[ubuntu-us-ma] Fwd from [Wlug]

Algot Runeman algot.runeman at verizon.net
Mon Mar 26 23:49:10 UTC 2012

On 03/26/2012 06:54 PM, Martin Owens wrote:
> Hey Algot,
> I don't think I can agree with one point in your excelent reply:
> On Mon, 2012-03-26 at 09:58 -0400, Algot Runeman wrote:
>> The 90 percent may not even say "Thank you."
>> In many ways, they are the customer, though. They are engaged by using
>> the product of Libre Software.
> No, customers are people who pay you to serve them. Users are people who
> use the software, they might overlap but they aren't equivalent groups.
> Now there is an aspect where I may spend time charitably serving user's
> interests despite their lack of contributions... this still doesn't make
> them my customers, just orphans who can't look after themselves yet.
> I think it's important that business, charity and incidental benefit are
> clearly separated. Getting firefox isn't charity, because Mozilla is a
> corporation and in that case you are the product (resold lightly to
> Google). Getting Ubuntu is mostly incidental, use of Ubuntu effects the
> internal progress very little directly. But having someone fix your bug
> and help you out on askubuntu is clearly charitable and social.
> This is a simplification, lots of people work on Firefox for their own
> benefit and some work on it charitably. But by degrees of purpose, most
> projects fall more or less into a pattern.
>> They may even be very excited to be supporters of software freedom.
>> Some may even tell their friends.
> Then they're advocates, surely.
OK, A customer pays. Let's start there. You're not a customer unless you 
When something doesn't work, what's the option if you, the customer, 
don't get satisfaction? You stop paying. If enough customers don't pay, 
the product may not survive. Tough luck. Get another job.

In the world of Free software, what is the interaction? If a user 
doesn't like a free software program, they complain. Since the program 
creator isn't "paid" by the user, what's the basis for responding to the 
complaint? Why do you try to satisfy the user? She's not your customer, 
no pay.

One answer to that has been. I'm scratching my own itch. I wrote this 
program for my own reasons and it works for me. If you use it, great. If 
you don't, no skin off my nose.

 From my perspective, that attitude helps to keep the users at a 
distance or actually drives them away from this particular project. It 
may also drive users away from free software all together.

If a "user group" seeks to attract new free software users, what is 
their role in the relationship between non-paying users and developers?
Does the user group need to be the activist layer which separates and 
buffers between the casual user and the itch-scratching developer so 
that a new user can gradually learn the attitude needed to connect with 
the developer?


Algot Runeman
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