Good bye

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at
Fri Feb 1 05:22:39 UTC 2008

Kelly Miller wrote:

>> Most of the contributions to open source software have come from 
>> people who use it in one way or another, or from commercial companies 
>> who have decided for their own reasons to add open licenses to the 
>> code they own.  Anything that increases the user base will almost 
>> certainly increase the contributor base.  And making it easy to obtain 
>> all needed software would help increase the user base.

> See, this is the problem with the whole free vs. open source thing.  By 
> suggesting that open source works better, while ignoring the whole idea 
> of being FREE behind it, you bring in users who wonder why distros 
> simply don't include -- insert name of closed-source component du-jour 
> here -- and then you get distros that include that particular component 
> in the name of "making things easy for users".  However, the REAL 
> backlash from that decision is what most FLOSS programmers are seeing 
> from Nvidia and Adobe now; "We don't need to produce open source 
> software, you can use the closed source stuff instead.  After all, isn't 
> closed source better than nothing?"
> No, it's not.

People should be free to make that decision for themselves separately 
for every component.  That's what standard interfaces are about, to give 
you that freedom.  There is nothing free about things that take that 
choice away by restrictions or refusal to provide usable interfaces for 

>>> I have to agree with RMS' statements on that respect; it isn't worth 
>>> having GNU/Linux replace Windows if it turns into a closed system 
>>> equivalent to Windows itself.  What kind of "victory" is that?
>> First of all, if any virus-spewing Microsoft box can be converted to 
>> run stable, well-tested, standards-conforming software instead, it is 
>> a victory for everyone on the internet.  But open source can never 
>> 'turn into' a closed system.  The only scenario that might even come 
>> close to that would be if some system were so much better that 
>> everyone would choose it instead - which would also be a victory for 
>> everyone having that choice.

> Until you realize that such a system is actually no better than Windows 
> itself.  You're still locked in, you still can't see what's really going 
> on, and since it's closed, there will likely be hidden hooks designed to 
> make it hard to use anything else.  This is the sort of thing that 
> occurs when you use non-free software.

No, you are never locked in when components interface properly, there 
are choices for each, and they do not include restrictions that affect 
each other.

>>> And uh, for all your posts about the stability of the system, I have 
>>> to wonder why you're not running Debian stable.  AFAIK, that is the 
>>> only distro line that is guaranteed to work without any bugs of any 
>>> kind, mainly because it's years behind the others...
>> There are 2 kinds of stability - one is unchanging and can be good for 
>> interfaces.  The other is reliability.   Fedora has neither.
> You know, I do find it interesting that for a supposedly unreliable 
> distro, I haven't changed my install procedure on Fedora in 4 versions.  
> Are you sure it's not just because you're hitting stuff that most people 
> don't run into that's causing this supposed unreliability?

Yes, of course I want to do different things.  Why shouldn't I?  Stable 
interfaces give you the freedom to do something different instead of 
being locked into what comes from a single provider that likes to make 
it difficult for you to change or use other components.

>>> Asking why 3rd party stuff doesn't work when they're considered 
>>> outside the system is a little odd, wouldn't you say?
>> No, I wouldn't say that.  As with any other operating systems, I 
>> expect to be able to run other programs on it.
> So do I.  I note that I have no problems running 3rd party programs on 
> Fedora.  I generally just choose not to.  However, things like VMWare work.

Yes, after you track down the extra patches that someone has had to 
write for each new fedora version.  So it's just difficult, not 
completely impossible.  How many times have you had to locate those 
patches so far?

>>> It isn't Fedora's fault that VMWare's sytem doesn't work with it; ask 
>>> VMWare why, since the stuff is set up by them.
>> When the same program works on one version of an operating system but 
>> not on another, there's nothing to ask.  The operating system has 
>> clearly failed to provide a usable interface.
> Did you mention things like this about Windows?  Every version suffers 
> from this problem.  Just ask the people trying to switch to Vista.

Security updates are still being provided to XP so existing users aren't 
being forced to switch yet as they are continuously in fedora, and 
there's a chance they will have it mostly fixed by SP2 time.  In any 
case I can deal with a change once a decade or so. But yes, I will 
complain if any of my current programs don't continue to run or else 
have push-button updates to fix them.

   Les Mikesell
     lesmikesell at

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