GNU WIN Re: [oclug] [OT] cracked?
flynn at clarkhall.ca
Fri Jan 9 14:34:47 EST 2004
On Fri, Jan 09, 2004 at 01:10:55PM -0500, Raymond Wood wrote:
> I am aware of the theory/strategy, and I appreciate your point
> of view. I just tend to be less optimistic about 'the final
> half' of this journey to LinuxLand that is lauded so often
> nowadays. Again I hope you are right in the end that these
> GNUwin offerings will achieve the ultimate goal of encouraging
> users to move to an alternative OS (preferably GNU/Linux), but I
> seriously wonder if there is a rather gaping gap in that 'last
If you think of it more in terms of geography... you've got the
Windows island and the Linux island, and to get from Windows to Linux
used to require a huge jump (and commitment). Having Free Software
that is common to both provides for a small overlap of the islands.
True, some people will stay on the Windows island and only utilize the
overlap without committing to move. There are others, however, who
wouldn't have made the jump without it.
My family is a case in point. If I hadn't been able to move them to
Mozilla (IE has popups, is slower, is more virus infected), and
Mozilla Thunderbird (Outlook Express and Eudora users they used to be,
but the junk filtering was too attractive to pass up), and The Gimp
(Photoshop is ever so expensive, and for a small investment of time to
learn this slightly different way, you get it all for Free), and GAIM
(why have MSN and ICQ and AIM clients when you can have them all
together and not have forced advertising?), then they never would have
wanted to move away from Windows.
Having to jump from IE+Outlook+Photoshop+MSN to
Mozilla+Thunderbird+Gimp+GAIM would have been too much. I couldn't
convince anyone to do that, I don't think. They really didn't care
what the OS was, as long as the applications they use were the same.
Wine helps out here, too, as it allows some of the stragglers (gnucash
is great, but it just ain't Quicken) to still make the jump.
So, your doubts are well-founded if you expect everyone who uses
GNUWin to become Linux converts. If you're not stuck in an
"all-or-nothing" approach, though, it gives access to Linux to a
greater number of people than would otherwise be possible. I don't
know what percentage that would be, but if at least some make the
final jump (and they have) then I think it is worthwhile.
> As a long-time resident of the OCLUG community, I respectfully
> submit that this is outside OCLUG's mission. OCLUG is IMO about
> promoting and advocating for Linux in a *clear and direct*
> fashion - I believe strongly that that is OCLUG's proper role, and not
> the promotion of Windows software, no matter what
> rationalizations are provided for that activity.
Well, technically, "OCLUG promotes and supports the use of Linux in
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada" (the Mission Statement from the Founding
Principles page on the OCLUG website). It says nothing about clarity
or how direct that promotion or support has to be. For some, that
involves helping people in baby steps, for others, it's whole hog or
> Now this is not to say that others shouldn't carry on this
> experiment (I think your GOSLING community for example is a
> perfect forum for this kind of activity), but OCLUG's mission is
> to my mind is more focussed than this.
OCLUG's mission is in some ways less focussed. It also allows members
to actively promote Proprietary Software, as long as that software is
useful with or runs on Linux. Personally, I'd like the mission to be
more closely tied with Free or Open Source Software (even if it does
focus solely on Linux specific issues), but my wish is far from making
> Furthermore the
> winders-based FLOSS doesn't really provide any real
> rationalization or explanation for why a person should not
> simply stop at the 'running FLOSS on a proprietary OS' stage.
> In fact this whole issue is mostly side-stepped it seems to me.
The rationalization and explanation is that you can take all the
applications you currently use (mostly FLOSS, of course), and change
the piece you don't care about (the OS) for an increase in stability,
security, and a decrease in cost. At that point, what have they got
> Bottom line: I am not suggesting that
> therefore the strategy shouldn't be tried at all. I am
> suggesting that it is pretty clearly not OCLUG's role to drive
> that experiment.
From the Principles and Bylaws, I'd say that it is pretty far from
> In fact I see GOSLING as being a perfect group
> to work this angle within the various levels of government.
I'd wager that most of OCLUGs members are not primarily concerned with
the government. GOSLING is thus too focussed to be the principle way
in which this kind of promotion is to be done.
> This statement gets to the real crux of the issue IMO. Will the
> typical person experimenting with winders-based FLOSS be
> motivated to *continue* the journey to LinuxLand? Your
> statement seems to breezily assume that the answer is
> self-evident, and many others apparently share your optimism.
> But in my crystal ball, currently, "the dark force clouds
> everything" ;-) as Yoda would say. It's not clear to me at all
> that these experimenters are "well on their way" as you claim;
> on the contrary, I wonder if, like Sam and Frodo, they have just
> entered Mordor, and the real struggle is yet to begin...
Whether they are well on their way, or their journey is just
beginning, at least they've made the first step. Which, in my mind at
least, is better than no step at all.
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