FreeAlternatives: project proposal

Reinhard Mueller mueller at
Thu Jan 4 18:16:52 UTC 2007


Am Donnerstag, den 04.01.2007, 11:17 +0100 schrieb Stephan Peijnik:
> Lately, I've again and again stumbled accross a problem. People have
> been asking for Free Software Alternatives to proprietary programs.

thank you very much for your initiative and for presenting your idea to
the critical eyes of this mailing list :-)

I tend to agree with the majority in this thread that thinks it is
better to let people search by task than by proprietary software
solutions. There are quite some reasons I see:

* Advertising a program as a "drop in replacement" for another program
usually creates false assumptions - I've made this experience myself,

* The best Free Software program depends on the task, not on the
proprietary program you would use to do it. The best replacement for
Winword probably depends on whether you want to create a mathematical
book, an invitation for your birthday party, or business cards.

* Task related lists even helps people that look for software and don't
even know a proprietary program to do it.

* I would not say that it is generally a sacrilege to even mention the
name of a proprietary software product, but it still is usually better
to avoid it.

I also think that FSF's Free Software Directory is a very good start for
that, and I like the idea to add things like a mime type, file
extension, or RFC number lookup feature.

So it might really be a good idea for those interested in this project
to contact FSF and ask if they would accept some help.

I generally would avoid to build something new completely from scratch
when something close to what I want is already there - I would rather
offer my help extending what's there to what I want.

Just my 2 cents,
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