Selling Installation of Free Software to Those that Request It

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cochranizer
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Joined: 12/03/2017

I have recently learned that I can "sell" Free Software by selling the service of (consented) installation of Free Software on people's computers. It is cost effective, and it is very productive, for I can walk or drive to people who would call me and say, "Hey, I am wondering if you can help me install GIMP on my computer, and if you do a good job, I'll pay you."

For now, I am going to focus on installing Windows ports of GNU programs, as I may need a license to install the whole GNU system on computers.

Magic Banana

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You can freely install GNU/Linux on as many computers as you want.

loldier
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Joined: 02/17/2016

What happens if you try to include Win restore disks to go with licensed recycled second hand computers.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/04/why-the-man-who-tried-to-sell-windows-recovery-discs-will-go-to-prison/

zigote
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Joined: 03/04/2019

When you "help" another by selling something to them you keep them dependent on you. Not only dependency is not freedom but they can also easily fall back to what they are used to (the dependency of proprietary software).

If you care about freedom of others: better educate them to do all the things on their own. Then they will be able to do the same with others. If they are happy they will compensate you.

IMO...

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

This seems to confuse different kinds of dependencies.

"When you 'help' another by selling something to them you keep them dependent on you."

With free software this sort of dependency can't happen because the customer has the source code, and the four freedoms, and can fire the consultant at any time and replace them with another person of their choice. It helps promote a free market since, unlike proprietary programs, any sufficiently knowledgeable person could maintain the program. Maybe that's the customer themselves. But: Maybe the customer doesn't want to do that, which is why they're hiring someone else. Telling them "learn to do it yourself" might not go over very well in the job interview. :)

zigote
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Joined: 03/04/2019

"The four freedoms" have nothing to do with what I said. Perhaps you misunderstood.

By dependency I mean: I depend on another to help me do something. It doesn't matter if I pay for that or not, I still depend on another. Surely I will be more free (not per "four freedoms" but as per what the general meaning of freedom is) if I don't depend on another. That's why I think it is better to help another not just to switch from paying for proprietary software installation to paying for FOSS installation, but to help them be free from the very dependence on such service.

> Telling them "learn to do it yourself" might not go over very well in the job interview. :)

Well, you are not telling them this, you are educating them. Also this is not a "job interview" as you are not applying for a job when you service a client ;)

Magic Banana

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Being free does not mean "depending on nobody" (as a hermit) but "not being under the control of anybody" (unlike a slave): there is nothing wrong with asking for a service, against remuneration or not. There is a problem if one single entity can provide that service (as for the support of any proprietary program), a monopoly.

zigote
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Joined: 03/04/2019

Arguing that one of the many meanings of a word is not a meaning by pointing out another one picked by you is "the meaning" is ridiculous. Even worse if a further "conclusion" follows completely out of context.

Magic Banana

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Unlike yours, the meaning I picked is in the dictionary: number 2 on https://www.dictionary.com/browse/freedom

If you give to words meanings they do not have (is that "ridiculous"?), do not expect to be understood.

zigote
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Joined: 03/04/2019

If you have problems understanding a particular word, you may better check more sources than "the dictionary":

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/thesaurus/freedom

"SYNONYMS

independence, ..."

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/freedom

"Synonyms: independence, ..., autonomy"

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/freedom

"Synonyms
..., independence, independency

Antonyms
dependence (also dependance), ..."

Also an expressed idea is not just a pile of individual unrelated words but should be considered as a whole and not twisted into something else. In the current case: I have never said "depending on nobody", neither I have talked about hermits or monopoly. So if you are arguing in a context which I didn't use, that is not because I "give to words meaning they do not have".

I have explained quite clearly what I mean. If you think you can be free from crutches and depend on crutches at the same time just because there are many crutch sellers (not a monopoly), then no dictionary can help you understand.

Magic Banana

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Also an expressed idea is not just a pile of individual unrelated words but should be considered as a whole and not twisted into something else.

Exactly. Let us see the contexts in which the singled-out word "independence" occurs in your favorite sources:

  1. SYNONYMS: independence, self-government, self-determination, self-legislation, self rule, home rule, sovereignty, autonomy, autarky, democracy
    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/thesaurus/freedom
  2. autonomy, self-government, or independence and Synonyms: independence, democracy, sovereignty, autonomy
    https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/freedom
  3. Another occurrence of "independence" from the same page as right above: exemption or liberation from the control of some other person or some arbitrary power; liberty; independence
  4. liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence
    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/freedom

So, in the first two points above, the "independence" is that of a nation. That corresponds to number 4 on https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/freedom ("political or national independence") and has absolutely nothing to do with the context of this thread.

In the last two points, the definition that goes along with the occurrence of the word "independence" is the one *I* use.

The meaning you invented is in none of the sources you chose.

If you think you can be free from crutches...

A good illustration of number 6 on https://www.dictionary.com/browse/freedom ("exemption from the presence of anything specified (usually followed by from): freedom from fear"), which is not the meaning I use (number 2).

I am not the one "twisting words into something else", here.

zigote
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Joined: 03/04/2019

Look Banana, I have said what I think. Play your nit picking games with someone else.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Thesauruses are not substitutes for dictionaries. Just because two words are interchangeable in one case doesn't mean they're interchangeable in all cases.

Ultimately, though, whether or not "freedom" can mean "independence" is irrelevant. I agree, it can (though it typically doesn't). But as MB explained, it's not what anyone else is talking about.

I don't particularly value independence that much, compared to other things. I made the decision to be dependent on a drug for the rest of my life. Many other people do, too, for various reasons. We also generally are dependent on the economy to get what we need; few people make all their own clothes, grow all their own food, etc. Sometimes, dependence is preferable to other things (like death, or having a harder life).

If you value independence as much as you suggest, though, you shouldn't use a computer. As a computer user, you're dependent on massive corporations operating semiconductor factories. You can never hope to build your own computer entirely from scratch; you always have to use components from these mega-corporations, although you have a few choices among them.

zigote
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> Thesauruses are not substitutes for dictionaries.

Similarly you can say that the explanations of the meanings of the words in dictionaries are not the words themselves. Or that the word is not the actual thing (with which I agree). And that is exactly the reason why talks like "let's compare bit by bit with the source and prove they are not identical" are stupid. Intelligence is the ability to look at the whole and understand it, even if a part is not a perfect match. We are not machines. Machines are just starting to be trained to do what we can do naturally.

> If you value independence as much as you suggest

I don't know where this "as much" comes from as I haven't suggested anything beyond a more efficient approach. If you are arguing that one should better not learn because one cannot possible know everything, this is a really pointless exaggeration and surely way out of the context of what I said. Personally I have educated quite a few people to install their software and they are much happier than when they had to depend on various other people to do it for them.

onpon4
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What I did in that post is what is known as a "reduction to absurdity".

Your position, as you stated, was:

"When you 'help' another by selling something to them you keep them dependent on you.... If you care about freedom of others: better educate them to do all the things on their own."

So all I did was point out that when you reduce this to its basic premise, that dependency is bad, all computer use creates dependency and is therefore bad. Not only that, anyone who lives in modern society is dependent on others for things like food and transportation, so modern life itself is therefore bad.

If that is your position, then you shouldn't be using a computer, car, bus, train, plastic, medicine, etc at all. All of these create a dependency on someone else; do you know how to make your own plastics, your own toothpaste, your own pencils, pens, paper? Do you grow all your own food, extract all your own medicine? I don't know the answer to these questions. But one thing I do know is that you use a computer; a computer is required to post here, after all. I therefore know, beyond any doubt, that you are dependent on companies that manufacture things like integrated circuits and LCDs. I also know that you are using the Internet, which makes you dependent on several ISPs around the world sending data on your behalf, which you don't have the capability to do yourself. So you are dependent, and therefore not in a position to tell people that all dependencies are bad unless you give up use of your computer (and probably several other modern conveniences as well).

zigote
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You can reduce to absurdity anything that is not absurd, then assign that absurdity to the other person and argue that the original statement is absurd. But when you so change the meaning of what was said, you are really arguing with yourself, with your own crooked interpretation of it, not with the original meaning.

Trying to support all that with references to sources (reputed or not), arguing about the sources, comparison of sources etc. is an absurdity itself. That's why I said that Paris Hilton could say the same. Not because she can't (of course she can, it applies to her too), not because it is *her* (it can be George Clooney, Dalai Lama or a million others), but because I wanted to show how ridiculous it is to use the reputation of someone to support one's own lack of understanding of what was said. To understand something one must pay attention, not quote, repeat, agree or disagree. If there is something unclear - one can ask the other person to clarify, rather than hyperbole one's own misunderstanding.

Also there is a difference between position and recommendation. Just like you can recommend to another "better drink this milk hot". It is not a position like "I maintain that the ultimate, universal, one and only truth is to drink hot milk".

Masaru Suzuqi -under review-
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>Trying to support all that with references to sources (reputed or not), arguing about the sources, comparison of sources etc. is an absurdity itself...

It seems to be a logical and reasonable argument. I would agree, instead of pushing +.
Because you don't understand well why it got it. Even if you get not bad feelings from that. That is not precise communication. Then precise communication is basically very difficult. Imprecise communication has many flaws, somewhat rude and unfair. And boring. As more important matter, the feeling of imcompleteness of communication would be the source of unhappiness which many people have with even their family. So we should select words precisely one by one, I think.

I also did and you also did but also using authority might not be a very good thing, sometimes, somewhat.
We would dislike authority from our nature, if we like freedom. I still would use that but it would be for enemies basically. E.g. philosophers have PhDs but have not experienced kensho.

onpon4
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Reduction to absurdity is a well-documented argument, and it is not invalid if the basic premise is correctly identified. If your basic premise is not that all dependency is bad, then please let me know what your basic premise actually is for why it is wrong to sell a software installation service.

zigote
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Joined: 03/04/2019

See how you are messing it up:

You say the right sequence is to:

1. Identify correctly the premise
2. Reduce it to absurdity

Yet what you did was:

1. Misunderstand the premise and replace it with another premise (= not identify it correctly)

2. Reduce that to absurdity

3. Claim that reduction to absurdity is valid in general because it is well documented and imply that it is valid in the case of misunderstanding (which contradicts your right sequence)

4. Ask "please let me know what your basic premise actually is" assuming another wrong premise

Alright, since you asked I am explaining again:

I never said "all dependency is bad" (or good). I also never said "it is wrong (or right) to sell a software installation service".

What I said was:

> When you "help" another by selling something to them you keep them dependent on you.

Obviously. Trade is based on dependency - one sells, another one buys and the two depend on each other. There can be no buyer without a seller and vice versa.

> Not only dependency is not freedom but they can also easily fall back to what they are used to (the dependency of proprietary software).

There are 2 things here (but they are said to form *one whole*):

(a) dependency vs freedom
(b) the fallback

Let's look at (b) first:

Suppose I use software to do certain things: do some office work, browse the web, communication, whatever. So far I have been doing it with proprietary software and I am used to that. As I am not a computer expert what matters for me is the final result of my work and the cost of doing it (resources: time, finance, ease of use etc).

You come and tell me: I will install for you FOSS, explain why it is better etc. I say "OK, I can pay you". You do it, money changes pockets and we are done. Later on I need something else from you, I call you again etc. I cannot do it myself, just like I couldn't do it with proprietary software. As long as you are available that works. Usually software installation/update is a periodic ongoing thing.

Now consider these:

- You are a single person (or there are very few of you). There are many more who provide installation services for proprietary software.

- What is important for me as a non-expert in computers: result, resources (clarified above)

- Old habit (very strong factor)

The moment you are not available I am lost. My programs don't work and I may have no other FOSS person to call. My work (the important thing for me) is blocked. What will stop me from calling my previous service provider (or his competitors) to install my old proprietary software? I may like the ideas of FOSS but for me #1 is to do my work. So I fall back.

Now back to (a):

If I knew how to do it myself I would:

- know how to install programs and fix certain problems myself
- understand much better how software and computers work
- understand much better why FOSS is better
- have greater interest to learn even more
- not fall back
- be able to share this beauty with others (educate them etc)

That's why I say it is better to educate others, that it gives more freedom and that this approach is much closer to the community spirit of FOSS.

Would you agree that this is much different from the absurdities and all the other BS?

Masaru Suzuqi -under review-
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Joined: 06/06/2018

What is the difference between learning those things without asking others and to be taught by others?

- know how to install programs and fix certain problems myself
- understand much better how software and computers work
- understand much better why FOSS is better
- have greater interest to learn even more
- not fall back
- be able to share this beauty with others (educate them etc)

> ...that it gives more freedom and that this approach is much closer to the community spirit of FOSS.

How more and how much closer? It might change my thought, (Learning how to construct best security on my laptop first, then understand why, how, from what, is efficient) if it spoils something important matters. Should I figure even that reasons by myself? But I think that we should share the information with elementary chirdren, in the future.

zigote
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> What is the difference between learning those things without asking others and to be taught by others?

The same as learning anything for yourself and with a teacher.

> How more and how much closer?

It is not an accurate fixed quantity. See the example with the light bulb and the engine.

> Should I figure even that reasons by myself?

You are free to learn. You are free not to learn. It's up to you.

onpon4
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This looks to me like a long-winded way of saying "no, dependency is not bad, but dependency is bad". I don't think you're serious about this discussion. You seem more interested in playing word games, which I am not here to do.

Just a tip, typing several paragraphs in response to a question of your basic premise is never going to be the right answer.

zigote
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I have been as clear as possible. You really don't deserve the time I spent for you.

Magic Banana

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You can reduce to absurdity anything that is not absurd

The rare logicians who refuse "reductio ad absurdum" do not say that. Because that is wrong, a fallacy. (They refuse "reductio ad absurdum" because they refuse the law of excluded middle.)

Trying to support all that with references to sources (reputed or not), arguing about the sources, comparison of sources etc. is an absurdity itself. That's why I said that Paris Hilton could say the same.

I only wrote "RMS disagrees", then the quote. You are entitled to pretend the father of free software does not understand the "community spirit" (as you write in a subsequent post) of the free software movement. It is extremely pretentious and "Paris Hilton could say the same" is certainly not a valid argument against RMS' stance. But you are entitled to disagree with RMS.

To understand something one must pay attention

"Misunderstanding" affirmations relying on meanings not found in any dictionary is neither "ridiculous" nor "stupid". Yet, you make such affirmations, use those adjectives to qualify the contradictions you receive, and complain that the misunderstanding comes from the interlocutor not "paying attention".

I am not saying we misunderstand you. I am pretty sure onpon4 or I understand you. Like RMS, we disagree: providing services around free software (installation, configuration, feature implementation, etc.) does not go against its community spirit. But you want to be right and, instead of arguing in a valid way, you put the blame on us, claiming that we would agree if we would "pay attention", and you reject our arguments by pretending (in a fallacious way) that they are fallacies.

zigote
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RMS cannot possibly "disagree" because he is not a participant in this discussion. He simply says what he thinks in a different discussion. Similarly what I said was never meant to have anything to do with RMS. So the two things are completely separate in time and none of the "disagreeing" (according to you) parties is aware of what the other has said.

Expressing one's personal preference has nothing to do with him being the father of FOSS. He sees no point in learning how to install - fine. One may see a point, another one may not. This is not a disagreement but personal preference.

As for the "valid way":

I don't need you to translate my words to others, to prove their inaccuracy out of context, to tell me that I mean something else or to compare it to what someone else may have said. If anyone feels I have not clarified something, they can ask me directly and I can clarify.

Your urge to demonstrate knowledge and supremacy through references, argumentation techniques and terminology cannot replace the fact that you have really nothing meaningful to say in this thread.

Magic Banana

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RMS cannot possibly "disagree" because he is not a participant in this discussion.

Of course he can. Open you favorite dictionary and look up what it means "to agree". Meaning 1 on https://www.dictionary.com/browse/agree for instance: "to have the same views, emotions, etc.".

He sees no point in learning how to install - fine. One may see a point, another one may not. This is not a disagreement but personal preference.

The disagreement is not on seeing a point in learning how to install GNU/Linux. The disagreement is on claiming that installing GNU/Linux for others goes against the spirit of the free software movement. RMS obviously does not see anything wrong with that handholding: he always asks other people to install GNU/Linux for him. Here is another reference, from the GNU Manifesto:

Meanwhile, the users who know nothing about computers need handholding: doing things for them which they could easily do themselves but don't know how. Such services could be provided by companies that sell just handholding and repair service. If it is true that users would rather spend money and get a product with service, they will also be willing to buy the service having got the product free. The service companies will compete in quality and price; users will not be tied to any particular one.
https://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html

Again: you are entitled to claim that you better understand the community spirit of the free software movement than the manifesto that pretty much started that movement.

Your urge to demonstrate knowledge and supremacy through references, argumentation techniques and terminology cannot replace the fact that you have really nothing meaningful to say in this thread.

I have: "providing support for free software installation is helping users to become free in their computing" (@cochranizer: I wish you success!). You, on the contrary, write that doing so is not "caring about freedom of others". Instead of defending your opinion, you invent new meanings for words, you blame your interlocutors for misunderstanding you (sorry for not knowing the own personal meanings you give to words!), for quoting isolated words (in a post where you do exactly that!), for using fallacies (relying on a fallacy to declare a valid reasoning fallacious!), for not paying attention to what you write and, now, for having "nothing meaningful to say". How ironic!

I believe onpon4 is right: "I don't think you're serious about this discussion. You seem more interested in playing word games, which I am not here to do".

zigote
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"I say it is better to educate others, that it gives more freedom and that this approach is much closer to the community spirit of FOSS."

is very different from:

"claiming that installing GNU/Linux for others goes against the spirit of the free software movement."

Yet another one of your attempts to prove the inaccuracy of what was never said.

Masaru Suzuqi -under review-
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From OP,

> I have recently learned that I can "sell" Free Software by selling the service of (consented) installation of Free Software on people's computers.

I think that it is a good idea. Because I wanted the service, still I want. But I couldn't find such service but Red Hat. I don't mind paying if it was not so expensive.

"Hey, I am wondering if you can help me configure the best security on my computer, and if you do a good job, I'll pay you."

Then If she/he would teach me what he/she did, I would be able to learn computer very efficiently.
Is that something wrong? Why do I have to learn that one by one by asking many times and searching many things by myself. It does not seem to be efficient, at least for me.

By the way, I have recently noticed that that "education" could be a big pitfall. From the beggining, it is a top down thought, and it sounds like "Saving Iraq's or Kosovo's people from something.". I mean, it can be a certain kind of excuse, of course for me, too.

Indeed, if it was 10 years ago, there were many people who asked others without self effort in the internet societies of Japan. But it seems that do it your self is not a special thought nowadays. Many people mention that they have searched the answers by themselves but they couldn't find the good answers when they ask.

Anyway, selling the knowledge seems to be a good idea at least for me. I want one :) , really. Time is money. Maybe it is cheaper than that do it yourself. Then it wouldn't spoil my interest in computer. I might be misunderstanding, though. I have nothing to teach someone about painting. It is just that putting the point of a brush or something where you aimed. That is the all about of how to paint.
But computerizing seems to differ from this kind of stuff. IMO.

zigote
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If you need to have a light bulb replaced you can either call a technician to do it for you every time or you can learn to do it yourself.

If you need to have your car engine repaired, the same principle applies. However the amount of learning and the resources necessary are different. So you can evaluate efficiency based on time, resources, frequency of repetition.

I say that when it comes to software installation (on a personal computer) learning is better and does not keep you dependent on others.

Magic Banana

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RMS disagrees:

A beginner should not be installing operating systems. Go to a user group and find someone who loves installing systems to help other people. I've never installed GNU/Linux. I never saw a point in learning how. There was always someone I can ask to do it for me, who already knew how and who wouldn't make any mistake.
https://invidio.us/watch?v=umQL37AC_YM

zigote
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Paris Hilton may say the same.

It is quite stupid to present an argument against education based on someone's personal preference to be a beginner forever.

Magic Banana

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Paris Hilton may say the same.

Are you you really comparing what the father of free software says on the topic to what Paris Hilton would say? If that is not "stupid"/"ridiculous" (apparently your favorite critique to those disagreeing with you), I guess we could reply "Paris Hilton may say the same" to anything you write from now on.

It is quite stupid to present an argument against education based on someone's personal preference to be a beginner forever.

Are you really claiming the father of free software is "a beginner forever" when it comes to free software?

zigote
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No.

Masaru Suzuqi -under review-
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One night in Paris.

zangisharp
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Humans are dependent on each other by nature, you can't educate/teach all disciplines to one person, its ridiculous.

Take the example above "I've never installed GNU/Linux. I never saw a point in learning how. There was always someone I can ask to do it for me, who already knew how and who wouldn't make any mistake."

That doesn't mean that he is dependent on that person.

Another example, I recently bought an all-in-one printer and didn't work with Trisquel by default even when I installed HPLIP utility... I had to compile a recent version of hplip to get the drivers working for my printer... it took me 1 day to make things working and found that I can't make my scanner working because the driver is proprietary software...

Not everyone have the time to do a task like this.

zigote
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> That doesn't mean that he is dependent on that person.

Maybe not on "that person" but he still depends on the help of another. Otherwise he would be free to do it himself.

> you can't educate/teach all disciplines to one person, its ridiculous.

Of course. However the topic is about installing software on a home computer, not about all disciplines. See my example with the light bulb.

zangisharp
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> Maybe not on "that person" but he still depends on the help of another. Otherwise he would be free to do it himself.

RMS Said : "I've never installed GNU/Linux. I never saw a point in learning how"

Im not a native english speaker and I understand from this sentence that RMS doesn't see a point on learning how to install an OS. what wrong not understanding this?

> Of course. However the topic is about installing software on a home computer, not about all disciplines. See my example with the light bulb.
I was referring to this:

>When you "help" another by selling something to them you keep them dependent on you. Not only dependency is not freedom but they can also easily fall back to what they are used to (the dependency of proprietary software).

>If you care about freedom of others: better educate them to do all the things on their own. Then they will be able to do the same with others. If they are happy they will compensate you.

When you talked about "all things" I did understand all disciplines, but if you referring only about installing software on a home computer, that is difficult, one should understand that GNU/Linux don't have great support for recent Hardware specially for old Kernels like the default one for Trisquel, installing and configuring the system is a pain in the ass.

I'm an ex Windows user and I have 15 years experience in programming, it took me several weeks to understand how GNU/Linux works, how to install, configure and secure GNU/Linux is not an easy task(But it is fun for me to learn how... maybe not for others). I don't think a Lambda user should do that too but if he wants to he is free to do so :).

zigote
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> you referring only about installing software on a home computer

Yes.

loldier
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This code disc means freedom!

freedom_disk.jpg