Comment on "Nine Attitude Problems in Free and Open SourceSoftware"

P.B. pb at
Thu Oct 23 16:03:42 UTC 2008

My reply to "Max Moritz Sievers":

Sorry, but most people I know who *would* want to use a Free OS, as
well as Free Formats, etc... can't, because of some reasons which
still exist (and hopefully will fade away). So they haven't given
money "voluntarily" to a proprietary vendor. They're often indirectly
forced to. Yes - of course we know that this is vendor-lock in, or
caused by a network-effect (myspace, youtube, ...), but it still exists.

1) At work they use "proprietary product X". You're practically forced
to have "X" on your home PC, too because very often you must do
something from home. You really have to be in a special position to
tell your boss: "No. I won't. Use free stuff. then I will/can"
The default answer will be: Then you can't stay in our company/team.
sorry. Next one, please!

It sucks. but it's a fact. Especially for non-technical people. They
wouldn't even know how to argue in that regard.

2) 1 out of 20 can open "Free Format Y".
So, now you show me e.g. a small company, home-user or no-name band
who will take that compromise and say: "Oh you can't read it? Well,
I'm soooo important that you will *have to* figure out how to do it,
because otherwise you can't work with me / listen to our stuff / read
my document"
We all know what most people on the other end of the line will answer:
"Don't care. goodbye - Do your IT homework and use 'proprietary stuff
X' - because that's professional. why? because everyone uses it!"

It sucks. but again: it's still a fact.

3) No Flash, no WLAN, no....
I totally see your point, and I'm walking on a similar path. My
experience however is, that your setup & life is your showcase. If you
are into Free Software (and everything that's connected with it), you
would want people to see you and think: "I might give that a try".
If they see you typing on the commandline all the time, answering 99%
of their requests with: "nope. can't do that." - their impression
might become slightly biased to the negative side....

A: Those FS-nerds don't even have wireless!
B: Yeah! it sucks. I can't watch anything on my boyfriend's notebook.
And the music files he sent me the other day? My ipod wouldn't play
them. I'm soooo glad I got my own Mac!

I know, I know... it's because they just don't know enough to
understand what they're talking about - but, in the end: This is what
they tell their friends, write on blogs, answer to "have you ever
tried Linux?"-questions, etc...

This is just my personal opinion. No offense intended.
I've tried the "I can live without this..." (aka: "your stuff sucks.
die!") approach and learned the following lesson: You'll end up quite
isolated, grumpy - and well known as "don't listen to him. he speaks
in tongues, fires lasers out of his eyes and accuses you of eating
children - just because you use e.g. skype".

Changing my philosophy to: "I'll explain it to you, show you the
benefits, offer you alternatives - and leave the choice up to you"
raised the number of Free Software around me dramatically. :)

Sorry. got longer than intended.

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