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Re: [Fsuk-manchester] Ubuntu 9.10 Release Party - 30th October

From: Simon Ward
Subject: Re: [Fsuk-manchester] Ubuntu 9.10 Release Party - 30th October
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2009 23:04:08 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)

On Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 11:56:26AM +0100, James Hargreaves wrote:
> Ubuntu is tailored to Windows users who are inquisitive about Linux,
> it's hands-off approach is familiar to them. it brings more and more
> people into the Linux camp every day.

I don’t necessarily want to bring people into the “Linux camp”. I
don’t even necessarily want to bring them into a “free software camp”
if they’re not going to appreciate the base freedoms (rather than “it
costs nothing”, or “my friends are using it”).

Popularity is desirable, but it is not a primary aim.  It is important
to stick to the free software philosophy, show people that free
software *does* work, rather than just forget it for the sake of more

> Why is this important? Because intelligent and inquisitive users
> often explore the philosophy behind GNU/Linux by themselves. Ubuntu
> is getting Linux to the masses.

Again, the aim should be getting people to value free software, not
just a particular piece of software such as the Linux kernel.

> It's a good first step on the path to GNUdom, and we should be
> promoting it.

We (and by “we” I mean people supposedly advocating free software)
should be promoting free software.  We already have it, so promoting
anything less is a step backwards.

> As a free software organization, it's our duty to ensure that we
> don't just install linux on people's computers, we have to educate
> them about GNU philosophy too.

Now this I can agree with.

>Where better to do so than at a Ubuntu launch party? If you really
>really believe in software freedom, you should see this as an
>opportunity to spread the GNU philosophy to people who are interested
>and prepared to listen!

Free software groups tend to be found at various kinds of events, many
of them not free software events by a long shot.  The people who turn
up at these events will turn up anyway.  The people that don’t turn up
aren’t going to change their minds because we promote them if they
aren’t already interested.  I feel there is little to gain here.

> Be proactive about free software, not elitist.  --James

If helping free software advocates stay with the dream is elitist,
then I’m more than proud to be so.

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a
simple system that works.—John Gall

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