[sf-lug] mastering CDs in bulk for Software Freedom Day

Larry Cafiero larry.cafiero at gmail.com
Tue Sep 1 09:49:40 PDT 2009

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 2:26 AM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> responded to
Grant Bowman:

> Do you think I'm operating orbital mind-control
> lasers, and are asking me to turn them off for a while?

You mean you don't, Rick? Rats. :-)

One of the undercurrents in this, um, discussion is that -- painting all
non-Linux/non-open source users with the same brush for a moment -- those
targeted folks here are likely the kind of user who a.) doesn't know about
the nuances of open-versus-proprietary software, which they'll find out when
they attend an event such as this, and b.) may not care after we've given
them the wisdom we're sharing, returning to a life of point-the-remote,
check-the-e-mail and deal with the rest of life.

In this instance the OpenCD fails because those who don't give a damn will
only consider programs like OpenOffice.org or Firefox "free stuff" for their
computer, all the while continuing to be too lazy or ignorant to figure out
why their computers are so slow and full of viruses (to say nothing of being
eternally enslaved by DRM and the like). You can bring a horse to water . .
. .

The flip side -- there's always a flip side -- is that not all
non-Linux/non-open source users are monolithically alike. You will get users
who are a little more astute who will "get" the open source concept and
ideals, and who may not convert to Linux immediately (but should, and should
be brought along at their own speed if interested) but will get exposure
through the OpenCD to open source programs like OO.o and GIMP and Scribus (I
think that's on the CD) and, taking it further, may end up as part of the
wider open source community or one of its subsets.

That would be great, if it happens.

So I guess the value of burning OpenCDs is in the approach and, as I
mentioned in a previous e-mail, in Felton we're going to focus on
"enlightening" the unwashed masses about open source -- how it works, why
it's important, and here are some computers running different Linux distros
-- and not to provide them a crutch by allowing them think that just using
open source programs on Windows is "good enough."

[Of course, under some circumstances, I might -- MIGHT -- give someone the
OpenCD if I think they "get" it, and for some reason can't use a Live CD to
try out a distro. But this would not require me to burn a bunch of them.]

In San Francisco, it may be a different story and the OpenCD may work, if
that's the assessment there. Your mileage may vary. But as brought up
earlier in this discussion, I believe you run the risk of enabling people to
take the half-step of thinking they're "doing good" by using open source
software on a proprietary OS and stopping there, when really they should be
taking more steps toward digital independence.

Also, while I have been on the wrong end of Rick's verbal rapier from time
to time and while I don't always agree with him, I do value his experience,
knowledge and judgment. I don't want to speak for him -- God forbid! :-) --
but it should be noted again that I don't think that Rick would make the
effort he consistently does to "keep the loonies on the path" (to quote a
Pink Floyd song) if he didn't care. If he didn't care, he'd let the falling
16-ton weight of faulty logic and misdirection flatten us, rather than
pushing us out of the way.

This has been an interesting discussion, to say the least, and thanks for
all who have participated. Now I really have to get some work done.

Larry Cafiero
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