Here is an excerpt from a conversation I had with a person a long time ago regarding Free Software. Free software is good for me, you, and society. This log is longer than it ought to be, but you just have to deal with it. The color coded html is how gaim stores its logs. Makes it easy to steal and paste right in.
(18:09:59) wahgnube: did you ximianize your GNOME?
(18:10:23) PULI: nope… rite outta the box
(18:10:34) wahgnube: ok, which distribution?
(18:10:47) PULI: Mandrake 9.1 (bamboo)
(18:11:05) wahgnube: ok, Mandrake is good, but pro KDE :P
(18:11:34) PULI: I give up… You win! (Y)
(18:11:52) wahgnube: meaning? is it faster / better feeling than kde?
(18:12:34) PULI: Frankly… the performance tradeoff is not so much… but the GNOME feeling is nice …
(18:13:13) wahgnube: ok, i haven’t used KDE in a while, just know that it looks and feels a bit more.. cheezy
(18:13:29) PULI: cheezy ….. elucidate
(18:14:00) wahgnube: it’s defaults are too gaudy or overdone
(18:14:07) PULI: mmmm
(18:14:40) wahgnube: gradients where you don’t need them. long and complicated menus. customization which people don’t usually need to change
(18:14:57) wahgnube: and font rendering is … wrong.
(18:15:17) PULI: But you can always tune it to your needs… it’s the case with any DE.
(18:15:31) wahgnube: true. but it can never be made to feel.. right.
(18:15:42) wahgnube: it always feels.. European and cold.
(18:15:46) PULI: I cud always say.. dump the menus… & go in for windowmaker… that’s nice too
(18:16:24) wahgnube: true, but there are some complex programs that make it aesthetically pleasing, like enlightenment. some of them are just complicated for the heck of it
(18:16:39) PULI: for windowmaker?
(18:16:55) wahgnube: i don’t find window maker.. enough.
(18:17:11) wahgnube: for that matter i don’t find metacity enough, but with theming, it seems ok
(18:18:27) PULI: hmmm.. so you’re in for eye candy… tough luck… i prefer the command line.. it’s fun… who cares for the interface anyways… but.. as you very rightly pointed out before… the question is preference… and what’s best for you… :)
(18:19:26) wahgnube: true, i prefer eyecandy. KDE just doesn’t cut it. GNOME is a lot less customizable these days, but still … the interface is feeling more and more.. correct.
(18:20:20) PULI: again… “more.. correct.” begs the question …. isn’t that personal preference?
(18:21:03) wahgnube: that’s the thing see… it’s getting to now be.. correct. tons of UI and usability things are being considered these days. programs follow strict rules and things defined by experts.
(18:21:29) wahgnube: even though gnome in general is more of a hotch potch mix of programsthan KDE’s all under one roof approach
(18:22:02) PULI: I did’nt get what you meant. In one simple sentence if you can please….
(18:22:32) wahgnube: KDE’s programs are … more uniform by the very nature of the developers and the toolkit.
(18:23:06) wahgnube: GNOME randomly dumps and changes which are their “default” programs to do things. they dumped e for sawfish and sawfish for metacity for example
(18:23:32) wahgnube: still, now, it’s getting to feel more.. “correct” and uniform than kde is
(18:23:51) PULI: Who’s talking about KDE/GNOME now anyways… was’nt the personal preference the crux of the discussion… the “personal preference” as in the choice that the specific liveware chooses to live with…
(18:24:30) wahgnube: precisely. i was saying, changability is good. GNOME has lost that. even with infinite “changes”.. KDE never feels as right.
(18:25:07) PULI: lol
(18:26:37) wahgnube: these screenshots for instance is as much eyecandy i can get. it still is very simple compared to what KDE’s theming can do. but i’m yet to find KDE theme combinations that is as aesthetically pleasing. more importantly, “feels” right. i mean stuff like fonts, and option menu lengths, and the default program choices.
(18:26:55) wahgnube: konqueror as opposed to galeon for instance
(18:28:20) PULI: hmmm…. it’s nice all right… but I guess your answer is not pertinent to our discussion… maybe i’m off track.. do bring me in..
(18:29:03) wahgnube: i don’t know. it’s just, the gnome people seem to be creative and skilled enough to pull of the right enough feeling simplicity
(18:29:21) wahgnube: as opposed to letting the user do whatever and still not being able to get what he/she wants
(18:32:13) PULI: agreed. However tell me… don’t you like the twm interface… simplest… ok.. that’s too much of an asking… let’s go one step higher.. try afterstep or windowmaker or even the fvwm2… they are not only lite but also… have most of the stuff “I” need… (for most practical purposes, two things that I would need would be 1. rxvt and 2. X) that’s good enough… when fvwm for instance provides you with the skeleton of the window (titlebar, maximize, minimize and close)
(18:33:27) wahgnube: true. i do prefer buttons and icons that are more a) pleasing to look at b) intuitive. I mean, i shouldn’t “know” what a button does, it’s picture should make it “clear”
(18:33:43) PULI: fair enough!
(18:33:47) PULI: ….
(18:33:56) wahgnube: like to my mother or someone. they are using gnome at home. they didnt need to be taught anything
(18:34:33) wahgnube: if i give them fvwm, it will not be the same thing. sure, small boxes which one can barely see do the job. sometimes, that’s not enough.
(18:35:45) PULI: again … I agree… but..but..but.. the thing “I” want is… not all that… “I” know what “I” want…. you know what you want… if you can now see.. it’s the “I” :D
(18:36:54) code-fu: of course. but there is also something that the “average” person needs. i personally detest rxvt or some terminals. yes, they do the job, some just don’t cut it for people coming from say, an OS X experience.
(18:40:21) code-fu: that is not to say i didn’t use them at their time. i’ve been using free software for a long time now. i just, try to use the most ergonomically correct ones my current system can run.
(18:40:32) PULI: lol… it really amuses me… but… again… you’re back to practicality… which is no doubt good…. but… differs markedly from my view… I look at it not from a newbie’s angle.. neither from an “average” persons angle, as you put it… but….I what I like here in this linux world is the fact that you just mentioned…the Xperience that one can have, more precisely the Xperience that one can choose, and the Xperience that once can ‘define’… more than the XP that one has to remain stuck to!
(18:41:40) code-fu: yes, but XP is not an option see. I don’t use free software for their “betterness” or technical merit or any such thing. i use it as a matter of policy and freedom. this is a very big difference in thought
(18:41:57) PULI: I agree.
(18:42:17) code-fu: many people use it, i think you too, for technical merit reasons.
(18:42:32) code-fu: or ability to run, say GUI’s on older machines and so on.
(18:42:40) PULI: Could you expand -> technical merit reasons
(18:42:57) code-fu: meaning, better quality programs, stability and so on
(18:43:22) PULI: True…. to some extent….
(18:43:36) code-fu: suppose, you need to, say, run simulations or some such. sure, fancy gui’s don’t matter as much as a rock solid system. so you dump XP for, say linux. right?
(18:45:17) PULI: I wud dump Xp for linux… simply because I can do all that “I require” on linux… then where does “XP” fit in the picture… Simulations aside… the truth is that with the freedom that linux offers, one can do many things… many many things…
(18:46:04) code-fu: true. but I dump windows, even though linux cannot do all that I need it too. just as a matter of policy, see the difference?
(18:46:15) PULI: hmmm
(18:46:50) PULI: lol … I sure do… it’s more of what I said earlier in this conversation…. “personal preference”
(18:47:07) PULI: in a different context of course….
(18:47:23) code-fu: true, my personal preference is freedom over practicality. it’s more of a religion now.
(18:47:56) code-fu: and within that framework, i don’t see the issue with getting as much, say eye-candy or friendliness i can derive.
(18:48:36) code-fu: because, it’s not that bloated or eye-candy is wrong, but “closedness” of software that’s wrong
(18:49:55) code-fu: that’s different from saying, if there is as simple, a system, that can do all i need it to do, and is easy to use and cheap/free. i will use it.
(18:51:27) PULI: I totally agree with you on the last point…. however to face the facts… how does one realize the objective (money) -> lots of things linked with it without doubt… without closed source… it’ll take eons to change that… moreover… it’s more of a speculation but… linux is still popular only because windows is still alive…what’s your opinion on Lindows then.. why did it never become popular… “closed source”?
(18:53:00) code-fu: i wouldn’t say lindows isn’t popular. nor is it ‘not free’. i don’t think they violated the GPL or any such license. they just don’t “free” portions that they write. that’s in their power. it’s also in my power NOT to choose them because I value the open ness more than some pretty “click and run” program than Lindows can give me.
(18:53:34) PULI: Very reasonable….
(18:53:44) code-fu: the objective, isn’t always money. the objective, is a free society. people should realize, free software is just one step.
(18:53:57) PULI: towards….?
(18:54:05) code-fu: a free society
(18:54:12) PULI: as in….?
(18:54:13) code-fu: computers control a LOT of things today
(18:54:29) PULI: oh!…. now I get the picture….
(18:54:31) code-fu: I wouldn’t want all of that to be under some closed proprietary system now do you?
(18:54:47) code-fu: it’s a big picture issue.
(18:54:54) PULI: but… is’nt thinking so deep… too far-fetched….
(18:55:35) code-fu: someone has to now, don’t they? unless few people do, and try to convince others, people might not realize it themselves.
(18:56:24) PULI: Someone… or Some community?
(18:57:32) code-fu: Ok, let’s assume, XP does EVERYTHING you want it to. it’s also, insanely easy to use. it is free, monetarily. it is just.. PERFECT. for you. now the only drawback is, it also, say collects info about your machine and randomly sends it off to some third party. now, i am not saying it will happen. i am saying it CAN happen. who’s in control of your system. you or MS?
(18:57:42) code-fu: people, are the community
(18:58:32) code-fu: to avoid such a scenario, i’d rather use, say a buggier, slower, more bloated piece of free code that doesn’t even fulfil all my needs
(18:58:44) PULI: Logical and fitting! :)
(18:59:27) code-fu: this is the thing which the “Open source” people, linus torvalds etc. It’s not always about “technical” merit. somethings are more important.
(18:59:40) code-fu: things which they miss i mean
(19:00:14) PULI: and the things which you never missed… ;)
(19:00:40) code-fu: for eg, linus torvalds uses proprietary software for, say kernal source control. now i say that’s basically wrong, no matter how good that program, bitkeeper, is better than say, CVS
(19:01:03) PULI: k
(19:01:54) code-fu: bah, that was kernel. no, i am just saying. I saw it, and I don’t mind appearing like a fool telling other people.
(19:02:27) PULI: no comments on that!
(19:03:27) code-fu: which is why i keep saying now everything i choose is becoming one of these religious style issues. somethings, I place more than “technical merit”. what i mean by “technical merit” i clarified earlier
(19:03:56) PULI: :)
(19:05:24) code-fu: coming back to the whole kde gnome thing. KDE was initially on QT, even though it was non-free, JUST BECAUSE at the time QT was better than other free alternatives. something i guess i cant forgive.
(19:05:55) PULI: but QT was easier for the developers to work on… don’t you think?
(19:06:00) code-fu: true.
(19:06:27) code-fu: they were looking for good, easy software to work with. i was looking for free software. these are not the same goals.
(19:06:53) code-fu: they choose whatever they want, their right. my right not to choose them. same as the lindows example
(19:07:26) PULI: where’s the practicality here?
(19:07:30) code-fu: their right to go on to say why they felt that choice was better. my right to convince people that is not in their best interest, necessarily
(19:08:47) code-fu: the only reason why KDE is free today, atleast on GNU/Linux, is because of the formation of GNOME. if people hadn’t seen this, started GNOME etc.. we would ALL use KDE instead of GNOME because it is easy to use and say, good.
(19:09:13) PULI: ……
(19:10:11) code-fu: that, would be inherently flawed. people will be taught to believe that technical merit is more important than their freedom. freedom to learn, freedom to modify, freedom to know they control their computer, freedom to copy and help their neighbours and so on
(19:10:34) PULI: ppl can think…. I think!
(19:11:32) code-fu: true, but people today have no problem using XP today don’t you think? only if they knew what they were really giving up in using it, they will not necessarily be as comfortable using it.
(19:12:09) PULI: but.. i dunno if all this will really work… it’s an attempt…
(19:12:56) code-fu: like i said. the issue is not kde-gnome. linux-windows. bloatware-simplicity. it’s about a free society, and small steps to try to make sure.. it doesn’t go away.
(19:13:25) PULI: it won’t!
(19:13:37) PULI: :)
(19:13:41) code-fu: choice is important. preferences are important. usability is important. practicality is important. freedom is more important than all of these.
(19:13:47) code-fu: i am not so sure.
(19:14:00) PULI: Why the uncertain note….
(19:15:53) code-fu: because, tomorrow if windows longhorn or whatever, comes up with it’s hardware “authentication” scheme so that you can only use a specific sort of hardware … they control everything. because, the mindless drones (average people conditioned to believeing there is no world outside MS) would still spend a lot of money, and buy THAT machine just so that they can run windows. why? because they KNOW it’s easier than window maker. but dont realize that’s not the point
(19:17:47) PULI: I get what you mean… it somehow translates in my mind to a movie like scenario… something analogous to Terminator II ….. what… will this kind of a thing really happen…. it should be avoided… I’m serious… but how.. I am able to grasp the gravity of the situation as I can now SEE ppl here doing what you just mentioned….
(19:18:35) PULI: the monopoly game again….
(19:20:12) code-fu: yes, not just monopoly, it’s the concept that.. will you buy a .. say car if they said you couldn’t see the insides? they guarantee it will work, but it might not. and you are not allowed to fix it. also, randomly, the brakes might fail causingdeath, but they make you sign initially saying it’s not their fault
(19:20:50) PULI: that’s insane… no doubt about that…
(19:21:23) code-fu: if everybody can see usability, ease of use, eye-candy… all of that aren’t the issue, more probability they will TRY free stuff. more users, more devs. more devs, better software. that’s free.
(19:22:14) code-fu: and everybody can’t / won’t see. they need idiots like me to keep trying to convince them.
(19:23:23) PULI: true… but idiots ;) lol not fair….. :) but how many are going to buy this logical explanation… there must be a way to illuminate….
(19:23:47) PULI: rather than to light one by one
(19:24:07) code-fu: there isn’t as far as i can tell. i just go through the whole deal, and hope they can see the light. i am a lunatic yes, but atleast i know i see the right thing.
(19:24:49) PULI: ok :D
(19:25:35) code-fu: very few feel this way. i partly blame open-source and other such technically based arguments. they feel, linux is better than windows cause its say, stabler. is it really? does winXP really crash that often? i think not. is mac os X a bad OS? i think not.
(19:25:57) code-fu: the point fools like me try to make, is that, it doesn’t matter. the point is it’s free.
(19:26:45) PULI: doing what you like is happiness…. liking what you do is freedom… :P
(19:26:52) PULI: or is it the other way around ;)
(19:28:01) code-fu: no, you don’t have to be “happy” for freedom. i might choose to use Latex rather than powerpoint to make a presentation. (which i did in my last conference). i caused myself more pain, yes. was i happy, probably no. did i do the “right” thing, i’d say yes.
(19:28:23) PULI: Nice.
(19:29:10) code-fu: did i get fancy avi’s in it, no. could i have used it, probably. is that so important that i will give up freedom and use powerpoint? no.
(19:31:31) PULI: But look at it practically…. let me give you a typical situation I face here….. I do my reports, articles etc.. all on OO and when I have to send it over to my supervisor for his perusal… there we go.. poof… i have to reboot to windows, check again whether the document is ok… there are always some minute formatting nuances that OO misses… or word misinterprets…but.. that’s the fact… I recheck in word.. & then I send it… why? simply because.. my supervisor (lots of ppl actually) all swear by M$.. a major brainwash…
(19:33:02) code-fu: true. but do I check, no. can i check, no. does it come out messed at times, yes. do they care, yes. does it affect me, probably. but none of that is the issue. i still did the “right” thing. and, i use pdf for everything so it’s less prone to need checking.
(19:33:51) PULI: fine… but here… he always has corrections in my report.. ALWAYS… where does pdf help me? :(
(19:34:24) code-fu: meaning? you use latex or whatever and pdf your reports. he corrects it in acrobat if he chooses to.
(19:34:57) code-fu: you can use OOo and pdf your reports too, not a problem.
(19:35:49) PULI: lol…. too much of an asking… if he runs word it’s an acheivement… he’s so happy with windows… that he won’t hear a word about other OS’es…. bottom line.. word works for him… and he expects his students to follow something that he is comfortable with…see the situation…
(19:36:36) code-fu: “word works for him”. that’s exactly the attitude i’m trying to change. you and he have to realize, something “working” good enough is not the issue.
(19:37:07) PULI: lol.. but FREE software is not his area of research interest :P
(19:37:24) code-fu: but his freedom is important to him, whether he realizes it or not.
(19:37:36) code-fu: it’s bigger than “free software”.
(19:38:01) PULI: whatever…. the thin line that we draw is earased alomst immedieately….
(19:38:23) code-fu: ok, when did you first start using gnome or kde?
(19:38:29) code-fu: for arguments sake
(19:38:32) PULI: 98
(19:38:44) PULI: or 99
(19:38:49) code-fu: i mean version numbers.. ok.. 98 is around 12th grade?
(19:38:52) PULI: I’m not so sure
(19:38:57) PULI: yup
(19:39:07) PULI: 1st ar wud be appropriate
(19:39:16) PULI: yr
(19:39:30) code-fu: ok, i’ve been on them since probably a couple or so years earlier. kde close to 1.x and gnome more like 0.1 or so. kde is not free
(19:39:47) PULI: ok………carry on…
(19:39:50) code-fu: kde is a fully useable de. gnome crashes if you move the mouse too fast.
(19:39:59) PULI: ok…….
(19:40:01) code-fu: i still used gnome.
(19:40:05) PULI: ok………..
(19:40:46) code-fu: there is a distinct difference in thought here. somethings work. somethings are “good” as a whole.
(19:41:04) PULI: I used to get the gnome-session manger has crashed unexpectedly… very often… being average at that time.. all I new was KDE
(19:41:07) code-fu: good for who? for society as a whole. not A company
(19:41:47) code-fu: yes, i am talking about times beforethey even had a file manager and so on. used some makeshift command line midnight commander thing
(19:41:57) PULI: yup
(19:42:13) PULI: gmc
(19:42:17) code-fu: why? because it looked and felt better than fvwm. it was freeer than kde.
(19:42:20) PULI: i remember
(19:42:45) code-fu: i still do the same sort of choices.
(19:42:53) PULI: hmmm… so before the linux fog…. tell me.. did u consider using FreeBSD?
(19:43:01) code-fu: no, definitely not.
(19:43:04) PULI: why?
(19:43:11) code-fu: not now, not ever if i can help it.
(19:43:25) PULI: why? it’s not very different….
(19:43:53) code-fu: it is not … their license is different. see apple, they can “take” freebsd and make a closed OS which they can sell. linux you cant dothat.. see the diff?
(19:44:09) PULI: interesting
(19:44:16) code-fu: you’ve automatically lost your freedom to study and learn and modify
(19:44:51) code-fu: people say GPL forcing you to release your code makes it less free. it PRESERVES end user freedom.
(19:45:57) code-fu: i have thought about this stuff quite a while before becoming so fanatical about one kind of software, because i feel it’s in the best interest of society as a whole.
(19:46:12) PULI: it appears that you have read the “GPL license agreement” in detail… have you?
(19:46:46) code-fu: yes, a few times, and different versions. i have read a lot of talks and articles on the concept of “freedom”
(19:47:00) code-fu: i have a copy of the GPL pinned up in my space
(19:47:22) PULI: :) is’nt that community enough to keep this revolution alive….
(19:47:50) code-fu: their message is being lost. I contribute financially, and by word of mouth.
(19:47:55) code-fu: that’s the least i can do.
(19:48:19) code-fu: do you get the difference between free bsd and the gnu system? and how i see it?
(19:49:09) PULI: I appreciate your concern and your idea… yes.. I do… I may not have understood all that you meant today… but surely.. I know. there is somthing out there… that needs attention…. :)
(19:49:39) code-fu: just spreading the word like i always try to do.
(19:50:42) PULI: I’ll save a copy of this conversation… & have it uploaded to the newbie2linux site.. maybe that’ll help .. someone somewhere might see the light… hope you don’t mind….
(19:50:57) code-fu: no problem. more people read it, the better.
(19:51:20) PULI: thanks!
(19:51:36) code-fu: what’s the URL? i’d suggest everyone to go to GNU’s website for more information and inspiration
(19:52:52) PULI: http://www.geocities.com/newbietolinux/ . it’s been a long time.. since I had to upload lots of stuff ansd restructure the site… I put the old version back on… will take a few more days for me to get it ready again… sure..
(19:52:59) code-fu: or the links in the “free software philosophy” section of my links page.
(19:53:03) PULI: k
(19:54:54) code-fu: if i may, i might try to sound like RMS and say use GNU/Linux as opposed to just Linux, because it’s the GNU project that stands for all these values, not the devs of the Linux kernel.
(19:55:11) PULI: Correction noted!
(19:55:45) code-fu: it’s not a “correction”. it’s in the hope that the person you’re talking to will go.. what’s GNU, and you can spread the word.
(19:55:57) code-fu: and help them see the light too.
(19:56:01) PULI: :)
(19:56:24) code-fu: what have i contributed on that site? why’s my name there?
(19:56:33) code-fu: oh, beta tester
(19:56:37) code-fu: don’t remember doing anything
(19:57:10) PULI: lol… if it was contribution that always mattered….. there are some things that cannot be explained with words…
(19:57:47) code-fu: so, when can i expect to see this conversation up there?
(19:58:26) PULI: in 2 days time… I wud do it immedieately… but I want to incorporate more GNU stuff before all that…. :)
(19:58:43) code-fu: ok, and what’s your msn client right now?
(19:58:50) PULI: gaim
(19:58:52) PULI: :)
(19:59:05) code-fu: ok, so it will save it with colour coding and html and so on
(19:59:17) PULI: yup.. I sure hope it does….
(19:59:33) code-fu: yes it does, i saved it here to make sure this build didn’t disable it or some such
(19:59:42) PULI: ok
(19:59:51) PULI: Nice talking to you…
(19:59:57) PULI: Catch you later
(19:59:57) code-fu: sure, later then.