Posted by: Anonymous
on September 05, 2008 03:34 AM
I would like to use KDE 4, yes, because I know I eventually might have to install it. Hardware restrictions are not an issue, I could buy a new PC if I wanted to. Thing is, I dont need to. I think many OSS advocates misunderstand freedom, or what real freedom is. Freedom is freedom FROM, not freedom TO. Thats the kind of freedom which drew me, and many others I've introduced to Linux. Freedom FROM having MS dictate how we use our systems. Freedom FROM having other people through their own preferences dictate how our PC's should look, or how long we use the hardware we paid good money for. The freedom to look at the source code and modify it isn't as relevant to most users as it is assumed to be. Freedom from other peoples opinions is. The fact that in some respects its technically superior and more powerful, is a bonus.
Linux's strength comes from it's freedom FROM having corporations (or anyone for that matter) engineer your computing 'experience' so as to make you a tied consumer. Freedom from having someone else decide how new the computer you run should be, or how much money you should spend, or when you retire your hardware. The GUI, being an integral part of the OS, should give as much of this freedom as possible. That is, the user, by choosing to run KDE, remains in control. It works the same, it runs the same, nothing is sacrificed unknowingly when upgrading. No decision is made on behalf of the user. If this was a different project, say a forked KDE called ultraKDE, there would have been no issue, because when you install a different DE, you EXPECT it to change the way your computer operates. The user makes the conscious choice to change. But if one upgrades KDE, and finds that their performance now suffers, that the menu works completely differently, then one has had, unwillingly, a different environment thrust upon them. Yes, it can all be turned off, modified (I didnt know how to get the menu back to the old style, no documentation) but if you dont know how, its a hassle.
However, all this is someone making a decision that the Linux user should make. The user should be free from the developers of software deciding on his/her behalf what is best for them, or what resources the user should invest in order to experience a particular developers vision. Apple doesn't offer this. The MS world doesn't offer this. Linux can, easily. However, all people focus on is the source code, as if nothing else mattered except access to source. RMS is a bit of a fool in this respect. If KDE 3 was closed source, I wouldn't care, most people wouldn't.
I'm not suggesting at all that I should decide how DE's operate. I'm just saying that from my perspective, it is a BIG mistake to change the requirements significantly of a DE, or make decisions on behalf of users as to how they interact with it. Especially when it means you REMOVE something that people want. That will make Linux lose it's appeal to the very people who benefit most from it. Freedom to choose, is also freedom NOT to choose. The freedom FROM I mentioned earlier. You can offer both. You can offer yet another brand of toothpaste, but many will want the freedom of NOT having to change, and continue with the toothpaste they are happy with. Freedom from choice.