Linked by Howard Fosdick on Mon 18th Jun 2012 05:29 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Over at the Goodbye, Microsoft web site, Brad R. takes Ubuntu to task for abandoning dial-up modem users. Apparently Ubuntu no longer includes the GnomePPP dial-up package in the distribution, without which you can't get online via dial-up. It gets better: if you do have some way to connect, when you download something from the Ubuntu repository, the first thing Ubuntu does is update its 16+ megabyte repository index. Happy waiting! Brad concludes that "Ubuntu is for broadband users only."
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Le ignorance
by earksiinni on Mon 18th Jun 2012 09:17 UTC
earksiinni
Member since:
2009-03-27

Reading the comments on this post has been an interesting foray for me into social psychology.

Note the number of comments to the effect of "Africa doesn't have broadband, Africa depends on dial-up". Or, "most of the world still uses dial-up".

Fact: Getting a landline in "most of the world" is a bureaucratic quagmire that involves wrestling with state-owned telcos that may or may not have lines near your village. If anything, the number of landlines in Africa has been decreasing. http://www.budde.com.au/Research/African-Fixed-line-and-Fibre-Telec...

Fact: Cellular penetration rates in sub-Saharan Africa range from 10% to 90%. Uganda happens to be at 31%, FYI. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mobile_network_operators_of_th...

Fact: Most of the world has not yet suffered the ills of social alienation rendered possible by the advent of home air conditioning, large HDTV's in basement man caves, and Microsoft's "a computer in every home" vision. Internet and cellular penetration rates measure usage based on Western assumptions and biases about the way people access information and *prefer* to access information. Just because 31% of Ugandans have cell phone subscriptions does not mean that only 31% of Ugandans have access to a cell phone. A famous example of non-traditional cellular roll outs in Bangladesh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Village_Phone

Fact: "Spain is not Uganda." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18408448

I understand that lots of mobile broadband solutions rely on AT commands, but that is irrelevant to my point. People's assumptions about Africa and the Other continue to be subtly (and not so subtly) biased and inaccurate. In the case of assuming that Africa would naturally be mostly dial-up, it is quite literally based on a Eurocentric view whose fundamental assumption is not portable to the rest of the world, that poor and rural folks use dial-up. Ubuntu's move, if anything, might help such markets by freeing up that space on the CD for something more useful.

(Personal opinion: that said, I'm sad to see GnomePPP go!)

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