[kwlug-disc] Open Source intro handout

Raul Suarez rarsa at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 30 01:59:20 EDT 2009

--- On Thu, 4/30/09, Paul Nijjar <paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca> wrote:

> Replacing hardware can be a big deal with this audience. 

Understood, That's why it should be balanced with cost of proprietary software, cost of computer maintenance (virus, etc). 

For some people that don't worry about the legality "borrowed software" may make better financial sense but based on what I read I don't think that is your target audience.

> To what degree are these avenues (local paid support) closed to people
> who use open source? (That is a question, not a criticism.) 

Fair to be a criticism and downside. For home users those avenues are fairly limited if not outright closed.

> Then only people who care about freedom are entitled to use
> free software.

That's not what I meant, I meant that explaining Freedom makes it an easier "sell" in my own experience.

> For example, the statement "Free software is software that
> respects your freedom" is a statement that means a lot...

It means little without context. "Respects your freedom to use how you want and share it with others" has context.

> Similarly, the first statement in your rewrite is: "Do you
> know that there are Free alternatives to the computer programs you
> are used to buying?" That statement is easily misinterpreted.

Yes. Absolutely, maybe even purposely. The intention is to engage the reader. 

I am sure the first paragraph can be written way better, that was just an example.

> > Only it hides the reason of the movement. 
> This is probably the crux of the criticism. I am probably
> hiding the motivation behind the movement. 

Not criticism. Feedback.
> But there is a side to the "make it as perfect as possible 
> or go home" view that is really disheartening. 

Keyword here: "as possible". I think that by posting your text and asking for feed back you are doing exactly that given your short time frame.

My intention was never to discourage you. Anyone that takes the time and effort to do something to help others deserves (and gets) all my respect.

I try to economize words in my response so I try to be direct.

> That's good advice. It won't happen in this case. I will be
> happy if I get a couple of nontechnical proofreaders tomorrow and
> Friday.


Raul Suarez

Technology consultant
Software, Hardware and Practices
An eclectic collection of random thoughts

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