I am a fanboy for free and open source software, partly because I'm cheap and partly because I am fascinated by the phenomenon of peaceful community productivity. In fact I'm writing this in Ubuntu Linux right now, and as I've mentioned before, I've become quite a devotee.
I had a dream last night that I was working on some important project and had found some amazing gem of free software. However, I couldn't save anything to PDF, which I desperately needed for some reason, unless I was a Canadian citizen. Crazy huh? Well it gets better. I concocted an elaborate scheme to pretend to be a Canadian student studying abroad in the States and thereby receive a free copy of the software. A majority of the time spent in the dream consisted of an elaborate series of difficult question from the software vendor, intended to establish my citizenship. They were very difficult, and I didn't succeed in acquiring the PDF plugin before waking.
I know what you are saying, "What a bizarre and irrelevant story! Where is he going?" Well, apparently my sleeping brain aspires to write for Law & Order, because this tail was ripped from the headlines. At work yesterday I was looking for some free software to do some meshing for finite element analysis of the spine. I found several software packages that seemed to have been developed as part of some NASA program. These were very promising leads, but as I dug deeper I found that some of the software was free to government employees, agencies and contractors only. Surprise, surprise I am not a government employee, but the way I see it, I'm a government employer! Is it not bad enough that I had my money confiscated against my will to fund the project from which this software emanated? And now I come to find out that the only thing that would entitle me to free access is to be employed by some other government agency.