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Re: Who's the Fedora user?

On 8/24/05, Greg DeKoenigsberg <gdk redhat com> wrote:
> What do we have to say to her?

Honestly.. I'll tell her that perhaps linux is not right for her...
and to check out other for-pay linux distributions which include
proprietary technology instead of being completely open source. Moving
to completely open source solutions has an opportunity cost, you
either value the benefits of open source over the costs or you
don't... and that determination comes down to personal situations. 
I'd also tell her that crossing any operating system boundary has a
portability price associated with. The price is higher when you
crossing from proprietary to an open vendor. And while there are some
technical solution which help.. there is no universal solution to the
problem..either for proprietary binary portability or proprietary
content portability.

For binary portability...anyone walking into the process of 'major'
operating system change certaintly needs to expect to have to stop
using some binary applications that you were using in the previous
operating system. While wine and winex do a good job at helping get
access to some windows applications.. they are not universal
solutions... just like virtualPC was never a perfect solution.  I
think point-blank statement about binary compatibility from windows to
linux is a very sensible statement to make upfront and I think most
people would find that sort of expectation adjustment reasonable.

Whether or not wine or winex are helpful solution to this particular
person's game problem is a matter of specifics. As for configuration
of wine, until someone takes up the challenge again inside RedHat or
Fedora to start integration work, its not going to get any easier for
the average Fedora or RedHat user to configure wine.   As to the
anti-virus issue, without knowing the specific vendor there isn't much
to say or discuss.  Generally speaking, at some point the packaging
standardization discussion that is on-going at fedora-packaging is
going to have to expand to include proprietary software vendors who
are trying to keep up.

For proprietary content portability, things like attachments in
proprietary formats..or web content such as flash or multimedia, there
is some long term hope that open source can re-engineer open solutions
as demand for access to this content grows, but such efforts are
continually hampered by political and legal issues. This one is the
really tough nut.  Its completely rational to expect to be able to
access your data regardless of what operating system its own..or to
access content on the web regardless of your choice of browser or
operating system...or hardware. That is every user's dream..every open
source developers dream. But some intellectual property laws make it
extremely difficult for the open source vendors to make this work
widely available without risking a legal assault.

There are only 3 ways to make this situation better. 
1) RedHat stops being an open source solution provider and licences
proprietary technology from other vendors. For every person that would
like to see this happen there is another one who would be
disappointed. This is a zero-sum game.

2) Technology vendors properly support and embrace the open source community, 
market share catch-22

3) Laws change so that open source developers and vendors can provide
technical solutions without risk of lawsuits due to concerns such as
software patents.
When I run for US senate, I expect everyone in this community to be
donating to my campaign.


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