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Re: [LUG] today's meets and some observations etc.
Matt Lee wrote:
Neil was apparently under the impression that the things discussed on
saturday would be over the head of windows users, my experience
contradicts this, in my experience if you want to UTTERLY confuse a
windows user then recursive acronyms, BSD licencing versus GPL, pick any
distro from distrowatch vs pick any other distro, I could go on and on
Linux in 2004, far more so than in the early days, and you only have to
go to sites like slashdot for absolute proof of this, has a significant
proportion of users / advocates / adverents / proponents that have
managed to turn it into a priesthood or religious cult, where before you
even start you must sit down and study the meaningless language in order
to worship with the correct words and not cause a riot on the altar by
using the wrong word for the wrong situation, like it or not, for most
windows users joining the church of linux is about as appealing as being
audited by the scientologists, studying dianetics and accepting the
ultimate truth that el ron was right and aliens are in charge.
I don't care how much you dislike this statement, because it isn't a
statement of opinion, but it is a statement of fact, and if you stop and
think for a minute instead of just reacting you will see that it is true.
Windows has NONE of these sorts of issues, it is baby simple, you buy it
or you warez it, either way you ignore the EULA, you install it and it
looks feels and works the same across pretty much any x86 hardware, and
any application software you want to install you have the same choice,
buy it or warez it.
For people like the crediton guys this makes life dead simple, in a
business enviornment they cannot be using warezed software, so, buy copy
of windows server, buy copy of sql server with x clients, buy copy of
visual studio 8, jobs a good un.
Debian makes it's intentions clear with that first paragraph from its
website. It's not attempting to be "UserLinux" or "Linspire" or
"Microsoft Windows Replacement" or "Mac OS X that's free" -- it's the
GNU operating system, and the Linux kernel. Unlike most other
distros, it makes itself perfectly clear. It doesn't try and confuse
the issue, by referring to "Linux" only, nor does it try to hide away
from what GNU is, or where its philosophies lie. It's clearly, a free
software operating system.
Note this whole process takes about 3 minutes online, very very very
simple questions / decisions, simple pricing, simple to cost it out and
factor that into their prices to their clients to buffer the profit margin.
Contrast this with Linux, where COMMERCIAL companies actual feel that
there is COMMERCIAL need and demand to include LEGAL INDEMNITY COVER
when selling something to other COMMERCIAL companies, so that Darl
McBride cannot sue their asses off at some future date for using SCO
owned code and this screwing up the profit and loss accounts for each
job / client.
Just think about that, companies with large, retained and expert legal
teams cannot definitively decide if an action is right or wrong, so they
find an indemnity clause is actually a factor in making a sale!!!!
What hope does the home user have? (no good saying it doesn't apply, the
home user doesn't know that, salmonella in eggs etc)
Case in point, is there or is there not a commerical licence for MySQL?
Clearly there is, https://order.mysql.com/?sub=vt&id=software
as I said correctly, without having signed a non disclosure and had
sight of the crediton guys project, it is PURE speculation to say
whether or not they should or should not pay the licence fee. My
comments were made in the windows language, windows users like that,
they can deal with it in 10 seconds, these guys can sit down with their
project manager and when asked the question say
"Worst case scenario financially is a 500 Euro per server licence, which
is unlimited connections, which makes it cheaper than MS SQL server.
Best case scenario is it is free"
That last word will generate a discussion amongst the linux nerds about
"ah yes, but free as is speech or free as in beer" and bang, you just
lost another convert, I have seen this happen _________so_________ often
you wouldn't believe it.
Home users similarly mostly couldn't care less whether their copy of
linux is free or warezed, if it doesn't "phone home" (which they will
know because you say, in plain english, no this software doesn't phone
home unless you tell it to) who cares, not them, they are won over by
the fact that the GUI is close enough they can work it out, the odd
prompt, Kmail is like outlook, but better, they are converted by things like
little johnny cannot destroy the OS
no more viruses so no hard choices every day about virus scanner active
or fast computer
no spyware or trojans
feels faster than windows on any given box
most of all they want to be told that no matter what aunt sue in
australia uses, they can share documents, digital pictures, johnnys
you know what they don't care about (and yes I know linux isn't immune
to malware, but windows users dont care about the fine detail) what they
dont care about is linux much vaunted reliability, because xp is pretty
stable (minus malware and magazien cover disk crapware) and they turn
their computers off all the time anyway.
you want to know something, windows users will even accept an use a
linux that is inferior to windows, JUST because it is free and legal and
dispels minor worries about the law, in fact the huge irony is the ONLY
guaranteed turn off is the very thing a large proportion of linux users
are keenest to do, insist on communicating only in high latin.
I'll make it plain.
You can do one of two things in the world, you can act so that things
generally get a bit better for your passing, or you can act so things
generally get a bit worse.
In the mists of time, some monkeys moved from grunts to the rudiments of
language, this alone allowed everything from "me friend" through "food
over there" to extinction of the mammoths and human population spreading
over the globe.
pretty recently there came hardcopy language, you could read how your
grandfather dealt with a wheat blight, except the ability to read and
write was strictly controlled, as was access to printed material, until
very very recently the printing press and illicit copies of the holy
bible translated into plain english, everything that has come since from
Apollo 11 on down is inextricably rooted in that.
very very very recently there came tcp/ip, in this day the "scribes"
were the media companies and giovernments themselves, note well that
1984 was written at the end of the second age and just before tcp/ip
tcp/ip is undeniably going to have far greater effects on human society
and culture than the written word or hardcopy print or broadcast media.
quick side trip here prompted by the apollo reference about why is it
SOOOOOO F********* IMPORTANT to do things right now.
The US Space shuttle design and size was absolutely limited by the size
of the strap on solid boosters.
I like Debian. For me, Debian makes me feel warm and fuzzy, because I
am someone who outside of computing, makes media stuff. My little
would-be-dotcom-organisation, plods along happily doing what its
always done, which is to make media for the web, TV and radio.
However, at the moment, I work as a developer... for me, software
freedom is important, and Debian offers me that in a way that nothing
else does. It's far from perfect, and I find myself finding things
wrong with it quite often, but it's the best we've got, I believe.
The plant that was able to make these boosters was a long way from the
vehicle assembly and launch site, and the boosters were too big and
dangerous to transport by road, so they went by rail, unfortunatley
there is a mountain range in the way, so the track goes through a
tunnel, so the maximum size of the boosters is limited by the size of
The size of the tunnel is denoted by the size of the railway track
gauge, which of course came from old blighty (pity brunel's wide gauge
was killed off for short term commerical and political aims... wide
gauge doesn't tip when it derails to hatfield and london train accidents
would have been far less deadly) where we used 4 foot 8 and a half inches.
We used 56.5 inches for the same reason we use £, tradition, from the
Romans, it was the width of a roman cart wheels.
The Romans came up with that dimension because it was about right for a
cart pulled by two horses.
So there you have it, the space shuttle, a technological marvel of the
late 20th century, was design limited by the width of a roman horse's
ass 2000 years ago.
so lets skip back to today
the GUI is the OS to most people, so what is the FUNDAMENTAL difference
between windows and linux?
how many of you thought "The Registry"
Windows registry is like soviet russia, there are no street signs
because if you don't know where you are going you have no business going
Windows registry serves one purpose and one purpose only, DRM or digital
rights management, it makes commerical software possible.
On the old acorn (Simon will know this from Nova / Xara / Computer
Concepts days) you could take an excellnt application and simply copy
the installed folder off a hard disk to another acorn and it worked, no
registry, commerical software developers are NOT going to invest big in
something as easily copied as that.
Incidentally the old acorn riscos 3.x had gui features that windows xp
STILL doesn't have, survival of the fittest does NOT apply to computer
software, linux advocates take note
Microsoft became a huge success BECAUSE it got into bed with software
companies to help them protect their investments, DRM.
This is spreading to EVERYTHING digital, which means it is spreading to
If I edit my home movies ripped from cine via vhs to digital in windows
movie maker I face serious issues getting those movies to play on my
brothers computer, just so time warner sony etc can have DRM for Rocky 27
(The irony being that "hollywood" only moved the movie industry there
away from new york to escape patent licencing issues, edison etc)
Debian in particular, and uniquely, is the furthest away from this and
the closent thing to the common ability to speak or to write that we
have all shared for hundreds of years now. Debian is the closent thing
in software to the legal relationship I enjoy to the hardware that I own
that it runs on.
Debian is the only distro that cannot go commerical and drm incorporated
because it is the only one that is owned by everyone equally, like the
ability to speak and write.
Mepis and Knoppix ARE debian testing when installed to hard disk, in
windows terms each has very slightly different "themes" and very
slightly different bundled application lists, but they are as close as
twin brothers. Mepis and Knoppix are the 2004 equivalent of that old
mass printed and translated into plain english holy bible.
If that holy bible had been crushed, and it could have been, we would be
living in an unrecognisable world today.
Now is not then, a knife will cut both ways, modern governments and
corporations have far more power than ever at any time in the past,
because information is power and this is the digital age, this "rights"
battle that we are seeing now is no different and no less important than
the state and church vs pirate bible printing operations back then.
Both Microsoft and Debian are transient, perhaps not ten years but 50
and certainly both will be in the realms of the altair, intel 8008, pong
and punched cards, its not about that and never has been, it is about
digital rights and always has been and always will be unless we manage
to reach critical mass before they do, and Warren and Klaus are the
people we should be singing praises to, not Linus or RMS.
The whole high latin linux geek speak thing, the whole microkernel vs
macrokernel (for what it's worth my money is firmly on microkernel being
as dead a duck as the 16 bit mx stuff) things, the whole GNU IS NOT UNIX
is not unix recursive acronym thing and gpl vs bsd thing and all the
other crap is just that, knowing your present for past participles is
good, as is knowing a simile from a metaphor, but neither is essential
and neither is included in "A is for Apple"
Oxbridge dons discussing the finer points of the english language,
precise nuances and roots, whether things are worthy of inclusion in the
next volume of the complete dictionary are NOT influencing the language,
they are NOT at the helm, they are NOT influencing it in anyway, they
are merely recording the changes that are happening at the grass roots
level, post natal.
Deep geekdom is hacking microkernel is the above, sure, do it because
you enjoy it or are paid for it or just for kicks or a challenge, but if
youre going to live and breathe it in the high priesthood you aren't
going to be advancing the church or religion, the bishop might robe
himself in fine raiment but the parishioner running the soup kitchen is
the one enhancing the church.
Today was about enlightenment for a lot of people, I believe. It
wasn't about trying to convert people who use Windows or proprietary
software to use Debian,
that's where we differ.
the crediton guys work for lawyers, there was mention of a thousand
clients, lets say ten lawyers per client, my god, imaging being able to
expose TEN THOUSAND lawyers to Debian, all those memes being absorbed,
sure as hell their ears will perk up next time words like "European
Intellectual Property and Digial Rights Management" are uttered, or
blunkett twitches, etc
man, 10,000 lawyers is worth more than doing a bernie ecclestone or
dressing up as batman or burning your bra.
it was more about showing what Debian is about, and what can be
achieved with free software. GNU/Linux or GNU/Hurd, it doesn't matter,
the goal is still the same.
I enjoyed Kai's talk on web applications, I just wish we could have
convinced more people that free software is the way to go.
you won't, ever, until you decide to speak their language, african
missionaries who only speak high latin ended up in the pot innit
no, you need it installed on as many computers as possible and marketed
as virally as possible so ongoing infection rates can reach pandemic
proportions as soon as possible, you do not want to make the vectors of
infection as difficult as possible, eg you can only get infected if you
speak high latin fluently.... a mepis / knoppix hard disk install and a
live cd for them to take away is the way to go.
when they come BACK a few weeks later you can give them a english to
high latin dictionary and sit down and show them the shell and kernel
I think we should put materials on the site to help people understand
why GNU/Linux is good for them. We need to preset freedom in a way
that's clear, and we need to understand that what we need to succeed.
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