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Re: Release plans

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Release plans
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 09:30:22 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.9i

'Morning, Richard!

On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 09:59:40PM -0400, Richard M Stallman wrote:
> To go on using Windows is a bad thing.  Using Emacs at work is
> certainly a way of informing other people there about GNU.  But has it
> opened up any possibility that you can stop using Windows there?  I
> don't think so.  Is there any reason to think that will change in the
> next year or two?  If not, then I think this path does not lead to the
> goal.

> Have you looked for other work where you can use a free operating
> system?

We all agree that in an ideal world, we would be running free software
exclusively.  But we differ in the best way of approaching there from

MS-Windows, like fossil-fuelled transportation, is something undesirable,
but difficult to avoid without separating from mainstream society.  If I
were to reject paid work involving MS-Windows and (proprietary) Unix, I
would need to find paid work outside of software development.  I'm not
prepared to go that far, and I don't think it's reasonable of you to
expect this from me and other people on the mailing list.  As far as I
can, I run only free software at home.  However my PC's BIOS is not free,
and neither is the software in my DSL router - yet.  Would you likewise
suggest I should not use DSL until fully free firmware becomes available?

Most of the places I work, the alternatives are (proprietary-OS
Proprietary-aplications) and (proprietary-OS free-applications).  I
advocate the latter, showing people what free software can do.  Sadly,
the freedom in free software doesn't excite most people - Emacs's
capabilities do, though.  So, for that matter, does a 5 line AWK program
as an alternative to stuffing a log file through Excel (a heavyweight
proprietary spreadsheet program).  Often, they show me cool features in
proprietary software, and sometimes I hack up equivalents in my .emacs.

If I were to reject work involving proprietary OS's, this wouldn't
advance free software at all.  The only people to notice would be the
people who expect me to pay their bills, and hopefully the Emacs
development team would notice my absence after my Internet line had been
cut off.  I suspect I am typical of most hackers here in that respect.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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