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The day of the Linux desktop

By Robin 'Roblimo' Miller on November 10, 2007 (2:00:00 PM)

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I've been hearing the phrase "This is the year of the Linux desktop" for 10 years. For me, it's been a true statement for each of those years, because GNU/Linux has been my primary desktop operating system since 1997. But for most people around the world, this is the year of the the Windows desktop, same as it was last year and the year before. But if we each spent one day telling others about GNU/Linux, could we make a difference in the lives of at least a few people? I think so. That's why I'm promising -- right here and right now -- to spend at least one day in the next three months handing out free GNU/Linux install CDs, and why I invite you to join me in this effort.

Yes, this sounds a lot like Software Freedom Day. It should. That's where I got the idea. A few years back I spent an afternoon, along with several other free and open source advocates, handing out free software CDs and answering questions at the Books-A-Million store in Bradenton, Florida.

This year, Software Freedom Day didn't seem to make much of a mark, at least in this part of Florida. And, as usual around here, if you tell your neighbors you run Linux on your computer, the reaction will be something between a blank stare and an uttered "Huh?"

I don't have the power or the time to organize an international day of anything, and I obviously don't have the power to make this year or any other year special for any particular computer operating system or software licensing scheme. But I do have the ability to burn a few dozen Ubuntu (or other Linux distro) live CDs, set up a folding table someplace that gets a bunch of foot traffic, and hand out those CDs (and perhaps a home-printed fact sheet) and answer questions from curious passers-by.

Perhaps my efforts will result in five or 10 people trying Linux for the first time. It might be only one or two. Or maybe even none -- but at least a few dozen or a few hundred new people will know that Linux exists and what it is.

My wife is an artist who oftens sells her work at art fairs, so I'll probably tag my little Linux advocacy effort onto one of her sales excursions, since she has a shade canopy and a bunch of folding tables. Or perhaps I'll ask Books-A-Milion or one of the other local bookstores if I can set up at their place. They tend to be amenable to such things. There are plenty of appropriate places around here for a GNU/Linux (and other free software) giveaway -- and I suspect that there plenty where you live, too.

Think locally, act individually

I can't tell you yet exactly which day I'll choose for my personal act of Linux advocacy. And you can do your own Day of the Linux Desktop event without my approval or help, either alone or with a friend or two. Or you can turn it into a party and have dozens of people participate.

The idea here is that this is something almost anyone can do, almost anywhere in the world, without any central organization or, indeed, any organization at all. This is not Linux World or Linux Continent or Linux Country or Linux State or even Linux City or Linux Village. And it's not a year, a month, or even a week. It's just one day.

In its simplest form, your Day of the Linux Desktop effort is just you and some CDs you burn at home, then give away on a day that's convenient for you, at a convenient time and (hopefully legal) place. Afterwards, you may choose to send a few notes about your efforts to robin@roblimo.com. Or not, if you choose not to, since this is not in any way an organized event.

Of course, I'm not stopping anyone from doing a highly organized Day of the Linux Desktop event (or series of events) either. If that's what turns you on, and you have the time and other resources needed, go ahead. I'll root for you all the way, even if I end up just doing my own little Day of the Linux Desktop thing, on my own, in my own small way.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 77.237.101.96] on November 10, 2007 02:15 PM
Linux desktop distributions, like SUSE and Ubuntu (which I have never tried) are good enough for wide range of business people profiles. To have more people using Linux a professional marketing is required. Most people are sick and tired of all kinds of activism and advocacy groups which exist in modern world. When approached by activist, they would not even listen.

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Re: The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.126.166.170] on November 10, 2007 04:33 PM
I disagree, if it is handled right. It doesn't have to be presented -- or perceived -- as zealotry.



I shop at Costco quite often. Most weekends, they're handing out free samples. Free food samples, to people intent on buying food, aren't usually rejected as activism.



Literature and art ain't food. They're ideas and information. So is GNU/Linux.



The patrons of a bookstore are looking for ideas and information. They're receptive. Offering a free sample of an idea as important as GNU/Linux to people looking for ideas and information makes sense.



By and large, the sort of person who rejects activism and advocacy out of hand, isn't likely to be in a book store in the first place, because if they own a book, it's probably a copy of "Atlas Shrugged" they found in a dumpster and a better book (and almost any other book would be better) would only threaten their fragile world view.

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Re(1): The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 137.204.163.160] on November 12, 2007 04:33 PM
By and large, the sort of person who rejects activism and advocacy out of hand, isn't likely to be in a book store in the first place, because if they own a book, it's probably a copy of "Atlas Shrugged" they found in a dumpster and a better book (and almost any other book would be better) would only threaten their fragile world view.



It could also be the sort of person that likes to build a world view by researching information by themselves and building their personal ideas on the world by thinking critically, instead of being force-fed by activists.

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Re(2): The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 204.52.245.32] on November 12, 2007 08:41 PM

"It could also be the sort of person that likes to build a world view by researching information by themselves and building their personal ideas on the world by thinking critically, instead of being force-fed by activists."



I thought about that, but realized that a critical thinker is capable of evaluating information presented by activists just as well as they can evaluate information obtained from other sources.



So no, the sort of person who rejects activism and advocacy out of hand is likely to be an Ayn Rand fan, and unlikely to be in a book store.

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How do you know?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.192.250.149] on November 11, 2007 11:12 AM
"SUSE and Ubuntu (which I have never tried) are good enough for wide range of business people profiles. "


If you've never tried them, how do you know they are good enough for anything?

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Re: How do you know?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 77.237.101.96] on November 11, 2007 02:13 PM
I have never tried Ubuntu. I am running SUSE now. Should have make myself more clear.

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Re: The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.11.141.160] on November 13, 2007 12:36 AM
What advocacy? Business!




Wife and Robin can make the distros to give away to help spotlight her work via digital photos. The recipient would have Linux and a collection of her work. The recipient would see the potential in the liveCD's used for business. The recipient would come back for help or help propagate Linux further. They may even be capable of starting a business to service Linux better on account of the custom distro.




Giving something that the individual already wants and can easily identify or being business-like have nothing to do with advocacy. The latter case is involved in the wive's art example. The former case can be where you customize the distro to have a special bent to art enthusiasts if that describes the target recipient.




http://www.thetuxproject.com/node/260 This is a forum posting where anyone can contribute ideas. Whatever the customer wants most, we should try and provide. The focus likely should not or may not be on Linux since most people already have something (Windows) to get most of their work done (or at least they may don't perceive a need for more at this time).




I would suggest that some really interesting apps be customized more than usual. Also make use of the desktop real estate. And try to focus on the activity that you already know the recipient cares about.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.236.254.54] on November 10, 2007 02:59 PM
You can't do it this way! It's like someone handling out religious leaflets on a street corner. People naturally shy away from
this kind of thing. I tell people that I use Linux. If they ask me FIRST, I will give them a few CD's.

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Re: The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 128.164.100.45] on November 12, 2007 07:50 PM
The day after Software Freedom Day, 4 of us from our Ubuntu Local Community Team set up a booth at a folk festival and gave out about 120 CDs. We didn't walk up to people (mostly); they came to us. One guy did go around to some of the other booths and ask if any of the people who were stuck to their tables were interested in free software, but we had a bit over 150 people just walk up and ask us about it. Sign-ups for our mailing list took 2 pages, and we gave out lots of calling cards ("need help? email or call me"). Didn't seem like they shied away.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.227.240.112] on November 10, 2007 03:02 PM
My office has 7 employees. Of those 7 I have managed to get 6 of them to change to Linux. In another office I managed to get 2 of them to switch to Linux. This took about 9 months in all. The biggest thing? EVERYONE was hesitant until they ran the live CD I gave them. All of them now have Linux installed on their home PC. Now, none of them would go back.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: M.Liang Liu on November 10, 2007 04:43 PM
hmmmmmm,to beat windows is not the goal.

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Re: The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.126.166.170] on November 10, 2007 04:55 PM



If "beating Windows" is not the ultimate goal, it is at least a prerequisite.



Software freedom cannot survive and flower where a heavily capitalized adversary is given carte blanche to stomp it out.



Money and market share is Microsoft's air supply. Room for an alternative will only be possible if it is "beaten" out of Microsoft's monopoly domination of the IT sector. Since Microsoft sees it as an either/or struggle, and intends to give no quarter, in all probability, software freedom's survival will require that Microsoft/Windows be "beaten to death."

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Re(1): The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 77.237.101.96] on November 11, 2007 02:20 PM
I will always resist calls to beat someone, Microsoft or anybody else. I am using computer for work and fun. Currently I am using SUSE Linux. Tomorrow I may use something else, which I may find better option. I will never, by no means, become loyal to a single software platform. I think that I deserve the best tool for the job.

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Re(2): The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.126.166.170] on November 11, 2007 02:51 PM
It isn't about brand loyalty. It is about the restoration and then, the expansion, of software freedom. It is to a large degree about taking back something that was ours and that was taken from us illegally.



When you begin to understand the importance of software freedom, you probably won't be using SuSE any longer.



You do deserve the best tool for the job, but an important aspect of the best tool for the job is that the tool be free "as in speech." It doesn't have to be GNU/Linux, but it cannot be an illegal monopolist's proprietary product.

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Re(3): The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 77.237.101.96] on November 11, 2007 04:29 PM
"Software freedom" is not important to me. I know about 4 rules of FSF, but I don't agree with them. They are not good for me.

In fact I believe that the term "Software Freedom" has no real meaning, so I substitute it with "GNU/Freedom" as opposite to true freedom.

I am not C/C++ programmer, which means that majority of the "free" code is inaccessible to me just as if it was kept secret by vendor. As for code in other languages, most of the time I don't have time to study and modify code written by someone else. Have you ever tried it ? Either it works, or I have to look for something else.

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Re(4): The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.93.127.221] on November 11, 2007 05:50 PM
You miss a very subtle difficulty. What is working well for you today may not work so well for you tomorrow. But you may have to endure years of bit rot and bloat cruft as migrating to something else has become a tangled nest of dependencies. Nothing I intend to keep for myself is stored in proprietary formats. It may be necessary to edit or convert that information to be used with other tools. Companies like MS and Adobe do everything possible to deeply enmesh themselves into operations and workflows. I don't insist every bit of code that I use be "GNU/Freedom" but I do insist that all data have an RFC specification or equivalent and be transformable with a variety of tools.

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Re(4): The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.126.166.170] on November 11, 2007 06:32 PM



If software freedom is not important to you, then you do not understand what is at stake.



Software freedom benefits all classes of user...not just programmers.



You might begin to understand if you simply consider the role Microsoft and Diebold code plays in elections...and the impact of this if the majority of the world's democracies decide that software freedom doesn't matter.

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And do this, too... Way Fun!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.179.80.58] on November 10, 2007 05:23 PM
For years now, when at Barnes & Noble or Borders, I've been grabbing the stacks of Windows magazines and moving them to the back rows, and moving the Linux ones to the front.

I _always_ leave the store with a smile!

Alternatively, you can just grab one of those large Linux magazines and just put it directly in front of a stack of Windows/Windows oriented ones.

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Re: And do this, too... Way Fun!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 58.70.18.10] on November 11, 2007 01:42 AM
Ahhh...yet another linux literature guerilla (YALLG?)! :-)

I too discretely move linux magazines to the front row, and/or cover windows mags at Chapters stores in Canada! :-)
Nice to know I am not alone in the fight to bring freedom to the people! :-)

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Thanks....

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.227.163.88] on November 11, 2007 10:15 AM
Actually I wanted to say thanks, because that is when I got my start in Linux. I still have the issue of Linux Format I bought out of curious interest a few years back, that got me thinking about FOSS.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.116.131.15] on November 10, 2007 06:58 PM
Another way is to set up a discarded PC with a easy to use linux, like pclinuxos, and loan it to interested computer users. I include a KVM switch so they can switch between that other OS and linux.
One use at a time -is fine.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 220.255.54.127] on November 10, 2007 07:41 PM
What coincidence! I just gave my Ubuntu live cd to a friend of mine who is interested in using linux desktop!!

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.8.78.128] on November 10, 2007 11:04 PM
While I agree linux is getting better, I dont think it's ready to "beat" windows yet. The issue with free vs proprietary formats is a huge issue. Most major distributions dont have codecs installed by default or if they do they are incomplete. The other major issue is that it is harder to install software on Linux. Things have become better with packages and Repositories but there are too many different package formats and they don't always have the program you want. Most windows users don't have the patience to compile from source or add kernel-headers, etc. to get a Nvidia driver working. Ive been using Linux since 1995 and I think this discussion will be the same ten years from now.

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Re: The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.126.228.159] on November 11, 2007 12:25 AM
>The issue with free vs proprietary formats is a huge issue. Most major distributions dont have codecs installed by default or if they >do they are incomplete.

(Gnu/)Linux is ready as long as it is preinstalled for the "regular folks", who would be equally baffled by trying to install Windows.

>The other major issue is that it is harder to install software on Linux.

That's not true at all - it is vastly simpler, at least with Debian-based systems. I rarely find any reason to want to use anything that isn't in Debian (except, being a geek, sometimes compiling newer versions from CVS). Also, most "ordinary people" don't install software even in the Windows world - they use whatever came with the machine. Anyone adventurous to download and install a Windows program can handle aptitude, Synaptic, or the like.

>Most windows users don't have the patience to compile from source or add kernel-headers, etc. to get a Nvidia driver working.

And they wouldn't have the patience to install Windows, either.

It's all about bundling of the OS with the computer, and also, to a significant extent, file format lock-in. As far as the use of a fully set-up Linux desktop vs. the use of a fully set-up Windows desktop, Linux is completely "ready". Ask my nine year-old.

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The only issue

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 84.58.234.12] on November 11, 2007 11:48 AM
>>"The other major issue is that it is harder to install software on Linux." >"That's not true at all - it is vastly simpler, at least with Debian-based systems." The only real issue with free software, in general, is that its producers don't bother to listen to the consumers -- the users of the software. The above quote is just another good example. There's a significant amount of people who complain that nearly no Linux application can be installed from the projects websites. But instead of fixing the problem, it's just not acknowledged.

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Re: The only issue

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.80.34.124] on November 11, 2007 03:19 PM
The problem to fix, in this, case is the idea that software comes from anywhere other than your distro's repository. This is one of the differences in Linux that is better left the way it is. With the loads of idiots out there willing to install malware on their systems from social engineering sites it is better to retrain the user than to continue old habits. Your complaint may be valid but certainly not in this case. The Windows way of installing software is foolish and dangerous, not something to be emulated. But then maybe you're an MS troll and that's why you demand this.

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Re(1): The only issue

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 84.58.234.12] on November 12, 2007 01:35 AM
Well, thanks for proving my point by suggesting that I might be a MS troll. Additionally, your point is wrong. With Open Source software, nobody is forced to use installers. The source still exists, and the distro package will also continue to exist. But the existance of installers would be a nice feature to have for those who want it. And these people are no idiots that install just about anything from dubious sites. They are not your average moms and dads. They are PC enthusiast who like to try new release without wasting their time with compiling stuff from source. They are people who even recommend good software to their friends if it's good and useful software. Just imaging the success of, say, Napster: It wouldn't have been possible with the centralized Linux distribution system. Also consider the success of Firefox: It would also not have been possible without an installer (for Windows). Additionally, Linux distros are also well known to break things during dist-upgrades every now and then. And the non-existance makes you forced to upgrade your distribution to get new versions of software. Also, the Mac way of installing new software is very similar to the Windows way and they don't suffer from malware. So, it's quite possible to have software installers that simply work without compromising security. Additionally, you're average mom'n'dad are still going to rely on the distribution packages. They won't use installers, anyway, because they don't install new sowftare in the first place. So, the more interesting question is: Why do you want people to lock-in the distribution system?

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Re(2): The only issue

Posted by: mwelchuk on November 12, 2007 02:32 PM

"Additionally, your point is wrong. With Open Source software, nobody is forced to use installers. The source still exists, and the distro package will also continue to exist."



I'm afraid this doesn't prove his point wrong at all. The availability of a projects source code on the projects site and the ability for advanced users to compile and use this does not invalidate his argument that downloading and installing binary versions of applications from "random" sites is not ideal (as proven by the problems windows has with spy-ware). That Linux distributors have adopted an alternative approach (which aims to mitigate some of the problems with distributing applications in this manor) and that Linux users should be educated to use this approach rather than relying on "bad habits" picked up on competing platforms.



"But the existance of installers would be a nice feature to have for those who want it."



It might seem that way to you, but I disagree. Linux distributors will generally pick which versions of applications they use to provide a good balance between stability, security and features. They may patch the versions they provide to ensure that the software works as well as possible when utilised with the rest of their distribution. Providing an easy way to bypass this process will increase the risk of less clued up users breaking their systems, who will then blame the distributors.



"And these people are no idiots that install just about anything from dubious sites."



No, they are probably not idiots, though I rather doubt that the majority of windows users that installed spyware infected versions of Kazaa were fully aware of the impact it would have on the security of their system.



"They are not your average moms and dads. They are PC enthusiast who like to try new release without wasting their time with compiling stuff from source. They are people who even recommend good software to their friends if it's good and useful software."



You are right - "they are not your average moms and dads", since they will generally be happy to utilise what they already have. They are also unlikely to be "advanced" users, who will generally not be too phased by installing the odd package from source (taking into account the impact this may have on their package management and system as a whole).



The only group that seems to fit into your description are youngsters who haven't spent the time to understand the compilation process (beyond "./configure && make && make install") and have yet to learn patience.



"Just imaging the success of, say, Napster: It wouldn't have been possible with the centralized Linux distribution system."



What - A service which was used by-and-large for piracy, which was sued to the point where it was closed completely and ripped apart? Only to replaced by a legitimate service that few use and other similar systems, may of which have suffered or look to be suffering the same fate? That's not that successful.



"Also consider the success of Firefox: It would also not have been possible without an installer (for Windows)."



I agree. A windows installer which utilises the standard mechanism for installing packages in windows would be beneficial to the spread of a piece of software on the windows platform. Just as getting the package into distributions repositories helps the spread of software on those distributions platforms.



"Additionally, Linux distros are also well known to break things during dist-upgrades every now and then. And the non-existance makes you forced to upgrade your distribution to get new versions of software."



It does no such thing. I agree that dist-upgrades do sometimes fail, though I disagree that you are forced to take this approach. You can do a fresh install for example, maybe in parallel to you existing OS.



"Also, the Mac way of installing new software is very similar to the Windows way and they don't suffer from malware."



Really? I'm sure it's not as prevalent, but neither are Mac users. A quick web search seems to suggest that there is indeed spyware which runs under Mac OSX.



"So, it's quite possible to have software installers that simply work without compromising security."



I'd agree. Though not unnecessarily in the manor you may propose.



"Additionally, you're average mom'n'dad are still going to rely on the distribution packages. They won't use installers, anyway, because they don't install new sowftare in the first place."



Thus almost completely destroying the need for a further method for installing software.



"So, the more interesting question is: Why do you want people to lock-in the distribution system?"



You are not locked onto the "distribution system", by which I assume you mean "package management system". As you mentioned yourself, if you so choose you can install from source. Though there are some compelling reasons to use the package management system, such as ease of use, trust in the distributors choice (else I'd use a different distribution) and a level of safety from spyware and viruses.



My question is: Are you wanting to use this software to get something meaningful done or is the use of the software the end goal? Most people trying to get something done prise stability over cutting edge features. When the software does not do what they want they will look elsewhere or be prepared to spend a bit of time to gain the features in a manor which doesn't compromise their ability to do the other things that they need to do with their system.

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Re(2): The only issue

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 128.164.100.45] on November 12, 2007 07:56 PM
"They are PC enthusiast who like to try new release without wasting their time with compiling stuff from source." Last I checked, compiling from source took less time than clicking "next," waiting, clicking "next" again, waiting, clicking "next" again, waiting....10 times then finally waiting for it to unpack and install.

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Re: The only issue

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 58.70.18.10] on November 11, 2007 03:33 PM
And Microsoft listens to users?!! BWAHAHAHAHA. I haven't heard such nonsense in years...
Microsoft...listening to customers...oh, stop it, you're killing me! :-)

A corrupt, megacorp couldn't care less about 'users'. Did you know that there is a Mongolian version of linux? Know why? Because Microsoft can't be bothered to make a Mongolian version of windoze. Too small a market, no profit, etc. In fact, linux is available in more languages than windoze now. Now, who did you say again who doesn't listen to consumers?

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Re(1): The only issue

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 84.58.234.12] on November 12, 2007 01:45 AM
I never said, Microsoft listens to users. But Microsoft is not the only software company in the world. There are others. And many of them provide the services and features consumers requests. These may not be the feature you want. But why should everbody be forced to use what you want? Your argument is clueless. Again, you're proving my point that people aren't willing to listen but instead just try to cover Linux' disadvantages by ignoring it. This is indeed the same song that Microsoft sings. Why should anyone bother switching when he or she get the same wine in a different bottle?

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Re: The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 77.237.101.96] on November 11, 2007 02:28 PM
Linux does not have to take the desktop over. There are many situations and places where Linux meet the requirements. Nvidia drivers and codecs have nothing to do with office work. If company needs to deploy couple hundreds or thousands PC's, it is likely that some Linux vendor is going to charge less. I believe that UNIX based desktops have their place. They just need to discover it.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: David D on November 11, 2007 12:01 AM
I've used Linux on my desktop off and on for the last 4 or 5 years. Most of the time I'd install a distro just to try it out and see how improvements were coming along. I 'grew up' with windows on my desktop, but when I got into web scripting languages Linux became my server of choice. Until about a month ago, 99% of my desktop time was in windows, because I saw Linux mostly as a great server option and a limited desktop option. This past summer some business associates bought me a Vista machine for web development. About a month ago, I had gotten so fed up with Vista that I was on the verge of installing XP. To be honest, this was mainly because my web development machine wasn't gifted in the area of RAM and Vista used nearly all of it just to boot. The day I had finally entirely, without a doubt given up on Vista just happened to be the day after Gutsy Gibbon was released. So, I decided to try the live CD, before deciding for sure I was going back to XP. Everything seemed to work perfectly.



I used the one useful thing Vista had and partitioned my drive, installed Ubuntu, and started using it. Since then, I've only had to boot into Vista one time, and that was to copy some bookmarks and things like that. I've been completely happy with my linux desktop and the choices it gives me. I miss some of my games, but when I have time to play them again, I can use cedega or something of the like. I still plan to upgrade my RAM, but it's not a necessity like it was before. I like the idea of giving out live CDs and letting people try Linux. I think the approach will probably be more effective on friends and family, but you never know.



I'm a Windows user, and I've been sober for almost a month ;)

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 58.70.18.10] on November 11, 2007 01:35 AM
Living in Japan, using Kubuntu on my laptop, I only have nightmares occasionally now about the years I wasted on windoze. Linux has been my desktop for about 12 years now, so I am quite puzzled when someone says "is this the year of the Linux desktop?". This just demonstrates that the writer hasn't switched yet. 1995 was the "Year of the Linux desktop" for me (and probably many others :-)).

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: dwood on November 11, 2007 01:39 AM
that was great. I dont think the people around where I live have the int-drive to get linux on their computer, though.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 210.211.183.166] on November 11, 2007 04:43 AM
In India, at the town where I live, computer literacy is seen as rocket science. Largely because a computer costs a fortune and using it demands knowledge of English. A few people come to me asking about buying computers. I ask them to let me install the softwares after they buy the computer. They just don't. They grey market vendors install them Windows 'free of cost' for them. After this, if I talk about Linux, it sounds like I'm an alien to them. Giving out free CDs hasn't worked at all. Windows is as much free for them. They don't recognise license as a thing that needs some thought.

Once in a blue moon, someone does ask about the strange OS I use on my computer without any virus. Then I tell them about it and ask them to use it. Most important, I give them a list of LUGs, distro specific mailing lists and IRC channels and ask them to look there for any answers when I'm not around to help out. This works out good. But I have made only some three or four people to use Linux and they are not looking back to Windows.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 99.226.17.160] on November 11, 2007 05:41 AM
The big native powwow here in Toronto could be a great chance to promote FOSS among that demographic (and the thousands of others that will attend), perhaps even jumpstart the localization efforts again.
Aside from that, I've been thinking of all the abandoned Learning Annex boxes around Toronto... Perhaps a poster, some people handing out cds and a stash inside for later.
And let's start offering upgrade options for existing computers that can't handle VISTA, making them into dual boot machines.

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Re: The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 58.70.18.10] on November 11, 2007 03:42 PM
Hey, wanna really impress FLOSS on the natives in Toronto? tuxpaint.org will be releasing (near end of November) an Ojibway (one of the main native languages in the Ontario region of Canada) version of the child's paint program, TuxPaint. Helps to keep the language alive, if (very) young kids have the option to use/learn software in their native language, eh? ;-)

Disclaimer: Oh, all right, I'll admit it. :-) I'm the one who is adding the Ojibway translation to the program...(and I hope to add a few more in the future...:-)

Heck, more than windows has ever done or will do, for natives. Not enough of a market, not profitable enough, you know, for a corrupt megacorp.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.82.39.45] on November 11, 2007 10:03 AM
I just swapped my brother's Windows 2000 for Ubuntu. He loves it, esp. the support for his serial Wacom tablet. He switched from OSX to Windows for the Wacom, and now to Ubuntu for the feel of real freedom. Ubuntu makes for a sweet demo and, finally, an amazing end user experience. It's catching on, people. Congratulations to THE COMMUNITY, and thanks too - WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE! 'Course it helps to have all those "same as Windows" apps like Firefox, OO.o, GIMP etc.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.217.188.72] on November 11, 2007 11:15 AM
Hey, is there a way Canonical could hook up with Walmart or small computer shops for a limited time where Canonical gives them a bunch of Ubuntu Discs to put on a rack somewhere? Maybe they'd have to pay a little something, but i'm sure people would be interested if it was a free copy of an OS, and in a setting where they were displayed nicely showing off what the discs were all about.. Even flash off some of the Compiz-Fusion stuff to get people interested..

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Buy Nothing Day 2007 = Nov, 23rd (USA & Canada), 24th (International)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 83.148.170.124] on November 11, 2007 04:02 PM
It is coming up to Buy Nothing Day so why not use it as an excuse and help buy nothing day by giving away free software!

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Wont Happen coz of 2 things - Hardware and Games

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 86.41.213.22] on November 11, 2007 07:16 PM
Hi, running linux for 2 years now and i can tell you what...
until the hardware issues remain and the games will be solely Micr0s0ft arena...... Linux will remain only a tool for curious people

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Re: Wont Happen coz of 2 things - Hardware and Games

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.126.166.170] on November 11, 2007 08:05 PM


Maybe, but most desktop hardware is generally supported as well, or better, by GNU/Linux today as it is supported by Vista.



As to games, one thing I've never seen is a good survey to discover what percentage of computer users are actually even slightly concerned about games. Most of the people I know do use Windows, but most of them aren't interested in gaming...at work they use Windows to run productivity apps...at home they run some of the same apps, plus some additional multi-media stuff for entertainment...and there's medibuntu repositories for example, to make that happen.



Honestly, while GNU/Linux hardware issues do remain, we've reached a point where they aren't any worse than the current release of Windows on new hardware...and far better than Windows Vista on hardware that is three to 10 years old.



Of the people I know, while most do still use Windows (from W2K to Vista), very few of them would lose any functionality they depend on if they moved to GNU/Linux. In fact, I helped move a couple of them to Ubuntu this fall. The only hardware issue involved an Argus camera that couldn't be made to work properly under Vista either...and won't be because it's considered obsolete.

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Re(1): Wont Happen coz of 2 things - Hardware and Games

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 86.41.213.22] on November 13, 2007 10:26 AM
Hi, first of all , i would like to agree with your point trully but yet i have to argue. Even though I do love linux and i find it the best thing ever in the digital era i have to doubt your reply a little bit. I am using hp nx6125 at the moment and you would not believe how much trouble it is. First of all, I would like to see all that BIZ people to install my crappy Broadcom wifi. OU! no wifi connectivity! What ? The x200 m ati card is kinda tricky to install and let me get to the point of gaming... I know that grown ups dont have as much time to play as the kids and thats crucial ! Kidz grow up, find a mate, and have kidz. And all the kidz want the most ultimate gaming system and all the parents have the desire to provide all the means to their offsprings. Believe it or not, gaming has been one of the biggest driving force in digital era and thats why we buy more and more memory, bigger displays, new graphic cards once in a while; otherwise, we would all be stuck with a 640x480 and some low CPU. To conclude, GIVE LINUX ULTIMATE HW SUPPORT !!! PLEASE DO !!!! and yet we might not see the day that all the linux users desire... WHY ? coz there are only few currious people and every one else is used to messing around with MS OFFICE suite and IS TOO LAZY TO CLICK COUPLE TIMES MORE TO FIND OUT WHERE THE BUTTON IS in open office. In most cases, people are either dumb or lazy (or both). Thats why MS rulez :( ....

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Re(2): Wont Happen coz of 2 things - Hardware and Games

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 204.52.245.32] on November 13, 2007 06:36 PM
Well, in response I would just say that I run a small business and I don't pay people to play games.



My IT decisions are final with regard to the platform used within our company, and my decision was to run GNU/Linux.



Moreover, few of our employees are gamers on their own time, and of the handful that are, none are decision makers within our business.



Now then, I wasn't saying that gaming plays no role in maintaining the dominance of Windows on the desktop. But gaming is not preventing GNU/Linux from establishing something on the order of 20~50% of the desktop market share.



That it has not is a consequence of Microsoft's illegal and predatory business practices and NOT a lack of gaming support for GNU/Linux by ISVs, nor the "less than optimal" broadcom wifi support in the laptop I'm using right now. .

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Re(1): Wont Happen coz of 2 things - Hardware and Games

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.126.3.61] on November 14, 2007 09:22 PM
OK people...Yes its really awful that as we get older our gaming time gets shorter but we have to give credit that without the gaming community we would not see nearly half the advancements in computer technology. Part of the reason (and there are many others) that Windows is such a popular os comes from gaming. Case in point:

Back when Windows 95 came out one of the many complaints were from PC gamers who had trouble running their favorite games. Then there were the complaints from game developers who had trouble creating games that would run reliably in Windows. Thats when Microsoft created Direct X. This gave the game developers a platform to create games more easily and efficient. This has helped keep Windows as the #1 operating system. Wake up Linux community !

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Well, curious people matter

Posted by: Michael Shigorin on November 11, 2007 08:35 PM
I don't think that gamers matter much. My Razer mouse would probably disagree but at the end of the day, money aren't what is worth the time, and games too. And even fun isn't really worth the time and life. At least it seems so to me these days.

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Re: Well, curious people matter

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.126.3.61] on November 14, 2007 08:47 PM
Well lets take that logic to task....So if you feel that games aren't worth the time or money, then I suppose nvidia and amd/ati should just stop developing newer and faster graphics cards, which means thousands of people out of work. Then how about all those game developers who create them, again thousands of people out of work.

I could go on but my point is that games play a vital part in the advancements in computer technology. Yes its unforunate that as we get older our time to play these games gets shorter but even at my age I still find the world of computer gaming fascinating!

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Re: Wont Happen coz of 2 things - Hardware and Games

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 219.75.221.48] on November 12, 2007 12:13 PM
Oops, sorry here is the link to linux migration database:
http://lxer.com/module/db/viewby.php?uid=108&option=&value=&sort=108&offset=0&dbn=12

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Re: Wont Happen coz of 2 things - Hardware and Games

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 209.169.203.157] on November 17, 2007 05:25 PM
I don't think that's entirely the problem. The real problem is that most people don't understand the most basic parts of their computer, until either that changes or they can't fubar their data because they didn't understand that "use entire disk" and the warning that comes with it just might give them a heads up that they should back up theri data lest it get wiped clean... the longer I use Linux, the more I realize that usability isn't really the problem any more, idiot users are...

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.206.171.69] on November 11, 2007 10:44 PM
The biggest blocks in my opinion:


1. Difficult set ups on a small scale. Microsoft provides easy to use GUIs, a novice can set up Active Directory in an afternoon. Have you ever set up a kerberos+ldap+dns system before? It can be quite intimidating if you've never done it before. On a large scale the tides usually turn the opposite direction however...



2. Lame office applications. OpenOffice sucks bad. Almost anyone who uses office can find something that they need to do, that they can't with OpenOffice. The biggest one for me displaying formulas of trendlines. If I make a trendline, I probably want to know what the formula is! This bug has been open for 5 years... literally! The UI is rather ugly and difficult to navigate, and printing is just a half notch above unreadable. Email is also in a sad state. Neither Kontact nor Evolution support groupware of any kind well. Integration is poor, and crashes are common. Most applications have serious usability issues, or lack important features.


3. Printing support sucks. Automatically scaling a page to fit, printing odd pages only, in reverse order should just be a few check boxes. Some Gnome apps finally have choices for this after years of waiting but handles it all wrong so its useless. Printing reverse order with multiple pages per sheet results in the pages printing in the wrong order on the sheets. KDE is much better in this area...


4. Lack of specialized applications. Almost all businesses and individuals have atleast one custom or out of the normal application. Usually these special purpose applications don't have a direct equivalent.

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Re: The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 219.75.221.48] on November 12, 2007 12:07 PM
1.And your opinions are meaningless...I've seen huge networks running on computers without hard drives, (DVD rom loaded/configured linux), therefore perfectly secure, zero downtime for years, etc. There are livecds specifically for networking, etc. I'd say you ONLY know windoze (probably a mediocre MSCE or some such) who is always trolling, etc. in a pitiful attempt to justify your bloatware 'point and click'.
2.Been using OpenOffice for years. Lots of things I can't do in MSOffice. Save as a .odt or .sxw for example, comes to mind...;-) I have ALWAYS been able to open my documents, as opposed to people who can't even open Word .docs, depending on which Word they were using and using now, etc. Just a heaping pile, like windoze itself.
3.Have been using network printing for years, (took about 10 minutes to install and configure CUPS, mainly automatic defaults, etc. :-)) Printing in odd pages, reverse order, scaling, etc. are all 'check the box' type functions. Again, your ignorance is showing...
4.Haven't had a problem yet, and in fact, I've run into many situations now where LAMP solves problems that many people gave up trying to do with windoze systems (at horrendous cost, I might add...:-))

I.E. You haven't a clue, evidentally. I'd suggest sticking to your windoze fanboy sites.
3

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Re: The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 128.164.100.45] on November 12, 2007 08:03 PM
What's wrong with OOo's UI? It's the same as MS Office before Office 2k7 (you know, before that horrible "ribbon" thing happened). I agree about the trendlines though. Excel is truly the best piece of software ever to bear the name "Microsoft." I also don't know why you think the printing is bad, unless you're using OOo on a Mac. OOo for Mac is crappy, due to the really bad implementation of X11 on Mac. That's why there's NeoOffice for Mac (no X11 required). If you use OOo on Windows or Linux or NeoOffice on Mac, the printing shouldn't be a problem at all.

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Its like horse and water story

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 86.97.200.161] on November 12, 2007 06:12 PM
You can take horse to water but to make him drink is
not what you can force.

Linux learning curve is short but needs quite an effort
hence only those who really have good inclination would switch
to Linux.

Btw I am using Ubuntu/Suse/Mepis/win-XP on my laptop
while Ubuntu is used 90% of time . . .

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We have plans as well

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 143.166.255.56] on November 12, 2007 10:40 PM
We are also planning to do a small CD handout but are trying to get pressed CDs instead of burning them. It looks more professional and helps our image. We are planning on holding an install fest a week or two following the handout so people who want to go further can do so.

Good luck!

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Keep tilting at those windmills

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.19.34.181] on November 13, 2007 07:40 AM
Geez. This is the best you can come up with? How 'bout finding some private schools with older computers and low tech budgets, setting up their computers with a low RAM Linux distro, and providing support for a year? If you have this much time on your hands, you'll get a better outcome than acting like a "Linux Panhandler"!! --AC

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Linux, The Time is Now

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.223.243.6] on November 13, 2007 05:03 PM
Way back in 2001 I wrote a series of survey and comparison articles to look at desktop Linux software distributions available at that time. All four of the distributions I reviewed even then were usable by anyone with a reasonable amount of computer usage experience, though a couple of them may have presented a few challenges to install for those unable or unwilling to do a bit of reading or research to understand the questions being asked during installations. Since that time, many distributions have attempted to further simplify even the basic questions, at the expense of complete flexibility. Those flexible systems are still out there for those who need them. I would assert that just about any general purpose computing activity could be done today on Linux systems, even more so than back in 2001 - though for me, the systems in 2001 got the job done too. Now we have more choices of systems that come preconfigured wtih the software and hardware you need to get the job done. The main issue or challenge that people are likely to pose is, "Why doesn't this work like my other system?" or "Where is ____ program?" These challenges are beginning to be met as well as more and more popular applications are ported to the Linux platform, but that is the likely objection you are likely to see these days.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.105.165.5] on November 14, 2007 04:11 AM
For anyone who is interested in leting me try a copy of linux for free let me know Dfairy2@aol.com I have never tryed another Operating System besides Windows and Apple But would love to try .

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Re: The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.110.26.180] on November 19, 2007 07:57 PM
Then head over to ubuntu.com and order your free Ubuntu CD!

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 15.211.153.72] on November 15, 2007 06:52 AM
I have been using Linux for over 7 years and only recently have purchased laptop. I put Fedora 7 (soon to be Fedora 8) on it not because Fedora is the easiest distribution but it is a great way of learning the Redhat variants of Linux which I need to know in my job. Basically everything I want to do on a laptop I can do with Fedora and this includes Wireless. If someone asked me if Linux is ready for the desktop I would say yes since 95% of all corporate users don't need all the extra features Microsoft provides in the OS, however for the home user sad to say Linux is beyond them for a variety of reasons the main one being "it is not like Windows".



IMHO Linux will never start to get adopted as the desktop of choice until Governments mandate it for the government sector as part of a "serious" cost cutting exercise and not a token one. Once the Government sector comes on-board the corporate sector will follow although this may be fairly slow. It is only after the Corporate sector start to adopt Linux on the desktop that you will see the home user start adoption since hopefully by then PC vendors will seriously start to offer Linux (ie. with a pre-install everything works) as an alternative OS to MS Windows, after that It does not take game companies long to start to provide games for Linux. I would not hold my breath on this because Microsoft is deeply embedded in many counties and won't give up without a nasty fight.

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Re: The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 204.69.4.81] on November 15, 2007 04:59 PM
Another great tactic I've found is to get a laptop, something sleek looking, and bring it with you everywhere. Go to cafes and make sure your windowing environment looks great and polished, if you run Ubuntu or another distro with 3D effects, put them on, and just hang out. You'll at least get a few stares if you sit somewhere visible to others and have an unfamiliar but beautiful looking GUI on your screen. I've had people see Ubuntu with all the stops pulled to make it pretty say "But wait, that looks great, I thought Linux was all just lines of code?" Even if people dont ask for a CD, it's helpful to assuage peoples doubts that Linux is just a command line for nerds and noone else.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 116.80.231.186] on November 16, 2007 02:05 AM
I use Linux Ubuntu and Windows but the users have to choose what they want to use, the right tool for the job, can be Linux,Windows, Macs or Solaris etc.

But I read some people insit the only option is Linux thats Zealotry and other people changing magazines? Thats why users get scary of Linux because the Zealots.

The freedom also include the choice dont forget that not only Linux need all the contest. Also OpenSolaris is free as the kernel of Mac OS X darmin and FreeBSD etc.

I think Linux could be better without the Zealots and marketed by Professionals that way maybe Linux could get a Huge Impact on the PC computing.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 116.80.231.186] on November 16, 2007 02:30 AM
One last thing, from 100 gamers how many use PC for games and consoles for games? I guess checking my neighborhood 95 people use consoles for gaming and just 5 PC. Almost nobody care this times the PC for gaming, It is more easy to load the console quick and play. So for Linux is not an excuse doesnt have market share because gaming.

Also the hardware thing I have found only a few wireles PC cards, Winmodems and Ati drivers sucks for Linux but Linux come with more hardware drivers than Windows so another excuse that is insignifican for the adoption. I think the problem as I said in my last post are Linux need a good marketing drived by professionals and get rid of the zealots.

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Get rid of the zealots????

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.126.166.170] on November 16, 2007 02:35 PM
If it is zealotry to speak in favor of a world in which a single rich corporation cannot extend it's control over the exchange and access to information...cannot control the outcome of elections...cannot impose an energy wasting infrastructure based on planned obsolescence on billions of people...then i'm a zealot.



Human rights have always been opposed by factions branding activists and advocates as "zealots." While that's to be expected, it is sad to see that these factions always manage to pick up ignorant people among the masses to parrot the line.



In an "information society," software freedom will someday be recognized as one of the prerequisites to personal freedom and fully enfranchised citizenship. For the multitudes numbered in the billions, it won't be about access to source code, but rather it will be about the infrastructure that results from millions having access to the code, and the inability of a single corporate entity to control the code powering that infrastructure.



The short sighted will talk about the "right tools" and hide away playing games while their freedoms are attacked and dismiss those who argue FOR THEM as zealots.



So be it...it has been that way since our distant ancestors first stepped out of the forests and onto the plains of Africa.

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The day of the Linux desktop

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.230.54.3] on December 16, 2007 11:13 PM
<a href="http://www.rizecity.com/">Youtube, rize, film indir</a>

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