'Evil' Windows 7 campaign goes global
Same sins. New audience
The Free Software Foundation's Windows 7 sins campaign goes global next week, with letters to 500 of the world's charities and non-governmental organizations.
Letters will encourage organizations to use the introduction of Windows 7 by Microsoft in October as an opportunity to review their use of Windows and evaluate open-source software instead.
Peter Brown, executive director of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), told The Reg this phase targets those outside the technology community. The group will also be targeting press that cover NGOs.
Brown noted it's "very easy" to reach developers, but almost impossible to make the connection outside of that.
"It's a civil liberties movement. It's not about fan boys - Apple versus Linux. It's about a freedom movement in the technology era," Brown said.
The letters follow last month's inaugural mail shot sent to 499 US companies listed in the Fortune 500 also encouraging them to use the introduction of Windows 7 to check out open source.
In addition to lobbying against Windows 7, the FSF used the first round of letters to raise funds that it said would help pay for subsequent letters. After NGOs, the FSF will target leaders in education.
Brown said it's important that tools used in education should be open and under the users' control. Pointing to Sugar Labs, whose project provides an interactive learning environment used by one million children and is used by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program, Brown said: "Children who are interested in becoming programmers… should be encouraged into that literacy of interacting with their computers."
Brown said sufficient donations came in after the first letters to enable this and further letter drops - the goal is to keep the campaign running until the end of the year, targeting different groups. Brown calculated the group can send out about three letters per dollar of money raised. ®
It shouldn't be needed to answer this kind of mail, but for the sake of straightening facts, it looks like it's necessary.
It's been now a long time since a CLI hasn't been mandatory to setup any mainstream linux distribution. GUI tools do exist and work. Does it entail that the CLI ought to be removed ? Has it been removed in MacOS X ? Hell no ! OS X proudly has a virtual terminal and fires up tcsh ! Has it been removed from Windows ? Hell No ! Windows went as far as releasing a NEW CLI for windows a couple of years ago.
Why do mainstream OS *all* have a CLI ? Because it is faster, it is better, it gives control. It's not a *sin* linux have a CLI.
The difference between MacOS and Windows on the one hand, and Linux and other OS (Solaris, BSD et al.) on the other hand lies in the way help is given to the users.
While Microsoft and Apple favour the GUI in their generic explanations, with loads of screenshots to make their point, most of the time, in linux realm, help is given on a specific question, and as it is much more personalised and targeted to the real problem the user is facing, it's impossible for the person giving that help to build an /ad hoc/ walkthrough with pictures. Hence, a cut-and-paste script is the fastest way to accurately answer the question.
That's because unless you pay the most expensive support contract from MS or Apple, you can't have a tailored solution to your actual problems, you must rely on canned answers to any question you have.
This may lead to a false impression the CLI is required, but this is a fallacy. And it borders deception when heralded over and over again by MS schills, regardless of countless accounts that their belief is WRONG.
*Some* people like shell based text editors. *Some* people like using the command line. etc.
Vast majority of the population wouldn't have a clue where to start and educating them won't help. They are idiots when it comes to computers, and that is not meant to put them down, it's a fact and we should embrace that. Why on earth should they need to grow a beard and step into sandals just to use their computer?
Computers should be easy to use. Windows (like it or lump it) is easy to use for the majority compared to Linux. Yes, yes, I know linux is probably easier to use *for you*, but you aren't the majority audience.
Oliver is right. The instant Mr.Idiot is told to open up some text editor to do this and that, you've lost him and he's off looking for another solution.
Not that linux can't cater for Mr.Idiot. It's just it's still a long way off doing so. The example of how to do it right is OS X. i.e. wrap cotton wool around the UI to protect Mr. Idiot and prevent him from ever needing to fire up a text editor or command prompt. But then Apple have such tight control they can be sure everything will work without the need for fiddling about. Fiddling about is the usual experience with linux desktop unless your distribution is Uber-Idiot proof and 100% targeted for exactly the same hardware you have got (netbook distributions are a positive step forward here), and you never want to install anything other than official distribution releases (else you're into a world of pain, especially if the software is not packaged for your distribution, it's driver related and your kernel doesn't have parts required and you need to, good god... recompile the kernel! Users SHOULD NOT *EVER* need to go near a compiler. End of!).
Oh, and the system file issue has a degree of resolution on Windows, more so in Vista/Win7 but even in XP it's had for a long time a means of protecting (or at least reversing) changes to critical files (and not just talking about System Restore). It just doesn't apply to all the other junk installed!
And finally, most of the open source products available to linux are also available to Windows (and OS X). I use a vast amount of open source of my own free will, on Windows, along with some commercial software that I prefer. Because I *choose* to do so, not because FSF and the like tell me I should.
Bad FSF! No contract!
I'm of the opinion that if your Linux O/S comes pre-installed or is handled by your IT department the way that Windows normally is, then it's ready for regular users who see computers as a tool not a project. I'm also of the opinion that for *a lot* of software needs, the equivalents to MS based applications are available (OpenOffice being fine for *most* people's needs). Thirdly, I am also of the opinion that the commoditization of software is (barring social catastrophe), inevitable and that trying to hold that off for the sake of a particular business model is, long-term, doomed.
So what do I think of the FSF's mailshot and campaign? Stupid, dishonest and damaging to the general perception of GNU/Linux and Free Software in general. Half of their points are stretched and distorted to levels that can only be called dishonest, one of their points is pretty much an outright lie, few of their points are ones that a Fortune 500 company is really going to care about, and the overall presentation and marketing of their campaign is horribly, awfully childish.
I have lost a lot of respect for the FSF with this campaign. They've taken the old adage about "he who fights monsters" and just said: 'fine with us'. Paris, because her fake election campaign was more convincing than this is (and less offensive to the eyes than that website).