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

R. Brent Clements rbclemen at gmail.com
Thu Dec 3 03:24:32 EST 2009

Jumping in on this one a bit late....

As for adoption by the masses, we can argue that one forever.  Why would
people not choose the free(beer) option?  Lots of reasons.  The most
likely one is the chicken/egg conundrum that makes Windows the

Possible inroads:

Almost all hardware purchases come with some "free", usually feature
limited, often substandard, rarely pro-worthy apps on another cd.
(Writer software w/ DVD burners, picture software with printers, etc.)
An active campaign by someone to get fully functional open source
Windows versions of the Linux equivalents on those disks would mean that
when it comes down to making a choice, Linux *does* run the software
they have always used.  One barrier down.

Seamless Windows compatability/emulation/virtualization may be FLOSS'
version of the anti-christ to a lot of us here, but the end user will
not give a crap when they click on the icon in the menu and the
application opens on the desktop.  I know it usually isn't that smooth,
and that there is always possibility of complications, but frankly the
right to use whatever software we want wherever we want is a right that
we have been fighting for, so, in theory at least, why not?

Dell's DVD Distro of Doom does not have to have installable copies of
Ubuntu flavours, Suse, Redhat, Slackware, Puppy, etc etc etc etc etc.
Because people don't care.  It is the distro for Dell's.  What it needs
is GNU Linux Dell Edition--KDE, GNU Linux Dell Edition--Gnome, GNU Linux
Dell Edition--XFCE, GNU Linux Dell Edition--Window Maker, GNU Linux Dell
Edition--Console only, etc etc etc etc etc etc.  Anyone who actually
gives a crap about the distro *can* probably download their own.  And
yes making sure driver support goes upstream would be ausome.

For the average non-technical end-user, when they take the computer
home, regardless of what it has on it, it should work when you first
plug it in.  If not you take it back.  The problem with any computer is
that it never stays working because it never stays the same.  It doesn't
come with all the programs you need so you install more.  Some popup
either convinces you that there is some other piece of software that you
actually don't need or want, or entices your kids to click on a
colourful button, and stuff gets installed that you don't need or want.
Then of course there is the dreaded friend/family-member who thinks they
know all about computers that offers to "clean it up" and "streamline"
it or "make it cooler", and $DIETY knows what they do to it.  There are
a lot of devices that are essentially just computers that keep working
because you *can't* change them.  No virus in the world can't infect
non-writable media.  Your microwave or PVR should never get a virus.
And Linux can run from non-writable media.  The core of a user's needs
(from most users perspective, and feel free to expand it if you feel you
need to) is to browse the web, send emails, watch videos and listen to
music.  So make the software that accomplishes those functions
immutable.  Then regardless of what happens to the rest of the computer,
basic functionality won't be compromised and the rest can be repaired
with a basic wipe.

And I guess I have probably gone on long enough....


On Wed, 2009-12-02 at 09:44 -0800, Raul Suarez wrote:
> --- On Wed, 12/2/09, Lori Paniak <ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com> wrote:
> > Does the average computer user ever call OEM/Windows for support?  I
> > thought they just called relative/neighbour/friend tech
> > support.
> I cannot speak for "all average computer users" only the ones I know.
> Most call some kind of support when they have a problem or question. Actually in some cases that I've offered help, the response has been "I prefer to call support". The main reason: warranty.
> In general, Dell got a lot of pressure to improve their consumer level desktop support. That tells me that people call.
> Raul Suarez
> Technology consultant
> Software, Hardware and Practices
> _________________
> http://rarsa.blogspot.com/ 
> An eclectic collection of random thoughts
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