Free- and shareware nurtures the rebel and explorer within me
So what if I'm not one of the "revolutionaries" running Linux? I don't have to give up Windows to get that self-gratifying rush of rebel disobedience. Instead of uninstalling the OS I'm fighting my battle through the exciting world of freeware/shareware that promises to scratch all the itches left to scratch by the major software corporations - and trust me, there's plenty!
However nice it is to get an itch scratched (like being able to map a FTP-site to a network drive thanks to WebDrive - ahhh), it's far from the only benefit from continuously being on the lookout for cool freeware and shareware. The immaterial benefits are even better.
First of all, I get to feel like an explorer. The search itself takes on a higher purpose, and every new discovery feels like a conquest. From time to time I even get to relive how Columbus must have felt discovering America while looking for India. That happens when I find a cool new tool to do something I never knew I was missing all the while curing a certain itch. It's great!
Secondly, I get to give something back to a developer that helped me -- A person with a name and a face. I don't think I need to explain why that feels so much better than giving money to some faceless corporation. It's one of the only occasions where I'm actually happy to pay up -- he mechanism of reciprocity working its wonders.
Finally, I get to feel like I'm part of the rebels fighting The Empire. Every installation is a new fortress and a victory, and I got one itch less to show for it.
There you have it: The three reasons why I'm in love with free- and shareware. I'll post my list of favorites soon.