Linked by Perry Helion on Fri 15th Mar 2013 18:20 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Ubuntu has come under a decent amount of flack over the past few months, particularly over their decision to use the 'Dash Search' to return results from Amazon by default in their most recent release.
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RE: Picking sides...
by hhas on Sun 17th Mar 2013 22:28 UTC in reply to "Picking sides..."
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Downvoting for the lulz... nah, just kidding.

But yours is a key point: if FOSS/Linux truly wants to 'free' people, it is not enough to scold them: "Stop doing that!" Instead, it must figure out how to enable users to achieve their desired goals, while also providing better levels of personal control, privacy and trust than current non-Free products such as those you describe.

Take PGP, for instance: great tool, but the average person never uses it, even for sensitive communications, because the user experience is just lousy. But if the FOSS folk were to figure out how to make ubiquitous PGP "just work" in email communications - i.e. without the user having to think about it (or even know what it is) - and suddenly they've got a potential game-changer. Google isn't likely to make users' emails unreadable by its bots - it's hardly in its own self-interest - but FOSS is not bound by the same limitations as Google is.

Heck, while you're at it, why not simply eliminate email altogether? There's nothing about email-based communication that couldn't be better done by sharing editable documents over local and/or internet-wide clouds, crypting their contents outside of trusted scopes, automatically replicating changes as they're made, preserving full discussion history and making it instantly accessible without the need for repetitive re-quoting, allowing additional users to be brought into the discussion at any point, allowing free hyperlinking between discussions and to other internet resources, and so on.

That's the sort of innovatory HCI work FOSS could, and should(!), be doing. Yet, they'd rather putter out yet another bloody Win95-style DE for the hundredth time that simply reheats worn-out, decades-old concepts lifted from Xerox, and all to the utter indifference of the entire planet (save a handful of idle hobbyists who'd rather kvetch about Canonical's ethical faults than build a better world for all).

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