[sf-lug] Consumer & admin (was: Possibly interesting data point on jobs postings)

Adrien Lamothe alamozzz at yahoo.com
Wed May 17 15:36:46 PDT 2006

David Sterry <david at sterryit.com> wrote:      Probably the best thing  for Linux on the consumer side is Trusted Computing and more restrictive DRM. When people are forced to pay for all the copyrighted content they copy and the software they've used outside the strict confines of EULA, they will understand that the black box they've been using has some nastiness inside and it's designed to cost them lots more than $100. Freedom in software will then begin to matter amongst the general public. They'll value open source code as a form of personal freedom. Hopefully at that time, switching to Linux will be as simple as a single click.

You are confusing free software (as in either/both free as in cost or/and freedom) with open source software. The two are different, though most of the time open source software is indeed free of charge.

Regarding the "complicated" nature of Linux, it actually isn't very complicated considering what it does. It is important to keep in mind that Linux was not designed to be a mass consumer operating system. Linux is an open source, free of charge, POSIX-compliant Unix operating system. Linus Torvalds has only recently stated an interest in the Linux desktop, no doubt prompted by his new employer the Open Source Development Laboratory (OSDL). Linux does has excellent potential for the mass consumer market; Mac OS X is the proof of concept. But because Linux and the associated facilities are developed mostly by volunteers who all have a say in the architecture of their work, Linux will take longer to bring to the general public as a slick, easy to use operating system.

Regardling DRM, that issue is not going to go away, regardless of operating system. Companies hoping to capitalize on Linux will have to find a way to enforce digital rights and payment of royalties to music companies. We won't have to wait too long to see how this will be handled. Sony's new Playstation 3 is due out November 11. The PS3 will use Linux as the operating system and Sony plans to use it as a hub for digital home entertainment. This means Sony will most likely devise a method to enforce DRM on Linux. It will be interesting to see how they do it.



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