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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund

From: Andrew Savory
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2008 09:00:27 +0100


the thread that would not die ... ;-)

On 2/1/08, Kevin Donnelly <address@hidden> wrote:

> > > If you want to use this sort of daft analogy, I could ask why people
> > > argue for closed software being allowed to retain a privileged position
> > > when they wouldn't stand for:
> >
> > I don't see anyone arguing for this "privileged position", we are
> > arguing for freedom.  Freedom to choose what we want is no more wanting
> > to force everyone to use proprietary software than freedom to choose to
> > have an abortion is wanting to abort every pregnancy.
> Not quite.  The impression given in earlier posts was that free software could
> only go so far, and beyond that the only realistic option was closed
> software.  This is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and free software would never
> have got anywhere if people had accepted that it was only a niche product.
> That's what I mean by giving closed software a privileged position.

I think you're putting words into people's mouths based on an assumed
position of inferiority. I don't think anyone's arguing there's a
limit to what floss can do (ie it can't "only go so far").
Theoretically it can do anything and more than proprietary software.

But _practically_ speaking, there are areas where it is not yet as
good as some proprietary software (and by 'not yet as good' I mean
deficient in terms of features, functionality, user experience,
support, documentation, etc.).

No-one is giving closed software a privileged position deliberately -
though it would certainly be foolish to ignore the fact that it
obviously occupies one simply by dint of being first to market,
cash-rich due to restrictive licensing, etc.

> You're perfectly free to choose whatever software you want, but I think it's a
> bit hypocritical to "advocate" free software by saying that it has inherent
> and unchanging limits on where it can be used, and then to suggest that any
> who don't agree are being zealots (or in your words "fanatics").

Again, I'm not sure anyone is saying it has inherent and unchanging
limits. But we are certainly acknowledging that it does have some
limits currently.

>  I read only today that the
> French gendarmerie is going to switch 70,000 desktops to Linux
> (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/30/french_open) - presumably another
> set of unfortunates who don't realise that the Linux desktop isn't yet ready.

Yes, that's awesome news. I'm pretty sure that given enough resources
and the right environment, the Linux desktop can be a great choice.
But it's not the right choice for any of the customers I have spoken
to so far, who are not resource-happy or a supportive environment for
this kind of change.


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