[ubuntu-us-ma] The Free Software, Open Source promise: what FOSS means for non-coders

Danny Piccirillo danny.piccirillo at ubuntu.com
Wed Mar 17 01:06:31 GMT 2010

On Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 13:56, Kevin Cole <kjcole at ubuntu.com> wrote:
> On 03/11/2010 04:33 PM, Danny Piccirillo wrote:
>>     For me, the main challenge in explaining FOSS is that you also have to
>>     explain what software is, and how it is created.
>> This is exactly what i'm talking about
> When explaining this to people I use the analogy of a car: Many people
> drive but do not care to fine-tune their own car.  Often they will know
> both the professional mechanic, and the enthusiast who can make anything
> with four wheels do something marvelous.  Then I ask "What if both the
> professional and the 'hobbyist' had no permission to look under the hood?
> What if they could look -- if they paid a fee -- but could not improve upon
> the original model.  What if they could not explain what they learned to
> others?"
> I then often throw in a bit about some of the proprietary diagnostic
> software that mechanics pay for.  But, I don't have a car, don't drive and
> can only carry the analogy so far.
> Still, for many people a light in the brain seems to flicker in response,
> and we begin to have the glimmerings of understanding.

I think we should aim for more than the beginning glimmerings of
understanding. Isn't there a list of promises we can make?

You will always be free to share the software
You can be sure there's no hidden malware
We will not tell you how you can and can not use the software
We will not for you to pay for perpetual upgrades
Our software evolves much faster
Our software is developed in the interests of users
We will use open formats that don't lock you into our products

etc, etc, etc

*Something* along these lines? except more eloquent


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Every (in)decision matters.

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