How we could help spreading libre point of view

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loldier
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Iscritto: 02/17/2016

Ars Technica sometimes has articles covering Linux but they fail to give credut to GNU.

I urge Trisquel forum users to make an account there and to post in threadd that deal with free software. We must not keep it to ourselves or be satisfied with mutual complacency.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/04/why-microsoft-needed-to-make-windows-run-linux-software/

loldier
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Iscritto: 02/17/2016

We have a nice community hear among fellow Trisquelers but sometimes it turns out like a naughty step where we can cry all we want and nobody pays attention. Patting on our backs here is not all we can do.

Ars is usually quite a hostile place to discuss GNU/Linux. Often any disconcerting voice gets downvoted to oblivion. When it happens we have an opportunity to balance the scales and turn the dial in favour of libre and free software.

What do you think? Is it a lost cause or should we just let the ball drop and be happy with it? Never mind them because we know better?

Here are some comments to illustrate the point.

Then get off your goddamned high horse and take away that hassle. People have shit to get done. If they can't do it with FOSS stuff, then that's a failing of FOSS, period. Either address it by correcting that failing, or stop acting like you're somehow better than people trying to get their work done.

Attitudes like yours are why no one cares about FOSS: They'd rather not deal with whiny, entitled, socially inept neckbeards like yourself who seem to be the greeters of the community.

Doesn't work that way, kiddo. At the end of the day, I want to get my stuff done. So while it sucks that the manufacturers aren't supporting Linux, whoever's fault it is doesn't matter to me. I care about getting my stuff done. And if that means I can't use Linux, then that's a problem with Linux.

Wow...

Virtually everyone in that discussion comes across as a religious zealot with only tenuous connections to reality. That was actually painful to read.

gnu4
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Iscritto: 11/06/2015

I read plenty on Ars too. Have stayed out of the comments though. I've also noticed that even on Phoronix, the majority is quite hostile towards free/libre software and Michael (the author) seems to be wording himself carefully when writing about GNU and free software; surprisingly neutral and informed.

Have been tempted to comment on Phoronix, since it's readers are more the right kind of folks, but it's difficult not to get drawn into a comment war with trolls. That might just have the opposite effect of what was intended.

Maybe one thing to do would be to subtly inform people that "Linux" is only a kernel. One of the biggest lies in the "open source" camp is letting people believe (and claiming) that it is anything beyond that.

lembas
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Iscritto: 05/13/2010

I also think it's important we publicly say for example GNU/Linux instead of misleading "Linux". (when talking about the operating system)

However one must always remember to make sure when arguing with a moron online that the other guy isn't doing the same. He said she said leads nowhere, facts are what will persuade a reasonable person. And nothing will persuade a troll but only add fuel to the flames and quite possibly reflect poorly on our community.

I held a lecture at my last university about free software, I should do that again. I think honey will gather much more flies than vinegar and that the only way people will really adopt the free software philosophy as theirs is if they find out the reasons behind the movement.

Turtleman
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Iscritto: 05/22/2013

These comments make me very sad... Why are they so hostile to free software ideas? I know there is always a good number of people who don't agree with us, but they are usually more reasoned than these people. The comment that the GPL is more restrictive than proprietary software got 5 upvotes and zero downvotes. I wish there could be a more balanced discussion.

ALG
ALG
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Iscritto: 08/27/2015

Hi Turleman,

We mustn't think people are hostile to free software ideas, but many people are hostile to whatever is "new" or "different" respect to their vision of the world. It's due to prejudices. We tend to rationalize our behavior before than considering what has been told to us.

I'm an activist for Animal Rights and I know perfectly that everybody may change whenever we are able to explain our arguments. The relationship between free software (ethics) and open source (utilitarianism) is nearly the same than veganism (ethics) and welfarism (utilitarianism).

Welfarist is the person who applies an utilitarian ethics to other animals. They just concern the benefits or detriments of consuming non-human animals, discriminate among species and perceive that a damage is justified or not according to if the "pleasure" during their lives is highter than their suffering (e.g PETA). Nowadays, most people who declare themselves being an "animal lover" are welfarist.

However, we vegans defend all non-human animals by considering their intrinsic value. They have own interests such as perpetuation of their lives or quest for freedom.

Everyday I try to point out that, if we desire a better society and to be fair to others (humans or not), we should assume the equality principle.

I would like to recomend stronly this website created by Gary L. Francione (doctor in Animals Rights): http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/

I wrote some articles, but they are in Spanish (anyway...):
http://elguardiandeloscristales.com/wordpress/el-principio-de-igualdad-para-otros-animales/

Cheers!

pragmatist

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Iscritto: 03/03/2016

We need to create a critical mass for a grass roots uprising.
We need millions of people to become aware of these issues.
We need a plan.

Here is one among many:
1.) Major motion picture ala michael moore
2.) Guidance for immediate, if not total, adoption.

This way people who see the movie, and are moved to make changes, don't have to figure out how to change and aren't forced toward an all-or-nothing approach. They can be steered toward the complete freedom program, but those not ready to fully commit are given alternatives to at least commit to some change in the right direction. They need a program that provides non-judgemental assistance to gradually move toward freedom. Off the top of my head here is a name that suggests what I'm getting at: STAFF Steps To A Full Freedom; Just like a staff can help a person travel a road, the program called STAFF helps a person on the road to freedom. Most of us are on this road ourselves. I've met very few people here who have made every possible change they could, or want to, make. They are on the road, they are on the path. The key is not stagnating and continual improvement. The rate of that improvement can vary widely.

A natural reaction to this post could be, "yeah, how are we going to make a major motion picture?". Well, if our community were bigger and more well rounded we might have members who are in the film industry. It is a bit of a catch 22: We want more mainstream people to become members, but we need a wider range of skills to accomplish that--skills that are found in large groups of mainstream people...

I'm sure there are plenty of people here with better ideas than mine. What I am saying is that the only true solutions are ones that embrace the masses. At this point we are simply lacking in sheer numbers. We need more people--lots more.

pragmatist

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Iscritto: 03/03/2016

Actually, given the whole six degrees of separation thing, maybe somebody here knows somebody who knows somebody...who knows Michael Moore? Or anybody with documentary film production experience.

gnu4
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Iscritto: 11/06/2015

Would be nice with a new crowd funded feature length documentary to go viral, but a lot of resources exist already.

Simply sharing this introduction video: https://www.fsf.org/blogs/rms/20140407-geneva-tedx-talk-free-software-free-society/

coupled with this book by rms: https://www.gnu.org/doc/fsfs3-hardcover.pdf

would do much if a lot of people participated. Sharing download links in social media, schools and universities could reach far.

Plenty of more stuff here: https://www.fsf.org/resources/

Valgrund
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Iscritto: 04/05/2016

I have been thinking this issue a lot. How we could get as many people as possible to join the libre community? I think the most powerful way to get the people intouch with libre is providing a quality software that attracts peoples attention.
The first thing we have to do, is to get the people to use a libre operating system. We already have full libre GNU/Linux distributions available. But why is that the people haven't left their proprietary OS behind? Mainstream user uses what is practical, cool looking and stable. They are not going to change well-functioning and easy-to-use proprietary software for libre alternative only because it's libre. Ofcourse some people will do that, but they haven't heard about it yet, and that's why spreading the word of libre is crucial. But many people are depending on a piece of proprietary software, and that piece of software can be the only thing that holds the user from making the switch. For example many gamers are depending on Steam, and it's proprietary games like Counter Strike. That's a big problem. Another scenario is that the user's hardware is not supported by libre firmware. That is a far bigger problem. It doesn't only give a bad first impression, but, in worst case scenario, it can drive the new user away from libre software entirely.
I have been thinking of a distro that would be including 100% libre software by default, but the user has the option to active a proprietary repo from the settings. The repo would contain the most common software and firmware that may be crucial for the new user. There would also be a Synaptic-like GUI, where would be a tab "proprietary" in which the user can easily track all the proprietary software installed in her system. Whenever the user so decides, she can disable the repo from the settings and all the proprietary software are automatically removed from the system.
The distro would act like as a guide in libre-software for the new users. The software store in that distro would contain only libre software, and that would be made clear to the user. The distro would also advertise the latest libre software being released and so on. Also, when the user enables the proprietary repo, she is being warned of loosing all the freedom of software and security. The distro's main goal would be offering the full guidance in libre software world.
I'm personally very excited how libre software/hardware is going to spread out and take a large stake of the software and hardware industry!

Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

The distribution you are talking about is Debian and the "nonfree" tab is in the "Synaptic package manager".

But why is that the people haven't left their proprietary OS behind? Mainstream user uses what is practical, cool looking and stable.

Mainstream users use what comes with the computer. They were offered no other option (not even the option to not have any operating system). And many believe that the operating system comes gratis with the computer.

Product tying is forbidden. If the law would be properly applied, users would have to pay on top of the price of the computer to have an operating system installed. Many users would realize the existence of that price. Nowadays, it actually is a significant part of the total price of the lower-end computers. Vendors would certainly start proposing GNU/Linux as a cheaper option.

Sure Microsoft and Apple may then drop the price of their operating systems to 0... and abuse their users more in compensation. But then, users would hopefully start to realize they are abused and, for this reason, get interested in the free operating systems the vendor would propose.

Anyway, I am all in favor of material that explains the philosophy of the free software movement, of killer-apps, etc. All that is good. But the main obstacle is product tying, imho.

Valgrund
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Iscritto: 04/05/2016

> Mainstream users use what comes with the computer.
That was a really good point right there. Also I think you're right about the product tying.
But I think the another problem is that because of Windows have being the OS which "comes with the computer" for so long time, mainstream users are comparing all the new software to Windows alternatives. Windows might have a "practical, cool looking and stable" software in most cases, and the user is not going to be satisfied with less. I have been come across users who have seen GNU/Linux desktop environments so ugly on most of the distros that they can't even consider changing just because of that. Another things have been lack of quality software in some areas, and more complex installation of software, if you have to install it straight from the website.

Now when it came to mind, have you ever thought why it's sometimes made so hard to install a piece of software from the manufacturer's website? Why can it be as simple as on Windows? Just download let's say .deb file, double click it and it starts to install. Instead, many times you have to compile from source or there might be PPA option. Why those developers don't provide .deb file for example? Some software providers have that, a good example is Steam. You can download steam.deb file from the website. But in most cases there might be PPA OR just a source code! What the heck? If you want to get more users to download your software, why to provide only the source code and make it more hard for the user? GNU/Linux seems always to suffer from a bad support. For example, when you go to Spotify's website to download the app, you first have the Windows version, spotify.exe. As a Windows user you could just download it and you're good to go. But when you go to "Spotify for linux", you have the list of terminal instructions how to add the keys in your system, then the PPA and finally how to update your apt-get. Why can't there just be spotify.deb? PPAs or similar are good in my opinion, but not all users are feeling the same. Those mainstream user's that we have so much talked about, would be happy if they can just download a file and click it to install it! That's one of the problems new users face. They are then strictly limited on their distros repositories, that can't have every piece of software that the user might want to use. Also that would be the most simple way for all the GNU/Linux users. Double-clicking an icon is faster than copy-pasting commands.

loldier
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Iscritto: 02/17/2016

"But when you go to "Spotify for linux", you have the list of terminal instructions how to add the keys in your system, then the PPA and finally how to update your apt-get. Why can't there just be spotify.deb?"

Writing down copy-paste command line code is the easiest way to help newbies. Fast and efficient. That said, there is a deb package for the Spotify client but you should not install it -- it's non-free software.

http://repository.spotify.com/pool/non-free/s/spotify/

Besides, it's spyware and malware and has digital handcuffs.

https://stallman.org/spotify.html

https://www.defectivebydesign.org/spotify

Calinou
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Iscritto: 03/08/2014

It's intended that you can't go to a website then install some GNU/Linux software quickly and easily. See how much malware and adware is being spread on sites like SourceForge, and how much that software only targets Windows (and sometimes OS X)?

onpon4
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Iscritto: 05/30/2012

I wouldn't say it's intentional, but rather a beneficial accident resulting in the massive variation between GNU/Linux distros. As a software developer, it's much easier for me to just provide the source code and instructions to compile than to provide a .deb, a .rpm, a Slackware build, an Arch build, a Gentoo whatever-Gentoo-uses, etc.

Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

Gentoo uses ebuilds. An ebuild is a recipe to get the software: usually, where to download the source and how to compile it.

Valgrund
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Iscritto: 04/05/2016

Thank you for the link. Although I wasn't speaking about Spotify specificly.

Spotify was just an example to demonstrate what I meant by the problem of downloading software directly from the websites. It was just a practical example that came first to my mind. (:

loldier
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Iscritto: 02/17/2016

I can't think of any software that should be downloaded from outside of the repositories. PPAs aside, I can only think of some proprietary hardware enabling drivers. If it's not in the repositories, it's probably non-free anyway. Opera the browser is one example and Nero Linux 4 another. They had deb packages available.

There's of course Get Deb.

http://www.getdeb.net/welcome/

I'm using Debian now and there's no package for Onboard, so I downloaded it from Ubuntu.

http://packages.ubuntu.com/precise/amd64/onboard/download

lembas
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Iscritto: 05/13/2010

> If it's not in the repositories, it's probably non-free anyway.

This is not true, there is a wealth of free software outside of the repos. Just nobody has taken the time to package (fairly trivial) and maintain (colossal) it.

loldier
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Iscritto: 02/17/2016

I was editing my post but couldn't send it as you had replied to it. Yes, you must be right. There are tarballs and shell scripts one might easily run into and find it intimidating.

We shouldn't, however, make installing software the way Windows does, clicking on download links on obscure sites, any more popular. If it's a useful, free program, it should be added to the repositories or software sources.

lembas
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Iscritto: 05/13/2010

Yes, I think the repo is one of the major practical selling points of GNU/Linux.

Valgrund
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Iscritto: 04/05/2016

> We shouldn't, however, make installing software the way Windows does, clicking on download links on obscure sites, any more popular. If it's a useful, free program, it should be added to the repositories or software sources.
> Yes, I think the repo is one of the major practical selling points of GNU/Linux.

I think you guys are right. I just never thought that having all the libre software in the repos could be realistic. Maybe I'm too accustomed to the situation in Windows and occasionally on Ubuntu and Arch, where you have to sometimes install the software from the websites.
On Trisquel I have occasionally encountered the situation where the needed piece of software isn't in the repos and I have to compile from source. Compiling can sometimes be very irritating. Lately I tried to compile OpenMoves, a free version of Movescount which can be found here https://github.com/bwaldvogel/openmoves it's basically a software in which you can upload your Suunto sport watch's data and keep track of your latest exercises. Also another free software that I found and added it through PPA, is Minetest, the free version of Minecraft. http://www.minetest.net/ Im not sure though if it's actually already in Trisquel's official repos. Maybe I was blind.

Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

Minetest is in Trisquel's repository.

onpon4
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Iscritto: 05/30/2012

Minetest is one of those games you wouldn't want to get from the repository unless you play it very casually. It's frequently updated and newer servers can have incompatibilities with older clients.

onpon4
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Iscritto: 05/30/2012

I think that negative reaction comes from talking about libre software too subtly. Ironic, since the negative reaction in my experience tends to suggest that the opposite is true. But I've found that people are much more receptive when I stand firmly behind my views and present them fully and unabashedly. No compromises, no apologies, no attempts to douse the flames, so to speak.

I don't know why this seems to be the case, but my best guess is that people see more subtle references to libre software as cowardly or possibly deceptive.

quantumgravity
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Iscritto: 04/22/2013

Why not making a nicely designed cheerful picture pop up when you use any piece of free software for the first time, saying something like
"You're using free software, contributing to a good future with democracy and human rights". Then we make a weblink with further explanation.

It would not be a bother if it's for the first time only.
Millions and millions of people are using free software everyday without noticing. Isn't that a huge potential?

I think it's important to immediately clarify what beneficial consequences those freedoms imply, like independence from huge coorporation, better defence against spyware, improved privacy etc.
We have to accept the fact that the sole description of the four freedoms is a bit theoretical for the normal pc user, if not illustrated with consequences they can really "feel"

loldier
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Iscritto: 02/17/2016

Onpon4 took on the seemingly formidable task explaining where libre movement stands. He managed pretty well but, of course, not everything was smooth sailing in such a hostile place like Ars.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/04/why-microsoft-needed-to-make-windows-run-linux-software/?comments=1&start=360

Thanks for the effort.