On Thu, 17 May 2018 20:28:22 -0400, <ed...@openmail.cc> wrote:
_I_ need help. I am in graduate school, and I keep having issues with my
advisor for my strong inclination to use free software. I am obviously
not in position to refuse, but she dislikes to have discussions about
it. She pays a stipend to me every month, and my tuition is waved.
Is anyone here aware of a place where they do computational human
biomechanics, mechanics, materials or finite elements where I could
interact with free software? (having github, LaTeX, Python, etc.; avoid
Micro$oft products, Matlab, Mathematica, etc.). Is there no place where
one can simply use free software on a daily basis?
It seems from her comments that I am, otherwise, a good researcher. She
is a nice person, but I fear that this may become an issue in the future
for me (whether with her or other people).
As a student or junior faculty, how do you go about this? Do you just
nod and wave your freedom good bye?
Thank you! (I will post this in other fora as well; don't let that to
discourage you from answering, please).
What is your field? In some areas of research the foremost software tools
have been developed on a MS platform and there is no escape unless you go
and develop your own tools.
Allow me to illustrate from a non-software perspective, in two different
directions. I happen to own a substantial number of horses, and thus find
myself employing the services of a farrier. That's the person who trims
the hooves and fits shoes. My previous farrier, now retired, made some of
his own tools and avoided using the top, well-known brand, GE. (It's GE
Forge & Tools, NOT General Electric!) "Too expensive," he said. "Not worth
all that extra money." My current farrier works three times as fast as the
other guy, and uses nothing but GE tools. Clearly, he can fit in perhaps
twice the number of customers a day, and the tools pay for themselves. He
could make his own, as can anyone who owns a forge, an anvil, and hammers,
but why bother? He makes perhaps $300 an hour when working on horses, and
nearly nothing when trying to build tools.
I also get questions from young folks between the ages of 8 and 16 who
love horses, and want a career working with horses. They hope for a job
where they will clean stalls and exercise horses, and maybe help with
training. My suggestion to them is to find a profession such as accounting
or medicine where they will be able to make enough money to own several
horses. After a day cleaning stalls and brushing horses at minimum wage or
less, who wants to saddle up Yet Another Horse and go riding? The
accountant who can fathom the intricacies of expenses for a Thoroughbred
race stable will be well rewarded, and may even get invited to ride.
These words are rather far afield from your actual question, but I think
you do need to reflect carefully on where your interests actually lie.
So back to free software itself. Read, if you have not already done so,
this article by rms:
https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.en.html . Then
ponder whether you want your career to follow his delightfully weird
footsteps, or whether your field requires a totally different approach.
I'm sure that rms would disagree with me--he has every time I've spoken
with him--but his is not the only philosophy available.