Linux is an operating system, it’s free and open source software. There are 4 main OS: Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS, Google Android and Linux. Windows dominates our desktop while Linux captures most of the server market. Linux is not as old as tea but they have something interesting in common.
So what makes Linux special?
It’s free, absolutely free. Linux is not proprietary property, anyone can get one copy freely, and more importantly free to edit it. The code is open sourced, so you can see the in and out, no one can get in your way, as every Linux shipped with the source code, this is guaranteed and protected by GPL license. That means anyone can play it, toss it, break it. We also have this kind of freedom with tea, to us, tea comes with so many possibilities, the same leaf can be made into white tea, black tea whatever you want, nothing can stop your curiosity. Linux is an art in computer while tea is an art in agriculture.
Community makes us strong. It’s not just a slogan or political saying, I have been through this. When I was a child, China was just opened, our doors are always open, people can come in and out. Still can remember almost every day in the winter morning, at breakfast time, a small man will walk in our house with a bowl of his breakfast, he didn’t talk much, just had his breakfast slowly and change back when one bowl was out, he is my close friend’s father. Now with the development of economy, our doors are closed, we are separated.
Luckily, some traditions has passed down. One is _TEA HELLO_, no matter on the street or on the phone, people are always invited to come home for a cup of tea. Once there is a visitor, still we will take out the tea sets, let the guest sit back and have several cups of tea. Even for the never met foreigners, if they are tea friend, it just feels much comfortable to have a meet. “Tea friend” is a magical word, no matter how far away, ever meet or not, which language we speak, what color of our body, we all belong to the sun blessed land. Besides tea gets friend, as tea will calm you down, get you a peaceful moment and let you open to talk. In my idea, tea deserves a Nobel Peace Prize sooner or later.
Linux or Open Source Software is a big community too, there are so many online forums and offline meetups, people are willing to contribute their time and work to make the world a bit more beautiful, they are countless, one makes me impressive very much is The Man Mr. Patrick Volkerding, founder and developer of Slackware Linux Distribution which is the oldest-still-active one, Mr. Volkerding started this project since 1993, there is post – Donating to Slackware – where proved what gorgeous a community can achieve.
Tea Has a Trouble, Big Trouble
Tea is the 2nd most consumed drink in the world, this truth is always used for promotion in a lot of public marketing materials, is this something great? I am bold enough to tell you something different.
- Second is second, the gap between first and second is huge. Look around yourself, how many people drink soda? how many people drink tea? South of Fujian province is a Gongfu tea area, tea traditional has existed for very long time, I ever asked my friends, classmates, relatives etc, no more than 20% drink tea and most of X, Y and Z generations do not drink tea too.
- Tea workers shortage is a headache especially in harvesting time. It’s very difficult to do hiring locally, a lot of young people move out for a better life. Let me guess, the happy farmer picture on TV or Website you saw recently is an old one, right? Every industry needs the next generation or will be difficult for them to continue.
- Regarding the quality, a lot of farmers can not make a good tea, the result is stopping making tea and sell fresh leaves to others only or try to sell it with low price, both options can not get them paid enough for their family.
Open source and AI can be an answer
Tea is still an agricultural product, its knowledge does not flow so freely, what we have now are isolated islands, it’s time to change it. Before Wikipedia was born, no one thought we could have so powerful free knowledge. And now here is the coming open source project which will try to do:
- Zero-secret-hidding tea knowledge contribution. We will well document how a tea is made including text, picture, video and reviews.
- Modern technology will be used to collect as much as possible data like temperature, moisture content of leaves, sunshine intensity, wind direction, PH degree etc. Big Data is the fundamental of artificial intelligence (AI), we can build the building from the ground now.
- Get farmers armed with this new powerful knowledge by training in-field and mobile phone.
- Open a channel that consumers can help to design a new tea’s born.
- Offer a PlayKit that consumers’ can easily plug into the fun of tea making ex. blending, roasting, cupping even processing.
In the future, teas will be divided into only two kinds: Good and Excellent, there will be no bad tea.
Good tea will be produced by the help of AI, to enlarge the available quantity and lower down the price, everyone can easily to get a cup of good tea. And artistic excellent tea will be created by Tea Masters and get them well paid, so they can keep moving and attract more people to dream to be a tea master.