[sf-lug] sf-lug Digest, Vol 43, Issue 24

Chris Mason mason.christopher.thomas at gmail.com
Mon Aug 31 03:43:27 PDT 2009


This is my first post in this mailing list, and I have yet to show up
to any meetings as I have been away from the bay for the last decade
or so and discovered Free Software while away. Though I tend to agree
with Mr. Moen about what a waste of time it is to throw money away
handing out CDs with OpenOffice.org for Windows and Pidgin for
Windows, I will not help him fight a battle he seems perfectly able to
fight for himself.

Instead, I will go ahead and toss something into the debate that I do
not think has been mentioned before:



Many of the arguments against Free Software for Windows can also be
applied here, this is true.

However, this will get users _out_ of Windows. In order to play with
this DVD containing a dozen or so video games, the user will need to
learn to enter his BIOS setup and change the boot priority.

That, in itself, will do a _lot_ to get users to at least possess some
of the most basic and fundamental technical skills required for
eventual migration - and it will turn their brains on.... which can
only _help_ the Free Software movement.

-"You _must_ have Windows to play video games on your computer" theory
is gone. For many casual users, that is a _huge_ thing holding them
-Encouraging users to be more educated about how their computer works
can _only_ help the cause.
-Teenagers and Young Adults _are_ the future... And any are already
familiar with the "Cartridge" paradigm of video games - some from
Nintendo and some from PS3. "Insert Disc (maybe play with BIOS) and
reboot" is speaking their language.
-Once their computer is booted from that video game DVD, they will be
_using a GNU/Linux system_. Maybe they will explore, maybe they will
not. Those that do not won't hurt the cause, and those that do may
help the cause one month or one decade from now.
-Encourage the kids to copy and redistribute because "the man" doesn't
want them to. They will feel rebellious and comply. I see nothing
wrong with that, or its results.

-Some (most?) may still simply treat it as Freeware. Probably less
than users of a MS Windows Free Software CD. The effort included in
playing with BIOS, at least, will get them thinking. Turning critical
thinking and brains to the 'on' position is huge!
-Increased cost. DVD-Rs are more expensive than CD-Rs.
-For most, proprietary stuff (video drivers mostly) will need to be
enabled to play the games. We will need to be pragmatic enough to
accept that ATI and NVidia have reasons to keep their secrets and
accept this. To paraphrase what someone said earlier -- If it won't
play youtube, the kids aren't interested.  ("kids" - of course -
simply another word for "the future".) The same thing applies to fancy
3d graphics. You and I may think Wesnoth and nethack are great, but we
are the present and the past, and not as much the future.


Chris Mason

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