[sf-lug] FOSS community attitudes

Jesse Zbikowski embeddedlinuxguy at gmail.com
Thu Oct 16 10:55:18 PDT 2008

On Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 8:23 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> Quoting Jeff Bragg (jackofnotrades at gmail.com):
>> I found this article (found on DZone <http://www.dzone.com/links/index.html>)
>> interesting and cogent.
> 2.  In particular, he assumes its objective include
>    unity, "providing an alternative to proprietary software",
> care only very distantly whether
> users generally have "an alternative to proprietary software", and

I agree that this is not a goal in its very general sense, meaning we
need a free alternative to every proprietary program. If we don't have
an open source expert system for locating oil reserves, or free
anti-lock brake control algorithms, that's not a high priority for me.
 Of course for the software we both use every day (browser, OS,
development tools, etc) we both care that there are free programs.
That is basis for community.

>    and spreading the open source "gospel".
> absolutely despise software evangelism & want nothing whatsoever to do
> with it.

Evangelism can be very tacky, but I think it is important to expand
the Linux (or other free OS) user base.  The platform still needs more
recognition & support from hardware & software vendors; those folks
only care about the size of your user base.  Get 25% market share for
a free OS and you can look for better laptop/wifi/video support, ports
of applications people need for work, etc.

I like his point that we should sell outsiders on the large-scale
benefits of open source beyond the software per se. How about more
transparency and accountability from government?  Freedom from spying?
 Freedom from government/corporate control over digital broadcasting?
Having documents and media in formats that can be opened forever?

> Also, I (for one) very much don't accept his premise of the differing
> "philosophies" he attributes to free software and open source.

Yeah, in real terms there is no split between Free and Open.  Non-issue.

> "Focusing on hating Microsoft".  That line of rhetoric was already
> specious and moronic way back in 1993, and it hasn't improved with age.

Yeah, I don't worry about Microsoft too much except for envy of their
market share and frustration at trying to interoperate with their

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