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Re: [gNewSense-users] RE: I decided to abandon gNewSense

From: Sam Geeraerts
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] RE: I decided to abandon gNewSense
Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 23:49:02 +0200
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20090318)

Mu schreef:
It's great that you want to help and I hope you will continue to do so.

I'll do within my posibilities :-)

Ubuntu might be less bad than Windows, but that still doesn't make it good
from a free software point of view. I hope you can see why we have the
policy outlined in our community guidelines.

I understand and support this policy. The only reason I propossed
Ubuntu was because he was going to fall into Windows. And I proposed
it to start accoustoming and later could return to gNS, in the same
way a Windows user that shitches from MS Office to OpenOffice and
other free programs can after change easily to GNU/Linux.

In practice, moving to free software will be a gradual process instead of a sudden switch for most people. And of course any move towards free software is a step in the right direction. The important thing is that people understand why that is the right direction and that they keep moving in it.

Recommending non-free software
diminishes the importance of software freedom and so must be avoided.

I would like to clarify: is Ubuntu, Debian or other distros considered
non-free by this purpose? Maybe it should be staten in the guidelines.

Point 5 of the community guidelines says:

Non-Free software is never a solution so please do not rationalize, justify, and minimize the consequences of proposing non-free software as a solution.

Ubuntu and Debian both propose non-free software and even install it by default. So it can be concluded that both distros are non-free.

Think of it this way: we want everybody to use free software, but not everybody should have to understand source code and licenses and check each and every package and file for themselves. That only works if the distro doesn't provide or recommend any non-free software. If it can't give that guarantee, then the whole distro is tainted.

 This would set gNewSense on the path of becoming an
"elitist" operating system (as some have already accused it of being).

I tended to see it this way. Not exactly elitist, but for people who can 
understand why it is important. Giving gNS to someone that will not achieve 
using it, is create a user that will never return. In this line, I used to see 
it more like david.

If you just give gNewSense to a Windows user and tell him to switch overnight, that's a recipe for a bad experience. If you show it to them and explain what gNewSense is, why it's important and what to expect from it, then they might judge differently. They might not switch overnight, but will get them thinking and hopefully they will at least keep an eye on it.

gNewSense is not just for the free software hacker "in-crowd". It's also for
me and for you and for Patrick and for the rest of the world.

Is this your first distro?

Nope, my first was Redhat 7.3, most likely with non-free bits in it.

But we need newbies to ask the questions that make them (and
us) understand software freedom better, to comment (and report bugs) from a
non-technical perspective and to help us improve the documentation so that
our goal will be easier to understand and our software will be more
accessible for new users.

This is a strong point, I admit. The only thing is that we should not
lie to them and let them know that this road will be more difficult.

Of course you should explain what they can expect from gNewSense. But you shouldn't phrase it so that it scares them off without even trying it. If all some user does is a bit of e-mailing and all the hardware is compatible, then it may even be that he doesn't even see that much of a difference in usability.

Even with this argumentation, my intention is still to help, so if you
reafirm this, I will never do this (or something similar) again. Sorry
for the inconvenience.

No problem. I indeed reaffirm it. :)

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