Oct 8, 2011

Stallman in Black and White

Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.
As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone." Nobody deserves to have to die - not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Jobs' malign influence on people's computing.
Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.

I do not think I can agree with this words.

While I agree with the idea of software libero and I try to use it as much as I can. I find that being radical is rarely a good thing, as seeing things in black and white when they aren't.

Using free software is great, but using radically only free software has a cost on the normal user who needs a job done. It has a cost now, it does not need to have a cost in the future.

Jobs has showed us that using a pc to get a job done does not need to require a big effort. He has showed us that pcs can look great. That's all good.

I agree that Apple is too close, I dislike their policies, I must admit that the success of Apple's products does not help people knowing a pc nor becoming aware of the freedom they are giving away.

But still Apple products are excellent objects. Even though they are closed they showed us a direction for the final product, both hardware and software. I think this is very good. We can have an idea of the result we'd like to achieve. Now we can easily imagine something as well designed and refined as an Apple product with only software libero, compatible hardware and a great GUI. I can imagine this and I am sure many interpreneurs can imagine this. What remains is a lot of work to be done and information to be spread.

Ubuntu is not technically totally free according to Stallman because it gives the possibility to install proprietary software (but it is only software libero out of the box). But I think this is good. People must be given the choice. When they arrive to Ubuntu they start learning about software libero and still they have the possibility of using all the proprietary software they know and want. Then they start learning and maybe they will try to use software libero. Maybe they will notice it works better. It has better support. They learn more and they can do more etc.
But they must arrive to Ubuntu first. And they arrive to it not thanks to any philosophy they have never heard about, but because it is becoming easier and easier to use, it is becoming graphically cool, the interface can be easily used on a desktop or a small screen and it has zero price. The rest will follow if it is worth.
First bring people to software libero giving them what they can appreciate, then they may be willing to learn the philosophy.

Thanks to Steve Jobs for having showed us which direction to follow and which not to follow.

By the way this is the new Ubuntu interface, Unity.
As many others I was doubious at the beginning, but now I think they are going in the right direction. The interface takes some good ideas from Mac OS X (which in turn took a lot from GNU/Linux). It is easy enough to be familiar to both Windows and a Mac users. It is new enough to be good on a desktop/notebook, a netbook or a tablet. And it will work just out of the box with most notebooks.
Try it, it's free!

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