In the last couple of days I saw so many pro- and anti- GNU/Free Software in Identi.ca, than I have seen in 2009. And, because 140 symbols weren’t enough for me, here is my opinion:
I think, that it’s right to call it GNU/Linux, and that GNU is important.GNU means values, GNU means freedom, and freedom means responsibilities. I fear that OSS will grow weak in the years, because it’s followers don’t have principles. And in the end we will have a few pieces of free software, used only to run proprietary applications, and therefore, we will have free software, which depends on a bunch of non-free components. You think this is good? Also, without GNU, nobody would ever knew anything about Linux. I mean, what do you think, that software companies would be eager to port their software, so it can work with the buggy, unfinished kernel of one then-unknown Finnish student? Seriously? 🙂 When thinking about GNU and Linux, remember the word „symbiosis“ 🙂
But I also think that saying to the people only „you shouldn’t to this“ and „you should do that“ only gets them angry. The right way to me is „You shouldn’t do this because…“, and even than one must not sound restrictive, be it restriction for good, or bad. And also, what’s wrong with watching DVDs with VLC, if it’s legal? What’s wrong with buying a second hand iPod, putting rockbox on it, and use it to play OGGs? We will be free, if we do this, aren’t we?
And I think, that the path to freedom can be short, but it can also be longer. I was once using Windows XP, then I heard about „Linux“, then I made a dual-boot machine, I had Windows and Ubuntu. After a couple of months I was running only Ubuntu. After two years I learned more about GNU, I stopped using Skype, I stopped using Adobe Flash, and then – I switched to gNewSense. I was using gNewSense for one year. Now I’m back on Ubuntu, but I developed good habits. You won’t see me using Skype anymore, you won’t see me using RAR, and, when I can afford new, more freedom-respecting hardware (my current one works only with free drivers, but the radeon driver depends on some firmware in Linux, which can’t be found in a deblobbed kernel), you won’t see me running GNU/Linux distribution, that isn’t 100% free. So, I think that it’s better to help to the interested in GNU, tell them about the trouble with non-free software, and if they want, they can choose to use 100% free distribution. And, I just loved this.
Also, not everything is black and white. When you buy an Yeelong to support a vendor, that sells 100% free laptop, you also support the economy of a country, that is repressing it’s citizens’ freedoms. Compare that with this message. Contradiction?
While I was writing this this message appeared. And I say amen to that. We are here to inform, not to force the people to see the world the way we see it.
Have a nice day! 🙂