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GNU/Linux does not matter that much

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Gustavo's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-11

Hello all,

After reading my "GNU/Linux Does Not Matter That Much" blog post, please tell me:
1.- What do you think about it?
2.- If you agree with me, do you find it sensible for GLM to play the role I described?

Thanks in advance.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
I'm convinced. Actually,

I'm convinced. Actually, this is similar to something Kevin Dean has repeatedly pointed out in our many discussions, which is partly why I started advocating "Freedomware everywhere" rather than just GNU/Linux. It is that it does not really make so much of a difference if GNU/Linux even becomes a dominant operating system if people still remain ignorant to the element of freedom. As far as they are concern GNU/Linux is just another operating system and they might have as well switched to OS X, it wouldn't make a fundamental difference. It's one tool for another. Which is technically better is always arguable and even irrelevant to freedom as the more fundamental value than technical superiority.

That said, it is not even so much about having people use 100% Free Software as much as making sure that they are aware that there are certain restrictions involved with a particular proprietary technology and conversely freedoms with a particular Freedomware. When they see clearly this distinction they are more capable of making an informed decision. We can only bet then that they would in most cases choose freedom, eventually un-trampling themselves from monopolies that thrive on their ignorance.

This is also one of the basic points in an article I submitted to Linux+. Looks like we're moving in roughly the same direction. Smiling

So I really like your proposition and I agree it would be a good idea for number 2 (the Liberation Suit software) to be done and/or sponsored by FSF. It might be worth trying to form some cooperative ties with the FSF, similarly to the way we did with Landy DeField, Ken Starks and co. which even resulted in Landy joining us. Smiling It seems as we currently lack what we could call "diplomatic relations" with the FSF.

It is always more efficient to cooperate (connect existing dots) rather than try and do everything ourselves. Not only does this distribute the effort making it easier on all of us (sharing the burden), but since it also involves more eyes and minds on the problem it potentially allows for brighter and more ingenious solutions to be developed.

So, adopting this vision, presenting it to others and then building alliances around that common vision is the way to go.

Cheers

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Joined: 2007-09-10
You present good material,

You present good material, but you won't get this puppy to support too many things (if anything) that add value to Windows and MS "open" protocols. It's not clear you were trying to achieve this, but I'm just being clear about my position.

You had a good quote:
>> The Windows API is so broad, so deep, and so functional that most ISVs would be crazy not to use it. And it is so deeply embedded in the source code of many Windows apps that there is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system instead...
>> "It is this switching cost that has given the customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO, our lack of a sexy vision at times, and many other difficulties [...] Customers constantly evaluate other desktop platforms, [but] it would be so much work to move over that they hope we just improve Windows rather than force them to move.
>> "In short, without this exclusive franchise called the Windows API, we would have been dead a long time ago.

Fortunately, not everyone is that deep into MS protocols, but Microsoft continues to push their "open" protocols into all areas.

100% free or else forget it is a horrible strategy. The biggest step to freedom is leaving Windows behind. See quote above.

Let's learn from the masters. Microsoft recognizes that value of owning the platform. They have used "open" protocols to get there.

So we have some people that can move to Linux today without too much trouble. We have many that can't. But don't force people to abandon Windows. People want 100% over 90% any day of the year. The key is to get the real open stuff into their hands and to use it, Linux (BSD, etc) with all things open.

So "we" have to continue to improve the value proposition of Linux. Yes, quality matters. Yes a stark contrast to Windows matters. Yes an easy time on Linux matters. Yes, goodies on Linux that you can't get on Windows matters. Yes, a community on Linux that is welcoming and helpful and useful matters. [Unfortunately, there are people like myself that are not happy about Windows at all Eye so you will get some negatives about Microsoft platforms. Hopefully though, it will all be facts and not very insulting if at all.]

The projects I am working on from thetuxproject are generally about improving the quality of material on Linux [this includes the image of Linux and other things as well beyong actual applications]. Because of its transparencies, long-term, you can't beat it as the platform on which users can create the most valuable content, BUT if they don't have Linux at home/work within reach, they won't know. Seeing is believing. You must have something to see (so we have to make Linux great), but then you have to have access to it and easy enough for you to actually use it [eg, Microsoft pre-loads are key to getting everyone to see and use Windows.]

Keep in mind a major challenge we have before losing hope. We have small numbers (OK, not that small), and we are up against the Monopolist who did manage to crowd out most major brands from Windows. To say Microsoft is and has been very powerful is to say the obvious.

Generally, I propose we continue to add quality to Linux. Think of making Linux easy and useful. Then think of helping others gain access to that Linux.

The wrong approach would be to make Windows easy to use and useful.

I think we should be able to have Linux installed on PC's and link the Windows on the other hard drive (partition) to Linux through virtualization on Linux. In this way, Windows becomes an app that you will use when you can't avoid it, yet Linux and its plethora of open protocols will be there handy the rest of the time.

Let's go for 90-95% of the market and of the freedom instead of 100% or bust. Once we have that, we can work on the details, in fact, at that point, we will have the upper hand over vendors that will want to close things off.

The foundation cannot be ignored.

>> And finally, make people switch to a freedom-respectful operating system, like GNU/Linux.

No. This implies that you have to make 100% switch. Wrong. I say let's give users the best of both worlds and have them decide later. Open source on Windows is counterproductive, but Linux alongside of Windows is the way to go.

The operating system is one of the battles to be won. Otherwise, you won't get rid of lock-in, no matter how much you "encourage" people to stay away from it.

[I am not clear on your position, so don't think everything I said above was meant to contradict what you said. Perhaps in some case it was merely a re-interpretation.]

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Joined: 2007-09-10
>> Make it really easy for

>> Make it really easy for people to switch to unconstrained formats and protocols, under the current operating system, but also warn them that everything won’t be completely solved until they throw the non-free system away;

Generally speaking, we don't have the power to do this on Windows. People won't use garbage. Anything that ever comes close to hurting Microsoft's monopolies will fail on Windows.

Remember something. We are open. Microsoft can easily embrace us and of course they can easily extend us because they own the key software layers and have a monopoly. People will use Microsoft's perversion of the "open" protocols. Why? ..because ours will not integrate with their MSware. We are just doing R&D for Microsoft when we write code that uses MS protocols (eg, Win API). It makes the embrace less taxing on Microsoft.

Today's Microsoft's 95% "open" protocols will become 5% "open" tomorrow, at least in what counts for staying locked-in, at least when Microsoft has this ability (eg, much easier for OOXML than for ODF because of the extreme investment Microsoft has in OOXML but not in ODF which also is controlled by a different group and is growing on Linux).

Let Microsoft come over to Linux. When we use things like mono and dotnet clones, we make it easier for Microsoft to embrace us into their fold. [This isn't the totality of the mono situation as there are pros and cons and these depend on context.]

It may be nearly impossible to get 50% market share this year or next year, but in 5 years sure beats in 20. As developers, we help ourselves through various means simply by leaving MS dependencies. It's sacrificing some market share today, to have a system that will really be able to replace Windows tomorrow instead of only in 20 years' time.

We all agree on not making things painful for end users if at all possible. As a developer, I am more than convinced that the best way to conquer the Monopoly is to strengthen the value proposition of Linux vs Windows instead of trying to baby feed doses of freedom to individuals -- if doing so hurts the value differential.

http://www.thetuxproject.com/node/290 : a *self-sustaining* attempt to spread Linux far and wide through *value-add* and *repeat* doses.

Gustavo's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-11
Hello, Jose!I believe

Hello, Jose!

I believe there are two kinds of awareness campaigns:

  1. The "Something is going wrong, but I am willing to fix it" one, mostly used by politicians.
  2. And the "Something is going wrong, and nobody but you can fix it" one, mostly used by people concerned about their society, like us.

Likewise, there are two kinds of people:

  1. The "I know something is going wrong, but I'm too lazy to make a change" one.
  2. And the "I know something is going wrong and thus I'll try to fix it" one.

The first kind of campaigns work for both kinds of people, but the second kind of campaigns only work for the second kind of people.

Our movement falls into the second kind of campaigns, so we should not expect lazy people to make the switch until there's nothing to sacrifice when switching to Freedomware, and that will come true once Freedom dominates thanks to the mindful people who sacrificed their comfort to stand for a free society.

I will let other people take care of the lazy people's comfort, which sadly matters. I will try my best to make the mindful people aware of this problem for Freedom to triumph, because to me it's far more important than comfort.

Cheers!

Jose wrote:

You present good material, but you won't get this puppy to support too many things (if anything) that add value to Windows and MS "open" protocols. It's not clear you were trying to achieve this, but I'm just being clear about my position.

You had a good quote:
>> The Windows API is so broad, so deep, and so functional that most ISVs would be crazy not to use it. And it is so deeply embedded in the source code of many Windows apps that there is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system instead...
>> "It is this switching cost that has given the customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO, our lack of a sexy vision at times, and many other difficulties [...] Customers constantly evaluate other desktop platforms, [but] it would be so much work to move over that they hope we just improve Windows rather than force them to move.
>> "In short, without this exclusive franchise called the Windows API, we would have been dead a long time ago.

Fortunately, not everyone is that deep into MS protocols, but Microsoft continues to push their "open" protocols into all areas.

100% free or else forget it is a horrible strategy. The biggest step to freedom is leaving Windows behind. See quote above.

Let's learn from the masters. Microsoft recognizes that value of owning the platform. They have used "open" protocols to get there.

So we have some people that can move to Linux today without too much trouble. We have many that can't. But don't force people to abandon Windows. People want 100% over 90% any day of the year. The key is to get the real open stuff into their hands and to use it, Linux (BSD, etc) with all things open.

So "we" have to continue to improve the value proposition of Linux. Yes, quality matters. Yes a stark contrast to Windows matters. Yes an easy time on Linux matters. Yes, goodies on Linux that you can't get on Windows matters. Yes, a community on Linux that is welcoming and helpful and useful matters. [Unfortunately, there are people like myself that are not happy about Windows at all Eye so you will get some negatives about Microsoft platforms. Hopefully though, it will all be facts and not very insulting if at all.]

The projects I am working on from thetuxproject are generally about improving the quality of material on Linux [this includes the image of Linux and other things as well beyong actual applications]. Because of it's transparencies, long-term, you can't beat it as the platform on which users can create the most valuable content. If they don't have Linux at home within reach, they won't know. Seeing is believing. You must have something to see, but then you have to have access to it and easy enough for you to actually use it [eg, Microsoft pre-loads are key to getting everyone to see and use Windows.]

Keep in mind a major challenge we have before losing hope. We have small numbers (OK, not that small), and we are up against the Monopolist who did manage to crowd out most major brands from Windows. To say Microsoft is and has been very powerful is to say the obvious.

Generally, I propose we continue to add quality to Linux. Think of making Linux easy and useful. Then think of helping others gain access to that Linux.

I think we should be able to have Linux installed on PC's and link the Windows on the other hard drive (partition) to Linux through virtualization on Linux. In this way, Windows becomes an app that you will use when you can't avoid it, and Linux is there most of the time.

Let's go for 90-95% of the market and of the freedom instead of 100% or bust. Once we have that, we can work on the details, in fact, at that point, we will have the upper hand over vendors that will want to close things off.

The foundation cannot be ignored.

[I'll clean this post later or repost because it is a bit out of order.]

>> And finally, make people switch to a freedom-respectful operating system, like GNU/Linux.

No. This implies that you have to make 100% switch. Wrong. I say let's give users the best of both worlds and have them decide later. Open source on Windows is counterproductive, but Linux alongside of Windows is the way to go.

The operating system is the battle to be won. Otherwise, you won't get rid of lock-in, no matter how much you "encourage" people to stay away from it.

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Joined: 2007-09-10
It's easier to value

It's easier to value freedom when you can taste it. You can't on Windows (not real freedom), but you can if you have Linux nearby.

Most people will not give up access in order to be 100% free, even if they like the idea of 100% free.

The more people that move to Linux (to 100% free), even if on a part-time basis, the more leverage the community will have to be able to provide more access (to content, to usability, to functionality, etc) than Windows.

I think Linux has some unique points that are useful to people today. We need to highlight and exploit those rather than to continue to put into the spotlight the many ways where we are almost like Windows (eg, we *almost* support "open" protocol X or Y).

Ask yourself this, are you more attracted to honey mixed with dirt and handed to you where you sit in your lounge chair, or are you more attracted to delicious pure honey served two blocks down the road?

Gustavo's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-11
Hello!Jose wrote:>> Make

Hello!

Jose wrote:

>> Make it really easy for people to switch to unconstrained formats and protocols, under the current operating system, but also warn them that everything won’t be completely solved until they throw the non-free system away;

Generally speaking, we don't have the power to do this on Windows.[...] Anything that ever comes close to hurting Microsoft's monopolies will fail on Windows.

I think we do have such power. Take a look at Firefox.

Jose wrote:

People won't use garbage.

Erm... What's the world's most used OS?

Quote:

Remember something. We are open. Microsoft can easily embrace us and of course they can easily extend us because they own the key software layers and have a monopoly. People will use Microsoft's perversion of the "open" protocols. Why? ..because ours will not integrate with their MSware. We are just doing R&D for Microsoft when we write code that uses MS protocols (eg, Win API). It makes the embrace less taxing on Microsoft.

Today's Microsoft's 95% "open" protocols will become 5% "open" tomorrow, at least in what counts for staying locked-in, at least when Microsoft has this ability (eg, much easier for OOXML than for ODF because of the extreme investment Microsoft has in OOXML but not in ODF which also is controlled by a different group and is growing on Linux).

Put that way, it seems like Microsoft ruled the earth, which is not so true taking into account the recent rejections of OOXML (even in the USA and the EU), as well as the very important lawsuits Microsoft has lost recently (in the EU).

They are vulnerable, specially in the standards field.

Quote:

Let Microsoft come over to Linux.

That sounds chilling Eye, but I'd do so once they free their products.

Quote:

When we use things like mono and dotnet clones, we make it easier for Microsoft to embrace us into their fold. [This isn't the totality of the mono situation as there are pros and cons and these depend on context.]

It may be nearly impossible to get 50% market share this year or next year, but in 5 years sure beats in 20. As developers, we help ourselves through various means simply by leaving MS dependencies. It's sacrificing some market share today, to have a system that will really be able to replace Windows tomorrow instead of only in 20 years' time.

That would be a huge mistake. One of Microsoft's best-known strategies is "Embrace, extend and extinguish". We won't be able to get rid of them if we help them that way.

Quote:

We all agree on not making things painful for end users if at all possible. As a developer, I am more than convinced that the best way to conquer the Monopoly is to strengthen the value proposition of Linux vs Windows instead of trying to baby feed doses of freedom to individuals -- if doing so hurts the value differential.

http://www.thetuxproject.com/node/290 : a *self-sustaining* attempt to spread Linux far and wide through *value-add* and *repeat* doses.

I am sure that the only way to get rid of that monopoly is by promoting Freedom, not "Linux - The coolest OS ever". If people switch to GNU/Linux because of its coolness, they would also switch to Mac or any other OS for the same reason. If they switch because of freedom, that would not happen.

Cheers!

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Joined: 2007-09-10
It's not always clear of

It's not always clear of the differences that exist between Linux and Windows when you try a specific application on each platform. You have to look at a larger context. Having Firefox on Linux is about ensuring the long-term viability and competitiveness of Firefox [and Firefox on Linux helps Linux]. It's about Firefox not breaking down at a key point in Microsoft's growth push and the Firefox Windows developers having then to work overtime just to keep even (eg, Netscape in the mid 90s). I mean, without Linux, we'd have Vista right now. This means most users would find themselves going through yet another migration away from favorite apps unto a smaller set of apps, many of which would belong to Microsoft. How much easier is it for Firefox devs on Linux to grow Firefox today and keep improving it (yes, sometimes steps backwards are taken) than it would be if there was only the Windows version? There is a reason Netscape/AOL open sourced firefox and ported it over to Linux. There is a reason Netscape was overwhelmed and its browser stagnated.

So we just looked at the view of the trees. We must not forget that the long term viability of Freedomware, as well as its faster rate of improvement, is tied to the forest view of the industry. The quicker the Monopoly crumbles, the more we will be able to enjoy at a faster rate, the freer all our software will be.

Destroying the Monopoly is akin to ripping out the root of a batch of weeds as opposed to fighting constantly to keep them trimmed. How many of us don't just pull the whole thing out to save time long term? [I do.]

Gustavo's picture
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I think the coolness of

I think the coolness of GNU/Linux should be used to catch people's attention, but not as the main reason to make the switch.

I will let other people take care of the comfort for the lazy people who invent excuses not to make the switch. I'll work to get the mindful people on the freedomware side.

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>> I think we do have such

>> I think we do have such power. Take a look at Firefox.

Read the post I just put up (wrote it before reading your reply). http://www.nuxified.org/topic/gnu_linux_does_not_matter_that_much#comment-12101 . It's not about whether or not Firefox can exist to some degree. It's about having the Firefox devs spend their time improving Firefox instead of trying to keep up with Microsoft changes and bugs, which they can do nothing about, assuming they can even find the bugs. You can't integrate Firefox to Windows the same way you can in Linux (recently the Mozilla foundation got closer to the GNOME foundation.. there will never be a Windows foundation to get close to in reality).

Long ago, the predecessor of Firefox, Netscape, existed only on Windows (at least not on Linux). Since then it's been clear that the Linux offering has gotten better in relation to the Windows version. I can't wait for Mozilla to finally be able to dump their Windows ports. Probably won't happen until Linux gets used frequently by 30% or more of end users.

Look at the trends, Sony, Google, IBM, .. the major players know they are toast if they don't have Linux to save them from Microsoft. Google can add functionality to Linux version of its software without the Windows hurdles. But yes, Google got started on Windows. What you have to recognize to see more clearly is the trends. Before, Linux got ignored. Today, Google and others actually bring out some products first on Linux and others may actually never be moved to Windows.

You are looking at a brief point in time. Windows was the only game in town not long ago (ie, Linux was not close to be usable by the majority). Most companies have Windows products because they would not exist otherwise. [And many that did, don't exist anyway]. In short, the major tech industry players/developers, if not the consumers, see the value in moving over to Linux as a platform.

So do we have power on Windows. No, not nearly the way we have power on Linux. We write and adjust Linux. We don't do one iota of that for the growing body of Microsoft code. Mozilla devs feed and grow upon their downstream and upstream providers. On Windows, you reach a dead end when it comes to any Microsoft technology which comprises the majority of things. Microsoft keeps growing through extending what they embrace. Firefox will eventually rot on Windows as it will not be able to provide the wealth of integration and efficiencies it will be able to provide with Linux environments or that Microsoft can provide for its products on Windows.

So do watch the long-term time line.

If you write code, there is a big difference in interfacing with open source and having responsive friends over on the other side (or being able to go in yourself and learn tricks or how something works and fix mistakes or make design suggestions to these interfacing projects).

Finally, working too closely with MS protocols just makes it easier for Microsoft to clone our code ideas/features since they will be in a format that relates well to all their proprietary code.

>> >> People won't use garbage.
>> Erm... What's the world's most used OS?

People are stuck on that garbage to an extent. And no, Windows is not completely garbage by any means or it truly wouldn't be used. Actually, many don't use the computers. All modern software is garbage to an extent.

>> Put that way, it seems like Microsoft ruled the earth

I think they will fall. Yes, but I don't want the fall to drag on for 20 years.

You are aware of all their court suits by competitors that were wronged, right? You are aware of the continuing stream of antitrust actions being taken against them, right? That's an awful lot of power to have done all that, taken heat for it, and still be on top. You likely know about how many vendors (more so in past years than say this last year) cannot afford to lose the discounts (ie, marketing funds) they get from Microsoft or they would hemorrhage business to competitors.

There is a reason monopolies have separate laws that apply only to them. When you control a resource everyone must use, you set the rules. In Microsoft's case, they only control a unique resource as long as others cannot create suitable replacements. Their inter-locking monopolies and closed source provides that.

>> They are vulnerable, specially in the standards field.

Microsoft has always taken open standards and even source code under liberal licenses like BSD in order to build their locked-in franchise.

Today the pressure is huge on them, that is why they have so much to gain through OOXML. As is, they got an ECMA standard and may yet get an ISO standard. The value there is for marketing purposes. OOXML is also an attempt to get the industry to drop support for ODF and support OOXML where Microsoft has free reign and HUGE investments. So Microsoft is attacking ODF through consumer pressure and by trying to get FOSS coders and "partners" to support it on Microsoft's behalf, hopefully for free. How much would Microsoft love for developers to actually think they will be able to interface with Microsoft competitively and that Microsoft technology is the future! The last thing Microsoft needs is for developers to build their own parallel hospitable world.

Look for these themes. They are easy to find in the news and press releases.

Microsoft has lost battles left and right, but they are still in a very good position wouldn't you say?

An example of them using certifications for the name's sake: they claimed POSIX compliancy in order to gain government customers and others in various areas. The actual products they shipped were not POSIX compliant. See also Ed Curry, where they got security certification, but not in the products they actually shipped (only in some hacked version they cobbled together to pass the reviews). They also got their Windows 3.1 API to become an ECMA standard ..just as they moved beyond it into Windows 95.

I refer you to that quote you wrote.
>> The Windows API is so broad, so deep, and so functional that most ISVs would be crazy not to use it. And it is so deeply embedded in the source code of many Windows apps that there is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system instead…
>> It is this switching cost that has given the customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO, our lack of a sexy vision at times, and many other difficulties [...] Customers constantly evaluate other desktop platforms, [but] it would be so much work to move over that they hope we just improve Windows rather than force them to move.
>> In short, without this exclusive franchise called the Windows API, we would have been dead a long time ago.

Microsoft knows what is the most important thing for them to have: the ability to set and change the rules and this ability to be intertwined with everything.

To me as a developer, it's about leaving the rat race behind. Coding to improve something, not to end up scratching my head wondering how the black box model broke down on me (MS intefaces would be the black box .. as opposed to a white box open source interface) or how I can't compete because new protocols and interactions are secret. On Linux, every new idea I have, I can start working on adding that infrastructure into the interfacing projects. It's nice to know that Linus cooperates (else, we might fork since we can). Microsoft does not. Worse, they spend time faking to the right to go to the left in hidding. We usually only find out years later after many failures and maybe some lawsuits.

As a consumer, it's about being able to gain freedom and growth in more than just tiny sips, or only to then find myself further behind later on.

>> Let Microsoft come over to Linux.
>> That sounds chilling Eye-wink, but I'd do so once they free their products.

It definitely sounds chilling, but more chilling to me is taking my code to where they clearly rule.

MS can pervert open protocols. They do all the time (huge list)! It's easy to extend open protocols when you use closed source. It's also business smart to do so when you have a monopoly to protect.

The OOXML issue is more complex and has to do I think with the huge amount that Microsoft has invested in that. It's also about trying to get third parties (eg, FOSS coders) to deal a heavy blow to IBM and Sun who are among the largest commercial supporters of FOSS. Damaging them seriously opens up market share for MS to gobble up as they continue to fight slow errosion to Freedomware.

Also, we would be dealt a blow if we lost support from these commercial companies. [Look at Java and at ODF as well as other things.] Let's not forget the psychological blow dealt to those that wandered from the "true MS path" and now will get fired. Let's not forget how much more difficult it would be for enterprises to try FOSS with major commercial backers having failed.

MS wants to have us lose credibility, gain free access to a whole new set of customers, and continue their strangle hold over everyone so they can continue to force revenues into their coffers periodically and thwart any competition attempting to steal any share.

That is power, and its base is the MS software stack, starting from the lowest layers.

I don't think IBM or Sun will fall like this, but there is no doubt that there is a real fight and there is a lot at stake (lot's of jobs and future control). Of all commercial players, Microsoft probably has the most to gain or lose.

>> That would be a huge mistake. One of Microsoft's best-known strategies is "Embrace, extend and extinguish". We won't be able to get rid of them if we help them that way.

I don't know what you meant. Were you agreeing with me or not?

>> I am sure that the only way to get rid of that monopoly is by promoting Freedom, not "Linux - The coolest OS ever". Those who switch to GNU/Linux because of its coolness, would also switch to Mac or any other OS for the same reason. If they switch because of freedom, that would not happen.

This is where theory meets practice. You can't live on ideology alone. You need food.

Promoting Linux is promoting freedom. It's also promoting wise long term investments and a way to escape lock-in for all time. Realistically, people may not abandon Windows, at least not until they master a way to put food on their plates through freedomware.

Yes, you can allow yourself to be locked in to this or that application on Linux, but you can avoid that. On Windows, you will ALWAYS be locked in to Windows and the growing amount of software on Windows controlled by Microsoft.

I don't believe in marketing lies. I simply believe in making Linux the best value proposition (eg, by getting devs to focus on Linux), and on marketing the advantages you get on Linux.

What is wrong with having Windows (today) and Linux as well?

Not marketing a freedom platform of the vast scope and importance that is Linux IS A TRUE FREEDOM CRIME.

Sticking out tongue

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>> I will let other people

>> I will let other people take care of the comfort for the lazy people who invent excuses not to make the switch. I'll work to get the mindful people on the freedomware side.

Excellent!

>> I think the coolness of GNU/Linux should be used to catch people's attention, but not as the main reason to make the switch.

This highlights why I want to break the Monopoly. It's a practical matter, not an ideological one.

I do it because I think it's difficult to value ideology if it pains you (too much, though "too much" is context sensitive).

I view "ideologically powerful ideas" as ideas that have a deep value that is real but just not necessarily seen short term. These would be ideas that prove themselves in the long term.

Anyway, the Monopoly and its far-reaching effects are a major hurdle in getting more people to believe the wisdom and value of Freedomware. Food comes before ideology in most households. I don't expect to change that. That would be fighting nature (life/death struggle). What I like to do is to get the food on the side of good ideology. It's OK to make sacrifices, but this is only doable if you are really convinced first [whatever it takes for that to happen].. and only up to a point.

It's coming surely I think, but I actually enjoy helping to speed things up. A small "sacrifice" for "me" today can be rewarded handsomely tomorrow. Society and all that partake stand to gain.

Smiling

..one last thing. Keep in mind that Linux is a huge dose of Freedomware. It's true in quantity, but much more so as an enabler of other Freedomware.

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Joined: 2007-09-10
>> Our movement falls into

>> Our movement falls into the second kind of campaigns, so we should not expect lazy people to make the switch until there's nothing to sacrifice when switching to Freedomware, and that will come true once Freedom dominates thanks to the mindful people who sacrificed their comfort to stand for a free society.
>> I will let other people take care of the lazy people's comfort, which sadly matters. I will try my best to make the mindful people aware of this problem for Freedom to triumph, because to me it's far more important than comfort.

http://www.nuxified.org/topic/gnu_linux_does_not_matter_that_much#comment-12104

People will feel a whole lot better about themselves maybe if they can do good and gain at the same time.

There are too many issues involved here if we argue about the best way to live life. Religion comes into play and all sorts of ideas and believes about life. We are bound to disagree and spend a whole lot of time in the process. I would indulge if I was less busy, and if I felt it would be worth the investment in time.

Instead, we can all probably agree that if we can do the Right Thing both morally and as a practical matter, we will be happier than if we find ourselves striking a compromise.

Thus bottoms up, no matter which approach you take. Different people at different times will appreciate the different arguments, but all will be moving generally in a Good direction and into position to better relate to the other side.

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>> That said, it is not

>> That said, it is not even so much about having people use 100% Free Software as much as making sure that they are aware that there are certain restrictions involved with a particular proprietary technology and conversely freedoms with a particular Freedomware. When they see clearly this distinction they are more capable of making an informed decision. We can only bet then that they would in most cases choose freedom, eventually un-trampling themselves from monopolies that thrive on their ignorance.

I agree.

What bothers me is that Linux and other key invisible infrastructure would be seen as unimportant in trying to educate about Freedomware.

Yes, do NOT suggest that people blindly move. You can also be happy about small steps taken by a person.

But I hope people selling Freedomware not assume that Linux/Windows is just one particular choice among the many Freedomware "apps". In fact, Linux is key to Freedomware having a life. RMS didn't start with low-level "apps" for no reason. Also, the FSF doesn't own significant and important low-level apps for no reason. Free infrastructure is crucial to actually being free and being able to depend on particular technology to be there in the future, both for consumers as well as for developers.

On a more specific and immediate level, Windows and similar plumbing are what give life to the Monopolist and its continued fighting against Freedomware and its continued efforts to keep Freedomware marginalized as they make the cost of switching from their software very high (for some).

>> As far as they are concern GNU/Linux is just another operating system and they might have as well switched to OS X, it wouldn't make a fundamental difference. It's one tool for another.

As far as "they" (typical end user not valuing freedomware) are concerned, they may very well do this. I completely agree with advocating the value of Freedomware for its own sake; however, keep in mind that infrastructure software interfaces with almost everything and forms a crucial part of all these other software. Depending on closed systems is an Achilles heal of any affected Freedomware, and these closed dependencies will continue to be a prime tool in the arsenal of companies wishing total control and to lock-in users.

So, I agree that end users may take these actions if they always seek the "best of breed." We should still strive for best of breed though (and I think we can achieve it though maybe not quickly). Here is why..

>> It is that it does not really make so much of a difference if GNU/Linux even becomes a dominant operating system if people still remain ignorant to the element of freedom.

It matters in an analogous way to why open source matters even if users don't look at it.

It matters because others can take advantage of it. In this case, these "others" would take advantage of the larger marketshare of Linux and enjoy those fruits.

The difference between Linux being widespread or not is in how many can take advantage of that platform to build solid applications and in large numbers. You want current Windows devs to help out and learn Linux eventually. Also, you want Linux to be supported by many in the industry (as it is starting to happen today in real numbers) since this means that the platform will not decay and become unusable with modern hardware or go outside the "hobbyist" realm to actually have the sorts of applications that will be able to solve users immediate problems. As long as Windows is so predominant, Windows lock-in will continue to be pervasive keeping Linux mindshare among developers marginalized somewhat.

So Linux spreading and with it having one of Microsoft's most important monopolies break is valueable to all users indirectly whether or not they use this or that specific Freedomware app.

Linux for those that appreciate it will be stronger if those that don't appreciate it partake.

I am not shy about mentioning this. I don't try to hide from people that I benefit if they move to Linux. That is my "catch". But it's a two-way sharing street. Any large community benefits from that size. The question is, do you want the benefit (ie, cool application development and top-notch hardware support) that accrue to do so in your community where your community is closed (think DRM) and opaque and limited in extensibility and reusability OR do you want these benefits that accrue to do so in your community where your community is open and highly extensible, reusable, and transparent.. where you own it and control it?

I think it's a no-brainer. No we just need to keep convincing more that moving to it even when it is still fairly small in marketshare is a worthwhile cause.

It is because there is much that can be done with it today that you can't do on Windows. Or at least that should be/ can be the case.

http://www.thetuxproject.com/node/290 One example of a move to make Linux more compelling to normal users, even those that won't appreciate what they have before them, at least for a while, and to make it easier to "sell" the platform.

I'll keep adding to that thread. The goal I see is eventually for people to make tutorials and all sorts of content that the others partaking in that experiment/business can reuse (even business advice and ideas). Our community provides an ideal platform for others to share to help each other. There is no reason that we can't go beyond all the help provided today for Windows users. This help is a real value-add that can lead to many to keep Linux around and even start to grow comfortable with it and like it beyond anything on Windows. Imagine them knowing how to do lots of things with FOSS tools that they can't do on Windows?

I know that there are tools for Windows only currently that beat some Linux tools (at least if you know how to use the Windows ones better or don't even know about all the possibilities on Linux -- if knowledge and awareness doesn't exist, it's as if the tool didn't exist). With larger market share and user input, Linux apps will improve to exceed the proprietary ones because only with Freedomware can the end user truly participate.

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Hello, what an interesting

Hello,

what an interesting post.

I think there are two "sides" to what you are explaining in the blog post: the freedom of the overall information infrastructure, and the strategy to get there. I'll try to address both separately.

First, about the freedom of our complete information infrastructure.
I definitely agree about the importance of open standards. In fact, I believe open standards and free software are just two facets of the very same thing. It does not make much sense to discard any side.
This is the reason why the FSF works on Playogg.org and the Defective By Design campaign (DRM might seemingly just be a consumer issue, but in fact it's a direct threat to free software).

If we have to look broader than just GNU/Linux, then I would also feel the need to add another facet: a de-centralized Internet. I have written about this in a blog post previously, altough I did not point out the direct relation between Internet and free software.
Many free software enthusiasts are using on-line services such as Gmail, Flickr or Facebook, which slowly create closed, private networks (similar to the current IM networks) where proprietary software handles all of the information. [I'm not blaming anyone, I still use Gmail to some extent]. This is no less threatening to the freedom of our information infrastructure, and it worries me a great deal.

So globally yes, "GNU/Linux Matters" is not the most appropriate statement to free up the computing world. There are many other things we could/should worry about than just GNU/Linux.

Now, the strategy - what should we do about it? What is the best tactic to get where we want to get?

Deciding which one of open standards or free software should come first, is hard. I think the factors influencing Joe to switch to GNU/Linux are multiple.
As was mentionned in this discussion, people are often conscious that there is something better. Sometimes switching to open standards (I think we are mostly talking about MS Office documents here) is a first step, which is followed, or not, by a switch to GNU/Linux. Sometimes, the switch to GNU/Linux is the opportunity to change to open standards. Often, it's nothing at all, because people have better to do than worry about such things.
Honestly, I just cannot decide which "line of thought" will be most efficient for millions of users (1.standards 2.OS, or, 1.OS 2.standards). It's the same thing with the dual-boot, ie, does it improve or decrease the conversion rate? It's hard to know.

The most important thing to ask is, what is the most striking need, and what can GLM do about it?.
There are tons of things we could worry about. If we worry about standards, a good thing would be to start getting involved in the ISO-standardisation battle for OOXML, for example. But we are (still) very small. I am afraid, as always, that we try to do too many things.

My vision is, we should first concentrate on giving GNU/Linux, or just "Linux", a decent homepage. This IMO the most blatant shortcomming of the FS movement. We are good at correcting this, and we are not finished. I think it will still take months before we do it really well and powerfully.

I think GetGNULinux.org *itself* will never be switching millions of users to GNU/Linux. Instead, it will be the best tool for the community to do so. I see our job as giving the community a single clean place to point to, when they mention "Linux".

After that, we can do the same with standards & protocols. That is the whole point of unconstrained.info I think.

.

Overall, and perhaps "as usual", I am afraid that we lose focus. The idea of the Freedom Suite is great - but do we have the means to do it? I think not - I feel unsatisfied with how we are doing with GGL and translations today. It's improving slowly, but there is still so much work to do, it's taking so much time and energy! Starting having this broader look, thinking about standards conversion etc, is relevant, but I'd like us to complete what we are doing first.
This said, I'm really open and interested in discussing further our vision and objectives, very preferably in person in the next GLM summit =)

I hope this comment is not entirely unsatisfying,

Olivier.

Ark74's picture
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I think that if we hit this

I think that if we hit this issue by using the 3rd step that you mention (that is what most of the people do), we will be failing in the effort to move people, move society to a free operating system, because they won't know what is the point, if they think that the whole point of this, is make it better that Windows, nicer, or practical. They won't care about if is free (libre) software or if it is non-free software.

But if people really get conscience about freedom, about computer user rights (as the human rights, or press freedom) people will care, and won't believe what they are told by the corporations is the ultimate truth, and won't think that being divided, and dominated because the "owners" of the technology say so is right.

If we help them, if we teach them about the freedom that they own, and if they know which they are, if they use them and value them. Then they will by themselves get away from that tramp-freedom operative system, get away from the software that takes away their freedom, and look for the one that does respect it.

As you said, almost all the time, an GNU+Linux operative system. And other systems that respect freedom too.
There's to many places were they can learn the technical use, but so few where they can learn about values, and freedom.

The good thing is that we have open standards, we do have operative systems, we do have all (or almost) the things to live a free life is we choose so.

There are people working for this issues, working to organize this movement, and working to protect our freedom, but the important thing, what will protect the future of this free software movement, (as you may heard from Stallman) is what we, the community value. If we value freedom, and teach people to recognize their freedom, then we will be in a good way to keep our freedom, we won't move people that don't believe their freedom values, and if we try to convince them by practical or technical advantages they will misunderstand the point of this.

I think that GNU/Linux Matters is one good chance to enforce this effort in the good way, and i'm glad that you (all?) realize that freedom is what "Matters" Laughing out loud

Regards
Keep the good way!

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Joined: 2007-09-10
First, a bit about

[Updated until about an hour after initial posting.. sorry.]

First, a bit about standards:

Monopolists stand to gain by not following standards. It thwarts competitors because competitors get the boot if they are small and don't fit into the world.

One way to battle that is to try and put Microsoft on the spot to follow standards. We may have some success there especially as the pressure mounts. For example, maybe the EU can stipulate that Microsoft continue to do business only if they follow various standards.

Still almost any standard will have loopholes which can be exploited. Some standards have a lot more loopholes than others. Also, if a standard is very complex, it's difficult for anyone to fully implement it. It will have many optional sections and use wording like "may" "might" "could" "we suggest" "it is recommended" etc. Additionally, most standards have to allow for extensions or for payload whose interpretation is unspecified so as to allow it to grow in the future and be augmented and work with other new standards. That's a loophole. The fact they can be extended means that you can follow them (ie, MS follow hypothetical EU demands strictly) while extending them through closed means (yet have MS achieve embrace/extend.. extinguish?).

The open source world uses standards to make their work more efficient (easier to leverage each other's work).

Open standards don't work except among cooperating individuals.

In short, it's tough to enforce anything aggressively on a software vendor of Microsoft's size without crippling them and "destroying their ability to innovate." [Expect this particular battlefront to be difficult, though certainly the EU may have more success than the US courts had. Look at what happen to Judge Jackson when he stated that the Microsoft problem had no practical solution that would allow US anti-trust laws to be enforced to introduce competition except by splitting up Microsft. Basically, that suggestion was over-ridden, he was replaced, and the new White House administration stopped pushing the case in court. That was 8 years ago, and many will argue that Microsoft is even more powerful today (I think it's a matter of perspective and of what happens tomorrow).]

*******

Second, a bit on the value of being practical.

You can't achieve perfection, and, in fact, everyone will have a different idea of what that is. Some will value things more than freedom or disagree with the FSF's definition of freedom and present a strong case that will convince many others.

I am not willing to spend much time fighting battles that can't be won. That doesn't mean you throw away the principle, but it means I will adjust the battle plans and goals.

Right now Microsoft's monopoly is huge in keeping off most people's tables any sort of freedom that might be to the FSF's and, more importantly (to me), to "my" liking. Breaking the monopolies is done when enough people stop depending on monopoly dependencies. By definition, this can't happen while you are on Windows as long as Microsoft continues to be able to change Windows and keep its behavior secret. [Tip: don't update to new XP service packs or to new OS like Vista.. but then you risk even more than usual having your PC get compromised and controlled by other groups besides Microsoft.] And do you really think people will not upgrade to Vista and start a new round of dependencies when they don't know better.. when their friends are doing cool stuff on it.. when their boss or partners demand it? Some will resist, but expect them to be in the minority, even if your "freedom" arguments are heard by all and make sense to them all.

See the standards' discussion above. The only way to know the secrets holding up the monopoly is through (verifyable) open source not through any sort of typical open standards. Ie, open source carries with it many details that are not in open standards.. details which show loopholes violations.

Maybe "you" think yourself and the EU will get Microsoft to follow perfect standards or to show "all" their source code in a way that is verifyable (that it can be compiled and built transparently). I don't (though hopefully those working at this will win useful battles and achieve partial success).

Instead, I know that if Linux becomes better than Windows or at least offers unique valuable material, then people will do what they have to do to minimize future dependencies on Windows or at least will want to have Linux around (meaning we would have achieved a valuable position to more capably fight future battles).

You can always work to educate (and I am not suggesting people abandon this type of battle), but remember that people have all sorts of different views over what is important in life. If we can't get people to follow the same religion and set of goals (and who would provide this perfect model anyway), they surely aren't going to agree about the best way to maintain their computer and how much they should sacrifice for "the cause."

Microsoft wins because they give people what they want (to an approximation, and along with huge doses of cheating or just savviness). Well, we have a community that knows how to pull our resources together. We can fight the war of giving users what they want. [Don't people like freedom? .. all else being equal?] We can do the same as Microsoft and better.. if we get our acts together and perhaps once we reach critical volume.

Then again, we know we don't even agree to many things (see this discussion); thus, we will always have an uphill battle in uniting for any specific cause.

I won't give up though. If I can help users get what they "want", I can get their help. Getting their help, helps us all (including them.. presumably they wouldn't help if they didn't think it helped them.. plus, long term, a stronger larger community should help all its members). I think that is the only way to have practical success in fighting any battle. Use freedom and show that it works and there are real benefits.

After all, if you can't show me that there are real benefits to living the "free" life, do you really think I am going to follow you? And how will you show me if all I have and see and use is Windows?

Society is a work in progress. You will not reach nirvana and then have everyone play along nicely after that. You will always have to sell the value in everything that you value if you want others to value it, too. The old will pass away and the young will inherit what is left behind. At any moment they may throw it all away, especially if the "devil" shows them a more fun way to live life. Believe me, the day we have freedom and everyone uses Linux, the worlds problems will not end [but hopefully we will be able to do a better job to deal with tomorrows issues and have a better world then than today in comparison].

Education is extremely important then, but it's not a one-shot deal. You have to build a meta-system that can sustain attacks and ignorance of all sorts. And this is a large task that will always vary as the system itself changes over time. It's about getting educated on how to educate and build in a sustainable fashion.. and being able to change the rules as necessary to handle the unforseen future. Simply, these are the goals of any society that wants to give to future generations something better. Achieving "freedom" in the computing world or otherwise is but a part of this human goal; it's a neverending process done in parallel with living life and dealing with the imperfect reality.

So, I am prepared to "battle" to win percentages and don't ever expect the war to finish.

There are many ways to participate in that war. There are people that simply don't know facts and are willing to listen and can consider the long term, but remember that people disagree all the time. [Yes, they do.]

[Keep in mind that any type of law or decree is an abridgement on freedom. The GPL is not real freedom since it limits what you can do legally. GPL is managed freedom, and it will always be controversial to some extent and will always trample the views of freedom some will espouse. In fact, the FSF/GPL are practical in trying to achieve their goals. To pretend the practical isn't important is foolish and almost certainly hypocritical in a way because we have to be practical to live, some more than others.]

*******

I've tried to make my case about the importance of getting people to actually use Linux, no matter if they keep Windows around. If you depend on Windows and it has secrets, Linux may never ever be able to fully replace it. The user will have to migrate off Windows slowly and learn to build a new home on Linux. In any case, I've tried to explain somewhat that as long as you are on Windows, you are locked-in and help the monopolist (not the least by contributing to the value of Microsoft assets and hence Microsoft's power over OEM's and 3rd party vendors of all sorts).

I've also tried to make the case that it's an uphill battle asking users to value something that gives them so little practical in return. Some will recognize the value of freedom immediately. Some won't see it as that valuable if it means they must trade in what they like.

Plus, even people that know with their "hearts," don't follow many times because something is just too difficult. [What comes first, the FSF and "freedom" or family and friends and paying bills?]

And I hope I also can convince some that the more that move to free platforms, the easier it will be to get more to move.

Putting these last two paragraphs together should imply that moving more people to Linux is a Good Thing, period. Think of all the people that want to support the Right Thing but find it too difficult to do in practice. What about them? Must they be martyrs?

And don't forget that people disagree all the time. Heck, "you" might be misrepresenting the true value of freedom in the scheme of things! Why should I believe you? What are you doing for me that really is better as you claim?

... and show me, don't tell me. [This means that you have to bring the idea close to home in a way "I" can experience it and more easily start to believe it, rather than to just state the outcome, results, etc. This can be achieved through writing or pictures or physical contact and exposure (eg, actually using a Linux distro in a useful way). It's a skill, for example, to be able to do this in writing in some particular case or other. Sometimes writing is not enough to effect particular change, however.]

libervisco's picture
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Interesting posts. When it

Interesting posts. When it comes to prioritizing open standards over an operating system or vice versa I think it may be worth keeping in mind that the two approaches are not contradicting. One individual or organization may be prioritizing an OS and another might be prioritizing standards. In both cases it is both standards and a Free OS, ultimately, which will be promoted (perhaps OS to a slightly lesser extent in the standards prioritization).

But here is the fundamental catch, as has already been recognized. If we ask ourselves why do open standards matter and why does a Free OS matter the single most coherent answer will be individual freedom upon which many other benefits ensue (a healthier free market for instance).

So we can argue for ages whether it is better to prioritize one method over another, as long as we agree that the very reason we are doing this is freedom and that this is our "killer feature", we are all pursuing the same goal. So no matter which approach would be taken, if we get people to understand the underlying issue of freedom it will be much easier for them to, then on, make the effort and switches that may have otherwise seemed irrational to them.

And it really can't work any other way. It can be argued that Mac OS X is a much "cooler" and even in some sense a better desktop os than GNU/Linux. Furthermore, there is evidence that no matter how easy to use and awesome we make GNU/Linux be some people will not find it enough to switch. I am becoming convinced that the approach of promoting GNU/Linux based on its technical merit is slowly failing. It got us.. somewhere.. but it will not push us over the top.

We don't have a technically superior "killer app". We can't rely on technical superiority. Our best hope and our biggest differentiator is freedom and hence the best and most encompassing way to switch someone is to make them aware of that issue. I can't emphasize this enough.

Again, freedom IS our "killer feature" - the only and the best one we will ever have. If that doesn't give us "world prevalence", I assure you nothing will.

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>> Again, freedom IS our

The bottom of this post is hard to read. It's what I posted originally and I'll keep it there, but here is my reply. Also, the current reply is a work in progress that is still being edited. UPDATE: I think I have stopped making significant edits. UPDATE, I made one more significant change/addition at the bottom of the top section.

>> We don't have a technically superior "killer app". We can't rely on technical superiority.

Nonsense. Linux provides the superior apps in many use cases. You are assuming there is one mindset and one set of values and goals.

Even looking at just the desktop Jack/Jill market, there are many cases of a FOSS app (functioning best on Linux) that is found to be superior in this or that scenario. Other people have stated these preferences not just me. It depends.

For me, Linux software development is vastly superior, but that is not a Jack/Jill scenario. Some/many VisStudio developers would also disagree. Similarly, cost savings are not big for everyone. Neither is freedom nor transparency. Neither is computing power or rendering or server performance in some cases.

Some consider "integration" to be the killer app of Windows. [Not everyone loves Word or cares much for Excel and its set of limitations/performance.]

>> Our best hope and our biggest differentiator is freedom and hence the best and most encompassing way to switch someone is to make them aware of that issue.

Freedom?

Is it freedom not to be able to open that word document? No. Is it freedom not to be able to violate the GPL? No. Is it freedom that I can't get an effect I want by pointing and clicking (or at least I can't figure out how to do so properly)? No.

Freedom is empty if it doesn't solve "my" problems. End of story.

Why does capitalism or democracy work? It works because they are closely aligned with freedom (but "managed", much as the GPL manages freedom in a way public domain or the BSD does not).

Freedom is not an end goal. Freedom of source code has been available with Linux/FOSS since day one. And many have talked about it since day one. Still people did not come in droves (and I truly believe everyone wants to be free).

Freedom is a stepping stone to all other useful qualities like .. quality and coolness. Windows and Apple, besides many years in existence and various forms of market manipulation, have the various quality that they do because of the freedom that money provides to many allowing them to focus a lot of effort on those platforms (trading in one sort of freedom for the freedom they hope they will have with the money being received in exchange).

Freedom is not an end goal for many. Utility and happiness are much closer to being end goals for many. Freedom may accompany these two things more oft than not. You may even argue that freedom is necessary for these two to be long lasting or more fully realized, but let's keep in mind what really counts, what is closer to being an end goal. If, in the minds of many, "freedom" did not have a better chance (as contrasted with a "lack of freedom") to lead to more happiness would people stand behind it? I don't think so.

Linux does have many killer apps besides it's unique flavor of freedom (unique compared to Mac/Windows), for there are many things that can be done only on Linux or best on Linux and for some those are killer apps.

Linux will not "take over the world" until it has enough of these killer apps. It need not beat Windows/Mac on their killer apps, at least not in order to get moving up the market share meter. What it needs is enough killer apps for enough people so that they use Linux in large enough numbers.

The (arguably) best thing for the community to do when searching for "killer apps" is to look at new areas for killer apps. Areas where perhaps (as one example) Linux' unique flavor of freedom allows (can lead up to) unique or superior opportunities for as many end users as possible. We should look for new apps and new features and new forms of ease and integration. [LiveCDs are currently a unique killer app.. for some anyway.. and I think can be for many others with the right tools and awareness.]

This is not to say that we only look for killer apps. No, naturally, we need to be able to come as close to replacing the killer apps of Mac/Windows as possible if we want to eliminate those platforms (for those that do) or at least have users be able to use Linux without feeling it is too uncomfortable.

It's very simple. It's just about providing the most value to end users. Our unique flavor of freedom essentially means we have the high ground in some areas and eventually (hopefully) should have the most number of killer apps. This end result will happen quicker, the more members partake in the community, regardless of the reasons they state for doing so.

Freedom is here now. Let's use it to come up with the platform that has the most killer apps for the most number of users.

[Note, some will find "freedom" as is defined by the FSF or as is seen on Linux as the killer app no matter how much the rest of the system might fail to solve their needs today if ever. I do agree freedom is a killer app, but realistically, we need to be able to compete and solve many types of real problems well if not the best in order to be useful to many. Also, considering the uphill battles, I really think we need to solve some problems for most Jack/Jills the best of Windows/Mac/Linux in order to gain market share.

We can sell freedom and point to successes, but "freedom" alone is not enough. It's suggestive and may even be considered evidence, but not proof. We need to take "freedom" to the next level to succeed. We are and have been on our way to that level for some time, but we are not yet there, at least not for most people, not with what Linux is believed to be and how it is being (or not being) utilized by most people today to solve their problems.]

One more thing I want to say in order to tie this post in with the others on monopoly abuse. Many of the valuable freedoms many don't find on Linux today have to do with the Monopolist's creations. Microsoft helps Linux be less useful to people by making it likely (or mandatory) that people will build dependencies on software whose interface and workings are hidden from third parties (Like the FOSS communities) and hence require Windows and other MSware. Microsoft is a major reason Linux does not solve as many practical needs for people today as it could (as it would if people were starting fresh with a clean slate without dependencies on Microsoft's closed source).

THIS IS WHY I THINK LINUX WILL MAKE MAJOR GAINS, AS WE MAKE MAJOR DENTS IN MICROSOFT'S MONOPOLIES. ULTIMATELY, THIS MEANS PEOPLE USING LINUX OUTRIGHT.

If we want to help fulfill the promises of "freedom" for as many users as possible, we need to get Linux used more often so that people start building on Linux and not by default on Windows. I am talking recreation and business use.

*****************************************
>> Again, freedom IS our "killer feature" - the only and the best one we will ever have. If that doesn't give us "world prevalence", I assure you nothing will.

I think freedom matters to people. More so when they have something to contrast. In fact, Linux never has to replace closed systems outright but simply be capable and accessible so that it's freedom can be seen and taken advantage of as suits the moment (of course, for those of us that use it exclusively, we'd like for it to be the best in as many aspects as possible).

But freedom can mean a lot of things. Is it freedom not to be able to open that word document? No. Is it freedom not to be able to violate the GPL? No.

"Freedom" is after all just a word. You can make that your battle cry, but if "I" don't actually perceive something of value there (or how I might define freedom) then you will have no success with me and will actually look foolish or dishonest or crazy or something along those lines.

I certainly think we can achieve wide market share on account of other qualities. It's a group package. Right now the largest hurdle to a more sane market share is the Monopolists active involvement towards keeping their monopoly. We tear down some walls but others get set up behind them. [Recently, more of the industry and government than in the past have been working together to help the non commercial entities tear down walls.]

>> It can be argued that Mac OS X is a much "cooler" and even in some sense a better desktop os than GNU/Linux. Furthermore, there is evidence that no matter how easy to use and awesome we make GNU/Linux be some people will not find it enough to switch. I am becoming convinced that the approach of promoting GNU/Linux based on its technical merit is slowly failing. It got us.. somewhere.. but it will not push us over the top.

"Coolness" and a bunch of other things (like freedom) are relative in that they depend on context. [What doesn't depend on context, right?] My tastes change. Things that are interesting at one point, become dull the next. Don't fads and styles come and go? [The hope for Linux in this arena is that it is accessible to a much larger group.. at least in theory.. at least once that larger group starts looking and learing and as Linux becomes even more accessible to newbies.]

Goals differ too depending on context. The best environment to help achieve one goal is not the best to help achieve another.

And let's not forget that the more contributed to platform X (considering volume, quality, etc), the better that platform will be. Looking at things this way, we can see that Linux is likely over-achieving when you consider the support it has gotten from the larger industry until fairly recently. This success is because of the sharing of the best ideas across the board.

Remember too that this is not just about coolness or any one specific issue. It's about value and many other things. These ALL play a role in deciding if "Linux is right for me."

>> Again, freedom IS our "killer feature" - the only and the best one we will ever have. If that doesn't give us "world prevalence", I assure you nothing will.

To get back to this. There are many people that left Windows on account of savings of $$. Freedom did not play a role.

Freedom means a lot of things to different people.

What I think will happen looking further out is that open source and licenses like the GPL will be much more common in the staple of most people. The vast numbers of people participating (including as they make their business) will mean the more closed systems (like today's Windows and Macs) will rot as the number of creative braincells expanded on that gets trumped by the total numbers working on more free systems.

My goals are basically short-term goals. How can I push this future day so that it arrives faster?

In the end, freedom rules because, as you said, it enables other things that are powerful. Capitalism is more free than typical government enforced communism hence you get greater value and goods from it.

"Freedom" is also closer in relation to democracy (large scale participation that means something) than would be the "nonfree".

This is why I have absolute confidence that Linux will have the best things overall in most areas, at least compared to today's nonfree Windows and Mac worlds. Just look at where Linux was some years back as compared to these other platforms.

Freedom may lead to a lot of things, but do not reason that it is exclusive of other things. Over time, freedom will simply have attracted most of the other good things towards it.

Just like the approaches are not either/or, neither is freedom/quality/value/etc either or propositions. As we gain numbers (converts if you will.. users, more correctly), freedomware's freedom will attract the other human desirable qualities, the sorts of more tangible or practically relevant qualities that are keeping people on Windows today.

My view is that we already have the freedom WHETHER OR NOT WE SAY ONE WORD ABOUT IT. Getting more people will help everyone in the free community. We won't get more people until the more practical qualities exist on Linux (and they will exist eventually)... so my question is, what are we waiting for to get those qualities onto Linux?

[That was a rhetorical question. In fact, from Linus on up to many others, there has been and will continue to be a lot of work to make Linux the best in as many respects as possible. Linux has been free from day one. There is nothing more to be done there.. except to go into maintenance mode (eg, the FSF's update of the GPL), and to help explain to / show others that this wonderful quality exists with this platform. At least it exists at some level, remember the freedom questions asked above and others. People need to taste it and feel it and have it solve their problems as they expect something with freedom can do for them, for them to believe whatever it is that you are telling them about freedom.]

[BTW, note I edited the earlier reply sort of late.]

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I see an approach in this

I see an approach in this thread and in others of similar nature, in some cases, by some to say things like, "if we can only get people to move over to this parallel world (ie, standards, FOSS on Windows, etc) without any effort at all then we can pull the carpet away and all will be fine.. or heck, why even bother to pull the carpet away if in fact we have build this layer."

My response is that this has been tried over and over for years and it has not been successful. As long as Microsoft has had control over the lower layers and interacting components of the software stack, they have made a very conscious and successful effort to thwart those attempts. They have the upper hand in that war because they write the code everyone depends on and they know its details while everyone else does not. It is and has always been a very steep uphill battle attempting this.

Meanwhile, the clock ticks, good things for Linux don't get written, and more people add yet another dependency on Windows. Microsoft loves those sorts of delays and futile efforts because it's more time they are receiving war funds and rebuilding their defenses and weapons.

Yesterday, we had no choice, but today we have Linux. It works, and it has come along. It is Microsoft free and closed source free where it most counts strategically in order to hold our ground.

Use it people. Stop fighting it. If you believe in the potential of the inherent freedom Linux has, stop trying to find ways around it (well, try, but give in at some point, please, for my sake Smiling ).

Use it and make it better. There are so many ways that Windows and Macs could be improved. Rather than to deal with Microsoft and Apple trying to improve the platforms they control and use against FOSS, why not just help make Linux better? Offer suggestions, feature requests, and bug reports. Write code. Write tutorials. Make demos and vids. Make Linux be a more valuable tool to more people. Show off the best in Linux. Exploit the best/unique things in Linux to create unmatched opportunity and value. Certainly, the other platforms fall short and aren't everything everyone always wanted.

What is freedom if it does me, Jack, no good?

If freedom is for real, I, Jack, should eventually see the gains, right? I may even see them before they actually arrive..

.. but don't count on it.

I (Jose) have a suggestion. Everytime you find a way that Windows or Mac is better, write it down. Then bring it up. You may find that you are ignorant of solutions or you may help push for a solution. Sometimes developers are satisfied with things because they know the tools intimately and can do a lot with them but don't realize that regular folks find them lacking. In fact, this sort of feedback is one of the main benefits of having a larger community: we get more people that will be willing to provide this sort of pressure and criticism. Some devs won't like it, but most will keep the comments in the backs of their minds at least (heck, making money on Linux is more fun than on Windows for many devs, so they have an interest in listening up).

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>> The (arguably) best

>> The (arguably) best thing for the community to do when searching for "killer apps" is to look at new areas for killer apps. Areas where perhaps (as one example) Linux' unique flavor of freedom allows (can lead up to) unique or superior opportunities for as many end users as possible. We should look for new apps and new features and new forms of ease and integration.

In other words, we should exploit the "freedom killer app" to create many more killer apps that cannot readily be matched on the non free platforms.

Many barriers to growing killer apps on Linux do not exist as they might on other platforms. [A killer app can be a home grown solution that solves a special need for a business no shrink wrap software can solve.]

But we still don't have as many resources being spent on Linux as we might be able to have done in the future. Most of the money today is still circulating over Windows. Many more solutions are still being hacked together on the non free platforms. This will continue to be the case as long as Windows is so dominant in market share. But once these resources move over to Linux, watch out. It's actually possible that a serious economic downturn could launch Linux on the home and business desktop.

*******

I guess overall where I am disagreeing (with libervisco) or at least what rubbed me the wrong way was the idea that freedom is the killer feature, end of story. .. that we should forget about taking that freedom and using it to compete in other areas. .. that "freedom" is our only real weapon in the battle and all we have to stand on with no hope of anything else (that may, eg, derive from it).

I also didn't like the comment about Linux having no hope technically speaking. It doesn't match reality where there are many cases where Linux is superior to the competition .. technically speaking.

Truly, compared to some years ago, Linux is much more feature rich and has many more of the sorts of applications that ordinary users like or can like (once they become acquainted with them and put some effort). Still this is the weak area. At the end, utility (besides value/price) is what users need. PC's are a tool after all. [I am not implying Linux is not useful. I'm just saying that to ignore utility and quality is unrealistic. I use Linux because of it's quality for what I need and want. Freedom is a part of that. I want and need freedom to get some things done, but it isn't everything.]

Superior freedom should lead to superior quality. It may take time because of market imbalances, but it should be but a matter of time.

[Note that one of the things that launched Microsoft and the bland PC in the early days was that it was much more open than the competition. Microsoft understands the value of having many third party developers adding value to their platform. They also understand the value of having these same devs write their software so that it depends on as many tools as possible controlled by Microsoft.]

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Maybe I am being confusing

Maybe I am being confusing with something.

I personally think the biggest sell of Linux (BSD, etc) is its openness, but not everyone sees that immediately or perhaps ever will.

What can/should happen though is that we take advantage of that openness to build the superior apps.. the superior solutions.. the killer solutions (they need not be "apps" in the traditional sense). Until people know about these apps (assuming they exist of course) and know how to use them, we will have marginal gains against all the forces working against Linux.

I do think we can sell freedom and potential, but that freedom better not be everything we have to sell. Potential that does not eventually turn into real gains gets dumped (perhaps for a few more years).

I certainly think openness leads to more killer apps. At the level of Linux it preserves third party competition because all are on the same footing and none can keep secrets from each other (to the extent they are FOSS). This competition will lead to better apps.

One of the tricks will be in making sure that Linux supports making money since people still need to figure something out in order to pay rent. [Of course Linux supports making money, but can it do a better job at it for Jack/Jill than can Windows in order to warrant adoption? How about for Jack/Jill Developer?] The more time people can spend on Linux the more likely Linux will grow faster.

People can be very patient and maybe route for Linux once they understand what is going on, but most won't switch if it means making their lives more difficult or will lead to losing money. Without quality and solutions (not "freedom"), Linux will not get far.

BTW, there is a lot of solutions the community can provide. Think of all the code snippets and documentation and howtos that can be created. In many cases, people are creating these for Windows today because Windows is what they use and what they know. It is a catch 22. That's probably why Linux advances so slowly in the desktop market place.

Anyway, killer apps (a string of them) are the sort of thing that turns heads and would help get one to leave their comfort zone.

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frustating

Hi!

ariadacapo wrote:

Hello,

what an interesting post.

I think there are two "sides" to what you are explaining in the blog post: the freedom of the overall information infrastructure, and the strategy to get there. I'll try to address both separately.

First, about the freedom of our complete information infrastructure.
I definitely agree about the importance of open standards. In fact, I believe open standards and free software are just two facets of the very same thing. It does not make much sense to discard any side.
This is the reason why the FSF works on Playogg.org and the Defective By Design campaign (DRM might seemingly just be a consumer issue, but in fact it's a direct threat to free software).

If we have to look broader than just GNU/Linux, then I would also feel the need to add another facet: a de-centralized Internet. I have written about this in a blog post previously, altough I did not point out the direct relation between Internet and free software.
Many free software enthusiasts are using on-line services such as Gmail, Flickr or Facebook, which slowly create closed, private networks (similar to the current IM networks) where proprietary software handles all of the information. [I'm not blaming anyone, I still use Gmail to some extent]. This is no less threatening to the freedom of our information infrastructure, and it worries me a great deal.

I fully agree with you on that, and I think we might address this problem in unconstrained.info (as "Unconstrained Services", or something similar).

Quote:

So globally yes, "GNU/Linux Matters" is not the most appropriate statement to free up the computing world. There are many other things we could/should worry about than just GNU/Linux.

Now, the strategy - what should we do about it? What is the best tactic to get where we want to get?

Deciding which one of open standards or free software should come first, is hard. I think the factors influencing Joe to switch to GNU/Linux are multiple.
As was mentionned in this discussion, people are often conscious that there is something better. Sometimes switching to open standards (I think we are mostly talking about MS Office documents here) is a first step, which is followed, or not, by a switch to GNU/Linux. Sometimes, the switch to GNU/Linux is the opportunity to change to open standards. Often, it's nothing at all, because people have better to do than worry about such things.
Honestly, I just cannot decide which "line of thought" will be most efficient for millions of users (1.standards 2.OS, or, 1.OS 2.standards). It's the same thing with the dual-boot, ie, does it improve or decrease the conversion rate? It's hard to know.

I think there are two paths:

  • The short yet frustrating one: Promote a freedom-respectful OSes, with people relying on closed formats and protocols, where dual boots are often necessary. We're just getting GNU/Linux users, not people really conscious of freedom in computing. The likelihood of people getting frustrated because of the way their documents and communications work under GNU/Linux is very high, which quite often lead to people switching back to Windows.
  • The long yet safe one: People are conscious about and used to unconstrained formats and protocols, so switching to GNU/Linux would be much easier.

I think that we, as the organization that takes care of Freedomware awareness, should take the safe path.

Quote:

The most important thing to ask is, what is the most striking need, and what can GLM do about it?.
There are tons of things we could worry about. If we worry about standards, a good thing would be to start getting involved in the ISO-standardisation battle for OOXML, for example. But we are (still) very small. I am afraid, as always, that we try to do too many things.

But that would be solved if we cooperated effectively: http://www.nuxified.org/topic/freedom_needs_you

We might address open standards, our way, a la GLM.

Quote:

My vision is, we should first concentrate on giving GNU/Linux, or just "Linux", a decent homepage. This IMO the most blatant shortcomming of the FS movement. We are good at correcting this, and we are not finished. I think it will still take months before we do it really well and powerfully.

Sure, but we need a roadmap. What's next?

Quote:

I think GetGNULinux.org *itself* will never be switching millions of users to GNU/Linux. Instead, it will be the best tool for the community to do so. I see our job as giving the community a single clean place to point to, when they mention "Linux".

After that, we can do the same with standards & protocols. That is the whole point of unconstrained.info I think.

Exactly. That's exactly what I want. I'm just proposing a roadmap. It's not something we have to start working on right now. But we make a plan, an ambitious one, for freedom in computing to win.

Quote:

Overall, and perhaps "as usual", I am afraid that we lose focus. The idea of the Freedom Suite is great - but do we have the means to do it? I think not - I feel unsatisfied with how we are doing with GGL and translations today.

I know we won't be able to make that suite by ourselves, that's why I propose that an organization such as the FSF would take care of that... We might try to make it, if we are alone and have enough resources to do so.

Quote:

It's improving slowly, but there is still so much work to do, it's taking so much time and energy! Starting having this broader look, thinking about standards conversion etc, is relevant, but I'd like us to complete what we are doing first.
This said, I'm really open and interested in discussing further our vision and objectives, very preferably in person in the next GLM summit =)

As far as I can see, we'd just have to finish the Pootle/Poliglota integration. That is not going to take many months. It's near completion. So I think we should start discussing on what's next. And yes, a submit would come in handy for this. Eye

Cheers!

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We have the following

We have the following pending projects:

If we take the path I suggest, once we finish the integration of Poliglota, we'd just have to develop unconstrained.info and then Animador; the rest would be done by another organization. FSGL might be moved to the tutor module of the suite. And the news site would be developed after Animador.

Therefore, I think we should define what we are going too do after the Poliglota integration. As I explained in the blog, I think we should pay attention to other things instead of being so focused on GNU/Linux, because it doesn't matter that much in the end (and there would not be much to do once Poliglota is fully implemented, which would be soon, as far as I can see).

Cheers!

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Hola, Ark74!To sum up, I'm

Hola, Ark74!

To sum up, I'm proposing that we, the Freedomware communities, create an infrastructure for people to make the switch to a freedom-respectful computing environment with no turning back. The short path is make them make the switch to a free OS with their constrained formats and protocols, and get them frustrated because their documents won't work well, nor their instant messaging. The long path is to make them unlock their information and communications before switching to a free OS. And I suggest we take the long path.

I don't see why they might not know what the point is, nor why they won't care about their OS being free.

Cheers!

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I agree both approaches are

I agree both approaches are not contradicting, but I think their priority matters and thus we should think coldly about it to make effective plans for the medium and long term.

libervisco wrote:

Again, freedom IS our "killer feature" - the only and the best one we will ever have. If that doesn't give us "world prevalence", I assure you nothing will.

We completely and utterly agree here. I would be a Mac fanboy otherwise.

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Jose wrote:Nonsense.
Jose wrote:

Nonsense. Linux provides the superior apps in many use cases. You are assuming there is one mindset and one set of values and goals.

I am assuming exactly the opposite. Different people have different ideas of what is technically superior. I may think GIMP is the best thing since the invention of drawing applications, yet the horde or Photoshop-lovers will outright disagree. Who is right? Objectively speaking, nobody or everybody - the answer is NULL. You can't objectively call anything superior.

Jose wrote:

Is it freedom not to be able to open that word document? No. Is it freedom not to be able to violate the GPL? No. Is it freedom that I can't get an effect I want by pointing and clicking (or at least I can't figure out how to do so properly)? No.

I thought it was implicit, but I guess the definition is necessary now. When I say freedom I mean four essential freedoms as defined in the Free Software Definition. That said, not being able to open that Word document is a consequence of Microsoft's disrespect for these four freedoms, not some sort of inherent freedom-restrictions by Freedomware. It's a void point.

As for "freedom to violate GPL" it is almost like talking about "freedom to violate freedom". Copyleft licenses are there to permit and protect those permissions. Therefore whichever restrictions exist they are there to protect the freedoms being granted. Think of the non-aggression principle - whatever floats your boat as long as it doesn't sink mine. The fact that this poses a restriction on you not to sink my boat isn't what I call a restriction of freedom - I call it an enforcement of my freedom against yours and vice versa - a balancing point.

Jose wrote:

Linux does have many killer apps besides it's unique flavor of freedom (unique compared to Mac/Windows), for there are many things that can be done only on Linux or best on Linux and for some those are killer apps.

Unique flavour of freedom? Man, you're relativising beyond meaning. I defined it above and Mac/Windows "freedom" is no freedom.

Just as I referred to the definition of freedom it appears that the definition of "killer app" is also necessary. The way I see it, it is an application which is of such great quality and so highly desired that people would be willing to switch platforms just so they can run it. Photoshop is one of the examples of it.

I don't think that GNU/Linux has and can have any killer apps, unless it is proprietary. Why? Because of freedom, because of the availability of the source code. As soon as there is a Freedomware application which is of such great quality and so desirable to make people want to switch, there could be someone who would, instead of switching, just take the code and port it to Windows, redistribute it to everyone and remove the need for switching. That'd be it. To have a true "killer app" you need to have something that is both great and uniquely tied to a given platform (something no other platform can have).

The only thing that fits the bill when it comes to Freedomware is freedom. It is great (which is not being said enough) and it is uniquely tied to Freedomware - you can't have it on Windows or Mac OS. In fact, if I could, I would be using Mac OS X right now - so much for all the other "technically superior" Freedomware killer apps. In the end they are not what's holding me to Freedomware the most. They don't matter as much. Freedom is the only one that matters in the end.

Jose wrote:

Freedom is not an end goal for many. Utility and happiness are much closer to being end goals for many. Freedom may accompany these two things more oft than not. You may even argue that freedom is necessary for these two to be long lasting or more fully realized, but let's keep in mind what really counts, what is closer to being an end goal.

I talk about freedom as the foundation that must be continuously preserved, not an end goal in the sense that you mean. However, the reality seems to be that Free Software is not always perceived as superior to proprietary software. This might not be so much of an indication that the development model which results from four freedoms is failing, but that the proprietary industry simply had more time and resources to construct the closed environments that could efficiently produce great software.

And this is the thing which puts me in a predicament. How do we promote clearly inferior Freedomware, in such cases, when it is technically speaking inferior? What is the reason people should consider using it?

It is a similar question in situations in which the two pieces of software, one Freedomware and one proprietary software, are about the same quality, but people are split between those who believe one is superior than the other and vice versa. Is it really worth it beating on that perpetual war for proving something that can't be objectively proved instead of pointing to that one thing which proprietary software clearly cannot beat: the freedoms that you have with it? I say no. Four freedoms are THE last differentiator for freedomware. When all other arguments fail, freedom argument wins. Even when the potential new user doesn't see freedom as that important to himself, once he understands four freedoms he can hardly argue that having them is worse than not having them, hence conceding that in this one aspect Freedomware indeed beats proprietary software.

And when you consider how much good software has been developed while respecting four freedoms, even to a point of sometimes out-innovating and out-pacing proprietary software, it is not a tribute to anything but the process which four freedoms gave way to. Again, they are THE foundation beneath it all.

Jose wrote:

Freedom means a lot of things to different people.

The term "freedom", when left undefined, does. However, when we clearly define it (as with the Free Software definition or more fundamentally the non-aggression principle) one can either take it or leave it, there is not much more bandying about to do. Indeed, most people would find themselves wanting such defined freedom, and would even allow themselves to be free should they truly treat it as a priority higher than a particular immediate convenience. However, convenience does not equal to freedom, just as getting a back rub and a Lemonade in prison doesn't equal to vacation on Hawaii.

Jose wrote:

I guess overall where I am disagreeing (with libervisco) or at least what rubbed me the wrong way was the idea that freedom is the killer feature, end of story. .. that we should forget about taking that freedom and using it to compete in other areas. .. that "freedom" is our only real weapon in the battle and all we have to stand on with no hope of anything else (that may, eg, derive from it).

You know, sometimes it seems as if at the same time as you try to argue against my points you actually end up supporting them. You just said it: derive from it. What is it? It is four freedoms. So what is the foundational thing which should be acknowledged and promoted as such? What is the one thing which makes Freedomware unique in ways that no proprietary software?

That's it.

Of course this doesn't mean this freedom shouldn't be used. What did you think I wanted this freedom to be? A god to build shrines for? Of course we have to use it! Of course we have to try and make the best software we can! Of course we have to out-compete proprietary offerings. But please let's not forget what is the enabler here, what makes a Freedomware program better than a perceivably technically equal proprietary program. No matter how good or bad a freedomware program is compared to a proprietary program, it still makes a difference between being in control and being controlled - and that is about the most powerful difference.

You should buy the next issue of Linux+ magazine. Eye If approved, an article explaining this exact issue is going to be published in it, or the first section of it at least. I feel like I already revealed some arguments from it here, but in a loose forum-form it's alright.

Friendly advice: Try to be more virtual-space efficient in your posts. Otherwise it becomes harder for people to even read, let along consider and aptly reply to your points. You end up smothering the whole discussion you helped further, in the excess of words.

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Confusing? You think? We

Confusing? You think? Smiling

We have to develop great software and we have to promote what we think makes them great as well. And there is this one non-technical yet fundamentally and universally relevant thing which Freedomware has and non-free software does not, and it is those four freedoms. So why not make the most of them?

When we say that freedom is our only killer app, this is what we mean. It is the only thing which can't be beaten.

This does not mean that we should abandon promoting what we believe are technical superiorities of Freedomware or that we shouldn't try to switch as many people as possible to GNU/Linux. However, we should not do this at the expense of freedom. That is down-right self defeating. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by compromising the one thing in which we can't be beaten.

And that is what the Open Source Initiative led movement essentially did - totally ignored the one thing that makes Freedomware really unique, the only thing in which it can't be defeated, in favour of all the subjective, relative superficial arguments like "mine is better than yours": "Open Source is a better business model" - "Open Source is a better development model" - "Open Source is better software". All of which are much more arguable and much less solid than the statement that "Freedomware makes you free as opposed to restricted."

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I may understand the view

I may understand the view you have towards open standards (and the focus on freedom). My main contention there is that "open stardards" are "embraceable" and then "extendable". It's easy really for someone in Microsoft's position to do this. In fact, I think Microsoft employees don't write new software. Microsoft buys other companies when they see that something was proven in the market. Their actual employees (the veterans not the noobs coming in) then spend all their time integrating, figuring out how to adjust the software strategically, and homogenizing the interface and brands. [Yes, I am only half serious when I say that.. but I wouldn't be surprised.]

Open standards exist very strongly on Linux. They don't exist generally in nearly the same clean form on Windows. Even Firefox has IE compatibility mode which is necessary only when interfacing with MSware based websites.

This is what I am arguing. Standards, in an ideal world, would be all that matters. In practice, you have to have something to gain by being faithful to standards. That is the condition on Linux, but it is definitely not the condition on Windows, where Microsoft has every financial incentive to embrace and extend. [..or did you think Gates was just doing that for fun with no consideration of MSFT?]

Thus to champion standards is to champion FOSS for the most part (or at least NOT MSware).

Now, how much better of a chance do you have to help someone value open standards if they are on Linux vs on Windows?

In short, I am saying that getting people onto Linux, no matter their views on freedom, is a first step in order to be able to really help them appreciate open standards since Linux would be the place you want to be to be able to experience that.

I suppose if you want to be aggressive ( Eye ), you can afterwards kick them off Linux, once they appreciate open standards, but then fail to appreciate freedomware. Sticking out tongue

Anyway, does it or doesn't it make sense to suggest the best platform for getting acquainted with the value of open standards?

Or are you unforgiving of others if they refuse to appreciate open standards without getting a good taste (ie, just on theory)?

These are rhetorical questions I am asking at your expense to have a little fun. I think you are going under the theory that open standards are all that is needed without concern for context. No. Open standards have lived a very battered and bruised existence on Windows for several decades now. It's quite a struggle to try and experience open standards in a Microsoft world.

[I'm aware of Java and ODF.. and it's a hard life for those two. At least for Java, it involves a few compromises. And it would have been much worse were it not for the huge lawsuit/injunction Sun levied against Microsoft and won. In essence, dotnet is the perverted Java Microsoft always wanted but was ultimately not allowed to keep. On Windows desktops you'll likely see a lot more dotnet than Java or at least enough of it. For practical purposes, that would be Java perverted. Meanwhile ODF is very new. HTML I already mentioned. Many other standards don't really exist because Microsoft controls those fields (eg, Kerberos vs Active Directory and maybe even some mail exchange and heavens knows how many more standards). IN SHORT, WINDOWS IS NOT THE BEST PLACE TO GO TO TASTE OPEN STANDARDS. ..and no, I am not just saying this to push Linux. Heck, I could be living in the past. I've been away for Windows for a while. Maybe the 4-colored flag is not even there any more. Ditto for the butterfly and clippy. Open standards might be alive and kicking on those grassy hills.. and I wouldn't really know. Eye -- I know clippy is gone, or so I heard.]

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.>> Many free software

.>> Many free software enthusiasts are using on-line services such as Gmail, Flickr or Facebook, which slowly create closed, private networks (similar to the current IM networks) where proprietary software handles all of the information. [I'm not blaming anyone, I still use Gmail to some extent]. This is no less threatening to the freedom of our information infrastructure, and it worries me a great deal.

Yes, it seems many online service providers are finding it easy to keep closed systems yet gain users in droves. The AGPL would be useful here.

I use yahoo mail and much less so youtube (gmail only in theory at this point.. I opened an account in other words). I think it's simply a matter of time before I bail on yahoo even if Microsoft ends up not buying them out.

What are the open alternatives to these? [Mail has alternatives though not necessarily for no charge.] And in what way are they closed? I am not saying there aren't closed aspects to them. But you do use standard HTML + flash (which is sort of open) to access the content. This means it isn't locked away from you..

yet.

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>> The short path is make

>> The short path is make them make the switch to a free OS with their constrained formats and protocols

I won't repeat here what I replied to your other (longer) post on this topic. What I want to point out is that you can use Linux AND Windows. In fact, some of the stuff on Windows won't even port over to Linux so you may not have a choice but to keep both if you want complete fidelity.

However, with both, you can now start to create and use files/apps in high volume using *really* open formats on Linux. If you stay on Windows, you may never really know what it means to be open. You may from time to time, but it will always be a shifty and very uncertain situation. I mean where are you more likely to experience and create .ogg seamlessly for example? On Windows, it's likely you will use a media player that doesn't provide this functionality. In the past, at least, it was a battle to keep certain apps set to a default that wasn't Microsoft's. Occasionally, the defaults would revert.

The other thing I want to point out is that the growth of Linux helps freedomware everywhere even if part of the user base happens to be clueless on the matter of freedom. I for one look forward to having an easier time selling freedomware and having it be found acceptable (especially with sympathizers that just aren't willing to fight the current as much as we are.. perhaps because they have something established already or require Windows for work).

Freedom has to help us for it to be considered a Good Thing. Freedom *will* help us. When people start using Linux, they will see a huge range of possibilities open up for them like nowhere else and that they experienced at no other time (this won't happen the first day, btw Smiling). It's unfair to expect people to appreciate freedom from Windows or without Linux. That would be quite a handicap. It would make reaching out the the more difficult individuals that much more challenging.

I have plenty of challenges to keep me busy for a while. The more I solve or that are lessened the better.

Gustavo's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-11
Hello Jose! We are aware

Hello Jose!

We are aware that we may use closed formats under GNU/Linux, as well as closed protocols, and any sort of closed standards, and that way the GNU/Linux userbase would grow faster. However, although our name is "GNU/Linux Matters", our goal is not just to increase the Linux userbase. We are concerned about computing freedom, in all fields. We are committed to fight for a fully free computing environment, and so requires a free OS and open computing standards.

An almost fully free computing environment is not enough for us. We find we must also address this kind of standards.

Cheers!

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