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http://dbzer0.com

This is an article I wrote almost two years ago on what I predicted as the inevitable future of MS Windows. With recent events ( http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/29/1425250 ) I see this approaching so I thought this might be an interesting read.

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Created by db0 6 years 19 weeks ago
Category: Philosophy   Tags:
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db0

6 years 19 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago

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Correction: Almost 2 years

Correction: Almost 2 years ago = More than a year ago. :)

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aboutblank

6 years 19 weeks 22 hours 26 min ago

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Proprietary Software Subjugates the Users

> To us, the outcome is undeniable; Linux will eventually become the OS of choice for the majority of the Personal Computers in the world.

I don't think so. Until we get people to value freedom over user subjugating software, the masses will not choose to ditch their current arrangements for free software and free platforms.

> The only thing keeping windows users from leaving is Lock-in [a whole bunch of reasons go here]

People are ``locked in'' because they have learned to choose software by convenience over ethics.

> The only ones not currently locked-in, ironically, are the simple users that just want to [snip] and they will be the ones initially migrating to Linux,when they understand what an OS upgrade means in Software AND hardware costs.

Many users (everyone from simple users to professionals with specialised requirements) often depend upon a proprietary program that does not have an adequate free replacement. They might play with a GNU/Linux distribution but they won't migrate to a free OS because of their dependency upon that program. They don't understand that they should invest into free software to replace the proprietary program and will declare our free system as inadequate for migration. Of course this is a generalisation - there are plenty of anecdotal evidence around the Internet to suggest other things.

> Idea Corruption
We (the free software activists) have long been documented exclaiming that free software is a matter of liberty and not price. If MS do happen to share their software at no cost to the user, we will continue to warn people of the dangers of all proprietary software and continue to stress to think of free as in free speech and not free as in free beer.

In conclusion, I think you should further consider the impact of proprietary software to subjugate the user. Until users choose to disregard all proprietary software over free software, users will choose to be subject to the software proprietors peddling convenient software over choosing free software.

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db0

6 years 19 weeks 11 hours 7 min ago

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I pretty much agree with you.

>I don't think so. Until we get people to value freedom over user subjugating software, the masses will not choose to ditch their current arrangements for free software and free platforms.

This is not necessarily true imho. Many people who have not embraced the free software philosophy have ditched their current arrangements because Linux is very often better at what they need to do.
Take me for example. Until recently, I was not a free software activist. I started with Linux because of the hacking capabilities and slowly turned into a FLOSS supporter over time.

>People are ``locked in'' because they have learned to choose software by convenience over ethics.

True.

>Many users (everyone from simple users to professionals with specialised requirements) often depend upon a proprietary program that does not have an adequate free replacement. They might play with a GNU/Linux distribution but they won't migrate to a free OS because of their dependency upon that program.

This is usually someone professional, not a simple user. A simple users, as I mention in the article, is someone who does not need to use photoshop or autocad or matlab for their daily use, but rather someone that simple needs a browser/email/media player combo which is something that GNU/Linux can perform wonderfully.

>In conclusion, I think you should further consider the impact of proprietary software to subjugate the user. Until users choose to disregard all proprietary software over free software, users will choose to be subject to the software proprietors peddling convenient software over choosing free software.

The ethics are slowly changing on this. The Free Software meme is quite powerful and it has proven capable of not only converting people who don't care or don't think about it, but also to influence things that have nothing to do with Software.

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aboutblank

6 years 18 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago

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> This is not necessarily

> This is not necessarily true imho. Many people who have not embraced the free software philosophy have ditched their current arrangements because Linux is very often better at what they need to do.

I suspect that such people choose Linux because it is more convenient and not because it is more ethical. Anyway, I was addressing your point that “the outcome is undeniable; Linux will eventually become the OS of choice for the majority of the Personal Computers in the world.” Such an outcome would not happen if the current environment were to remain the same. Users will choose software based on convenience over ethics and so, the masses will choose the proprietary software that they have some sort of investment with.

> A simple users, as I mention in the article, is someone who does not need to use [...]

You'll be surprised by what extra proprietary software (in addition to the basics) is deemed essential by a “simple user”. Such software includes Adobe Flash plugin, music decoding software (Real, MP3, QuickTime), and some sort of toy program like a card game. Yes, they won't need Photoshop or drafting software, but there is always something unique and proprietary that they have an attachment to. This was my experience three years ago when I was known as “the computer guy”. I have rarely had any experience with Windows since. I imagine that the situation has not changed.

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db0

6 years 18 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago

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Most of these exist.

>You'll be surprised by what extra proprietary software (in addition to the basics) is deemed essential by a “simple user”. Such software includes Adobe Flash plugin, music decoding software (Real, MP3, QuickTime), and some sort of toy program like a card game. Yes, they won't need Photoshop or drafting software, but there is always something unique and proprietary that they have an attachment to. This was my experience three years ago when I was known as “the computer guy”. I have rarely had any experience with Windows since. I imagine that the situation has not changed.

Well, most of the programs you mention are available in GNU/Linux either in a free alternative (mp3 player, acrobat viewer etc) or a propriertary option (Flash plugin). As such it shouldn't be a big problem to switch. As a matter of fact is that "simple users" I've migrated to Linux end up loving it as they get what they need (and more) and they also don't have to worry about virii and spyware anymore. As my Girlfriend told me, she now gets a schadenfreude when seeing the problems of Windows users. And she's totally computer illiterate ;)

PS: Ugh, this is really not a good place for extended dialogue :-/ No quoting option, no formatting and no notifications. I'd wish you commented on my blog ;)