[conspire] Dapper & Easyubuntu
Edmund J. Biow
biow at sbcglobal.net
Wed Dec 6 18:36:20 PST 2006
> Message: 2
> Date: Tue, 05 Dec 2006 16:20:13 -0800
> From: Daniel Gimpelevich <daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us>
> Subject: Re: [conspire] Dapper & Easyubuntu
> To: conspire at linuxmafia.com
> <pan.2006.12.06.00.20.12.191020 at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> Kudos for the best post to this list in some time.
> One minor point though:
> On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 15:14:59 -0800, Edmund J. Biow wrote:
>> So install
>> Ubuntu and tell your mom that it is MacOS XII. If you don't tell her
>> she is using Linux she might not even recognize the difference, and
>> hence be a lot less intimidated.
> The rest of your message talks about effects of Linux on Windows users.
> For the above suggestion to be based on the pattern that emerges from
> those effects, he should install Ubuntu and tell her it's Vista. It's not
> like she'd ask how he got Vista to run on a G3 iMac...
Just tell her Boot Camp has been extended because of Operation Iraqi
Liberation (the original name for "*Operation Iraqi Freedom*" for a few
hours until they realized what the acronym was).
> Message: 3
> Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 17:58:12 -0800
> From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
> Subject: Re: [conspire] Dapper & Easyubuntu
> To: conspire at linuxmafia.com
> Message-ID: <20061206015812.GS14528 at linuxmafia.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> 2. If I were to hand it off to Joe/Jane, he or she would whine
> piteously the moment a Macromedia Flash page failed to load.
> ("What, no YouTube?") Or it would be some damned thing or
> other: the game du jour, an animated Christmas card, some
> AV clip or other. Or a Visioneer PaperPort scanner, or some
> other piece-of-junk proprietary hardware.
Hence the need to provide a distro that has all that evil proprietary
stuff, at least as an option. I love a version of Debian put out by the
government of Extramadura, Spain called gnuLinEx. It is my favorite
Spanish language distro and I put it on a lot of machines destined for
Latin America (like I mentioned, I work with a group that fixed up
donated machines and sent them first to Cuba, then after the government
denied us a new license to ship there, to Bolivia:
http://www.cubasolidarity.net/infomed.html). It gives you the option
right when you install to load the system with Java, Flash, DivX,
proprietary codecs, libdvdcss, Real Player, etc. And it is produced by
a government, so it must be kosher, right? I mean, governments have
peoples' best interests at heart almost as much as corporations.
In an aside, unfortunately I have reason to believe that as soon as
those machines arrived at their destination folks formatted most of the
drives and installed pirated copies of Windows (various hospitals in
Cuba. the MINSAL, the Ministry of Health & Sports in Bolivia). At least
the Cubanos have an excuse since they can't legally buy Windows licenses.
>> In the last couple of years I've fixed many Windows machines....
> Dude, I hope they paid you a LOT. Remember, outside the open source
> community, people tend to value things they get at acquisition cost.
> (In the open source community, things acquired, including information,
> most often get value at their estimated _usage_ value. This is an
> aspect of what you refer to as the "gift economy".)
A lot of the folks I've helped are fellow lefty movement types who
donate plenty of their time to helping other people, as I see it, when
they could be making money or shopping. I tend to charge those folks a
nominal amount. The last fellow I helped out was a 91 year old veteran
of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. Half those
guys died fighting against Franco for democracy, the least I can do is
help him replace his wife's XT (no crap, dual 5.25" floppies). Here was
a weird example of someone who was actually happier with a very simple
Windowmaker install than Microsoft since she'd never used a mouse
before, just wanted a simple word processor, and was confused and
intimidated by her husband's Windows XP.
Other beneficiaries of my "services" are friends and family. With them
I'll work for little or nothing as long as I have a sense of
reciprocity. If I feel like I'm doing a disproportionate amount of work
for a friend I'll demand some compensation, at least a dinner or
However for friends of friends, acquaintances, etc., sure, I ask to be
paid. Sometimes I'm too soft a touch. Hey, the guys an undocumented
alien with 3 small kids, I'll cut him a break. In the end I feel abused
if I'm not hard nosed enough. The bastard still owes me $125 and he
makes $25 an hour as a carpenter (and still took his wife to the
emergency room for free medical treatment when she got appendicitis).
But with these folks I don't try to install Linux, though I'll often add
open source programs like Open Office and Firefox for them to try. They
don't take long to install and they are much more resistant to malware,
so hopefully I'll get less repeat business.
BTW, there is an unpatched zero day Office exploit in the wild and
Microsoft is recommending that people not open or save Word files, even
from trusted sources.
> And the bootlegging of proprietary software is so deeply engrained into
> the MS-Windows and MacOS userbase that, if you decline to participate,
> and commit copyright violation on their behalf and risk prosecution,
> there's obviously something wrong with _you_.
Until I got in to Linux I was part of that culture. I didn't even
initially choose to be; when I bought my first computer, a i386/33 it
came with a pirated version of DOS 5.0 from the store. No discs or
manual, I was told by my cousin that it must be illegal. Later I was
given a "developer's edition" Windows 3.1 and 95 that I doubt I had any
right to have. It is not like I read the EULA. Besides, its not like I
was taking food off Bill Gates' plate. Back in those days I would buy
cheap CDs with hundreds of freeware, shareware or abandonware programs,
enough to keep fiddling around. I bought those discs in chain stores and
didn't inquire too earnestly about the license status of much of their
content. I learned about TUCOWS and occasionally I downloaded shareware
that didn't mention that it was crippleware or trialware until I'd
learned how to use it and wanted it to do something. At that point I
felt like I'd been ambushed, baited and switched. A scary trip to
Astalavista later I had the correct key to "unlock" the program.
Actually, there is plenty of completely legal proprietary freeware
available to download for Windows. Much of it has limited functionality
unless you "upgrade" to the professional version.
I actually bought a retail version of XP when it came out (it was
some sort of multiple rebate deal with a bunch of extra hardware and
software, so I only paid about $30), but the OS got screwed up after a
couple of years and it refused to install SP2. Finally, the motherboard
burst some caps and when I tried to re-install on newer hardware I was
told that I was only allowed to install on a single machine. One of
these days I'll get around to giving them a call and straightening that
out, but at least I still have the shiny holographic jewel case to admire.
I think a big turn around was when Netscape was open sourced back in
1998. Netscape 4.0x was an inferior browser to IE 5 at that point and
the first releases of NS6 were buggy and unappealing. But by the time
Mozilla was released in 2002 it was the best browser in the world. Soon
I found that many of my favorite programs were not merely freeware but
open source. And Linux was improving rapidly though I didn't start
using it the vast majority of the time until a couple of years ago.
After a while I retired more and more of my proprietary programs and
tried to find stuff at SourceForge, etc. Pretty soon I started feeling
uncomfortable using proprietary programs when GPL alternatives existed,
even if the proprietary software was somewhat slicker. After a while I
didn't even like booting XP on my laptop and figured out how to
repartition my hard drive and dual boot (though when I was traveling and
had to rely on winmodem and wireless I reacquainted myself with
Windows). Oh, and I still have one of those Visioneer PaperPort
scanners. When I use it is the only time that machine gets dual booted
to Win95 (internet disabled).
And I'm not unique. I enjoy my rut as much as the next person. It took
me months of using Netscape 4 as my default browser to realize that I
really liked IE 5 much better. Likewise, it took me a long time of
occasionally booting Mozilla to finally cotton to the fact that I really
much preferred it to IE 6. Tabbed browsing sealed the deal. I
gradually started booting Linux more and more before it became my
default operating system (and now I regret the miserly 5-8 GB partitions
that I allotted to early Linux installs, but I thought I was just
playing around, not beginning to experiment with an OS that I would
overwhelmingly prefer a year later).
Its a process. I'm not quite like FSF-RMS yet. I still don't think
twice about installing proprietary codecs and things like Flash that I
deem necessary. When gnash and swfdec get a little more mature I'll
adopt them (though these days even the Adobe Flash 9 players are pretty
funky). In the mean time, chunks of useful code like Sun Java are
moving towards open source.
>> I'm hoping that once AIGLX & its kin become more mature jiggly windows
>> may be that extra incentive.
> You're missing something: They're stuck in a hole, but it's a familiar
> hole that seems natural. You're asking them to climb out, and they're
> perceiving that request as your wanting them to do you a favour.
I dunno about that. The rate of improvement of Linux has been
astonishing. Five years ago I found Linux too frustrating to use.
Simple things like mouse scroll wheels didn't work without hours of
futzing with obscure text files. Installing software was a real
headache before package management programs like YUM, apt-get, URPMI &
SUSE's zen/rug (well, that one is still a nightmare, but its getting
better). Programs were much buggier back then than they are today.
Hardware support was much more of an issue. These days I actually feel
aggrieved when I have to boot to Windows. What do you mean your file
manager doesn't have tabs? Where's my command line when something
breaks? What's this funny blue screen with these opaque numbers?
The learning curve with Linux has gotten a lot less steep (though some
people seem unhappy about that). Right now I think the user experience
with a properly set up Linux box is at least as good as with Windows.
And it just keeps getting better. The same can not be said about
Microsoft and its "chasing the tail lights" strategy. I'd actually
RATHER use the 6 year old Windows 2000 the latest version of Windows XP
(though I've learned how to turn off all the annoying XP stuff so that I
can mimic a W2K experience). I have a sysadmin friend who blows W2K
images on his boxen even though he is entitled to install XP. I don't
know anyone who doesn't think Win98SE was a better OS than Windows
MEstake. Until IE 7.0 was released a couple of months ago, IE hadn't
improved its interface for about 7-8 years.
These trends may continue for a few years.
I think there was a very good business reason that Novell invested so
heavily in XGL-Compiz. At some point soon early adopters at internet
cafes and in schools will routinely show up around the country with
twirling cubes, zooming to parts of their desktop with their scroll
wheel while simultaneously making the window on top become transparent
so they can read the page beneath it, etc. Soon, all self respecting
young geeks will only boot tricked out XYZ-GLX Enlightenment desktops in
public, and the game makers and hardware companies will catch on to
this, open sourcing high quality video and wireless drivers. In the
meantime, I expect a LOT more content will become available under a
Creative Commons type license. Lossless versions of all the classical
masters will probably be the first. Artists who realize that their
biggest enemy is not pirating but obscurity will change from copyright
to copyleft. Some folks will realize that there is enough excellent
free content available to stay entertained for several life times. When
the old model is no longer lucrative, content providers and software
makers might end up opening up their IP, putting yet more pressure on
the old paradigm. Today the geeks, tomorrow the world. Information
will finally get what it wants.
More information about the conspire