[kwlug-disc] Open Source intro handout

Darcy Casselman dscassel at gmail.com
Thu Apr 30 14:13:21 EDT 2009

I'm not going to repeat what everybody's said so far, except to agree
that telling people about the free-as-in-speech aspects of free
software is very valuable.  I'm not sure how to do it without sounding
like a cultist, but you have to try.

I don't even thing the sale price of free software is even much of a
selling point.  Most home users get their software for free anyway.
And they don't feel particularly guilty about it.


On Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 1:38 PM, Oksana Goertzen <ogoertzen at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think the advantages of Open Source can and need to be emphasized.
> Once outside of the Windows/Mac world you forget all those annoyances
> and the crippling/petty nature of proprietary software.  I think people just
> simply think Linux is "free" and don't understand the significance or
> importance of open source.  For example, a government-funded social
> service agency could design and build their own case management
> system under the guide of a large corp like IBM and this system would be
> closed and proprietary - or they could design and build an open source
> system that millions of other like agencies and social groups around the
> world could use.  All these other social agencies around the world could
> contribute their ideas and some of their monies to improve this case
> management system.  Imagine the benefit worldwide of all these agencies
> effectively pooling their resources in creating a robust system they all
> could take advantage of.
> I believe a lot of people in the target audience are likely to confuse
> open source with "free", as in free but proprietary  - as in Adobe Acrobat
> Reader and similar software.
> In thinking of the average user they might most enjoy:
> -one routine to update/upgrade and security patch _all_ your software (!!)
> -one version that includes _all_ features (not some features are free and
> others you need to pay for use - though some open source projects/supporters
> seem to be moving away from this model as of late, i.e. VirtualBox)
> -no worries about licensing - the right license for the right use (i.e. Windows
> with it's multiple versions -> features stripped out depending on what you're
> using), - license renewals and maintenance contracts and support being tied
> to one vendor
> -software is not tied to hardware - i.e. you retire your computer and you
> can't use the license you bought anymore, you can use Linux where ever
> and whenever you like.  :D
> -if you find something you like - you can share it without whomever you like
> -you can customize and personalize your system as you wish - add as much
> bling as you like, make as lean as you want, chose your window manager or
> your own theme, your own colour scheme and icons etc.  you can mix and
> match programs - install whatever works for you
> -if the software doesn't meet your requirements you are free to modify it,
> as opposed to say, Microsoft Office not tying into one of your main apps -
> you are free to modify open source software to suit your particular needs
> -it's relatively easy to move your files from one system to another - user
> files and configuration are in one directory
> -there are utilities to backup your files, burn cds/dvds and iso's
> right in the OS,
> antivirus options that free, Office suites that are freely available and for the
> most part, compatible with Microsoft Office, there are games and graphic
> and photo management utilities (I only mention this, as these are things
> the average user will end up paying for on top of a Windows or Mac OS
> for basic functionality.)
> Maybe a list of open source software that can used on Windows/Mac would also
> be helpful for people to get a glimpse into what's possible if they
> don't install
> or use Linux in the immediate future.
> :)  Oksana
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