Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 22:07 UTC
Linux With Linux on the desktop going from a slow crawl to verging on an explosion, many have toiled with the question: How do we make this happen faster? A well-known Austin-based Linux Advocate thinks he has the answer.
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RE: Simple answer
by butters on Thu 24th Jan 2008 01:05 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
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Stop porting software to Windows.

I also have to jump in here in opposition. My logic is simple: more users == good.

We want to engage lead users and developers on the Windows platform in our quest to produce better software through transparency and inclusiveness. We want more testers, more bug reports, more patch submissions, and more feedback. There's a massive untapped population of skilled users on the Windows and Mac platforms that can be a huge asset if we can get them involved in the free software community.

KDE4, for example, could be a "gateway drug" that leads people to explore the various free software platform options. But even if this is not the case, it's important to consider the strengths and weaknesses of free software systems in terms of quality. As Dave Jones prominently argued, it's mostly userspace that sucks, particularly at the application level. The Linux kernel, glibc, and other systems-level components receive a lot of testing and tuning from deep-pocketed corporate contributors. It's the top of the stack, projects like KDE, that could use some more exposure.

The promotion of cross-platform development environments should be amongst the top priorities of the free software community. We're not going to close the "application deficit" with Windows by pushing *nix-only development frameworks. Software vendors want to "go cross-platform" just as automakers want to "go green". They really don't care about the relatively small increase in target audience. It's a branding and corporate image thing. Whatever, let's indulge them anyway.

Protectionism is never the answer. A free exchange of goods, services, and ideas between communities is essential for progress. Communities ought to have a framework in place for ensuring that this exchange is conducted such that all members have an equal opportunity to benefit. In the Linux community, this social contract, is the GPL, which ensures that we can export our work freely to other communities without compromising our values, our identity, or our destiny. It's our "fair trade" agreement.

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