- (8.) encouraging people to seek help from friends instead of installing by themselves:
I agree with Gustavo that it can be suggested. But the risk is that the reader turns to a "friend" who will either turn him/her off (most geek users frighten newbies off) or push him/her in the wrong direction ("open-source", proprietary software, etc).
So I think the best way is to point to the starter guide when it's ready.
I fully agree with you. I bet you these people won't stop bothering their "Linux guy" (best known as their "doormat").
- (9-12) I haven't found specific areas in the site that could/should be improved regarding this. Suggestions?
9: It might be included in "The software industry can't keep going if programmers don't get paid".
10: Neither do I. I guess it's a generic suggestion, something we should always keep in mind.
11: In "What about choice", we should place a comment on software addiction along with what Bill Gates said.
12: We have a link to a Microsoft's webpage on "piracy". We might say something like "by the way, we don't understand why they call it 'piracy'; this is about sharing and piracy is about attacking boats".
- Addiction and drugs: I'm not sure about that...
Personally I believe the addiction is only a small part of the problem. We always get addicted to things - in fact when I (rarely now) have to use a Windows computer, I find myself swearing at the cluttered start menu and the all-powerful antivirus. Simply because I am addicted to Gnome and GNU/Linux.
Ultimately the addiction is simply a matter of interface, and everyone (free, semi-free and proprietary software developers) works at that.
The important aspect, IMO, is the openness, the compatibility, the allowance for customer choice, ultimately the freedom.
Addiction itself is something normal, not an issue; we all have addictions. The problem arises when someone else takes advance of a harmful addiction in order to make a profit. Thus, we should not address "software addictions", but people who take advance of "harmful software addictions".
I've been to the conferences on free software in Paris yesterday and have met Richard Stallman.
The afternoon was organized by the APRIL, the "equivalent" of the FSF in France, a 700-member-strong association which is doing a huge amount of work for free software here. RMS gave a general talk about free software; presenting all the important principles and ideas, in French, to a public of roughly 100.
After his talk I was able to approach RMS and talk with him. Unfortunately poor Richard was solicited a great deal by the many people around him and generally communication was difficult. Many people had questions for him, he had to arrange his travel away from Paris, had to constantly ask people to speak louder and slower.
I could talk with him for five to ten minutes, in the corridor and while other people were gathering around. We only had time to discuss the issue of "GNU/Linux" vs. "Linux". I tried to present the ideas I wrote above in this thread; Richard was very clear and persuasive about his position. He explained that it was not a trivial matter whether GNU/Linux was pronounced right; the mistake in the terminology could only be corrected if the right words were used right from the start. Doing this was not a matter of how large an audience, or what type of audience, I was trying to reach. Suggesting in any way that the use of the word "Linux" was legitimate, was denying the FSF and the GNU movement of the whole philosophical basis underlying the operating system.
He was kind and persuasive as always, careful in his selection of words (all in a hesitating but precise French), and certainly showed interest in the GGL project. He expressed his sadness towards my determination to compromise. As our discussion came to an end I told him that I needed time to think and discuss this over, and that I shall write to him to give him an "answer" and say more. He encouraged me to do so; then left.
Sadly we had no time for further topics; I had hoped to discuss other themes, like the approach of the "Why not Windows" section or more generally perspectives for free software on the internet, his opinion of a book by Lawrence Lessig, ect. Maybe next time. I got back to the conferences/debates, which were then much more specific and thoroughly interesting [RMS' speech was excellent too, simply not highly relevant for those who have seen/read/taught its content over many times ;-)].
We have an important choice ahead of us here.
It was never explicitly stated, but providing we adapt GGL accordingly, there are good chances that it could be supported officially by the FSF. (Note this is not a promise, just my perception, and I feel, Gustavo's as well). Providing we adopt the official terminology and concentrate on fully-free distros (mentioning Ubuntu as a side compromise), we would fit well within the campaigns of the FSF.
This would be a big turn for the GGL project, and a major boost forward.
I don't pretend to "own" the GGL project - It is where it is today thanks to all those who participated in this forum and translators. So I won't impose my decision on this.
I've been thinking about this quite intensely for over a week and I don't wish to do it. I simply have come to a point where I diverge from Stallman's position, and want to compromise more than him.
I have no problem whatsoever with legitimizing the use of the word "Linux" to designate the OS. It seems absurd to me to spend so much energy on this, to shut myself in this purism when absolutely everyone around commonly accepts GNU/Linux as just "Linux". Even within the APRIL (let me assure you these people are not "open source pragmatists") only a couple of meters away from RMS you would hear the sacrilegious word pronounced in conversations.
This does not in any way alter my admiration, understanding and respect for Stallman and the FSF (of which I'm a member). I am more than ever concerned about ethics and philosophical values. I neither see GNU/Linux nor even free software as an end by themselves, but try to see beyond that. I still only refer to "GNU/Linux" in writing (more rarely orally) and you'll never see me advocating "open-source" stuff or methodology. But I won't "correct" people who say or write "Linux". For me, the job GGL is doing now is enough.
More generally, though I am attracted by the idea of a partnership with the FSF, I don't really wish to do it. Building something that fits within the criteria of the FSF is not what I get up for in the morning. I have a vision for a project that promotes free software to people that use Ubuntu or maybe only Firefox, or "vaguely heard of...", something quite ambitious. I am obviously less strict, less accurate than the FSF on my methods and language, I knew this right from the start (the GGL About page always made sure GGL was not viewed as the official voice of the FSF). Being supported by the FSF is not the goal (I was able to say this to RMS yesterday), getting people to the FSF is.
In short, I feel so uneasy and restricted by the requirements of an FSF accreditation, that I won't really stay interested in pursuing the GGL project anymore if it goes that way.
I'll be happy to contribute occasionally and do projects like the 3dollarsoftware site, but will probably back off.
Again this is not my project, GLM is here precisely to make sure it isn't, so if the majority of you want to carry on with the FSF terms, let's do it.
PS. This doesn't affect the decision to recommend gNewSense.
Many people had questions for him, he had to arrange his travel away from Paris, had to constantly ask people to speak louder and slower.
Just like here last week.
Suggesting in any way that the use of the word "Linux" was legitimate, was denying the FSF and the GNU movement of the whole philosophical basis underlying the operating system.
That's a valid point from their perspective, but I think that nowadays many GNU/Linux users (those who really believe in FS) no longer see it that way, like me. Now our concern goes beyond the kernel and its utilities (GNU), including our desktop environment and much more.
When LanguageB borrows a word from LanguageA, it's very likely that LanguageB-speakers will pronounce/write it different from LanguageA-speakers... The former speakears will always adapt it to the way they're used to pronounce/write most words; it's unavoidable. This has been happening with "GNU/Linux", we FS parishioners are LanguageA-speakers and everyday computer users are LanguageB-speakers. This is now a tradition, our roots.
Sadly we had no time for further topics; I had hoped to discuss other themes, like the approach of the "Why not Windows" section or more generally perspectives for free software on the internet, his opinion of a book by Lawrence Lessig, ect. Maybe next time. I got back to the conferences/debates, which were then much more specific and thoroughly interesting
He'll be in Madrid in 2 days, do you want me to talk to him about the remaining topics?
[RMS' speech was excellent too, simply not highly relevant for those who have seen/read/taught its content over many times ;-)].
Indeed. I didn't talk about it because RMS didn't explicitly say so and because I didn't want to disappoint you for the second time. He said something like "we needed a project like this and we [the FSF] were willing to create it, but it's very likely yours is better than the one we might create".
However, we don't have to be 100% FSF compliant.
But I won't "correct" people who say or write "Linux". For me, the job GGL is doing now is enough.
We don't have to "correct" people when they refer to the OS as "Linux". I just suggest to keep the tradition in our projects and state in the GGL's main page that GNU/Linux is more accurate from our viewpoint.
Being supported by the FSF is not the goal (I was able to say this to RMS yesterday), getting people to the FSF is.
I agree. I'd like them to support us as long as we can make our decisions independently from the FSF, but it's not that easy.
I agree with you. The FSF is not going to make everyday computer users change their minds, while we are really able to do so because of our open-mindedness and inaccurate terminology.
I think that we should ask them, if they want to support us, what are the conditions for them to do so. If we get to accept them, then we should make a bilateral agreement between the FSF and GLM.
In order to gain official support from the FSF, it'd require quite big changes I expect (though I'm not sure removing references to "Linux" would be one of them). I asked the GNU project to link to GGL on the website recently, but they said they wouldn't because it promotes non-free software (in a small way), which I think is fair enough. It would be a big change to stop recommending distributions which aren't 100% free. I don't think getting official support from the FSF would be a huge advantage. It seems that the main reason for this site to exist is to be different from the FSF and GNU websites, and it's not worth getting official support from the FSF if it'd just mean it would become a replica of them.
Whether it's going to be a big advantage is something I don't know at this moment. Olivier and I are supposing that RMS (or the FSF) is willing to support us, but RMS hasn't said so explicitly... So, I don't know how useful would be their support.
OTOH, I'm sure GGL won't be the friendly replica of GNU.org, even if that means rejecting the FSF blessing.
I agree that being officially endorsed by the FSF might not be the best way to go. While it would potentially boost the project by giving it a share in FSFs credibility and popularity it would take away a bit of that flexibility which the project currently thrives on.
FSF has an unique kind of form which it is obliged to maintain. Otherwise people would start seeing it as slowly diverting from their initial core. This is why they wont be officially recommending distros which contain or in any way promote non-free software or the open source philosophy and this is also why they wont be endorsing entities which cross the lines they don't want to cross themselves. This is not because they would, if they could, deny other people to make their own choices. It is simply something they must maintain in order to be what they are. That's simply the role they must play.
And GLM has a slightly different role to play.
contain or in any way promote non-free software or the open source philosophy
Not promote open source, but don't promote free software. Both are possible simultaneously.
Thank you for your comments. Let's keep the current heading, then.
It is quite improbable that the FSF will support us directly, but I share Gustavo's opinion to just ask. In any case, I am going to write to Richard Stallman to clarify our position and thank him for his comments, immediately after we start recommending gNewSense.
I've noticed that the trade mark (R) is still used for Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer on the "What about choice" page. Also, I think that quotation marks should be added to the use of the term "intellectual property", as I don't think it's a good idea to encourage using it at all.