Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 3rd Aug 2006 21:56 UTC, submitted by deanlinkous
Linspire "It was reported this week that Novell has banned all proprietary software from their Linux offerings. To me, this would be a bit like McDonalds announcing it will adopt an Atkins-only menu, selling only healthy, low-carb salads, and dropping fries, shakes, and the Big Mac as we know it. It might be a noble thing for McDonalds to only sell healthy items, but they would likely see a big decrease in customers. Most consumers want more balance in their menu choices, not less. Limiting choice, especially the most popular ones, is usually a bad idea."
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by Noremacam on Fri 4th Aug 2006 01:58 UTC
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Perhaps I should speak by personal experience why I agree with Kevin.

It has taken me over 4 years to switch from windows to linux. It started with an intense hate of windows and (eventually)a love for the linux operating system. I loved how it managed permissions and the lack of spyware/adware/exploits. Every time I booted into windows I felt like I was unwillingly becoming a participant in a hacker's playground.

My first linux switch was horrible. Mandrake 8. I couldn't get mp3's to work, flash to work, nothing to work. I just wasn't familiar with the package management system or filesystem. Even audio cd's wouldn't play. I couldn't find software online to play with, and when I did, I couldn't install it. I could've played with it endlessly - really, I wanted to learn - but I'd like to have a functioning computer while I learn linux.

That was the key. I needed my computer to "just work" so that I didn't have to forfeit all my usually computer freedoms just to learn an operating system, and if I have to dual boot, what's the point of installing linux in the first place? I couldn't learn to use it, unless when I booted into it I gave up all my usual freedoms.

I finally was able to switch with Fedora Core 3, because it's yum online package manager made it easy to install software again. That wasn't completely easy, but I learned enough to have a functional computer... thanks to small bits of experience from years of endless tinkering.

My ability to switch was hindered only by my (in)ability to install proprietary packages. I wanted to learn linux - believe me, I wanted to learn linux. I wanted to learn the filesystem, the configuration, how X worked, how everything worked - but all of that took a backseat when I couldn't use my computer because of missing proprietary software. No music, no flash, and no 3D accel, with no idea of how to make it work. I had a great operating system with no apparent functionality. If I would have been given the option to have a linux distro with all that software preinstalled four years ago, I would have more experience with linux today than I do.

I'm a happy linux user, now that I finally got all that crap installed - I started learning to use linux for once, and I'm now using it to learn c++ and mono.

What it comes down to, is there's only one choice: the proprietary choice. If you want flash, you gotta have adobe's flash plugin. If you want 3D accel on your nvidia card, you must have nvidia's driver. You want to play videos? Unless the world decides to re-encode every video ever made in Theora, you might as well get the proprietary codecs for that too. If you don't like it, write your own software that's compatible with it - but stop removing my damn choice just because it "offends you".

I can't, for the life of me, understand while removing this choice is somehow going to help the OSS philosophy. It makes it look like OSS is more of a religion than a philosophy. In order to spread OSS, when you install your operating system, it must come pre-crippled! Even having the choice of having a functional operating system out-of-the-box is offensive. Grow up.

If you don't like it, make OSS software that's compatible with all the proprietary junk out there, or shutup. I'm sick of all these religious OSS fanatics thinking having the choice of proprietary software preinstalled is somehow going to doom the linux operating system. Grow up, it isn't going to happen. I'm using linux now specifically because of my ability to run proprietary codecs/drivers. Yes, I could install them after the operating system installs, but that's not going to convert many new users, who would like a functioning operating system straight from installation.

Edited 2006-08-04 02:11

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