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Re: Software Freedom in education (was Re: very specific project proposa

From: Jean Louis
Subject: Re: Software Freedom in education (was Re: very specific project proposal Re: What does Elon Musk say about free software?)
Date: Sat, 21 May 2022 07:56:15 +0300
User-agent: Mutt/2.2.0 (2022-02-12)

* Erica Frank <> [2022-05-19 22:30]:
> It's increasingly clear to me that the free software movement has little
> interest in outreach to the general non-coder/non-developer public, and
> this reply just reinforces my belief.

That is not true.

That is your personal impression, though it is not objectively true.

Free software movement is really huge, large community. Many large
companies are inside of it, including Google, Redhat, Lenovo,
including Microsoft, and too many users and developers, so it is very
out of proportion to claim how "free software ovement" has "little
interest" in outreach to general public.

We talk mostly of GNU system based on Linux kernel.

GNU/Linux FAQ by Richard Stallman

But for those who refer to system incorrectly with "Linux" only, there
are many many online references guiding people to install GNU/Linux on
their computers.

How to Install Linux

Install Linux | Simple Guide For Installation of Linux in Windows

How to Install Linux: 13 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

How to Install Linux on Any PC or Laptop

How to Install Linux | Operating Systems | Lenovo US

How to Download and Install Linux (Ubuntu) on Windows PC

How to install Linux step-by-step - Like Geeks

How to Install Linux (Ubuntu) on Windows 10 [Ultimate Guide 2022]

How to Install Linux on a Mac : HelloTech How

How to get started with Linux: A beginner’s guide

How to install Linux - CNET

How to Install Linux from a USB Flash Drive - TechDim

How to Install Linux on Windows 10 : HelloTech How

Install WSL | Microsoft Docs

How to Install Linux from ISO to Installed -

How to install Linux in 3 steps |

How to Install Ubuntu Linux on your Dell Computer | Dell US

The Complete Beginner's Guide to Linux -

▷ Linux Tutorial For Beginners | Step By Step Linux Guide 2022

A Beginners’ Guide to Linux

Linux Tutorial | A Basic Guide to Linux For Beginners

Beginner's Guide to Linux System Administration - GeeksforGeeks

Introducing Linux: Ultimate Beginner's Guide

The Linux command line for beginners | Ubuntu

UNIX / Linux Tutorial for Beginners: Learn Online in 7 days

Linux Tutorial for Beginners - Learn Linux and the Bash Command Line

How to Learn Linux: A Step-By-Step Guide | Career Karma

Beginners Guide To Using Linux - A Linux command cheat sheet | Linuxlookup

Beginner Geek: How to Start Using the Linux Terminal

A Beginner's Guide to Linux – The Midphase Blog

A Beginner's Guide to Getting Started in Linux

Linux Tutorial for Beginners: Introduction to Linux Operating System - YouTube

A Beginner's Guide to the Linux Command Line | TechSpot

Beginner's guide to Linux: where to start | TechRadar

The above list is just a fraction of references, easily to find within
10 seconds of work. It is my Dynamic Knowledge Repository that stores
the information and that helps me to quickly reference it:

Hyperscope - Dynamic Knowledge Repository

About Dynamic Knowledge Repositories (DKR)

Thus one can objectively conclude that large number of largest
companies, users and developers are interested to help beginners to
get along with GNU/Linux systems.

> Stating that support for free software " is done on numerous mailing lists,
> forums, IRC" - is not helpful.

I understand that you could not get help, sorry, I cannot know why
exactly, maybe is problem with searching on Internet, or maybe
accessing different ways of getting help.

There are also professionals who will come to your home and help you
with whatever free software. You pay for service, and you get
assistance. If you tell me where you are located, I can definitely
find you people who can come and personally help you with
installations or software. There are those teaching others

> Yes, I can review the list of free software distros and install one
> and go looking for support if I need it. But why would I?

Opps, I am reading your emails while answering. So you mean, that
there is nothing for beginners, or you mean there is something for
beginners, and you already found it, but it is not helpful because you
would not install it. That is quite a different issue.

Nobody forces you to install anything. Who said GNU/Linux is for
everybody. You have plenty of choices for computing, it is all your

> I don't see any value in switching from Windows to Linux, other than
> an abstract sense of "I would not be supporting Microsoft's
> attempted monopoly."

While it is not important for you, many people do understand the
importance of free software.

What is Free Software? - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation

And if you do not see the above free software freedoms as important,
feel free to continue with proprietary software. It is your life, your
information, your computer. 

There may be some other arguments for free software:

What Is Linux and Why Is It Important?

Why Use Linux? Here are the Reasons Why You Should

> (My adult daughters both use Linux because they were increasingly annoyed
> with Windows' invasive OS. However, I use Windows for work; I don't have
> the option to switch entirely. Several programs I use don't have Linux
> versions, and my daughters' experiences with WINE make me leery of trying.
> I can't afford to run into snags that take several hours to fix as I wade
> through various help forums trying to find the one that has an answer that
> actually works.)

That is how it is, life is not a dream.

> Ah. It sounds like you have infinite time available to work on software
> projects, instead of using software to do things.

But how do you know it?

Did you ever come on idea that reason why developers develop software
is because they are themselves using it to do things?

For example, I am developing my database, but probably 99.9% of time I
spend using the database. The things I do are such as recording
geographic positions, images, field reports into the database, any
kind of information, indexing, then relating it to people, assigning
tasks, projects, sending SMS from computer, initiating phone calls
straight, faster from computer with quick to edit notes. Some of
things I do is about to help Italian investors purchase coffee from
Uganda, Russian people to find their gold mining sites, some
individial businessmen to start their businesses. So I gave you on my
personal example, how the time is available to do things.

> "Just search for a list of options, pick one of the three dozen
> results, install that one, search for its help forums, figure out
> how to join the relevant email lists, and ask for help; make sure to
> provide the technical details they require and search for
> definitions of the vocabulary used in the responses."
> That's fine for a personal project; it utterly fails as a premise for a
> school or business switching to a less-popular OS. Again: Why would they
> bother? They have an OS that works.

That such informational resources utterly fail like you say is unknown
to me. But how do you know it?

Free software is not there for reason to be popular, more or less
popular, the reasons I gave you are four freedoms. I do understand
that people are drawn by what is popular, and that there are many
other reasons for choices.

The role of Linux and computers in schools

Linux in Indiana Schools

Indiana schools enroll Linux - CNET

Which Linux distributions are best for schools? | Open School Solutions

Best Educational Linux Distros for Children & Schools [2022]

The role of Linux and computers in schools

That it utterly fails in schools can't objectively be said. 

Then if you are only in the US and speak only English, you may not
have access to information in French, Italian, German and other
foreign language speaking resource to understand how much GNU/Linux is
used in schools.

Linux in der Schule – Freie Open Source Software in der Schule

For business I should not tell anything, we know that 56% developers
are using GNU/Linux, those developers work for businesses.

In fact, you are using Gmail service that runs on GNU/Linux. That is
far from Linux-based systems and "utterly" failing in businesses.

(13) Which Linux distribution does Google run on its production servers? - Quora

> I do book publishing. I use InDesign for layout. I use Word to set up
> documents with styles that import to InDesign. InDesign doesn't import
> LaTeX docs, and a quick check says LaTeX won't save out as .doc.
> I did some research into using LaTeX for layout, but could not confirm that
> it had the necessary layout features. Most crucial was having standard text
> lines match position across columns and pages, regardless of any irregular
> formatting included. I remember also hearing about issues with
> headers/footers, but the leading match was the key issue that convinced me
> to stop looking at it.

Those are probably funamentally different tools, one is proprietary,
other one LaTeX is free software running on any operating system, one
is visual, other one is text setting software. They are hardly to be
compared. But OK.

What you mention as most crucial reminds me of LaTeX features. 

I do not think that for quick visual placement of pictures and text,
one shall use LaTeX. but it is possible, more visual tool is:

Get Scribus – Scribus

in connection with Gimp and Inkscape.

We are in different mind sets, as if you do not find a feature you
need, you grab and stay with proprietary software.

And me, if I do not have a feature that I need, I find it and find
solution and make it happen.

Because there is GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus, TeX and LaTeX, there is
LibreOffice, then me personally really satisfy all my graphics and
desktop publishing related needs. 

But my mind set is different, as if I cannot get things done on
GNU/Linux, I get things done on GNU/Linux. 

For me, proprietary software is not an option. 

Though on mobile phones is almost impossible to avoid it. And we use
such phones in business. But then all proprietary software and Google
applications get blocked, and researchers are sent to field, working
with free software.

> Maybe it could work. But I'm not putting dozens of hours into
> researching and learning the program to find out it can't. I need
> complex and specific layout options, and searching the web has not
> turned up info on whether LaTeX or other programs has those
> features.

Learning is required.

I can tell you one thing -- back in 1999 I have been accomplishing any
graphics needs with GNU/Linux like I am doing it today 2022. I was
using back in time if I remember well, just XFig software, and I did
make money with it, I have beend disseminating posters and flyers all
over Stuttgart, Germany.

> I am not saying "everyone needs Word & similar programs." (Certainly not
> saying "everyone needs InDesign or similar.") I'm saying that I haven't
> found open-source software, much less free software, that covers my
> professional document needs. That problem carries over for most businesses
> and most schools.

You have not made specific request, maybe you should. 

> "People should be using markup instead of WYSIWYG" is a fine philosophical
> statement but does absolutely nothing to convince people to use the
> software. (Especially when support for markup languages varies greatly by
> device and software.)

I don't think markup and visual tools do the same purpose. Anyway,
make your specific request, there must be way to solve that issue of
margins you said.


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