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Re: [gNewSense-users] newcomer's greetings

From: Tryggvi Björgvinsson
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] newcomer's greetings
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 20:08:11 +0000
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20070103)

Hash: SHA1

Yavor Doganov wrote:
> Tryggvi Björgvinsson wrote:
>> IIRC, Stallman used proprietary UNIX in the beginning in order to be
>> able to work on GNU and then switch as soon as he had a working
>> operating system. In that my opinion is that one should be able to
>> use proprietary software when free alternatives aren't available.
> Please don't use this as an excuse; it is nowhere near to the
> situation we have now.  RMS (and others) used Unix as a foundation in
> order to develop GNU by writing components, one by one.  It was the
> only way.  To put it in other words, those early freedom fighters used
> prison's tools to provide an escape from the prison for all of us.
> Now that we have entirely free operating system we are lucky that
> we're not forced to use unethical software.  Of course, many features
> are not available, and that will be the case for some years to come.

Don't get me wrong. I was not trying to make any excuses. I am grateful
that everyone has the possibility of using a completely free operating
system. But, IMO freedom should not be restricting. I don't mind people
using non-free alternatives if there aren't any free ones. I choose free
software whenever I can. That's why I like gNewSense, I don't have to
look out for the big bad wolf (I would be a part of a wolf hunting swat

However, restricting people from using Adobe's Flash because Gnash isn't
ready is wrong (in my opinion). I was only trying to point out that
before _all_ parts are free, I think people should be able to use
non-free software (by using some other distro than gNewSense), until the
free alternatives are ready.

Sadly, I don't think many value their freedom more the newest cool
proprietary gadget or piece of software. I would like to show them that
freedom is better, but without saying: "Look at how much better it is!
Btw, you'd have to get rid of your ipod, and flash, and graphics card,
and wireless card, and your game-console, and etc."

Here in Iceland, proprietary products have a stronghold on almost
everything. The ministry of education has even made a deal with
Microsoft. My university has only Windows in their computer labs and
teachers hand out presentations and assignments in Microsoft's closed
Office format. This I am trying to fight by being the bitching little
student who sends e-mails to tell them that there is an alternative to
those formats which is open. Many of them don't even understand what I'm
talking about, but I won't give up :)

We've come a long way and enabled those who value their freedom to use a
completely free operating system. But I do believe we have another long
way to go in educating the rest about why it is so valuable. I think it
can be done by either allowing them to use proprietary products for the
time being or (verbally) attacking the corporations and force them to
free their software. Both actions are being taken, but I hope the latter
will pay off.


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