[kwlug-disc] interesting piece on the power of open source

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Tue Dec 1 17:55:39 EST 2009


Raul Suarez wrote, On 12/01/2009 5:01 PM:
> --- On Tue, 12/1/09, Lori Paniak <ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com>
> wrote:
> 
>> I don't think hardware support is appreciably worse in Linux
>> 2.6.31 today than it is for Windows 7.
> 
> The main difference is that people "know" that they need a new
> computer for windows 7 but "we" keep selling the idea that Linux is
> for old computers. Well, I've already vented that beef before.

Not sure I entirely agree. People go "Computer broken, time to buy a 
new one." They don't care why it's broken. Akin to, I suppose, three 
finger salute, or reinstall OS.

>> And yet, only 1% of desktop users are running a Linux desktop.
>> And the System76 people probably barely scratch out a corporate
>> existence.
> 
> Again, I don't think the Desktop should be a good indicator. Maybe
> 10 years ago, not any more.

Desktop is the only indicator that matters.

>> It must be something else.
> 
> Marketing, inertia, distribution channels and support.

And best buy availability.

> "We" technical people tend to complain that the sales people "make
> all the money when they don't actually contribute to creating the
> product". Reality is that a great product with bad marketing will
> have a hard time taking off.
> 
>> I agree getting solid OEM support is important, but only to keep
>> people from having to futz with iso images to get the Linux they
>> want.
> 
> "Only" ? The important word in "OEM Support" is exactly that
> "Support". I wouldn't buy a great car I cannot take to the
> mechanic, even if I was able to learn how to change the oil my
> self, I just don't want to.

Good point. Although I'm wondering if 'support' is the right word. I 
don't think people (= home desktop users, corporate users call their 
support department, so they can hand issues off to the 'experts' 
without having to become experts themselves) use support as much as 
they could. It doesn't work (that way?) so they don't pick up the 
phone. Broken. Stupid computer. Buy new one.

'Supported' may perhaps be better - in the past tense sense of when in 
lands in your local store it will work. i.e. the hardware 
manufacturers put sufficient effort into the device drivers and 
delivering them to the product made available for sale. (vs. 
'supported' after sale.)

> Finally, market dominance is meaningless if it is achieved by
> loosing track of what FLOSS is.

By your statement, market dominance will never be accomplished. Or it 
would have happened.

> The only purpose, as I see it, of market dominance is ensuring that
> all the people understand the benefits of Freedom as it relates to
> software.

No, it's about getting everyone onto the same page. Software, freedom, 
benefits - fluff. Users have too much else on their plate that concern 
them more. Airy, fairy, stuff, no time for it. What's in front of me 
on the screen when I bring that computer home - can I just get on with 
using whatever I see on the screen, from whomever, to produce what I 
bought it for? People buy solutions. ('Green' hasn't really taken hold 
either.)

It's a tool. Much like scissors are, that cut papers. Let's get 
everyone onto the same piece of paper. Even better, let's agree upon 
letter size. Or A4. I don't care which, but let's get on to the same 
one and get on with our day. The piece of paper isn't important, it's 
what we put on it that matters.

The journey is not the goal. How we got there isn't our focus. We 
bought some hardware to use the results of plunking down cash.

So let's not confuse that, with how we deliver that. Focus on getting 
it into Best Buy and knocking Apple and MS out of the store, then work 
backwards as to why that's not true today.

> Market dominance just to make money out of Free software is
> irrelevant.

On the surface, this seems like an oxymoron.

I'd suggest it shouldn't even be a market. It should just be. (Going 
back to the ideas that citizens shouldn't have to purchase anything to 
be able to make use of or read the material their government produces.)

Problem is - software runs on hardware. Which is a physical thing that 
must be purchased. And something (software) needs to be on that 
hardware so that when you turn it on, something else appears on the 
screen after the memory finishes counting up.

> Like abolishing slavery. Imagine that in the US civil war the North
> had won by allowing "a little bit of slavery", It wouldn't have
> been a victory at all.

It was a victory?

A rose (slavery) by any other name.

60's and segregation would seem to suggest there was no victory.

Governments merely stopped killing other government's citizens in 
large numbers, under state sponsorship.

If we generalize that it took 100 years of social change to abolish 
slavery, where are we at today with FLOSS?



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