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Re: AW: Fwd: CEDET sync

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: AW: Fwd: CEDET sync
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 2010 12:51:13 +0900

David Kastrup writes:
 > "Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden> writes:
 > > The question is not "did it work well in the past?"  The question is,
 > > "in the future, do we want to attract the unbelievers to freedom, or
 > > do we want to just sit around and congratulate ourselves on our own
 > > purity?"
 > Taking a look at the GNU/Linux user demographic,

You mean like the million or so Japanese businessmen who have a Sharp
Zaurus or Netwalker?  It's true that Sharp has screwed the pooch by
making it relatively hard to develop for their hardware (in particular
for the Zaurus, at least, it's not possible to have both a non-Sharp
version of Linux plus GUI, and use the really excellent Japanese input
facilities), but (low-level) folks inside Sharp have told me they find
the GNU project to be hostile to them, to insist on extremes before
giving them any credit, and so they don't see the point in opening up,
since (they believe) they can't satisfy the demands of "freedom
lovers" without destroying their profit margin.

 > there is little enough doubt that "attracting unbelievers to
 > freedom" is happening in copious amounts.

I see it happening all the time in the "open source" arena.  I know
many Ubuntu and Centos users who value freedom for itself and ask for
it in the products they use, looking at proprietary products only
after exhausting the free offerings as too sucky to be worked around.
Of course, they remain unwilling to give up the features they want if
no free program offers them, and they are unable to contribute
directly to developing them, so they adopt a pragmatic stance.

I believe that enjoying a taste *of* freedom leads to developing a
taste *for* freedom.  Of course such users are unlikely to become
extremists[1] like Richard, but how many of those do we need?  I
believe it would useful if "ordinary" users come to recognize that
software freedom is a necessity, not a luxury, and learn to demand it,
bargain hard for it, and not to give it up without a really good
reason, as many of my non-hacker friends in the Tokyo Linux Users
Group have learned.  It is certainly true that several vendors of
Linux-based systems[2] in Tokyo vocally appreciate that "bedrock"
support in our meetings!

There is no need for GNU or Emacs to conceal its moral stance, just to
make the "We hold that" part of moral statements explicit, and be more
accepting of those who "do the right things for the wrong reasons".

[1]  "Extremism in the defense of freedom is no vice."

[2]  In this case, several of them do not use GNU userspace, thus the
lack of "GNU/".

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