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

From: Lori Nagel
Subject: Re: Software Freedom in education (was Re: very specific project proposal Re: What does Elon Musk say about free software?)
Date: Mon, 23 May 2022 15:38:35 +0000 (UTC)

   I was reading your long email, and this has been on my mind for a long
   time, but in order to get the freedom respecting software technology
   into the hands of everyone for everything instead of proprietary
   software, what you have to solve is not a technology problem, but a
   marketing problem.

   If you think about how we got to the state we are in today, with
   proprietary software dominating in certain areas of computing, you have
   to remember that the reason for that is because of marketing, not
   because the products are better, but because of how people know about
   it, and the social relationships between people. Just because software
   has always been promoted a certain way, or that even it is promoted in
   a different way does not mean we have to keep doing it that way.

   I keep thinking about what you said, how asking questions is a skill
   that is honed with practice, and not everyone has mastered it, and how
   it goes over differently with different audiences. Then you talk about
   all those newbie questions and how people just want their stuff to

   Why should people have to answer endless newbie questions for free all
   the time, why can’t that be a paid job? Why wouldn’t people pay someone
   to hold their hand and basically help them through everything?

   A lot of the thinking about this kind of thing comes from people in the
   technology space, people who like to fool around for hours on end to
   get things to work, rather than just ask someone and have it done in
   five seconds. We have this fascination with technology and are happy
   to, for hours on end, get the search engines to hopefully bring in
   relevant results and then tweak them until it works.

   Yet, once you are in the mindset of a tech person, how can you get into
   the mindset of your opposite, the marketing person selling memberships,
   the multi-level network marketer, a person whose focus is on people,
   marketing and selling, not technology?

   The thing with marketing, is it is just as innovative as technology,
   and techniques that worked to get peoples attention and get them to buy
   are always changing, and yet the principles are timeless. You have to
   get the product in front of an audience and convince people that it is
   the product for them, or that it is the service for them.

   So, with that I have some questions. What if we improved tech support
   by bringing people in who speak the customers own language in terms
   they can understand? What if we brought people in whose strengths were
   not so focused on the technology piece, but on the human piece, and
   focused on the way people use technology rather than trying to turn
   everyone into a tech guru?

   I’ve often wondered if certain strategies used in marketing focused
   businesses could be used for tech support. What if the person selling
   the support could be responsible for the people they bring in, for
   getting them the help that they want with freedom respecting software?
   What if it was not about trying to save money, but people buying a
   membership in a community where they feel welcome and understood?

   I’m only one person, and I certainly don’t have all the answers, and I
   don’t expect technology focused people to necessarily wrap their heads
   around the idea that people are literally buying into this idea of a
   community and not a product or service. But, yet this is essentially
   what the free software foundation is, and we need to take this concept
   and expand it. We need to reach new markets through people whose
   primary interest is in marketing and relationships.

   I really think this needs to be discussed further. I do not think the
   issues are unsolvable, but that they will require always going outside
   of our communities, but also going outside our own modes of thought and
   becoming our opposites.

   On Sunday, May 22, 2022, 08:56:00 PM EDT, Yasuaki Kudo
   <> wrote:
   With partners, I am currently trying to start a "digital commons
   movement", if you will, a community where people learn together and
   rebuild a new collaborative society based on partnership of the equals,
   and I stress this term equal partnership - zero hierarchy, zero "come
   back later when you know know how to ask better questions", zero
   knowledge worshipping, zero founder, zero leadership - initially
   focused on the digital domain to bootstrap the movement.
   In such a community, yes, any question, suggestion or statement will be
   welcome!  They are not only welcome but will probably form the backbone
   of the society.
   Erica's really good points and many others we discussed here such as
   the twitter replacement, make me think that time is ripe for this.
   In the community I am thinking of, Free Software will be an important
   part but it will not be the end goal or the most dominant focus.
   Rather, Free Software will be a natural choice, because the software
   requirements of the community will require that kind of licensing as
   the bare minimum standard.
   But it won't be just married to Free Software, either.  The software
   licensing is just a part its concern and it will also have discussions
   of how to take advantage of proprietary systems.
   IPhone maybe a totally locked system but it doesn't stop us from
   accessing homepages built with Free Software.  Windows is proprietary
   but WSL2 makes available a Linux subsystem on top of it.
   Gradually transitioning from Proprietary to Free is a perfectly good
   strategy, in my opinion.  If I may add, what else is a proprietary
   system good for, other than to make the transition to the Free?
   If anyone reading this is interested, you can contact me personally 😄
   - let's make it happen!
   -Yasu +81.90.6523.2640 [1] [2]
   On May 23, 2022, at 01:24, Jean Louis <[3]> wrote:
   > * Erica Frank <[4]> [2022-05-19 22:30]:
   >> It's increasingly clear to me that the free software movement has
   >> interest in outreach to the general non-coder/non-developer public,
   >> 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
   > [5]
   > But for those who refer to system incorrectly with "Linux" only,
   > are many many online references guiding people to install GNU/Linux
   > their computers.
   > How to Install Linux
   > [6]
   > Install Linux | Simple Guide For Installation of Linux in Windows
   > [7]
   > How to Install Linux: 13 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow
   > [8]
   > How to Install Linux on Any PC or Laptop
   > [9]
   > How to Install Linux | Operating Systems | Lenovo US
   > How to Download and Install Linux (Ubuntu) on Windows PC
   > [11]
   > How to install Linux step-by-step - Like Geeks
   > [12]
   > How to Install Linux (Ubuntu) on Windows 10 [Ultimate Guide 2022]
   > How to Install Linux on a Mac : HelloTech How
   > [14]
   > How to get started with Linux: A beginner’s guide
   > How to install Linux - CNET
   > [16]
   > How to Install Linux from a USB Flash Drive - TechDim
   > [17]
   > How to Install Linux on Windows 10 : HelloTech How
   > Install WSL | Microsoft Docs
   > [19]
   > How to Install Linux from ISO to Installed -
   > How to install Linux in 3 steps |
   > [21]
   > 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
   > [24]
   > A Beginners’ Guide to Linux
   > [25]
   > 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
   > [30]
   > Linux Tutorial for Beginners - Learn Linux and the Bash Command Line
   > [31]
   > How to Learn Linux: A Step-By-Step Guide | Career Karma
   > [32]
   > Beginners Guide To Using Linux - A Linux command cheat sheet |
   > [33]
   > Beginner Geek: How to Start Using the Linux Terminal
   > A Beginner's Guide to Linux – The Midphase Blog
   > [35]
   > A Beginner's Guide to Getting Started in Linux
   > Linux Tutorial for Beginners: Introduction to Linux Operating System
   - YouTube
   > [37]
   > A Beginner's Guide to the Linux Command Line | TechSpot
   > [38]
   > Beginner's guide to Linux: where to start | TechRadar
   > The above list is just a fraction of references, easily to find
   > 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
   > [40]
   > About Dynamic Knowledge Repositories (DKR)
   > [41]
   > 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
   >> 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
   > computing.
   >> 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
   > 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
   > choice.
   >> 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
   > [42]
   > And if you do not see the above free software freedoms as important,
   > feel free to continue with proprietary software. It is your life,
   > information, your computer.
   > There may be some other arguments for free software:
   > What Is Linux and Why Is It Important?
   > [43]
   > Why Use Linux? Here are the Reasons Why You Should
   > [44]
   >> (My adult daughters both use Linux because they were increasingly
   >> with Windows' invasive OS. However, I use Windows for work; I don't
   >> the option to switch entirely. Several programs I use don't have
   >> versions, and my daughters' experiences with WINE make me leery of
   >> I can't afford to run into snags that take several hours to fix as I
   >> 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
   >> 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
   > 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
   >> bother? They have an OS that works.
   > That such informational resources utterly fail like you say is
   > 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
   > [45]
   > Linux in Indiana Schools
   > [46]
   > Indiana schools enroll Linux - CNET
   > Which Linux distributions are best for schools? | Open School
   > Best Educational Linux Distros for Children & Schools [2022]
   > [49]
   > The role of Linux and computers in schools
   > [50]
   > 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
   > used in schools.
   > Example:
   > Linux in der Schule – Freie Open Source Software in der Schule
   > [51]
   > 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
   >> documents with styles that import to InDesign. InDesign doesn't
   >> 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
   >> 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
   > [53]
   > 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
   > 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
   >> saying "everyone needs InDesign or similar.") I'm saying that I
   >> found open-source software, much less free software, that covers my
   >> professional document needs. That problem carries over for most
   >> and most schools.
   > You have not made specific request, maybe you should.
   >> "People should be using markup instead of WYSIWYG" is a fine
   >> 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.
   > --
   > Jean
   > Take action in Free Software Foundation campaigns:
   > [54]
   > In support of Richard M. Stallman
   > [55]
   > _______________________________________________
   > libreplanet-discuss mailing list
   > [56]
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