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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund

From: Ian Lynch
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund
Date: Sat, 02 Feb 2008 13:21:03 +0000

> > 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.
> So again some qualification of your earlier comments when you made them might 
> have been appropriate.  (I don't, incidentally, agree with the "enough 
> resources" point, and again have to wonder about the context in which you are 
> presenting these things.)

Aren't we really saying there is a massive user base out there with very
diverse needs. The facts seem to be that there is a trend to move to
more open systems for a range of reasons. One is an awareness of ethical
issues in small but disproportionately motivated and increasingly
politically influential groups. These groups often disagree on details,
approaches etc but generally advocate a change in the way software is
licensed in order to increase freedom for users. Another is because the
barrier to entry is lowered and costs reduced for people where that
makes a real difference to them. This is a much bigger number who
generally don't know and often don't care about ethics, they are
motivated by what they perceive to be better for them personally. As a
practical example, I'm getting massively positive feedback from schools
about devices such as the ASUS EEEPC and the Ink-media Ubuntu notebook.
Why? because it is a step change in lowering costs (£70 for OEM XP x
1000 students is 70 grand - then add even reduced office and other
software costs and on a device costing under £200 the current license
prices are unsustainable) and as more things move to be web based it's
less inconvenient to change from a Windows desktop. This has already
forced MS to reduce the price of OEM Windows for these devices. Reducing
the price will delay change but it won't in the end stop it as
confidence rises through volume take up. If the volume increases,
software developers will move products to be web based where possible so
they only have one version to maintain that works with any OS. The web
becomes the platform. There will be a mixture of FOSS and proprietary
stuff out there for a long time to come but at least there will be more
choice and the trend will be an increase in FOSS and reduction in
proprietary. It will become easier and easier to only use FOSS if that
is the ethical route you choose but don't expect all proprietary
software to disappear any time soon.

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