[sf-lug] Big progress on launchpad's bug number one

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Jan 8 07:42:53 PST 2013

Quoting Akkana Peck (akkana at shallowsky.com):

> But consider this: however annoying the ChromeOS restrictions are,
> weaning people from proprietary office suites and into cloud apps
> also makes it more possible for them to use Linux -- a real one,
> not ChromeOS -- next time they buy a machine. It makes them more
> OS agnostic, and may also make them more open to the idea of using
> other cloud servers some day.

Christian's specific claim, to which I was responding, was that 'when
Linux is mainstream, I won't be forced to use Microsoft Windows when 
I am in my employer's office'[1].  He thinks wide adoption of open
source (which he calls 'FOSS') would somehow automatically ensue from
mass availability of Linux-based preloads.[2]

There are all sorts of magical thinking in that train of thought, and 
it flies in the face of available data.  1.  There is a long history of
Linux-based preloads sucking when they become available from major OEMs.
2.  Nothing whatsoever prevents his employer from mandating use of 
terrible, bloated, highly restricted software that happens to run on
Linux just as it now does with MS-Windows 7.  3.  In fact, nothing
whatsoever prevents Microsoft Corporation, if it wished to, to port and
offer all of its current userspace software on x86 Linux and glibc.
(Please note that Microsoft Corporation has already released
general-usage software for Linux.[3])  

Nothing about Linux requires userspace applications to be open source,
and its wide adoption in no wise automatically weans people from
proprietary office suites.

In fact, in my experience, handing commodity IT users an already
installed Linux installation doesn't even make them 'OS agnostic',
because they are not really particularly cognisant of operating systems
being a choice.  To the great majority, the operating system is just the
thing that came on the box, and they accomodate themselves to its quirks
just as they'll accomodate themselves to whatever arrives already
present on the next one.

I'm frankly really rather tired of hearing pseudo-messianic bullshit
about Linux desktop environments from disgrunted Microsoft software
users.  No, we of the Linux community are not a cudgel they can wield to
make their employers more clueful, and no, the mere fact that our kernel
and C library are copylefted doesn't mandate all offerings based on them
automatically being vehicles for world reform.

[1] http://linuxmafia.com/pipermail/sf-lug/2013q1/009757.html
[2] http://linuxmafia.com/pipermail/sf-lug/2013q1/009754.html
[3] Microsoft NetShow Revision 2.00, Build 251 beta (aka Media
   Player), statically linked ia32 Linux binary and related 
   Web page, mirrored here:

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