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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:43 pm    Post subject: Free Software Reply with quote

I'd like to start a discussion on free software. I have to admit (rms, forgive me, I have sinned) that practically every time I've installed a distro, I've also installed flash and java, which are non-free. Stallman himself has said that pirating software is not in itself immoral:
I don't call this copying "piracy", because that is a propaganda word. I don't think it is wrong to copy and share information. Governments can pass laws against it, but that does not make it wrong, just illegal.

from an interview at http://www.tlug.jp/docs/rms.html.

Now if this is the case. So long as I ignore the license, why is it immoral to download and use flash and java?

Ed LaBonte
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i understand your feeling, since I am about in the same boat :

-I do value and respect RMS's views... I think they are essential to the FLOSS mouvement.

-I try my best to stay away from proprietary stuff for my own use (keep in mind I fix windows PC's for a living... but I use Gnu stuff at home...).

-But sometimes I need a closed app, such as Realplayer to listen to a radio station I enjoy, or of course the flash plugin in Firefox, because a major amount of websites I visit request it... And yes, Skype, because most of my folks use it, so it's a need for me... And I am also one of those who read the wiki's explanation about w32 codecs, but still downloaded and installed it, because of some (very few...) songs I have in my collection that are wma instead of mp3... Of course I wish there was a software to convert all that to ogg, but I am not aware of one yet...

-As of Java, I don't really need it in my daily use, but I would gladly welcome the free alternative in the Blag repos...

So, I am an example of a guy who doesn't live totally by his beliefs, but I am getting closer (!!!) Rome was not built in a day...

But to conclude on RMS, if he wasn't so tough on the matter, I wouldn't try as hard to avoid closed-source stuff. So it is a good thing for the comunity.


PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, whenever I hear rms being criticized, I think, if it weren't for him the gpl would have morphed into something completely useless to protecting free software. He needs to be hardline. He keeps everyone honest. And I think he is essentially right. I think it's ironic that I'm trying to justify my use of non-free software by calling it "piracy". ;)

But I can't yet follow in the footsteps of St. Ignucius.

Ed LaBonte
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I've done it. I've replaced all my non-free apps with free ones. I've decided to take my commitment seriously.

Ed LaBonte
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ed, I think you take a good decision.

However, how do you plan to view certain website that require the flash plugin in Firefox ? Flash is non-free... Well, you could say you wonīt install it and live with it... Thatīs fair enough...

Post your feedback, I might take my courage in my hands and do so, one of these days, but itīs hard for me, because my favorite news radio station use realplayer codecs... Most my folks communicate with Skype...

I donīt make a big deal of win32, since I don not have a bunch of .wma songs... I donīt really use java based apps neither... And above all, I am not a gamer, so I donīt really care about video drivers...

Iīll be following your commitment :o)

PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flash was never that big an issue. The sites that I frequent most don't use it. My thing was that there were a couple of java apps that I used regularly. One of the was MakeDocGUI which is a java text to palmdoc converter so that I could convert text that I grab of the internet read it on my pda. There's a KDE app calle kpalmdoc which is part of the kdepim package that works okay. It's not as good as MakeDocGUi but it suffices.

The other non-free app that I've used commonly is acrosslite, which displays crossword puzzles so that I can print them out. There is a linux version but it isn't free and it is so old that it no longer works with any of the modern distros. The library files that it needs are all deprecated. So for a while I was using the Windows version of Acrosslite with wine, which worked great. But I came across a gtk app covered by the bsd license and it prints out acrosslite formats fine. It actually works a lot better than the linux version of acrosslite did.

So since I didn't need them I decided to uninstall flash and java. When and if java is open sourced, I'll probably reinstall it. And when gnash is ready for prime time I'll try that out. As far as video drivers are concerned, my laptop uses an intel video card and the i810 free driver gives me 3d acceleration. It's not the greatest video card in the world, but ppracer works with it. And like you, I'm not a gamer. The only game I *must* have is pysol, a python solitaire game. But it's free and doesn't require a lot of resources.

Ed LaBonte
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ed, since we are in a confession mood, I admit the sin of using Opera browser, mail-client and IRC...

of course, I could live without it, I also use separately Firefox, Thunderbird and Xchat...

But it is so well integrated in Opera, it's a shame it is a closed source app.

Yes, I did try for a whole week Seamonkey as my sole browser/mail-client/IRC. But Opera is Opera, and it is just better done.

However, I will, sooner or later, clean up my acts and live up to my FLOSS commitment.

It could be worst, we are only talibans of Free Libre Open Source Software, we don't have to live under the rule of the Charia !

But, more seriously, it makes me feel better to jump on that free spirited wagon, at the time of the digital revolution, I do feel like I can resist, up to a certain point, to the Big Brother propaganda...

PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, well, in my case I made the jump when it was most convenient for me. I don't really deserve sainthood even though technically I am now a saint in the church of emacs according to the critieria laid down by his holiness St Ignucius ( http://www.stallman.org/saint.html ). I'm just lacking one of those neat haloes that rms has ( http://www.stallman.org/saintignucius.jpg ) ;)

Having been a software pirate for many years before making the jump to linux, I don't see why license purity is that big a deal. It's nice not to have to violate the law. But if I needed the software, I'd still use it, license or no. So I still sin in my heart. ;-)

Ed LaBonte
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As of software piracy, I make a living of selling/fixing windows PC's.

Down here in the islands, the copyrights are not very well enforced, so we have a bit of freedom to sell a PC with xp/office/photoshop/+ a bunch of cracked software, all that cracked, for the customer.

Of course, I wish I could just install them a nice distro, Blag for example, but they all want their xp... I sometimes tell them that I don't use windows, despite the fact that I install it for others, and fix their viruses/spywares/problems afterward...

It is definitly a paradox in my life, that makes me feel like an evangelical pastor selling dope, or better said, a drug-dealer preaching the Bible !

But windows works in my favor, since it has many problems, I always have work, so somehow, I benefit from that situation...

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Windows didn't exist, a lot of people would be out of work. Just a shame M$ profit from Windows so much and not the people who have to struggle to make it work for others.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am the leader of a local Free Software community activist group. In time, people learn that non-free software really does harm *them*. When you say that, it makes them think.

Humans are naturally greedy and selfish, so it makes sense that the way free software should be explained is from the perspective of the end user. Too many people focus on the programmer's perspective. Don't get me wrong: That's the whole idea, but we should be definitely focusing on the end user a lot more.

The people I've encouraged to switch to Blag (somewhere near 70) all use exclusively free software and are deathly afraid of people taking away their freedoms to use the software in any way that they like, to be able to copy, etc. It's very important to them, now that they realize.

Blag is easy to promote because its easier to install than Ubuntu, has very similar hardware support (*rt2x00, ahem ;-)* ) and has better multimedia support out of the box. By large, the only reason Ubuntu got big was because of money. It's not really that user-friendly. All freedom aside, SuSE is far superior to Ubuntu out-of-the-box.

But when you look at your values, and how you value freedom, especially when it comes to something as big as software and computing, you'll come to Blag.

Freedom > Convenience

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 5:04 pm    Post subject: freedom and selfishness Reply with quote

dylan0 wrote:
I am the leader of a local Free Software community activist group. In time, people learn that non-free software really does harm *them*. When you say that, it makes them think.

i think it's easy for free software advocates [a label i would apply to myself] to be fixated by the freeness of their software. let's have a look at hardware -- well is your computer built of free hardware, that's not environmentally disastrous, causes wars in central africa, is built in a unionized workplace etc etc? if i thought of all those ramifications, i'd give up computing altogether...

living life under capitalism is a series of comprimises. yes, we try to use free software for everything and encourage others to do the same. but we are not the free software cheka...

dylan0 wrote:
Humans are naturally greedy and selfish...

well, i very strongly disagree with this. get some of kropoktin's mutual aid down you're neck and still argue this. capitalism teaches greed and selfishness as good attributes to have to get ahead. i don't believe they're innate.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scratch naturally. input "generally". and i meant to generalize about america.

sorry about the cloudy behavior.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the hardware topic, I am trying to re-use, or recycle as much as I can, this is why I am also very interested in software/distros than can run on older piece of junk, while still providing regular usage...

However, in tropical countries, hardware dies much faster due to humidity, dust, heat, ocean breeze, and also from human mis-handling...

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish I could only use free software but working alot with video-media it is hard. There are various free alternatives like ogg-theora and such but but the amount of people that can view it is smaller, also its hard for me to watch other peoples stuff since there are so few that use free codecs. Using flash is so much easier to use for streaming media on my web-site.
But I can atleast say that i keep away from all commercial software and try to use as little as possible of proprietary softwares as I possibly can only using it for video (and sometimes audio) codecs.

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