Loving Ubuntu Linux

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Wed Mar 2 02:24:25 UTC 2011

On Sat, Feb 26, 2011 at 2:23 PM, Michael Haney <thezorch at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 26, 2011 at 7:02 AM, Bill Cairns <cairnsww at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 10:48 AM, Anthony Papillion <papillion at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> While I don't know for sure if you were responding to my message
>>> specifically, the only reason I brought up free vs proprietary was not
>>> because I was taking issue with Ubuntu not being totally free but rather
>>> taking issue with CALLING Ubuntu free (which it isn't). Whether that is
>>> good or bad is up for debate.
>>> Anthony
>> I find myself getting confused here about what kind of "free" we are
>> talking about - and which we want. There is free as in free speech and
>> free as in free beer (and free as in free love and perhaps a few other
>> frees too). FOSS claims to be free as in free speech and I, along with
>> many others, think that is a wonderful idea. But there is also
>> software that is free as in free beer but which is not open source and
>> I can understand why some companies (and individuals) would want to do
>> that although I would rather they didn't. But it does not mean that
>> they are good and ethical people or that their software is in any way
>> inferior. (Pegasus mail and Irfanview anyone?)
>> No, the whole of Ubuntu is not free because it contains some
>> proprietary software which is not open source. But, if I don't have to
>> pay for it, it is free enough for me to carry on with.
> I don't want to sound harsh but there's no way around it.  This is
> something that needs to be said.
> The FOSS Movement has become another Religion.  Like other Religions
> it teaches Separation, to stay away from those who don't conform to a
> certain set standard, and in this case being any Linux distro that
> doesn't contain 100% free non-proprietary open source software.  Any
> proprietary anything (free or not) and you are IMPURE and its HERESY
> to call yourself FREE!!!
> That is what the FOSS Movement has become, a new Religion.
> Just like other Religions its having a very negative and destructive
> effect.  In this case, the ridiculous antics and actions of the FOSS
> Movement is having a harmful effect on the image of the Open Source
> Community as a whole.  It needs to stop.  Nothing good has ever come
> from Religion, just read your history books if you want proof.

('Scuse the late reply. Was away all weekend.)

I do know what you mean, and entirely agree /in re/ faith-type
god-bothering religion, but I think you have to exercise a bit of
moderation with respect to Free S/W being religious.

Whereas I'm a pragmatic FOSS user myself - I use Flash and Java and
binary nVidia drivers and even have  a VM with Windows in it and a
handful of proprietary apps (e.g. Ameol, Spotify, Safari, MS Word) - I
have immense respect for the Free puritans.

There are a couple of important points to remember.

FOSS is a catch-all term. It means Free *and* open source software.
They are *not* the same. All Free software is open source, but not all
open source is Free. And remember that the "Free" that I give a
capital F (= /libre/) to does not mean the same as little-f free
(/gratuit). Blame English for its overloaded single word!

If we did not have Stallman, with his zealotry and evangelism and
puritanism, we would not have GCC and all the other GNU tools, and
without that, we would not have Linux. We might well have a set of
battling BSDs and an enhanced Minix and Free "Unix" would be a /lot/
more primitive. We would not have the friendly, easy, smooth desktop
OS we enjoy in the form of Ubuntu.

(If you don't believe me, try FreeBSD some time, and marvel at how far
Linux has moved on from its roots.)

GNU isn't Linux and Linux isn't GNU, but without GNU, there'd *be* no
Linux. We owe a huge debt to the GNU Project and the FSF and all the
Stallmanites. We needed them and I think we still do. If we didn't
have their GPL, for instance, Linux would have fragmented and gone
proprietary like much BSD code has.

It's the puritans, the fanatics, that drive the developers and the
community to strive, not to put up with proprietary crutches and
drivers but to make our own so that Linux can stand up and walk by

So don't knock them. They made Linux what it is today & they're the
biggest reason it will continue and grow until something even better
comes along.

Liam Proven • Info & profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/lproven
Email: lproven at cix.co.uk • GMail/GoogleTalk/Orkut: lproven at gmail.com
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