I can't help it, I better get these out of the way,
- Curious, why do you keep switching to all capital letters at arbitrary
points. It doesn't add to clarity, but I keep interpreting it as you're
- Why don't you continue responses without changing the subject line?
- Again, freedom is a noun. Freedom software sounds very odd
- The reason that email you forwarded aggravated many people, was the
way in which it was suddenly thrust in. A little bit of etiquette can go
a long way.
No one is misquoting anyone. Either your usage of words or tone seem to
mean or imply that free software as it is today is lacking. You keep
talking about, for instance,
- "improving" to attract the masses,
- asking everyone to see it as an end user as opposed to a hacker (I
safely assumed this meant, hackers to some extent are more familiar with
the internals, so can deal easier with software that is superficially
- the end user is not happy, or
- plugging all the holes so that the business men will be comfortable
From these, among other things, some people will tend to make
assumptions regarding what you're trying to say. Maybe it is a
fundamental communication gap.
As I've explained in another reply on another thread (because my mail
client likes to sort it like that), I bought my computer a while ago.
Things have changed in the recent past. But none of that matters, it
isn't too hard to wipe a hard drive. I was just trying to portray the
hold monopolies can have on vendors, and consequently the mind share
they have amongst users. If a person hadn't seen anything else, they'd
be just as happy with GNOME, KDE, Mac OS, Windows, BeOS, or whatever for
basic needs when introduced to them. It's when all you've ever seen and
previously worked on is, say, Windows, you will likely go with the most
familiar even when handed a choice. Even at the extent of loss of freedom.
RedHat is doing exactly what free software from a corporate perspective
is all about. They sell entirely free software at large markup, purely
for the peace of mind their support offers to big companies. There is
nothing preventing you, an individual, who will not want to spend the
3500$, from obtaining any of it for free, studying it, modifying it,
distributing it, and of course, expanding upon it.
They've done more than most other companies ever will for the growth of
free software. For years they've allowed anyone and everyone to download
the huge ISO images of fully free distributions fully free of charge,
for instance. Who pays for their bandwidth? How do they survive if they
can't charge for services and support centered around their products as
well? If you find it exorbitantly expensive, find another source for
your software. That is what choice is about. If no one buys it, they
will have to lower their prices or die naturally. Don't criticize or get
angry, just let your choices do the talking.
If you give an average person a very good program that satisfies their
immediate requirements, they will use it. If it were free, it would be
free, if it weren't, then it wouldn't be. I have an old Mandrake box at
home which does everything my parents need, and which I can administer
remotely. Let's assume I haven't told them anything about the freedom
they're consequently enjoying. All they know is that they aren't paying
for it, it works well, and that while their friends get affected by
viruses and worms, they have no problems receiving email from their son.
Where in this was the philosophy communicated? If tomorrow the hard
drive were to crash, and the local computer man were to install Windows,
they will adjust to it and use it. I'm trying to indicate that
philosophy and social implications are bigger than just free software.
Give them good free software and they will use it, sure. The software
will travel on it's own. This, and the communication of ideals aren't
necessarily linked. They are using it because it's good. Give them free
software and explain to them why being free makes it inherently good,
and they will still use it. But more importantly, the ideals have also
I am willing to take my chances on another kernel stepping up to the
plate even if the Linux kernel hadn't filled a hole in the GNU system.
It might have taken more time to reach the level of adoption we see
today (or maybe even less if it were even more popular for some reason),
but it would have happened independent of Linux. Point being, there
would have been someone who valued all this (and was skilled enough) to
write things that worked to fill this void.
And all this about fierce promotion, gaining critical mass, mass
revolution and things like that. I really wish to know what it is your
aim for all of this is.
Harish | http://wahgnube.org/