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Taking Free Software To the Streets

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the spreading-the-word dept.

GNU is Not Unix 184

An anonymous reader writes "It's that time of year again; the nights are drawing in, the leaves are beginning to turn, and literally hundreds of teams of dedicated F/OSS enthusiasts from around the world are preparing to hit the streets in celebration of Software Freedom Day 2009. In an effort to increase awareness of free and open source software among the general public, SFD teams will be standing around town centers and shopping malls, holding talks at schools and universities, giving demonstrations and handing out Linux and FOSS collections for Windows on CD. With money being tight and paranoia about malware and viruses at an all-time high, the time is right to help consumers switch to the myriad of quality open source applications available. If you would like to check for an SFD team in your area and consider attending, be it to help out or simply learn more about free software for yourself, there's an interactive map to help you find your way."

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"Go away" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29475981)

"Go away" is my reaction whenever someone on the street wants to give me something free - a religious booklet, a pro-something leaflet, a "work from home" job offer printed out on an inkjet...

On a sidenote, this would be a perfect opportunity to spread malware. Just pretend you're one of those guys and hand over CDs with some crap that will infect the computer.

Re:"Go away" (5, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#29475999)

On a sidenote, this would be a perfect opportunity to spread malware. Just pretend you're one of those guys and hand over CDs with some crap that will infect the computer.

I thought giving away copies of Windows ME was illegal?

Re:"Go away" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476065)

Your terrible sense of humor should be illegal. It's goddamn 2009, and you're making jokes about windows ME. Go back to compiling Gentoo or something.

Re:"Go away" (3, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476111)

If I had only said "Windows" then I would have been modded troll by Microsoft fanboys. But even those guys know that Windows ME sucked.

Re:"Go away" (1)

TheCowSaysMooNotBoo (997535) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476067)

Same here. I will ignore you and if you insist on bothering me I will yell.

Re:"Go away" (4, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476121)

For extra points, yell "I DON'T KNOW YOU!" and "GIVE ME BACK MY PURSE!"

Re:"Go away" (3, Funny)

TheCowSaysMooNotBoo (997535) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476137)

I think me yelling "give me back my purse" would get met lots of weird looks :)

I might start yelling I'm a vegetarian and that I'm better than the guy or girl tho. Works with greenpeace activists.

Re:"Go away" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476139)

Assuming you were alluding to King of the Hill, the quote is:

"I don't know you! That's my purse!" *kick to the groin*

Go, Bobby Hill!

Re:"Go away" (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476169)

Yeah, that's right. My bad on getting the quote wrong. Stupid memory.

Re:"Go away" (2, Insightful)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477421)

Your reaction is not universal. And handing out a leaflet is done because it is a method of getting a message to many people cheaply. Yes, many will throw such a leaflet away or not look at it, but some will. So if you look at it from a cost-per-impression basis it's quite effective. What alternative do you propose?

Re:"Go away" (4, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477771)

I'd recommend changing your reaction to "you're doing it wrong!".

Because the trick is not, to come to you. The trick is, to make you come to them, and offer something so great, that you'll beg to get it. ^^

I recommend putting up a large projection of Compiz an action, giant "Never get Viruses again!" banners, etc.
Make them drool and wish to throw away their Windows.
And give away the Linux DVDs in a "Shop price: $xxx" "Get a free copy! Only today!" booth.
Play music! Add some lights! (But in a way that also drags older people there.)
Offer tasty food that you can smell on the whole street, drinks, sexy babes/men on two elevated platforms, friendly people (to fulfill our basic needs/interests).
Sell merchandising that people can afford to buy just out of impulse and for fun! Stickers, T-Shirts, things you can't get anywhere else.
And add a Linux DVD / open source software DVD to every sale of anything on that booth. Let the sexy people throw the DVDs into the people.
And do it in a place and at a time, where there are enough people to make it work. If nessecary, work out a deal with a local shopping mall, or something similar.

That will give you hype and interest! ^^
You will have 40 year old hockey moms talk to all their friends about that really cute new "Linux" (used as if it were a version of Windows), that they caught, when they were surprised by that hot guy looking at her. She will put the DVD in, it will start, looking really fancy. And when it runs, it throws the full power of beauty and power at them! So that even if they don't understand a thing of it, they will want to learn to have that too.

Unrealistic? Well, the most common reaction I get from girls, when I show them my Linux desktop is: "I want that too! Can you put that on my computer?". QED. ^^

Re:"Go away" (1)

iceco2 (703132) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477785)

It seems uneconomic to spread malware by handing out CDs
thankfully in the malware market a single infected computer is still worth less then
the price of printing and handing out a CD.

Re:"Go away" (4, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477969)

"Go away" is my reaction whenever someone on the street wants to give me something free - a religious booklet, a pro-something leaflet, a "work from home" job offer printed out on an inkjet...

Exactly the point. We say, "Go away," when the Mormons, the Jehovah's Witnesses, or members of any other cult show up at our door.

Is anyone noticing the similarity in tactics that are being used here, between the FSF, and those other organisations, which the FSF's drones probably don't mind acknowledging as cults? ;)

Re:"Go away" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29478475)

Oh, certainly, malware is such hard work to spread at the moment, hardly anyone falls for those adverts or free healthcheck software thesedays, sending people out to hand CDs to passers by would certainly be a more effective method than trying to exploit the stupidity of people on the internet or the hardened operating systems they use.

I'm glad you cope so well with social interaction, "Go away" is certainly better than i'd anticipate, I was rather expecting cries of "Don't touch me! Just Don't! I've got a knife!... GET BACK!!!... But officer, he was trying to influence my thoughts, I was only defending my mind from his twisted propaganda and brainwashing..."

TLAPD (5, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476009)

It's purely coincidental that Software Freedom Day happens to also be Talk Like a Pirate Day... Right?

Re:TLAPD (0, Redundant)

Art Acevedo (1640589) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476043)

It's also coincidental that when nerds stand around handing out Linux CDs, this is what the general population see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le_Y3PIob9E [youtube.com]

Re:TLAPD (5, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476061)

May the socially ostracized unite!

Re:TLAPD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29477653)

Yet somehow there aren't almost 500 groups registered to Talk Like a Pirate...there must be something more to this.

Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476041)

Standing around town centres like homeless winos. That's the problem with FOSS advocates, they keep coming up with these wacky ideas, and each time they put them into action the public sees.... err, a wacky idea, associated with FOSS.

If you want to guarantee that the public forever sees FOSS as a fringe thing unworthy of the consideration of normal people then carry on. If you want to really promote FOSS set up a business based on FOSS and make it work and grow.

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476145)

Standing around town centres like homeless winos. That's the problem with FOSS advocates, they keep coming up with these wacky ideas, and each time they put them into action the public sees.... err, a wacky idea, associated with FOSS.

If you want to guarantee that the public forever sees FOSS as a fringe thing unworthy of the consideration of normal people then carry on. If you want to really promote FOSS set up a business based on FOSS and make it work and grow.

Never heard of Red Hat, Novell, Canonical, etc?

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477081)

"Never heard of Red Hat, Novell, Canonical, etc?"

Sure, are they going to hand out CDs too?

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (4, Insightful)

koick (770435) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477281)

You can be sure the "normal people" walking around malls haven't. Hell, you'd be lucky if they can name the vice president.

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (4, Insightful)

Scholasticus (567646) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476159)

I wouldn't be too worried about this effect. This isn't going to show up on the radars of most people even as much as all those "Save Farscape" flyers which were all over the place when that show got cancelled. "Joe Public" (a.k.a. Joe Sixpack, a.k.a. Aunt Milly) doesn't even know enough about F/OSS to give a rat's. If F/OSS is ever going to become widely adopted by home users, it will be the same way Windows was - because that was what came installed on the computers people were buying at the time. Netbooks may help with this. Handing out CDs on street corners almost certainly won't.

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (3, Interesting)

joaommp (685612) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476205)

I kind of agree with the initiatives in the schools, but if they start doing parades, they would better spend their time (and money) improving the quality and features of the software instead of doing parades which gather little attention. These events won't bring them closer to actually competing with commercial giants. They should do stuff like Google Summer of Code or something like that. Those I believe they it make things go forward because during a few days, people are supposed to be intensely involved into a project. Like pidgin, for instance. I love GSC because every summer, pidgin get's stabler and more features.

Parades kind of reminds me the "gay pride parades" which end up making them look more ridiculous. The alternative would be mardi grass, but somehow I can't/won't/don't wan't to imagine a topless RMS with beads licking Linus' nipples.

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (1)

HitoGuy (1324613) | more than 5 years ago | (#29478167)

Good God, man! Now I can't stop imagining it... and I've lost my will to live!

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (4, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476299)

Standing around town centres like homeless winos. That's the problem with FOSS advocates, they keep coming up with these wacky ideas...

It doesn't get any better than this:

The scene is the Boston Common in late August.

The event the launch of FSF's "Windows 7 Sins" campaign.

Special Guest Appearance by Ron Stoppable as Team Mascot. Free Software Foundation - Windows 7 Sins [youtube.com]

You can expect much of the time - and much of the screen - to given over to a lecture by a paunchy - balding - middle-aged geek.

540 views.

It is quite possible for a Win 7 promotional video to net two million viewers. Windows 7 [youtube.com]

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476911)

I think far more interesting is the fact that the campaign at its basis is supposed to be against all closed-up software, including e.g. OS X. If you check that video, you'll even see them throwing away 'OS X' boxes. But it's not really mentioned.. not in the video, not in the website, and absolutely not in the campaign name.

Apparently they know better than to try and make their point using a highly popular target, which would absolutely result in backlash, and try to go for the one everybody loves to hate instead.

Unfortunately targeting either under the campaign is pointless.. people, in general, don't love OS X because it's closed-up any more than they hate Windows because it's closed-up. They love OS X because it's nice and shiny and 'just works' (for the most part), and hate Windows because it's far from shiny and is still fraught with problems left and right. Whether that is fact (probably) or popular opinion propagated by the masses (certainly partially) doesn't even matter.

Before they can make it clear why some things are bad, they'll have to get people to care about those things first.

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#29478405)

If you check that video, you'll even see them throwing away 'OS X' boxes.

There isn't a "Windows 7" box to throw.

They love OS X because it's nice and shiny and 'just works' and hate Windows because it's far from shiny and is still fraught with problems left and right. Whether that is fact or popular opinion propagated by the masses (certainly partially) doesn't even matter.


But it isn't being propagated by the masses.

Win XP wiped the floor with OEM Linux in the netbook sector. You didn't need to do much more than slap the Windows logo on your product to make the sale.

Vista has about a 20% share of the client desktop. That has to be consumer based and it represents a significant investment in new and more powerful hardware.

The Win 7 RC 1%.

These numbers look very good when compared to OSX, which is also essentially a high-end consumer product - a discretionary purchase.

wacky "I'm a PC" booth (2, Interesting)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476563)

Beats parking an "I'm a PC" booth outside Apple Store [appleinsider.com]

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476613)

Standing around town centres like homeless winos.

Buddhists tried to emulate Buddha, Christians tried to emulate Jesus, freetards are trying to emulate RMS. So far they are meeting limited success, but a few more years without bathing and they will reach the holy land where 14 virgin gnus are awaiting each of them.

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (2, Funny)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477095)

I noticed that you didn't say the virgins were girls.

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29477189)

Maximizing code reuse

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476931)

Again, there are no FOSS advocates.
There are open source advocates, and free software advocates.
Open source advocates are the ones who care about software, and how open source is supposed to bring us lots of technical advantages.
Free software advocates, like me, are the wackier ones, that tell you that Google is taking your freedom away and that you should stay away from proprietary software if you want your kids to be free.
The first group are the ones that build companies like Redhat, and the ones that helped IBM and Sun change towards open source.
People who care about free software don't have a lot to gain from your approach. In my case, I believe free software advocates should start working more in politics and less in the streets, but this kind of event is one of the things that can be done to try and get people to focus on freedom related to software.

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29478299)

Open source advocates are actually practical. Free software advocates are actually political.

A good way to put it is this:

Open source is to vegetarianism what free software is to veganism. They're closely related, but one is much more annoying and dimwitted than the other, and one is capable of advocating their "cause" without calling those who aren't "with them" evil.

Guess which is which.

Sadly, I think the FSF is being left behind by other organizations of its ilk, including the OSI. This is part of why Stallman stopped actually working on actually making the real GNU (And instead trying to make Linux "his" creation with the GNU/Linux naming bullshit.) and more time talking, whining, threatening, coercing, and speaking to people about free software.

By the way, do you actually know the history of the term "open source?" It wasn't created as a way to differentiate between "open source" and "free software" but actually to be an alternate term for "free software" to combat people mistaking libre for gratis. It was Richard Stallman who, when he saw he was being outdone by someone actually better than him, decided to split the hair that needed no splitting. This is how rms reacts whenever he's surpassed or threatened by something, he either directly attacks the character of the thing (Like he did the OSI.) or he tries to subvert it in a more sneaky way to make it look like he's the whole reason of it being, and that he created it, like he does with Linux. Richard Stallman can't really tolerate the idea of him NOT being the only FOSS figurehead. He wants people to practically worship him as the One of Free Software is what it is.

I also noticed that there is a striking resemblance to the hero worship of rms to Steve Jobs. There's almost as much a Cult of Richard Stallman as there is a Cult of Steve Jobs.

And frankly I think rms is now doing nothing but hurt the image of Free/Open Source Software with stunts like this.

I prefer siding with DOERS (Linus Torvalds or Theo de Raadt) than PREACHERS (Richard Stallman).

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (2, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477313)

That's the problem with FOSS advocates, they keep coming up with these wacky ideas, and each time they put them into action the public sees.... err, a wacky idea, associated with FOSS.

Yeah, those wacky FOSS advocates and their wacky ideas to promote the projects they believe in.

Lord knows, Microsoft [slashdot.org] would never engage in something as shameless as encouraging their supporters to host parties in their communities and generally evangelize Windows 7 to non-converts.

Re:Keep it wacky, say goodbye to Joe public (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29478353)

It is good to see that you hold yourself to the high standards of Microsofts practices.

I am confused (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476059)

isn't Christopher street day in May ?

Malware (4, Insightful)

DeadPixels (1391907) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476073)

With paranoia about malware and viruses at an all-time high, I certainly wouldn't run a CD a stranger on the street gave to me.

Re:Malware (1)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477549)

The beauty of free software is you don't have to. You can spend about 10 minutes searching the internet to learn enough to want to try something out. Or you might learn that you already have free software on your system.

Re:Malware (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477833)

With paranoia about malware and viruses at an all-time high, I certainly wouldn't run a CD a stranger on the street gave to me.

Agreed. I think a better approach would be to have laptops set up running Ubuntu or whatever and let people try it out there in the mall or wherever. Rather than handing out CDs, give them something with your URL on it. Try to sign them up and get them to come to a meeting, if you have a local user's group. If not, you can point them at an online user's group and suggest they download a liveCD from them.

I can remember the local LUG holding InstallFests, back when partitioning your drive or even getting Xwindows to load was a more daunting task. You'd have to already be pretty interested in running Linux to haul your pc to a gymnasium somewhere, but these days it's easier for people to try free and open source software. Even directing users to simple things like Firefox, or suggesting OpenOffice.org to a user who doesn't like Office 2007 is a way of helping people ease in to it. You could also show them Linux pre-installed on a netbook.

But handing out discs to strangers is a bad idea. We should encourage people to not execute code on their computers unless they are sure of the source.

By POPULAR DEMAND I play you (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476087)

You don't know me but I'm your brother
I was raised here in this living hell
You don't know my kind in your world
Fairly soon the time will tell
You...telling me the things you're gonna do for me
I ain't blind and I don't like what I think I see

Takin' it to the streets (takin' it to the streets)
Takin' it to the streets (no more need for runnin')
Takin' it to the streets (Oh, oh-oh, nah, nah)

Take this message to my brother
You will find him...everywhere
Wherever people live together
Tied in poverty's despair
Are you...telling me the things you're gonna do for me
I ain't blind and I don't like what I think I see

Takin' it to the streets (takin' it to the streets)
Takin' it to the streets (no more need for runnin')
Takin' it to the streets (takin it to the streets)
Takin' it to the (BREAK)

Are you...telling me the things you're gonna do for me (yeah, hah)
I ain't blind and I don't like what I think I see

Re:By POPULAR DEMAND I play you (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477905)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tfyLbin9gs [youtube.com]

Here's the tune I play myself at times, when thinking about the FSF.

Will not work (4, Insightful)

shadowblaster (1565487) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476185)

Most people probably won't know what to do with it anyway and it will end up in the bin. The average person will need help installing and configuring linux.

Even if they try installing it they will end up being frustrated for not being able to get things to work. They will end up scarred by the experience and fall back to Windows.

Much better to spend their efforts educating students at universities or school. Even better to get universities and schools to convert to FOSS. This way children are forced to learn and work with FOSS. When they grow up they would be able to use the experience to promote FOSS at home/work.

Re:Will not work (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476297)

All FOSS should be as usable as proprietary software.

End of problem

M$ Windoze Will not work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476527)

Most people probably won't know what to do with M$ Windoze anyway and yet will continue to use in the end. The average person will need help installing and configuring M$ Windoze.

Even if they try installing it they will end up being frustrated for not being able to get things to work. They will end up scarred by the experience and fall back to M$ Windows Preinstalled on their Dells.

Much better to spend their efforts educating students at universities or school by giving their first dose for free. Even better to get universities and schools to promote M$ Windoze. This way children are forced to learn to work with malware from M$ and $ony. When they grow up they would be the perfect M$ addicts only able to use the experience to promote and use nonfree software at home/work.

The perfect solution would be for the governments of the world to arrest the execs and stockholders of M$, fine M$ for all of their money, and free all code and specs for their proprietary file formats.

--
Friends don't help friends install M$ junk.
Friends do assist M$ addicted friends in committing suicide.

Re:M$ Windoze Will not work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29478365)

haha, all of twitter's sockpuppets are posting at -1 so he has to post AC

ease if installation of FOSS (1)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476553)

"Most people probably won't know what to do with it anyway and it will end up in the bin. The average person will need help installing and configuring linux"

Insert Ubuntu CD, boot, click on Install, answer a few questions and that's it. Plug in your 3 mobile broadband USB dongle and you're on the Internet. How many Windows users have to install from scratch anyway ?

Re:ease if installation of FOSS (2, Interesting)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476925)

Insert Ubuntu CD, boot, click on Install, answer a few questions and that's it.

Ok, now I just need to open my wedding invitation Word file from last year and-- ALL MY DOCUMENTS ARE GONE!!!!

(Psst: you're missing a huge step here.)

Plug in your 3 mobile broadband USB dongle and you're on the Internet.

What the fuck is a "3 mobile broadband USB dongle?" I certainly don't have one of those. Will Ubuntu work with my laptop's built-in Wifi? Possibly. My desktop's USB wifi? Doubtful. My desktop's built-in network card? Probably. But all of those answers have built-in vagueness.

How many Windows users have to install from scratch anyway ?

Not relevant to the issue at hand.

Re:ease if installation of FOSS (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29477119)

Hey, bitch. It's 2009, time to update your bullshit rhetoric.

Ok, now I just need to open my wedding invitation Word file from last year and-- ALL MY DOCUMENTS ARE GONE!!!!

That's funny, when I click on last year's file created in Word, it just works. You know, seeing as both Microsoft Office seamlessly installs in Linux with Wine and works just as good (if not better with faster loading times due to superior and quicker file systems) as it does on Windows. Of course, who needs to pay for Office when OpenOffice is free and also opens up those Word documents for me.

What the fuck is a "3 mobile broadband USB dongle?" I certainly don't have one of those. Will Ubuntu work with my laptop's built-in Wifi? Possibly. My desktop's USB wifi? Doubtful. My desktop's built-in network card? Probably. But all of those answers have built-in vagueness.

Hey, I don't know what a 3 dongle is either, but I can damn sure tell you this: My Novatel USB720 I got from Verizon works like a dream. I just plug it in to a fresh install of Linux and click connect. Within 5 seconds, I'm online. No bullshit drivers or crapware to install. Contrast this with Windows where I have to install said drivers and crapware, start up the craplication to connect with, wait the requisite 30 seconds to a minute for it to connect and then be consistently dropped every hour or so necessitating going through the whole 30 second process again. And since we are trading anecdotes here, I'll indulge you further. My zd1211 USB wifi network adapter just worked. Windows, ha ha, install the driver, use the shitty software and again, get a connection drop every hour or so. Yes, I tried it, yes that is what happened. Ethernet adapter, in Linux, of course it worked. Windows, of course install more crapware.

You proprietards are pathetic with your bullshit.

Re:ease if installation of FOSS (0, Flamebait)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477195)

That's funny, when I click on last year's file created in Word, it just works. You know, seeing as both Microsoft Office seamlessly installs in Linux with Wine and works just as good (if not better with faster loading times due to superior and quicker file systems) as it does on Windows. Of course, who needs to pay for Office when OpenOffice is free and also opens up those Word documents for me.

That doesn't change the fact that installing Ubuntu will FORMAT THE FUCKING DRIVE. You gigantic douchebag.

Hey, I don't know what a 3 dongle is either, but I can damn sure tell you this: My Novatel USB720 I got from Verizon works like a dream. I just plug it in to a fresh install of Linux and click connect. Within 5 seconds, I'm online. No bullshit drivers or crapware to install. Contrast this with Windows where I have to install said drivers and crapware, start up the craplication to connect with, wait the requisite 30 seconds to a minute for it to connect and then be consistently dropped every hour or so necessitating going through the whole 30 second process again. And since we are trading anecdotes here, I'll indulge you further. My zd1211 USB wifi network adapter just worked. Windows, ha ha, install the driver, use the shitty software and again, get a connection drop every hour or so. Yes, I tried it, yes that is what happened. Ethernet adapter, in Linux, of course it worked. Windows, of course install more crapware.

So when these people hand out the Ubuntu CDs, they're also going to hand out known-compatible hardware to ensure that everything on their system works correctly?

The point of the exercise is that they're handing these CDs to random people on the street, people who could have *any* random assortment of hardware. Sure, we all know that if you have supported hardware, Ubuntu works fine. That's not the point. The point is that there's no way of knowing whether these people have supported hardware or not!

So. You completely missed the point, once again. You gigantic douchebag.

You proprietards are pathetic with your bullshit.

Woot. I'm a proprietard!

Re:ease if installation of FOSS (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29477461)

That doesn't change the fact that installing Ubuntu will FORMAT THE FUCKING DRIVE. You gigantic douchebag.

You know, it's hard to take this level of trolling seriously, since anybody with even a passing familiarity with Ubuntu knows, the installer defaults to partitioning your drive so that you can easily choose between Windows or Ubuntu upon reboot. Unlike Windows which if it detects a partition not formatted in Fat or NTFS, will very helpfully offer to blow it away. And, even if you don't do that, you can forget the Windows bootloader adding your other OS to it's menu. I mean, what would you need any other OS anyway for? You have the magnificent Vista (ha ha). You can even install Ubuntu from within Windows with Wubi which is probably going to be the default option for most people as they will do what they usually do with a new CD, just start up Windows and put it in the drive to let the autorun and setup.exe do it's magic. Since you are so obviously a troll, I shouldn't feed you but I will anyway so no one else will be easily duped by your lies.

So when these people hand out the Ubuntu CDs, they're also going to hand out known-compatible hardware to ensure that everything on their system works correctly?

Again with the trolling. Don't you people even stop to take a breath? Using your absurd logic, we should just give up on any operating system. As there is not a single one out there that will work with any and all hardware devices that are stuck in it. And even if you wanted to use the straw man of new hardware that someone would buy from WalMart or Best Buy today, I guess that counts out OSX too as it works with much less hardware than Linux does. I have a scanner that I use on a very regular basis that absolutely will not work in any recent version of Windows. Should I throw it away? Hell no. It works great in Ubuntu. Linux works with more hardware out of the box than any operating system ever. Period. And guess what. If you are one of the edge cases that takes an Ubuntu CD home today and it doesn't work with what you have, that's fine. Nothing works with everything. Maybe try us again next time. At least with Linux, you have a good shot of if your hardware doesn't work today, it will in a few months. Unlike Windows that if your hardware doesn't work with the Latest and Greatest, you are shit out of luck for all eternity. For the vast majority of people though, have fun with your new completely free Linux software system.

Woot. I'm a proprietard!

Maybe this is a little below the belt but that statement just stands on its own.

Re:ease if installation of FOSS (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477265)

Insert Ubuntu CD, boot, click on Install, answer a few questions and that's it.
Ok, now I just need to open my wedding invitation Word file from last year and-- ALL MY DOCUMENTS ARE GONE!!!!
(Psst: you're missing a huge step here.)

Dual booting or virtualization are things no ordinary user will ever want to do.

Two operating systems to maintain. Two operating environments. Two software libraries. Multiple skill sets.

That can be agony for even the most dedicated enthusiast or IT pro.

If you are looking for FOSS the simplest - least painful - solution is to download and install the apps ported to Windows or the Mac.

Re:ease if installation of FOSS (1)

HitoGuy (1324613) | more than 5 years ago | (#29478371)

Really? Maintaining a dual boot system is agony? I've know plenty of "normal" users who do it no problem.

Re:ease if installation of FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29477485)

"3 mobile broadband USB dongle" is likely intended to be "3G mobile broadband USB dongle"

Re:ease if installation of FOSS (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 5 years ago | (#29478121)

humm you forgot that not every PC is set to default boot from CD, Average Joe don't want to know what a BIOS is, do, or how is baked.

You're not thinking in a faulty Mobo or RAM that would make the boot from live CD panic

You think the 95% of PC users have an IQ above 110 that is, IMHO, a "hardware requirement" for to you fiddle with Linux. See? Linux is and will be relegated to ~5% of the population because thats the percentage of people with an intelligence "above average" That is, until you don't have to use a shell or edit configs by hand.

I still don't get it, why do you want everybody to use Linux if it's a power tool? Just to steal Windows market share? If thats the case then go to OEMs, fork an parallel distro of Linux (Linux Desktop) and make it a business: with coherent and professional advertising, strategy, market research, strategic alliances and paid support.

I'm fucking tired of seeing how a nice and needed product like Linux is so poorly managed both in brand and strategy. PLEASE if you're not coherent with your promotional strategy you're making more bad than good, if you're not going to sustain your promotional efforts for more than 5 years don't do anything big, it's ironic but all the hatred from developers against the marketing guys, your allergic reaction to anything marketing is what makes Linux to be condemned to be, undeservedly(?), an UNDERDOG.

Leave Aunt Annie with her XP beige box SHE DONT NEED LINUX.. I'd say: THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!! they have the time and the tender brain tissue Linux requires. Really, is anyone paying attention IRL?

90 day free trial of Ubuntu! (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477317)

What we need is to stamp "90 day free trial" on all the CDs. If AOL is a useful example, people will do anything to get that installed. By the time they figure out that the rest of the days are free too it'll be too late - they won't know how to uninstall it.

Re:Will not work (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#29478169)

Most people probably won't know what to do with it anyway and it will end up in the bin. The average person will need help installing and configuring anything.

Fixed it for you

Why not a free map for Software Freedom Day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476199)

A perfectly fine alternative for the map on the Software Freedom Day site, and one which in the same spirit, is OpenStreetMap [openstreetmap.org] . Why stick with a proprietary map, when a free (in both senses of the word) map is available? Free Software? Free Map!

Time Bandits (3, Interesting)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476207)

So, basically, you're going to take to the streets dead set on destroying peoples' data and wasting their time? Most people have a computing solution that works for them. If they want free software, chances are they will seek it out.

For most people, this whole operation is going to be abstract, confusing, and really unfortunate if they make the mistake of putting the software onto their machines.

Remember: all that silly documentation and those help manuals were written for most users. They require that sort of thing. Most open source solutions are terribly documented It's software where you need to *just know* what's going or hit the forums or wikis. That's unacceptable. If software like OpenOffice was any good whatsoever, companies would brand it and sell the media in stores.

Adapting to a whole new software ecosystem is difficult. It's a terrible time sink that most people don't really have the social motivation for. What's so great about free software? It's free? Is Open Office better then MS Office? No? Is GIMP better than Photoshop or PSP or anything? No? Is Linux easier to use than OEM Windows or Mac? Absolutely not? Wait, why do I care about this again? What if I don't have a fanatical hatred of all things proprietary? What if I am not a freetard, but a productive member of society who needs to use the computer as a tool and not a time wasting obsession? What if I am not into "fighting the power" where "the power" is one of two large software companies that provide a framework to make my home computer usable? What if my computer were like a coffee maker for me, but for email and typing documents and browsing the web?

In short, anyone idealistic enough to run free software is already doing so.

Re:Time Bandits (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476477)

If XP was free software, people wouldn't be forced to upgrade their OS [computerworld.com] , they could just download a patch from a third party instead of being held hostage by Microsoft.

Re:Time Bandits (1)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476571)

How is this relevant to a casual home user? Linux has a bevvy of remote vulnerabilities, and yet you as a home user will never be affected by them because nobody wants your documents, your anti-microsoft blog posts, or your porn.

If someone wanted to fire specially crafted TCP packets to take down your mom's computer, then that's their prerogative. Said person could also just throw a brick through her window or something.

Re:Time Bandits (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477141)

Not upgrading vs. upgrading: Good.
Remote vulnerabilities are exploited to create bot nets, and casual home users are the most likely to fall for that kind of thing. Having your computer hijacked means you need a reinstall.
Remote vulnerabilities: Bad.

So, having a chance of diminishing the chance of having to reinstall due to a hijacking, without having to upgrade is a good way to save time and/or money.

Re:Time Bandits (0, Troll)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477221)

This isn't the sort of attack that would form a botnet.

The time you would waste learning Unix would be so excessive that even a directed assault on your home machine by a team of chinese hackers (which is likely what would exploit this sort of case) resulting in reinstall would cost less time.

Time is the only real valuable resource.

Interesting thought (2, Funny)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477175)

Car analogy time

We just got back from town, on the trip, a convoy of antique cars went by obviously going to or from some rally. Now, I doubt many of those companies exist, or if they do, still offer "official authorized" factory repair parts, which we will term "patches". That market is now made up of enthusiasts who build their own replacement parts, or small shops that turn them out because they know there is a market..just to keep those old cars running. And the same applies to more modern era "muscle cars".

Why is it that any software, that is granted patents, etc, is treated different? Why is it "legal" to not be able to thoroughly analyze, observe all the bits, and come up with "parts" or aftermarket "patches"? No one gets sued for making old car parts, and it isn't illegal, or anything like that. And it isn't illegal to reverse engineer, disassemble, inspect, or even *improve upon* the original design of this that or the other part.

This has been seriously bogus for a long time, either just copyrights, or treat it like a tangible manufactured product because they are allowed patents, etc, but not both.

    And what's the deal with no warranty anyway, why does software get a free skate on that, this "caveat emptor" stance that no other "thing" in the market place has, when all other products, whether outright sold or leased -"licensed to use", must provide, or have automatically applied to them, a minimum warranty as to suitability for purpose and free from glaring and harmful defects and so on?

Software gets double legal protection, something no other "product" gets, while having zero legal requirements for actual functionality and security (free from harmful defects) (most generally speaking), again, something no other product gets.

I'd really like to see this taken all the way so that we got a legal ruling on software either being a work of art, OR a tangible-like product worthy of patent protection, and in that case warranties should apply. Both, plus no warranty required, is just too dang much, especially for bits that have serious folding money attached to the transfer of same, which said bits then get used and put "at risk" of effecting a million times (whatever) more in volume of this serious folding money stuff. And it has and still does have a huge past record of negatively impacting businesses and people who have lost data, money, had ID and CC info swiped and used, etc because of glaring and unpatched code, proving it was not quite up to the task of being suitable for purpose nor free from glaring defects..

Heh, I can even envision the scene in the courtroom to get this analogy across to the judge, the "Boston Legal" method. That younger yuppie lawyer they got, the one with the out of the box thinking brain, forget his name, he comes in with all the old car busted parts, then spanking new ones that have been built, and NOT by Belchfire, while Shatner is floating around wearing old driving duds complete with goggles and the snap brim hat, with his 1919 restored Belchfire Steamer parked out front (if they manage to prevent him driving it right into the courtroom, which he tries to do).

Re:Interesting thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29478413)

Difference being that nobody pretends that antique cars are anything but a hobby.

Re:Time Bandits (1)

howlingfrog (211151) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476957)

destroying people's data

When you install Ubuntu into a dual-boot situation, it asks if you want it to import your entire My Documents folder.

Most open source solutions are terribly documented...you need to...hit the forums or wikis.

To an extent, I agree with you, but you're overstating your case a bit. I'm certainly not happy with the sorry state of F/OSS documentation, but your implication that proprietary software is any better is nonsense. The software written by the companies Joe Sixpack knows the names of--that is, Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe--tends to have built-in help systems. Because those companies can afford to hire someone to write it. The software written by everyone else, proprietary or open source, has half-assed or nonexistant built-in help. Even those three big companies aren't great at it. Their help systems don't answer the questions users actually have, they answer the questions they think users are going to have. The amount of overlap varies wildly from app to app--I find Excel's help system to be extremely useful, and Word's to be a waste of RAM, personally. The wiki approach to documentation is, by definition, a closer match to what users actually need, and part of the point of open source is that the original authors are not the only ones competent to write documentation. The fact that most people's first instinct is to look for a drop-down help menu is simply because that's what they're used to. It doesn't mean it's a better way to do it.

What's so great about free software? It's free? Is Open Office better then MS Office? No? Is GIMP better than Photoshop or PSP or anything? No?

For most end-user applications, the absolute best in the industry is usually proprietary. That's true. The competing free software tends to do about 80% of what the proprietary solution does. But only the 1% of users who use that particular application at a professional level ever need, or, sometimes, are even capable of understanding, the other 20%. The differences between OO.o Word Processor and MS Word are the things that you don't need unless you're a professional writer/editor/publisher. The differences between OO.o Spreadsheet and MS Excel are the things you don't need unless you're an MBA. The differences between GIMP and Photoshop are the things you don't need unless you're an artist. A lot of people will need the proprietary application in one or two domains, but would never notice the difference anywhere else. But they're paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars for the proprietary solution anyway.

And you're conveniently ignoring all the FOSS that's simply better: Firefox, PostgreSQL, Apache, R, Pidgin, any of a dozen free PDF viewers, etc.

Is Linux easier to use than Windows or Mac...for email and typing documents and browsing the web?

Absolutely. You're confusing familiarity with simplicity. If you're already familiar with Windows, using it will be quite a bit easier than learning a new tool. For true beginners, I'd say that Mac is the easiest, Ubuntu is fairly close, and Windows is a total nightmare. There's some subjectivity there, but I'd bet that no-one who disagrees has ever been the friend/relative everyone uses for free tech support.

anyone idealistic enough to run free software is already doing so

I disagree with this more strongly than anything else you said. The political things we say about open software and open file formats are strongly compatible with a wide range of leftist and libertarian movements, especially anticorporatism. I have on several occasions talked people with anti-Walmart bumper stickers into switching to Linux.

Re:Time Bandits (2, Interesting)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477187)

When you install Ubuntu into a dual-boot situation, it asks if you want it to import your entire My Documents folder.

You have to consider that data extends beyond merely the sort you'd store in My Documents. Not all applications follow that proper behavior, beside the fact that a user's application set could be considered part of their data. Many users identify their applications by name, even, not even description or type. It would be safe to say that a user would require a well-written guide with a series of alternatives for popular applications easily available for then. Perhaps Add/Remove Programs should alias keywords connected to applications that its F/OSS options are alternatives to-- if it doesn't already.

To an extent, I agree with you, but you're overstating your case a bit. I'm certainly not happy with the sorry state of F/OSS documentation, but your implication that proprietary software is any better is nonsense. The software written by the companies Joe Sixpack knows the names of--that is, Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe--tends to have built-in help systems. Because those companies can afford to hire someone to write it. The software written by everyone else, proprietary or open source, has half-assed or nonexistant built-in help. Even those three big companies aren't great at it. Their help systems don't answer the questions users actually have, they answer the questions they think users are going to have. The amount of overlap varies wildly from app to app--I find Excel's help system to be extremely useful, and Word's to be a waste of RAM, personally. The wiki approach to documentation is, by definition, a closer match to what users actually need, and part of the point of open source is that the original authors are not the only ones competent to write documentation. The fact that most people's first instinct is to look for a drop-down help menu is simply because that's what they're used to. It doesn't mean it's a better way to do it.

I don't often utilize documentation, but whenever I do it's a pretty quick process. Apple is probably right in making things such that no documentation should be needed, but I don't think the wiki is a strong case against professional documentation. The wiki's in ubuntu should be fully integrated into the help system per application-- the wiki-ized help system should link you up contextually when you try to get help on a certain function. It should be safe to assume internet connectivity at this point.

For most end-user applications, the absolute best in the industry is usually proprietary. That's true. The competing free software tends to do about 80% of what the proprietary solution does. But only the 1% of users who use that particular application at a professional level ever need, or, sometimes, are even capable of understanding, the other 20%. The differences between OO.o Word Processor and MS Word are the things that you don't need unless you're a professional writer/editor/publisher. The differences between OO.o Spreadsheet and MS Excel are the things you don't need unless you're an MBA. The differences between GIMP and Photoshop are the things you don't need unless you're an artist. A lot of people will need the proprietary application in one or two domains, but would never notice the difference anywhere else. But they're paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars for the proprietary solution anyway.

I disagree whole-heartedly. The commercial applications have far more accessible functionality. Microsoft Word 2007, for instance, makes it extremely easy to create a well-formatted and attractive document-- as does Pages. It's hard to make an ugly presentation with Keynote. However, no matter how hard I've tried, I've never been able to make an attractive looking document in OpenOffice- and I used openoffice for years. Its formatting is always just a bit ugly, a bit awkward, and its default content is always a bit lacking. Anything pushed out of the software just seems wholly lackluster.

The best way of handling this I've seen up until now is to use OpenOffice Novell Edition (it's a bit faster) with Lotus Symphony's templates-- but the formatting is still very painful. I think Office 2007 is a serious target to hit for formatting and interface design.

And you're conveniently ignoring all the FOSS that's simply better: Firefox, PostgreSQL, Apache, R, Pidgin, any of a dozen free PDF viewers, etc.

I really dislike Pidgin. It's ugly in Linux and hideous in Windows... I actually use Trillian 4 just to avoid the horror of GTK for Windows. It's better than most instant messaging clients, but it's still such an 80% solution across the board. If you use a single instant messenger protocol, AIM Lite or Google Talk are far nicer. I think Adium is a much better use of Pidgin's internals than Pidgin. I won't even get started on Firefox-- everything about it is just plain sluggish. I think application responsiveness is very important, so I use Opera.

Absolutely. You're confusing familiarity with simplicity. If you're already familiar with Windows, using it will be quite a bit easier than learning a new tool. For true beginners, I'd say that Mac is the easiest, Ubuntu is fairly close, and Windows is a total nightmare. There's some subjectivity there, but I'd bet that no-one who disagrees has ever been the friend/relative everyone uses for free tech support.

I've tried really hard to introduce people to Ubuntu back when I cared about it. The simplicity would always seem obvious to me, but would baffle people who had no problem with Windows. The familiarity case is very strong. There's also the high failability of common tasks... I've tried to refute that myself for the longest time, but something always seems to go wrong with Ubuntu that takes quite a bit of expertise to solve. I am not out of touch- I try every single Ubuntu release. It still hasn't matched a well-tuned OEM build of Windows or Mac by far. You're taking too much expertise for granted.

I disagree with this more strongly than anything else you said. The political things we say about open software and open file formats are strongly compatible with a wide range of leftist and libertarian movements, especially anticorporatism. I have on several occasions talked people with anti-Walmart bumper stickers into switching to Linux.

That's a political case, not a usability case. I don't think that's compatible with the utility of consumer products.

 

Re:Time Bandits (0, Flamebait)

orasio (188021) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477105)

"terrible documented"

Well, that is just a lie.
Of course, documentation is not that important, but free software is better documented than proprietary software.
And of course, its documentation is complete, while proprietary software producers only document what they think you need, it's easy to reach a point where there is no more data to fix your problem.
And then there is tech support, I have worked with proprietary tech support. They are great at reading manuals and troubleshooting guides aloud. In 15 years working with both proprietary and free software, only in free software I can get a technical person to help me with my issues. Proprietary support under millions of dollars is just crap.

This post was about free software. If you don't care about free software, it's your problem. Proprietary software affects you a lot more than your coffee maker. At least it's somewhat like environmental issues. Using proprietary software does harm yourself and everybody, both by giving away your freedom, and by acting against technological advancement. Just ignoring it is not going to make it go away. Of course, much like environmental issues, there are wacky ways to create conscience, and there are reasonable ways to do it, but it doesn't mean it's OK that people don't care.

Re:Time Bandits (3, Insightful)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477213)

This post was about free software. If you don't care about free software, it's your problem. Proprietary software affects you a lot more than your coffee maker. At least it's somewhat like environmental issues. Using proprietary software does harm yourself and everybody, both by giving away your freedom, and by acting against technological advancement. Just ignoring it is not going to make it go away. Of course, much like environmental issues, there are wacky ways to create conscience, and there are reasonable ways to do it, but it doesn't mean it's OK that people don't care.

Computers are just tools. Besides tools, they are consumer products. This culture war is simply absurd-- Linux should have to compete as a consumer product along with everything else. It can have its market share when it's usable. Not before then.

Re:Time Bandits (2, Interesting)

dshadowwolf (1132457) | more than 5 years ago | (#29478231)

So the fact that numerous people - myself included - use Linux every day for basic tasks doesn't make it usable? The fact that my somewhat technophobic and highly computer-illiterate father often borrows my linux laptop for browsing the web doesn't make it usable? That my sixty year-old mother has requested that, for any computer I build her, I make sure Linux is installed doesn't make it usable?

Linux TRIES to compete as a consumer product. What happens? Well... Back when the Pentium was new MS told OEM's one of two things - either 'we are going to charge you for a license for every computer you manufacture, regardless of whether it has our OS on it or not' or 'If you sell computers with any OS on it that we did not produce, you will lose the bulk-licensing price-cut we give you'. In other words they forced computer manufacturers to put MS created OS's on their machines - forcing any competition out of the market.(*)

And now MS has forced so much mis-information into the public mind that teachers confiscate copies of Linux install disks, claiming they are illegal... Best Buy employees are taught that Windows is the only way to go... The public is taught that a machine of a lower-price is better than a Mac - despite the fact that the Mac generally has a better processor, better video card, bigger hard drive and more RAM than the lower-price machine... MS basically does everything it can to keep the public from ever learning the truth about alternatives to its stranglehold on the OS market.

Yes, Linux has historically had problems handling new hardware. But these days it can run a wider range of hardware correctly than Windows can. I don't really even have to research things anymore - if I go to Wal-Mart, Best-Buy or any other big chain store and purchase a piece of hardware, it is almost certain to be supported by Linux. As an example... Two weeks ago I walked into the local Wal-Mart here, purchased a web-cam and an MP3 player without ever doing research about supported hardware or even looking for a "works with linux" stamp on the packaging. I get home and plug the web-cam in - and it works(**). I plug the MP3 players dongle into the device and into the laptop and it shows up. Everything fully supported. In Windows I'd have had to install the drivers and reboot before I could do anything.

*:Yes, they got hit with a lawsuit over this by the US DoJ, but it didn't have any real, lasting effect.

**: Okay, so it took a quick search of Google to get the camera working with a couple of programs. But at least the information was there and didn't involve things like 'edit registry key...' - in fact, the solutions were short and to the point.

--
This post contains factual information from third parties as well as anecdotal evidence. You should not trust either before doing research and fact-checking.

Re:Time Bandits (2, Interesting)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 5 years ago | (#29478395)

So the fact that numerous people - myself included - use Linux every day for basic tasks doesn't make it usable? The fact that my somewhat technophobic and highly computer-illiterate father often borrows my linux laptop for browsing the web doesn't make it usable? That my sixty year-old mother has requested that, for any computer I build her, I make sure Linux is installed doesn't make it usable?

That's just talk. I've tried to leave home users with Ubuntu before in the past. There's always something that goes wrong and is absolutely impossible for a home user to solve. It's just too *big* and has too many points of failure without the organized support backend of something like the Windows Platform. Open source offerings will get much better when they simplify and reintegrate.

And now MS has forced so much mis-information into the public mind that teachers confiscate copies of Linux install disks, claiming they are illegal... Best Buy employees are taught that Windows is the only way to go... The public is taught that a machine of a lower-price is better than a Mac - despite the fact that the Mac generally has a better processor, better video card, bigger hard drive and more RAM than the lower-price machine... MS basically does everything it can to keep the public from ever learning the truth about alternatives to its stranglehold on the OS market.

Actually, it's not a conspiracy. At this point, Windows is simply more user friendly and usable. I suspect Haiku will overtake Windows in usability before the Linux desktop does, it just has a broad natural advantage in terms of architecture. You certainly can't take away Linux's server utility, though. It will always be firm in that market.

The moment Linux came even close to being usable, Dell and HP picked it up as options. Those don't do that well on the market. I would say they put exuberant faith in it to offer something like Ubuntu on a consumer machine. It certainly doesn't belong there.

Yes, Linux has historically had problems handling new hardware. But these days it can run a wider range of hardware correctly than Windows can. I don't really even have to research things anymore - if I go to Wal-Mart, Best-Buy or any other big chain store and purchase a piece of hardware, it is almost certain to be supported by Linux. As an example... Two weeks ago I walked into the local Wal-Mart here, purchased a web-cam and an MP3 player without ever doing research about supported hardware or even looking for a "works with linux" stamp on the packaging. I get home and plug the web-cam in - and it works(**). I plug the MP3 players dongle into the device and into the laptop and it shows up. Everything fully supported. In Windows I'd have had to install the drivers and reboot before I could do anything.

I've never owned a machine that worked with Linux without incident. Never. My current laptop, for instance, the Gateway LT3103u, does not work well with Linux at all. Its battery life and power management under Linux are especially dismal- and this is pretty ordinary hardware. It's actually losing quite heavily to Vista on this machine. I find that hilarious.

It sounds like you haven't used a Windows system since Windows 98. I can tell because you mention the system rebooting to install a USB device driver.

Windows users don't have to do research to know if something is supported on their system. Almost any device you buy includes a driver CD. I don't think it's terribly complex. It will even update WHQL drivers through Windows update. On Windows 7, you can basically just rely on Windows to find all its own drivers online.

It's not really the consumer's job to do this, though. Your OEM is supposed to handle all the basic driver packaging for your PC.

Linux TRIES to compete as a consumer product

And it fails. I think Haiku has a better shot of becoming a usable desktop os. It's designed for the desktop, it has sane and stable driver API's, and it works with multimedia instead of against it. With the open source development model, it can manage slow adoption financially, unlike Be.

I try every new generation of Ubuntu. It's always a terrible disappointment. The UNIX platform is simply too ill adopted to desktop usage scenarios. It's too much of a stretch.

Re:Time Bandits (1)

HitoGuy (1324613) | more than 5 years ago | (#29478421)

Oh look, the "Linux is not usable" troll. Go back to 1998, when that argument actually had some real standing.

Re:Time Bandits (2, Interesting)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477871)

Using proprietary software does harm yourself and everybody, both by giving away your freedom, and by acting against technological advancement. Just ignoring it is not going to make it go away. Of course, much like environmental issues, there are wacky ways to create conscience, and there are reasonable ways to do it, but it doesn't mean it's OK that people don't care.

No. You can't compare Stallman's need for new drones with the need to protect/reclaim the environment. The simple reason why is because, unlike anything which the FSF cares about, the environment is something that actually does matter, to people who aren't simply drinking cultic Kool-Aid.

This is easily demonstrated as fact, when we realise that FOSS survives more despite the FSF, than because of it.

- The FSF generates no code now, at all. Cygnus/Red Hat do that, and have for some time.
- Non-copyleft licenses, such as the MIT/BSD license, have survived without copyleft, or without any form of enforcement in court, and they've done so just fine. This categorically proves that any argument which Richard Stallman has ever made about the necessity of copyleft, is completely and entirely false.

I will say it again; the Free Software Foundation needs to die. It produces nothing positive whatsoever at this point; the only things it generates are conflict, division, and pointless heat and noise. The world will be a much better place when it does.

Re:Time Bandits (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477283)

If they want free software, chances are they will seek it out.

I think many people don't know about that part of software landscape, and that it works for many people.

Otherwise, an interesting point of view.

Arr (1, Interesting)

Lueseiseki (1189513) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476221)

Arr... software freedom day? Be I the only seafarer here celebratin' National Talk Like a Pirate Day? Ye all be landlubbers, arr...

Re:Arr (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477691)

Arr... software freedom day? Be I the only seafarer here celebratin' National Talk Like a Pirate Day? Ye all be landlubbers, arr...

When ye think about it, it be entirely appropriate for the two to coincide. Yarrrr... ;)

I still dont get it (4, Insightful)

jrowlingson (1003641) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476267)

I know this is probably flamebait, but, it seems like there is no other industry that works as hard as we do to put ourselfs out of jobs.

Re:I still dont get it (2, Funny)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476491)

Almost all code is developed to companies, not individual people. Companies will always need new software, or adapt FOSS to their needs, etc.

Proprietary != Commercial.

Exactly the wrong thing to do (2, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476315)

handing out Linux and FOSS collections...

Taking unknown software from people you don't know. Isn't that what the security community has been telling everyone NOT to do for years, decades. Maybe these advocates should think a little about the underlying message they are sending out and stop undoing the good work that others are doing to stop the spread of malware.

Re:Exactly the wrong thing to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476359)

Don't jump to conclusions.
Step 2 is: Anyone who actually accepts the CD gets smacked upside the head!

Advertise INSIDE a business (3, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476377)

These guys need to advertise inside or be associated with a particular business that people are going to. Take the grocery store. At my local grocery store, the Girl Scouts often set up a table to sell their cookies. This is a brand that people trust for quality. We trust the Girl Scouts that their product is safe for us to consume. On the other hand, I often see a woman that is sitting on folding chair and when you leave the supermarket she asks you, very quietly if you want Tamales [wikipedia.org] . I wouldn't take a Tamale from this woman if it was free, because I do not trust her.

The local supermarkets often have people stationed inside providing samples of various products. Usually a retiree standing in front of a table with a small griddle or toaster oven. While I have no interest in the products they are usually preparing, I would trust that they are safe. These guys should set up their table inside of computer stores (Apple Store, BestBuy etc..), atleast that could add some credibility to their product, or atleast the appearance of credibility.

On the other hand, why should I trust a random group of people on the street? Did we forget the recent incident where hackers mailed malware infected CDs to Credit Unions [slashdot.org] ? The only difference is that instead of pretending the CDs come from some gov't organization, they're coming from some "OpenSource" group standing at a table on the street.

Re:Advertise INSIDE a business (1)

mrslacker (1122161) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476581)

Actually, that _is_ the plan. At least, the local one is associating itself with a frozen yogurt place.

Of course, this wasn't at all obvious, since the site itself is hopelessly disorganized, and the front page is a photo of a bunch of geeks, and doesn't really say anywhere what the whole thing is about (the about page says a bit more, but that stuff should be on the front).

Oh well, maybe some lessons to learn for next year.

Too late! (2, Funny)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476649)

Software Freedom Day 2009

Great idea telling us today...plenty of time to get the local effort organised!

Re:Too late! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476805)

Well it will happened again next year, so you can start to prepare now! ;-)

Beat The Clock (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477143)

Great idea telling us today...plenty of time to get the local effort organised!

The end of summer is marked by the Open Regatta, the county fair and Peach Festival, jazz concerts in the park, the Labor Day Parade.

The Back-To-School Sale.

Crowds are large, receptive, very well fed - they love hand-outs and are open to anyone who puts on a good show.

If can offer them shade, a coke and a folding chair, so much the better.

But, geek being geek, he'll chose the chill and wet of autumn - and place himself at the point of maximum inconvenience.

The Seventh Day Adventist at your door.

Re:Too late! (1)

calcutta001 (907416) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477153)

  Software Freedom Day 2009

Great idea telling us today...plenty of time to get the local effort organised!

This is not funny. I wish I had known about this so I could organize a local event.

Thanks for telling us so late. (sarcastic)

Re:Too late! (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 5 years ago | (#29478355)

Agreed! My whole business is based on F/OSS and this is the first I've heard of it.

Software Freedom Day. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476879)

Software Freedom Day* *Unless you want to make or use proprietary software then you can simply burn in hell.

reasonable people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29476887)

"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people." -- George Bernard Shaw

Re:reasonable people (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477435)

It does not follow from Shaw's theory, that all unreasonable people make progress.

"Cool is a rumor, sometimes bad is bad" -- huey lewis

School (1)

gninnor (792931) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476917)

It seems that the model that is used my apple and M$ is to get people use to their computers in school. After the preferences are in place, people stay with it until there is a reason to change.

Try to stay warm! (1)

fat_mike (71855) | more than 5 years ago | (#29476967)

Team Antarctica! [softwarefreedomday.org]

Seriously, do we really want to give the Reptilians living inside the "Hollow Earth" accessible by a giant hole in Antarctica more reasons to attack?

Expected reaction (4, Insightful)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477335)

FOSS Advocate: You are allowed to get the source code and modify the software to better fit your needs.
Average Joe: Lol wut!?
FOSS Advocate: ...you also don't have to pay.
Average Joe: You mean there are programs you have to pay for!?

Wow Slashdot. (1)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477347)

For being one of the most free-software-leaning discussion sites on the internet, the level of derision here for Software Freedom day is odd.

There is no requirement for Software Freedom day to pass out CDs or leaflets or get in anyone's face. It can be as simple as having a BBQ and inviting your geekiest friends. If you happen to print out some flyers like this [fsf.org] or this [tuxfamily.org] or yikes! even burn a free-software-infested CD I don't think you'll be hurting anyone. If you do happen to have an event, take pictures...it'd be nice to see what SFD really look like rather than dwell on the fear posed by a burnt-CD.

Happy Software Freedom Day!

Re:Wow Slashdot. (3, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#29477685)

For being one of the most free-software-leaning discussion sites on the internet, the level of derision here for Software Freedom day is odd.

That is an extremely encouraging, healthy, and positive sign.

The Free Software Foundation, and its' activism, both need to die if Linux is ever going to become anything more than fringe.

If Slashdot's readership are discouraging of such activism, it will hopefully gradually move us towards a point where said activism ceases to occur.

I am not saying that I think Linux advocacy should cease entirely. It does, however, need to cease being radical, cultic, and infused with as much hate, fear, and paranoia as it has been in the past. There needs to be far more focus put purely on Linux's technical strengths, and as little as possible put on the mind control of Richard Stallman.

Re:Wow Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29477953)

If it's only technical strengths you care about, why use free software at all?

Re:Wow Slashdot. (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#29478117)

If it's only technical strengths you care about, why use free software at all?

LOL. The silent implication here is deeply amusing. "We don't mind if technically speaking, the software is garbage. At least it's Free!"

I use FreeBSD. In my own mind, it's pretty much the greatest operating system in existence in technical terms. It being FOSS is part of the reason for that, of course; but that's also the point.

Valuing the fact that software is open source, doesn't have to be about Stallman's cultic propaganda. Source code availability has a lot of positive implications for technical quality as well.

Virtually nobody thinks of that, though. Most of the people who so fervently beat the drum for FOSS, don't do so because they care about the quality of the software, at all.

They do it purely because Stallman tells them to.

Re:Wow Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29478431)

LOL.

Having the source available is all it takes, right? Technical merits are all that matter. So why give FreeBSD away at all? Why not just make the source public, but restrict its use? That way, you can sell it, and you'll still get the technical improvements that having visible source would have.

Re:Wow Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29478191)

I don't get it, where does RMS's "mind control" come into all of this, the idea is to get into schools, colleges, libraries and community centres, etc. around the world, this is important, not everyone's as much of an embittered cynic as the /. regulars, and demonstrate to users, by way of hands on displays where possible and demos or good old fashioned conversation where not, the kind of genuinely useful open source software that's available to them.

And remember, this isn't just about linux, this is about open source adoption in general. When your average user buys a computer they think of it in a task oriented way, based on what bundled crap it came with, so they know the computer can play some card games, it can browse the web, it might be able to write some basic documents, or some complex documents for 30 days, it'll also protect them from viruses for a similar period of time. That's about it, they'll probably stumble across some online 3d poker and other similarly useful applications which are a FREE DOWNLOAD!!!, but by the time this happen they'll likely need to take it back to the shop to get their files backed up and the windows installation wipe/reinstalled. While they're there they might fork out £80+ for some office software and a quick £25 for a new antivirus subscription.

These are the kind of people who can benefit greatly from receiving an OpenDisc, suddenly they discover that their computer is actually capable of performing considerably more tasks than they had previously thought, and without needing to go and buy a retail box from PC world or a FREE DOWNLOAD accompanied by unexplained breakages.

I too find it strange that the very concept of a software freedom day is being dismissed out of hand, it seems that a great deal of posters are just making wild and baseless assumptions.

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