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Re: Getting people into Linux



On Wed, Jan 03, 2007 23:10:55 PM -0500, William Case
(billlinux rogers com) wrote:

> > > 1) A foundation or institution with free information for
> > > developers and others that provided statistics about computer
> > > use
> > 
> > Please note that this wouldn't be of much benefit without a way to
> > force programmers, or at least distribution packagers, to _use_
> > that information, that is to _have_ interest "into building and
> > creating usability for the user", rather than coding to scratch
> > one's itch.
> 
> Force is not necessary.

I meant force as in "hire full time and pay expert programmers
explicitly to code or package according to usability studies". This is
something only a company can do.

> This a free and open source movement, fuelled in no small part by
> personal competition between developers trying to do better than the
> other guy or trying to be the best.

But only in the fields _THEY_ personally care about, which so far have
never included usability by non-techies or desktops which are fully
functional and usable by non techies on low spec machines. This is the
big, big limit of your proposal/ expectations. The traditional FOSS
advocate, user or developer is very elitist and doesn't care about
general usability or what is best for the _real_ community (1),
period.

The best /most recent demonstration of it is maybe the fact that no
FOSS developer really cared for FOSS accessibility or the need for it
(http://software.newsforge.com/software/06/03/13/1628249.shtml?tid=150
) until *IBM, SUN and other companies* started to make their own
employees work on it. Because otherwise their FOSS-based products
couldn't even be *considered* as MS replacements by Public
Administrations. And they would lose big money.

This isn't necessarily bad: I just mean it may be dangerous to still
believe that the original FOSS attitude and slogans have ever been
really altruistic (ie based on helping _everybody_ ) (2) or that FOSS
can remain relevant if those slogans and, above all, attitudes don't
change.

I see as another proof of what I just said the fact that the FSF has
recognized that it has failed to be on activist agendas
(http://community.linux.com/article.pl?sid=06/11/28/1652238&tid=19)
but I remain doubtful if their DNA allows them to see the big picture
how it really is, and in any case their definition of "activist" is
still a very restricted and elitist one. Every parent and grandparent
is a social activist at home, not just those subscribed to, and
actually working, for some organization big enough to get tax
deductible donations.

Ciao,
	Marco

(1) see http://digifreedom.net/node/56
	http://digifreedom.net/node/57

(2) when I say this I refer not necessarily or not mainly to RMS and
    the FSF itself, but almost always to the actual behaviour of the
    majority of FOSS advocates (be they FSF members or not) in the
    trenches.

-- 
The right way to make everybody love Free Standards and Free Software:
http://digifreedom.net/node/73


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