up a LibrePlanet team in New Jersey before 2017, please let me know in advance (contact information is in my profile).