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06.07.08

MS Buys Codecs from MS

Posted in Audio/Video, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 2:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[M]ark [S]huttleworth buys [M]icro[S]oft codecs for Ubuntu

The following observation came up in our IRC channel just a short while ago. It indicates that Ubuntu engaged in licensing of codecs from Microsoft.


<microsoft-spy> schestowitz: you are allowed, Ubuntu licensed Windows Media from Microsoft for Netbooks
<jbh> I don’t know anyone in CA
<moparx> I’ll never understand why a distro (or any foss developer for that matter) would purposefully taint themselves for some of microsoft’s proprietary scraps.
<schestowitz> Gah. Maybe that’s why they don’t allow downloads of it.
<schestowitz> Software patents aren’t even valid where Canonical is.
<schestowitz> ms-spy, got a URL, please?
<jbh> never even heard of netbooks before
<microsoft-spy> schestowitz, how about http://www.canonical.com/netbooks ?
<schestowitz> I believe this is important because given what I know I worry that MS (Mark S.) would do the same with MS for business ‘enterprise’ boxes.
<microsoft-spy> schestowitz, MS does whatever benefits him, proprietary kernel parts etc
<schestowitz> Which MS?
<schestowitz> :-)
<microsoft-spy> Shuttleworth
<schestowitz> Well, that’s very problematic because he enables Microsoft to control the price of Free software.
<schestowitz> They already cross-licence with Apple, but they play by their own rules.
<microsoft-spy> he just says “All the *applications* in Ubuntu are free software only.”
<schestowitz> Cross-licensing (pardon the typo above) is incompatible with the GPL.
<schestowitz> Yes, but..
<microsoft-spy> so does not include drivers, firmware, codecs, …
<schestowitz> Just to be clear, the issue is not binary/FOSS, but gratis/taxed
<schestowitz> This forbids redistribution, which is also why they don’t permit downloads. It’s like another Moonlight.


If you fail to see why this is bad, then consider looking back at the Red Hat 'extortion' story (more in this recent article about the ‘codec incident’). Also recall what Novell did.

In order to defend such plots, Microsoft has been fighting for DMCA around the world — essentially extending beyond the boundaries of the United States. Recently it was Canada that got targeted and in the news you find Red Hat’s founder, Bob Young, entering the ring.

Lulu Inc. CEO Bob Young is a major voice in the open source software industry, but according to him the entire community has been unjustifiably ignored throughout the Canadian government’s copyright reform initiatives.

Last year, the Conservative government vowed to adopt copyright laws which would make it illegal to modify or remove any device or software fitted with a technical protection measures (TPMs). After months of hearsay and numerous delays, the buzz on Parliament Hill now suggests a proposed copyright bill from Industry Minister Jim Prentice is imminent.

In the wake of these rumors — which many industry activists have begun referring to as the Canadian version of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) — a new open source software alliance has added their name to the lengthy list of opposition to the Industry Minister’s soon-to-be-unveiled legislation.

It’s worth adding that Bob Young is pro-GPLv3 (video).

We wrote about this Microsoft lobby before. As some further relevant readings (external links), consider:

This is a dangerous precedence that Microsoft is setting and It’s sad to see Canonical and Intel playing along. Nevertheless, it’s not surprising given the nearness of Intel and Microsoft. In private, sources told us a few months ago that Mark Shuttleworth negotiated codecs with Microsoft.

Ubuntu modified logo

Who’s that fourth chap we don’t know?

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156 Comments

  1. RyanT said,

    June 7, 2008 at 3:57 pm

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    Meh, am mixed on this. While I’d prefer them to steer clear altogether, it doesn’t allow Microsoft to control the price of free software at all, it’s a codec, and if they want to include it as part of standard media support, then they have to do it legally, i.e., pay for it.

    It’s a shame, but doesn’t go to the extent you were suggesting.

  2. Victor Soliz said,

    June 7, 2008 at 5:33 pm

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    I believe this is important because given what I know I worry that MS (Mark S.) would do the same with MS for business ‘enterprise’ boxes.

    Meh, I think the reason remix will bundle codecs and flash and adobe reader and Sun’s JVM is that unlike desktop it wouldn’t make ‘restricted’ work.

    Would have to choose between users seeing remix look as a second class citizen or just licensing the damn codecs, I for one would prefer no codecs, but the market remix is directed to is way more spoiled than that. So they need to go over some acclimatization before getting something freeer.

    I don’t agree this means in any way that the desktop corporate would license those codecs.

    Anyway, will complaint, sometimes that’s all what you can do. It looks like you can opt-out real player, so you should be given the right to avoid windows media as well. While we are on it , there should be a truly free version already, flash? Adobe reader? Thanks but no thanks.

  3. Hagbard Celine said,

    June 7, 2008 at 6:30 pm

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    licensing != distribution. “The source can have a strong influence on the weak minded”. aptitude show ubuntu-restricted-extras. Beware FUD.

  4. Mark Fink said,

    June 7, 2008 at 6:35 pm

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    Canonical also provided the video in MP4 format.

    See here: http://www.canonical.com/netbooks

    Well, Ubuntu is off my list of distros I’ll ever run again now that it’s tainted.

  5. Victor Soliz said,

    June 7, 2008 at 9:16 pm

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    licensing != distribution. “The source can have a strong influence on the weak minded”. aptitude show ubuntu-restricted-extras. Beware FUD.

    From the page:

    Clean licensing – all work conforms with open source and commercial application licensing with audio and video codecs that are legally licensed

    Well, Ubuntu is off my list of distros I’ll ever run again now
    that it’s tainted

    Remix (Intel) is tainted.

  6. Balzac said,

    June 8, 2008 at 6:01 pm

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    I’ll be migrating away from Ubuntu. I had hoped that Mark Shuttleworth was more aware of what’s at stake, but apparently he’s just another “open source” entrepreneur who doesn’t see the big picture.

  7. Balzac said,

    June 8, 2008 at 6:04 pm

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    Now, I’m going to figure out whether to use Gnewsense or Debian.

  8. Phobos said,

    June 8, 2008 at 10:12 pm

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    lol… first, it’s not like they are doing an “interoperatibility” deal… codecs is not the same problem as code… actually, many OSS noobs complain about how their WMAs and MP3s won’t work in linux… so this is not a bad idea at all

    second, this is for the netbook remix.. not normal Ubuntu… why are you saying you want to migrate from Ubuntu if it has nothing to do with it?… this is why so many people won’t even touch OSS… MS badmouths it… and OSS users badmouth it too

  9. Victor Soliz said,

    June 8, 2008 at 10:34 pm

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    Call it FOSS.

    I am currently trying to make the remix codecs optional, so you don’t have to get them if you don’t want to play those media files.

    At the end of the day, MaSh needs to get the darn codecs somewhere, there are only two approaches if you want to include codecs to hope the law changes or to license them.

    In the meantime:
    1) See FOSS users complaining about a decision.
    2) Make the users’ complaints look as crazy or totally unfounded / unnecessary.
    3) Assume FOSS is not succeeding.
    4) Blame FOSS’ lack of success on the user’s complaints.

    I call it the “FUD out of nowhere” scheme.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 8, 2008 at 11:36 pm

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    Phobos, I know this is just Netbook Remix, but looking ahead I worry about something like EnterpriseBuntu.

  11. Mark Shuttleworth said,

    June 9, 2008 at 3:54 am

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    Canonical has not licensed codes from Microsoft for work with OEM’s on the netbook remix. However, we almost certainly WILL license codecs from any one of a number of sources – Real, Fluendo or others – so that users of Ubuntu can legally play content in as many formats as possible. Those codecs would be available alongside existing free software implementations for users to choose, and some OEM’s may choose to bundle them on their devices.

    There is nothing in that which is a conspiracy, or bad for free software. We already have reasonable free codecs, like Ogg, but there is content out there which people have every right to access, and if they need to purchase codecs in order to do so legally in their country then we need to facilitate that. Of course, we also want to work to make sure that open codecs become more widely adopted, and we want to work against laws which are dumb enough to create artificial boundaries in an open, digital world. But we are not here to encourage people to BREAK existing law, nor are we here to to prevent people from exercising all of their options. We are stronger when we make good arguments for freedom, not when we impose particular behaviour.

  12. Dan O'Brian said,

    June 9, 2008 at 5:48 am

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    Victor Soliz: that’s /exactly/ the kind of “FUD out of nowhere” scheme that you and this site pull against Novell and Mono.

    So stop being a hypocrite.

    BTW: do you work for Ubuntu?

  13. Dan O'Brian said,

    June 9, 2008 at 7:02 am

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    By “work for Ubuntu” I obviously meant Canonical. (drinking my morning coffee as I type this)

  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 9, 2008 at 7:36 am

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    Mark,

    Canonical has not licensed codes from Microsoft for work with OEM’s on the netbook remix. However, we almost certainly WILL license codecs from any one of a number of sources – Real, Fluendo…

    That is ‘licensing’ (taxation) by association. Microsoft is still paid as far as I know. It seems like you guys gradually approach the business model of Mandriva.

    We already have reasonable free codecs, like Ogg…

    Better make a start here:

    http://www.canonical.com/files/video/netbook-screencast.mp4

    To be a bit pedantic, this tells me that I need to buy proprietary software just to find out what Notebook Remix is about. It’s a cyclic trap.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mp4

    We are stronger when we make good arguments for freedom, not when we impose particular behaviour.

    This remark is commendable.

    I know that you adhere to the values of Free software (you have made it more than obvious over the years), but by making compromises for convenience (yours or your customers’) you make it easier for vendors to take more of our freedom and rights away. it does not affect only those who buy Remix. It sets trends.

    ‘Winning’ by putting proprietary software on top of Linux is hardly winning. It’s ‘pulling an Oracle’.

    Lastly, remember what you told your friend Matt Asay a year ago about the difference bewteen $0.00 and $0.01. And that’s just a consideration of practical factors alone, never mind freedom.

  15. Sense Hofstede said,

    June 9, 2008 at 9:56 am

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    As Canonical/Ubuntu/Mark stated several times there won’t be a special Enterprise edition of Ubuntu, the work of the community will be freely available to everyone.

    Roy: so you don’t use any propertiery software or formats? Did you recompile OpenOffice.org so that it doesn’t support MS’s formats anymore? It’s probably hard to live without standards that are used by way too many people in this world. I agree that Canonical and Ubuntu could do more to promote free formats(please don’t use mp4!), but when they would remove all propertiery codecs I don’t think Ubuntu would be as popular as it is now. Which would mean that a lot of people would leave the community, which would mean that there would be a lot less community input, which would be bad for the whole Linux thing.

    Getting support for something widely used doesn’t seem to make things get worse to me. I think Ubuntu would be even better when the closed formats would be supported out of the box.

  16. crazybus said,

    June 9, 2008 at 10:08 am

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    Was the ogg version http://www.canonical.com/files/video/netbook-screencast.ogg added later, or are people upset of featuring a .mp4 as the main download?

  17. Mark Shuttleworth said,

    June 9, 2008 at 11:12 am

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    I think that was added today. Our marketing team should not have put an mp4 up as the default, and when they saw this commentary they immediately apologized to the distro team for creating the wrong impression. I assume they have since published the ogg.

  18. Slated said,

    June 9, 2008 at 2:33 pm

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    This issue of support for proprietary formats, of whatever type, is obviously a contentious one, fraught with difficult choices, but IMHO capitulating to the demands of the pro-software patent lobby is not the right choice.

    Canonical cannot compromise it’s business by wilfully breaking the law, therefore distribution of unlicensed patented software is not possible within countries that enforce these ridiculous laws.

    So that just leaves one of three choices:

    1. Do not support proprietary formats, ever.
    2. License proprietary formats at cost, thus tainting Free Software distributions (e.g. direct licensing per distro from Microsoft, or indirect licensing per user from Fluendo).
    3. Do not provide pre-installed support for proprietary formats, or commercial codec installers, but instead point users to third party repos located outside the jurisdiction of software patents, where they may obtain e.g. MPlayer.

    Point 1 is desirable from a political standpoint, but quite impractical in reality. It is the best choice for distros like gNewSense (and Gobuntu, had it not shut down due to a lack of support from the vendor for the promotion of freedom).

    Point 2 is the route that Canonical and Fedora have both taken, and that I strongly disagree with, because it taints Free Software by default.

    Point 3 is, IMHO the best solution, since it means that no GNU/Linux distro is distributed in a tainted state, and does not even promote the patentability of software. Equally this solution does not compromise the integrity of the company backing the distro, as no law has been broken. Users are not encouraged to support software patents, and the Intellectual Monopolists don’t get a penny from Free Software users.

    AFAICT the third method is the way this used to be done, but for some reason many distros have recently taken to capitulating to the demands of Intellectual Monopolists, by both supporting and promoting software patents and proprietary software.

    I can only assume that these distro vendors are getting nervous about the imminent prospect of being sued. Perhaps there have been talks (i.e. threats) going on in secret that we are not privy to.

    Whatever the reason, I cannot support this latest development, or any similar developments that seek to promote proprietary and/or encumbered software.

  19. Vadim P. said,

    June 9, 2008 at 4:18 pm

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    Spending your time dissing one of the best products of FOSS. Oh, what a troll.

  20. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 9, 2008 at 10:17 pm

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    How can this be “dissing” when I do so much time promoting? What’s posted here is instructive.

  21. Balzac said,

    June 9, 2008 at 10:57 pm

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    “…there is content out there which people have every right to access, and if they need to purchase codecs in order to do so legally in their country then we need to facilitate that.” – Mark Shuttleworth

    Mark, I disagree with you on this. There is a time and a place for civil-disobedience. Foolish laws must be ignored.

    Canonical doesn’t need to break these foolish laws, but neither does Canonical need to impede those of us who would ignore these foolish laws.

    Microsoft is willing to ignore the law to take my freedom and I’m willing to ignore the law to keep my freedom.

    You ought to have a more fresh and subversive approach or you risk falling behind the times and offering up a stagnant software experience.

  22. Slated said,

    June 9, 2008 at 11:20 pm

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    “a stagnant software experience” … or worse, a proprietary Linux software experience, just another flavour of Windows.

    I use GNU/Linux because I value my freedom. Moves like this take away that freedom.

  23. Balzac said,

    June 9, 2008 at 11:51 pm

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    Mark,

    I have to ask another question of you – Why do you say “Linux” when you’re referring to GNU and Linux?

    Isn’t GNU equally worthy of mention alongside the Linux Kernel, at least?

    I’m aware of your quiet support for free software, but, there are others who are very proud of supporting GNU and Free Software.

    It’s not impossible to make money while promoting the more socially-engaging Free Software brand, is it?

  24. Stavros said,

    June 10, 2008 at 1:27 am

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    Roy said, “How can this be “dissing” when I do so much time promoting? What’s posted here is instructive. ”

    Oh, don’t make us laugh, Roy.

  25. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 10, 2008 at 1:39 am

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    You can search the Web (my name and “ubuntu”) and see that I’ve offered almost nothing but praise for Ubuntu over the years. I guess that’s why I even used the first version of Ubuntu.. just to “diss” it, eh?

  26. Balzac said,

    June 10, 2008 at 5:46 am

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    I’m glad Mark Shuttleworth has came here to make his case.

    In all fairness, I’m not switching to gNewsense just because of this issue with proprietary codecs. I was already planning to switch anyway because I want a lifestyle completely free of proprietary software.

    Because Mark Shuttleworth bothers to show up and clarify things a bit, he doesn’t strike me as such an arrogant guy, so I’ll continue to recommend Ubuntu for friends who still want proprietary codecs, but I won’t be using it myself.

    I have mixed feelings about the proprietary codecs. One impulse I have is to shun any media encoded in proprietary codecs, but my other impulse is to get software to play them, yet without paying any licensing fees and without using someone else’s proprietary software.

    If the law is the only thing keeping us from implementing certain functionality, perhaps it is time for a new class of software – “civil disobedience software” which uses any proprietary algorithm which can be reverse-engineered without regard for any copyright or patent claims.

  27. Dan O'Brian said,

    June 10, 2008 at 6:42 am

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    Slated/Balzac:

    It’s not impossible to make money while promoting the more socially-engaging Free Software brand, is it?

    In order to make money from Free Software, you have to attract the type of people who are willing to pay for it (or support, which is usually what distro businesses try to sell). These types usually are the types that want things to Just Work(tm). They don’t want excuses as to why they can’t play their mp3′s or wmv’s in Linux, when they have no problems doing it in Windows or Mac. They also don’t want to have to go to a third party to purchase the plugins to allow it – they feel that because Windows and Mac OS’s come pre-bundled with the software to play these formats, so should Linux.

    You can make Slated’s argument above, but all you end up doing as alienating potential users. They might not be the type of users that will pick up the “Free Software” sign post and wave it above their head and boycott proprietary software or even software patents, but they are still potential sources of income and they still count towards swaying hardware manufacturers and other software vendors to start opening up their code as well as pushing toward the end of software patents.

    You’ll never get a majority of the world’s population of software users (and potential software suers) to picket, but they don’t need to in order to make hw/sw vendors begin to start opening up, because they’ll realize that if they do not they’ll lose out to a growing number of potential customers.

    My point is that they do not need to be Free Software idealists in order to make the Free Software movement more powerful.

    If Slated’s and Balzac’s goal is to make GNU/Linux only for the elitists, then that is your choice – but mine and (obviously) Mark Shuttleworth’s goal is for GNU/Linux to be used by as many people as possible (by their own choice, not forced upon them) by allowing them to do the things they want to be able to do with their OS. If that means using patented media technology or writing proprietary software, even, then we need to allow them to do it.

  28. Don't Be Stupid - Stick with Open Codecs only said,

    June 10, 2008 at 10:52 am

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    Proprietary codecs are a pox. You know that. I know that. But, they won’t go away until we stop using them.

    It may feel convenient, short term, to include proprietary codecs but all that is doing is encouraging use of — guess what — proprietary data formats.

    If you *have* to include them, at least do something to discourage use or proprietary standards like nagging or pointing to the open eqivalent. Open audio and video formats need a push and Ubuntu is in a position to make that push.

    Control of the codec give control of the data. Control of the data means you lose.

    Come on. Get with the times. Europe is a (the?) key growth market these days and the EC says

    “…for all future IT developments and procurement
    procedures, the Commission shall promote the
    use of products that support open, well-documented
    standards…. ”
    http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/7403/469

    Just this morning, the European Commissioner for Competition Policy, Neelie Kroes, points out that the above policy needs to be implemented with vigor.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/08/317&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

    She also pointed out that no citizen or company should be forced or encouraged to use a particular company’s technology to access government information. Nor should any citizen or company should be forced or encouraged to choose a closed technology over an open one, which is precisely what happens if proprietary codecs and formats get bundled in Ubuntu. People see it as an endorsement.

    Further, Andy Updegrove draws the connection, for those who may miss it, between open standards/formats and democracy:

    http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=20080229171250199

    The informed decision is the foundation for the democratic process. Free flow of information and interchange of ideas enable enlightened discourse and are the foundation for the informed decision. Information flow and communication of ideas are enabled by open codecs and formats. They are restricted by proprietary codecs and formats.

    Of course each of us, in a small way, either adds to or detracts from that chain of communication each time we use either an open codec or a closed one. Projects that influence larger populations provide a multiplier effect in proportion to the size user base.

    So. Please. Think twice before you shit in our pocket with a proprietary codec or two. Instead, lead people to enabling, open technologies.

  29. Victor Soliz said,

    June 10, 2008 at 6:49 pm

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    Dan O’Brian : If by “that’s exactly the kind of FUD used in this site” You mean they are totally unrelated things that makes no sense to link, then I agree.

    I don’t work for ubuntu/canonical, sorry if one of my posts somehow give the wrong impression, at this moment I am just a student that does freelance work, I don’t think I’ll end up working for any giant out there.


    Anyway, as I said Canonical must license the codecs if they want to distribute them, so the only solution I can think for this is to allow a way not to receive those codecs so users like me who don’t want them could use remix. I hope this is somehow made possible, Mark.

  30. Aleksey said,

    June 10, 2008 at 8:47 pm

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    GNU and Linux were originally developed using proprietary software, but I must delete my whole MP3 collection and burn my DVDs for the sake of FOSS purity.

    I am with you guys on wanting and working to purely free software, but to boycot Ubuntu because Canonical licensed codecs for the Remix version is a little far, IMHO, and instead hurts the FOSS movement.

    I think the FOSS movement should use strategy to win, not just scream. It makes us look very weird.

  31. andrewsomething said,

    June 10, 2008 at 8:53 pm

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    Victor:

    The code for all the netbook specific packages is already availiable:

    https://edge.launchpad.net/netbook-remix

  32. Balzac said,

    June 10, 2008 at 10:37 pm

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    Dan O’brian,

    If you fail to understand my logic, that’s okay with me. I’m not in any hurry to convince you of anything, but I’ll offer you another clue.

    I’m after developers and gamers first. They are the ones most likely to want freedom.

    One man has stood for freedom for computer users more than any other person. I will gladly take any of his critics to the mat, because I’ve been very inspired both as a socially-engaged person and as an entrepreneur.

    Good luck with your “open source” approach to things. Expect to be challenged every time you make user freedom less than top priority.

    Balzac

  33. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 10, 2008 at 11:09 pm

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    Aleksey, who ever said anything about a boycott? This was just an observation, not a cheap shot at anything, not even Ubuntu.

  34. Aleksey said,

    June 11, 2008 at 5:02 am

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    There was a handful of people who said Ubuntu is off their list of distros and the like in their comments. I was responding to them; I apologize I didn’t make that clear though.

    My point was that this is a “necassary evil” at the moment, just like compiling GNU and Linux using proprietary software was at one point. But just like at one point we were able to eliminate that, we will be able to eliminate this as well. If we do it too early though, we will hurt ourselves (like would the original developers of GNU if they had decided to compile without proprietary software).

    So I was pointing out the silliness of those particular comments and saying we need strategy, which sometimes includes temporary “compromize”, like a game of chess would. you must be flexible in your game plan if you are to win.

  35. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 11, 2008 at 5:06 am

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    Richard Stallman once said that, based on his experience, when people reach complacency on the acceptance of binaries, taking it away is too hard. I’m not sure if the lessons from the GPU industry suggest otherwise (NVidia might announce an open source strategy in August).

  36. Victor Soliz said,

    June 11, 2008 at 7:28 am

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    GNU and Linux were originally developed using proprietary software,

    Hmnn, I am not sure if that’s right. My [limited] understanding of this is:
    RMS? coded GCC this is where they probably used proprietary tools.
    GNU tools were then developed using GCC?
    Linus used GCC to develop Linux.

    So, the GNU compiler was developed using proprietary tools, but the rest probably did not need so, just saying.

    but I must delete my whole MP3 collection and burn my DVDs for the sake of FOSS purity.

    I think the message is to convert your mp3 collection to ogg.

  37. Phobos said,

    June 11, 2008 at 10:23 am

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    OGG won’t work on most MP3 players, so converting all your collection from mp3 to ogg will leave you with a bunch of files that will *only* work on your linux box… (windows doesn’t support OGG natively either)

    I know you can make the ipod play oggs in certain ways… and that installing ogg codecs on windows is easy.. but the vast majority of people won’t do either of these and most don’t even know that it can be done

    all of you just assume that because you know how to do it, everyone should… that’s the problem with GNU/Linux, the developers assume what is best for the end users… since that’s not what they want, they won’t use it… Linux has not gotten very far on the desktop and this is one of the reasons

    Ubuntu was a game broker, because it was what regular people was looking on a OS… something that worked and was less hacking your way through….

    if you want to be a OSS purist, go and be so yourself… why do you want to impose your points of view on everybody else?… go and use gNewSense and see your wireless cards fail…. watch your non 3D accelerated desktop go…. go and be happy and let others be happy too with their legal codecs to play their files… it’s a shame, but the law still needs this to be this way

    if enough people actually start using FOSS, you can eventually and progressively introduce open codecs to them… not impose it them all at once… people can change from windows to mac os x because everything they have been using up until then keeps working as usual and most of the time, better than before… (yes, games are played only by a minority of PC users, so they don’t matter that much)… and then, instead of using WMV for their videos, they start using h264 with their quicktime codecs… FOSS has the same (and even much more) potential as mac os x, but blinded zealots are the cancer killing it.

    everything must be done little by little…

    Thanks Mark for Ubuntu, keep up the good work

  38. Miles said,

    June 11, 2008 at 10:43 am

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    Phobos: I agree. We need to take things one step at a time with migrating people over to Linux. If they need proprietary software/codecs/whatever to aid in moving over, then we need to make sure they have that option, otherwise they won’t make the jump.

  39. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 11:32 am

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    @Dan O’Brian

    “You’ll never get a majority of the world’s population of software users”

    Good.

    Free Software is not a popularity contest, it is about Freedom. People who want to enslave themselves to proprietary software should go elsewhere, and not drag us down with them. Period.

    I’m all for converting people to GNU/Linux, but not if it means destroying the very principles of that Free Software to accomplish that goal, because the end result would not be any form of “conversion” to Free Software, it would be our conversion away from Free Software to proprietary software. I’d count that as a far bigger failure than losing potential converts who are more interested in bloody MP3s than Freedom.

    If GNU/Linux becomes just another Windows-type OS, with all the technical; political and financial baggage that entails, then what exactly would be the point of using GNU/Linux at all? We may as well just give up, concede to Microsoft’s repression of Free Software, and use Windows, like all good little consumers are supposed to.

    This perversion has already begun, with Poisonware like Mono and Moonlight, and equally poisonous standards like OOXML (all ably assisted by Microsoft’s “partners” at Gnome and Novell, of course). And now the GNU/Linux vendors want to further encumber it with commercial; proprietary; patent encumbered “IP” too, which not only taints Free Software, but also promotes this patent garbage by lecturing us to “do the right thing”. Yeah, the “right thing” according to the Intellectual Monopolists, that is. IOW they’ve sold out, and are trying to sell their users out too.

    Well no one is selling me out. I’m nobody’s slave.

  40. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 11:58 am

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    @Phobos

    FYI: My entire music collection of ~50,000 songs is all in Ogg Vorbis format.

    Also ref: Windows support for Ogg and other Open/Free formats – ask yourself why Microsoft deliberately excludes completely free formats, but prefers to waste money on huge royalties to use MP3 instead. If Microsoft did support Ogg and Theora then the vast majority of PC users in the world would be exposed to that technology, and inevitably use it, eventually even in preference to MP3. This would cost Microsoft nothing, so why do they ignore it?

    This would also mean there’d ultimately be more DAP/DMP (hardware) support for Ogg and Theora, and from music services too, but AFAICT it is only because of Microsoft’s stubborn refusal (bigotry) to support these standards that Ogg and Theora are not more widely adopted.

    And your “solution”? Give up, capitulate to the demands of the Intellectual Monopolists and patent trolls, and declare your undying support for their encumbered crap.

    Some “solution” that is.

    How about using and promoting Ogg; Open Standards; and Free Software, instead of selling out and encouraging others to follow you.

    Meanwhile, there are better media players for Windows (for those who feel some dire need to use it) that do support free formats, like Foobar 2000 for example, or even better … MPlayer for Windows which is both free and Free.

    And I don’t buy that “Windows users are too stupid/lazy to download software” rubbish either. I used to be one of those Windows users, and IME “downloading software” (especially so-called “pirate” software) is pretty much all Windows users ever do. Well that … and futzing around with screensavers, in between rounds of Solitaire.

  41. Phobos said,

    June 11, 2008 at 12:00 pm

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    Slated, that kind of attitude is the problem.

    You’re mixing things up… OOXML and .NET are things that Microsoft want to impose one way or another but they are NOT used extensively today.

    MP3 is a format that has long outlived the expectation they had for it when Fraunhofer (note that MP3 has absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft) designed it. Even Microsoft has tried to fight it off with WMA to no avail.

    “Free Software is not a popularity contest, it is about Freedom. People who want to enslave themselves to proprietary software should go elsewhere, and not drag us down with them. Period.”

    you have to separate your ideologies from the real world for a bit… that’s your point of view and I might as well say that people like you should go elsewhere to a world where proprietary software doesn’t exist.

    Free Software is about Freedom. Yes, about Freedom of Choice… and people CAN choose to use proprietary formats if they want.

    the way you put it “I use GNU/Linux because it’s different than what the else use”…. the same happens with people using Mac OS X… if it becomes mainstream, it will loose it’s appeal to them.

    I repeat, licensing codecs is a completely different matter than the Mono and OOXML issue…. this is not an “interoperatibilty deal” either…. don’t go around mixing stuff up for your own sake…

  42. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 12:07 pm

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    @Phobos

    Ref: Your comments about Free Software advocated “imposing their will” on other.

    Is Freedom an imposition?

    Since when is it considered dictatorial to offer and promote Freedom?

    You sound like a slave owner complaining about the abolition of slavery, except in this case the “slavery” is not being abolished, it is merely being discouraged.

    To me it sounds far more like it is you who is attempting to “impose his will” on us, by dictating that we don’t have the right to promote Freedom.

    Are you that far gone that you not only reject that Freedom for yourself, but seek to censor those who promote it?

  43. Phobos said,

    June 11, 2008 at 12:14 pm

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    No.

    you are the one making a fuzz because the Ubuntu Netbook Remix wants to add proprietary codecs licenses… YOU are the want wanting to impose your zealotry to others.

    you can promote open codecs… but that doesn’t mean blinding yourself to them… you can be passionate about Open Source… but you can’t make other people as passionate as you are just because you want to… you can follow your ideologies, but you CAN NOT force people to follow you.

    spreading Open Source Software, even while using some proprietary licenses too, is still spreading OSS… Ubuntu Netbook still supports fully OGG and Theora, only that it comes with more options to choose what to use.

    That’s true Freedom, Freedom of Choice, as I said earlier.

  44. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 11, 2008 at 12:16 pm

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    Everyone needs to pay for the codecs, you know? Me and you included, regardless of our choices.

  45. Phobos said,

    June 11, 2008 at 12:23 pm

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    you don’t need them, you don’t buy them.

    that’s why it’s a remix… if you don’t want the codecs, get regular Ubuntu and add the Remix packages… we have many choices

  46. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 12:29 pm

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    @Phobos

    These are not my ideologies, they are the ideologies of Free Software (go read the GPL if you don’t believe me).

    You have the Freedom to choose to use Free Software, or not, at your discretion, but what you are proposing is that it is acceptable, and indeed necessary, to destroy the principles of Freedom in order to have it more widely adopted.

    See if you can spot the obvious flaw in your own logic.

    This “real world” argument is irrelevant. Free Software is licensed as such for a reason, and that reason is Freedom, not popularity. It is not I who chose to license tens of thousands of software projects under the GPL, that decision was made by those respective developers, who all chose Freedom. You would arbitrarily take that Freedom away by encouraging a dependency on encumbered software, because you think it isn’t “practical” to live without it.

    But the GPL is not supposed to be about what is “practical” to “real world” considerations, it is about promoting the “ideology” of Freedom. If people like you choose to reject those principles, then thanks for your time – and goodbye.

  47. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 12:34 pm

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    Oh it gets worse now.

    Apparently Freedom is “zealotry”.

    Case closed.

  48. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 12:38 pm

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    Footnote:

    “CAN NOT force people to follow you”

    Who’s “forcing”?

    This is called a “debate”, whereupon I advocate my ideals, and you either accept or reject them.

    Do I have a gun in my hand?

    Again, you seem to be promoting censorship

  49. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 11, 2008 at 12:38 pm

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    You ought to see the IRC channel at the moment. People write blog posts about us and now equate Freedom to “communism”.

  50. Phobos said,

    June 11, 2008 at 12:44 pm

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    Slated, you are wrong again.

    These are your ideologies… you wouldn’t be writing here if they weren’t.

    GPL is just a license, it is not an ideology, nor a religion, nor a political statement… it is just a set of rules.

    I never said you had to destroy Freedom… Roy seems to understand what I write… you still don’t.

    Freedom is Freedom… what you do is not Freedom, is zealotry… you are answering so blindly that you don’t even see where you yourself are at fail, even when I have said so a couple of times already.

    licensing codecs is not encumbering software… it’s legally adding something that can’t be added otherwise… it’s giving people options… you DON’T have to use them if you don’t want to.

    You are trying to force people not to use MP3s and other things… you don’t need to point a gun for that, you just have to go around attacking Mark and Ubuntu for deciding to add licensed codecs to a Remix… that way, if things come out the way you want, nobody gets the licensed codecs…. and thus, you are trying to force them to do what you want

    Free Software IS communism… communism by itself, as an ideology is great… that every goverment that has called itself communist have done so while being a dictatorship is one thing… but communism is not a bad thing, Roy

  51. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 11, 2008 at 1:02 pm

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    Steady on.

    Communism is a term which is used in politics.

    Free software is about engineering.

    What is this mixup?

  52. Phobos said,

    June 11, 2008 at 1:17 pm

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    I guess they are using “communism” as in a kind of socialism, not about it’s political meaning

  53. Miles said,

    June 11, 2008 at 1:18 pm

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    The fact you seem to forget is that the people who aren’t zealots like yourself have every right to use Linux they way that they see fit. Same with the people writing software for Linux. They have every right to write proprietary software if that is their choosing. They can’t force you to use their software, you can simply refuse to install it.

    Kicking and screaming like a spoiled child is not going to win anyone over – it’s about time you learned that.

  54. Miles said,

    June 11, 2008 at 1:19 pm

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    That was meant for Slated, in case it wasn’t obvious.

  55. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 1:33 pm

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    @Phobos

    No, these are not “my” ideologies, they were created by the Free Software Foundation … I merely support them.

    You are clearly trying to marginalise me as some kind of fringe fanatic, by implying that this Free Software issue is somehow my personal endeavour. If you have such a problem with Free Software, then I suggest you go talk to Richard Stallman, I’m sure that will be an interesting, if brief, conversation.

    And you’re wrong about the GPL being “just” a license. The FSF created and uses the GPL, and other means, to politically and philosophically promote the ideologies of Freedom. You really should read up on the subjects you are attempting to debate:

    [quote]
    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a 501(c)3 donor supported charity founded in 1985 and based in Boston, MA, USA. The FSF has a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom and to defend the rights of all free software users.
    [/quote]

    http://www.fsf.org/about/

    Note: “promote … freedom”.

    [quote]
    Philosophy of the GNU Project

    A series of articles describing the philosophy of the Free Software Movement, which is the motivation for our development of the free software operating system GNU.
    [/quote]

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/philosophy.html

    Note: “Philosophy”.

    And here’s some pretty blatant philosophy written directly into the GPL:

    [quote]
    The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed to take away your freedom to share and change the works. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change all versions of a program–to make sure it remains free software for all its users.

    To protect your rights, we need to prevent others from denying you these rights or asking you to surrender the rights. Therefore, you have certain responsibilities if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it: responsibilities to respect the freedom of others.
    [/quote]

    http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html

    Indeed, the GPL reads far more like a philosophical Mission Statement than a licence, which may account for why Stallman refers to it as CopyLeft rather than Copyright.

    In fact I recommend you read through that whole section, although I get the distinct impression it won’t alter your obviously intractable bigotry. At least you will be able to converse intelligently on the subject.

    And you still have not substantiated your claim that promoting Freedom is “zealotry”. Merely stating that as a fact, does not make it so. However, arbitrarily denouncing those who disagree with you as “zealots”, most certainly is a clear sign of bigotry (hint: you said it first).

    “licensing codecs is not encumbering software”

    Yes it most certainly is, since it makes what was previously Free Software (e.g. Totem/gstreamer) dependant on other encumbered software (proprietary codecs). It also taints the distro (as used by that incumbent user) as a whole, and taints the Free Software Community with this capitulation to the Intellectual Monopolists and patent trolls.

    IOW certain supposedly Free Software distributors are promoting the poisoning of Free Software with non-Free software.

    That is the issue … not the simple fact that proprietary software exists, nor that some people may wish to use that proprietary software, but the fact that it is being deployed and promoted from within the Free Software community.

    That is the root of my dissent (or “fuzz”, as you put it).

    And still you claim that I am “forcing” people to follow me.

    Debate is not “forcing”, Phobos, it is my basic right to free speech.

    Why do you think the opinions of Free Software advocates should be censored.

  56. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 1:38 pm

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    It gets even worse

    Now we’ve gone from Freedom is “zealotry” to “Free Software IS communism”.

    What next, Phobos?

    Are you going to accuse Free Software advocates of being terrorists?

  57. Miles said,

    June 11, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Gravatar

    He never accused of any such thing. Clearly you need to take a chill pill.

    All he said was that you are arrogant in thinking that people using Linux should do things your way or get lost.

    …And he’s right.

  58. Phobos said,

    June 11, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Gravatar

    “And you’re wrong about the GPL being “just” a license. The FSF created and uses the GPL, and other means, to politically and philosophically promote the ideologies of Freedom. You really should read up on the subjects you are attempting to debate:”

    you, once again, are mixing stuff up.

    GPL IS a license, nothing more. The Free Software Foundation promotes Free Software. They created the GPL (General Public LICENSE), but they also promote other licenses for Free Software.

    They have and ideology and a philosophy.. but the GPL is neither of those, it is a Free Software LICENSE.

    The Free Software Foundation didn’t create ideologies. They follow one.

    You follow yours, I didn’t try to marginalize you. Each person follow theirs… and each one defend theirs.

    You seem to think that I like Microsoft…. and you have no idea how off the mark you are. Richard Stallman is one of my personal heroes…

    I’m not calling you zealot because we think different. I’m calling you zealot because you write like all the other zealots around, that only use FOSS because it’s not Microsoft and not because of it’s own merits.

    Like those who don’t use Ubuntu and instead use another distro and their only comment is always “my distro is better than Ubuntu”… and while that might be or not true, nobody cares. The most used distro is Ubuntu and it is for a good reason..

    Nobody is promoting proprietary software. You keep mixing these…. Codecs are needed to keep using what people are using now… you need to make a soft transition, not an imposing one… people are always reluctant to changes…. you are supporting new users and inviting them to change to a FOSS world… you are telling them that they don’t need windows to do the same stuff as before… little by little, they will know they don’t need MP3s…. or RM, WMV and others for that matter…. but that if they still need them, they can use them if they want to…

  59. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 11, 2008 at 1:54 pm

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    Miles, some people have already taken this as far as “terrorism” (cue Rob Enderle). It’s a demonisation technique which is intended to permit robbing of one’s human rights, freedoms.

  60. Balzac said,

    June 11, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Gravatar

    Miles said,
    June 11, 2008 at 1:18 pm
    “The fact you seem to forget is that the people who aren’t zealots like yourself have every right to use Linux they way that they see fit.”

    Did somebody get duct-taped to a chair and forced to use or write free software? Then I guess everyone is using “Linux” as they see fit already. Criticism doesn’t infringe on anyone’s rights. You are a zealot against his right to criticize a corporation.

    “Kicking and screaming like a spoiled child is not going to win anyone over – it’s about time you learned that.”

    People who say “Open Source” instead of “Free Software” and people who refuse to acknowledge the GNU project in their GNU-derived OS variants are not respectful of the free software community and are not entitled to be exempt from criticism.

    “Open Source” zealots have been attacking the free software community since the very inception of the “Open Source” brand identity. That’s what the “Open Source” brand identity means – You’re willing to sell out at the earliest opportunity. You’re willing to confuse and deceive people in order to marginalize those who will not compromise their freedom like you do. Microsoft is on your side, not ours.

    Sadly, you’re missing an opportunity to enjoy freedom and catch the next big wave – a Free Software Renaissance.

    I’m not just a socially-engaged person, I’m also an entrepreneur and I seek to strengthen the Free Software brand recognition at the expense of the “Open Source” brand recognition because that’s what the “Open Source” people have been doing the whole time.

    Free Software advocates and entrepreneurs must challenge the “Open Source” brand identity in order to protect Free Software brand identity from compromised interlopers who seek to confuse the market.

    The Free Software Community existed first and remains distinct from the “Open Source” faction. The Free Software Community refuses to be assimilated by the Open Source faction.

    My hope is to see developers and gamers learn that authentic “Free Software” is what they really want, not some mixed-source grab-bag peddled as “Open Source” software.

  61. Miles said,

    June 11, 2008 at 2:08 pm

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    Roy: irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Phobos is not accusing the Free Software community of being terrorists.

    Phobos is simply advocating a gentle transition for Windows users to come to Linux, and that is the path that is most likely to help mom & pop move to Linux and be happy.

    Slated’s view that if you aren’t willing to give up you right to view your media (which is encoded in a proprietary format), you aren’t entitled to run Linux is just warped and hateful.

    Slated is an elitist and clearly does not want the average Joe to be able to run Linux (as he himself stated above). The Free Software community has been plagued by people like him since very early on, and they are hurting the advance of Free Software.

    He seems to be the type of person who runs Linux merely because it allows him to feel that he is better than everyone else “I run Linux, so I’m cooler than you”. These people have major self-esteem issues as can clearly be seen by Slated’s temper tantrum, and from what I can tell – he has them quite often.

    Mark Fink seems to be yet another perfect example of this type of person.

  62. Miles said,

    June 11, 2008 at 2:24 pm

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    Balzac: huh? You clearly misunderstood what I said.

  63. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 11, 2008 at 2:25 pm

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    I don’t know Mark Fink. What I do know, however, is that imposition can come with products that offer you no ability to keep you (and your wallet) away from the abomination which is software patents.

  64. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Gravatar

    @Miles

    Ref: Phobos’ bigoted stereotyping.

    “He never accused of any such thing.”

    You do know the difference between a question and a statement, don’t you?

    So far Phobos has denounced Free Software advocates as “zealots”, and Free Software itself as “Communism”. I am merely speculating as to how far he will extend his bigoted opinions of Free Software.

    BTW: Welcome to the Free-Software-bashing party. Be sure to invite the rest of your Ubuntu friends over to contribute their bigotry as well, so we can get a good measure of how institutionalised this problem really is within the Ubuntu community.

  65. Phobos said,

    June 11, 2008 at 3:17 pm

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    sorry, but I did not denounce Free Software advocates as zealots, I called you a zealot.

  66. Balzac said,

    June 11, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Gravatar

    Guys, let’s be honest about what’s happening here. It’s a debate between two ascendant software sectors. “Open Source” branded projects and Free Software projects are both rising up against Microsoft, but there’s a battle for mind-share and market-share between “Open Source” and Free Software.

    Many businesses who’ve associated their brand with “Open Source” don’t want the market to catch on about the Free Software Movement because they stand to lose mind-share and market-share in the same manner Microsoft stands to lose mind-share to “open source” and for similar reasons.

    “Open Source” is really a code-phrase which means “mixed source” and “plays nicely with proprietary software”. The agenda is higher quarterly profit-margins, not freedom.

    So, you can keep up your rhetoric, which will only inflame the dialog and lead to more hemorrhaging of mind-share and market-share from the “open source” brand recognition to Free Software “brand” recognition”.

    We can make money too, and without being willing to make the compromises you’re willing to make. In the end, the arguments against the Free Software branding put forth by ESR and others will look very silly and expedient.

    It’s just a shame “Open Source” advocates are still trying to mislead the public about the Free Software movement. The behavior is like what you would expect from an un-grateful child.

  67. spartan2276 said,

    June 11, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Gravatar

    after reading some of these replies it seems that Phobos is correct, paying for the codecs is the right an legal thing to do for mark and his company if the netbook remix is to be successful. He is also not forcing it on us users if you don’t want to use it then don’t, Ubuntu is a great distro and by far better than most. I can also understand where most of you are coming from, but freedom is freedom, if someone chooses the wrong thing it is still their choice so it is still freedom, so we can all sit here and argue/debate with each other as to what freedom is. But ultimately if you have a choice then you still have freedom! FOSS is freedom to rid yourself of the monopolistic entities which plagues our society and is great, but it cannot be forced on everyone or anyone, because when and if you do it is no longer freedom! Communisim(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communisim#Terminology) is great in terms of ideology, but if you force FOSS on people then it becomes a DICTATORSHIP nothing more nothing less. Just something to think about, I’m sure even Rick Stallman would agree.

  68. Balzac said,

    June 11, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Gravatar

    “I’m sure even Rick Stallman would agree.” – spartan2276

    No one here is trying to force Mark Shuttleworth or anyone else to do anything. Since you brought up the question of what RMS would agree with, I’ll pass it on to him and we’ll see what he says.

  69. spartan2276 said,

    June 11, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Gravatar

    @Balzac

    “Since you brought up the question of what RMS would agree with, ”

    No one brought up any question that was just my assumption and no one said anyone was forcing Mark or his company to do anything, what I was referring to what Phobos was stating. Freedom is Freedom, you are free to say what you like right and do what you like, I bet you can’t do the same in china or cuba right. So what we have here is freedom of choice, an according to some of your comments it seems to me like most of you are choosing not to use Ubuntu as a distro which again you have the freedom to do so, so why can’t Mark pay for codecs to give people choice now if that choice turns out to be bad then that is his and Canonicals choice, so if you can’t understand that then I think we have ourselves a serious issue at hand.

  70. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Gravatar

    @Phobos

    “They have and ideology and a philosophy.. but the GPL is neither of those, it is a Free Software LICENSE.”

    Which part of “The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed to take away your freedom” didn’t you understand. It’s right there … in the GPL. Read it.

    Expressing opinions about other licenses in one’s own, goes beyond the remit of “just a license”. This, and much of the rest of the GPL, is clearly an expression of ideology as much as it is “just a license”.

    I also cannot help but feel revulsion at the extent to which you deem it necessary to distance the GPL from the principles it extols. It’s as if you can only just tollerate the GPL, as long as you don’t actually have to subscribe to any of that “Communist/zealot” idealism stuff. You can’t have it both ways, Phobos. Either you embrace the principles of the GPL that you benefit from, or you denounce the whole affair as unacceptable “Communism”, and move on.

    So what’s it going to be?

    Pretending that Free Software has nothing to do with the ideology of Freedom, just for the convenience of your own conscience, is an exercise in denialism.

    And I didn’t accuse you of “liking Microsoft”, but by your actions (or rather inaction) you are indirectly helping them (and other Intellectual Monopolists) achieve their goals. Or IOW, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, and by pro-actively fighting against those (like me) who seek an end to Intellectual Monopolies, you are helping them in more than just a passive sense. I have no idea if that means you “like” them, or whether you are just too apathetic to care if they succeed in their monopolistic agenda.

    “I’m not calling you zealot because we think different. I’m calling you zealot because you write like all the other zealots”

    So you admit that the sole basis for your claim is bigoted stereotyping.

    But what I find even more repulsive, is that you could make any kind of association whatsoever between “Freedom” and “bigotry”. I find this kind of thinking very sick indeed. Is the Bill of Rights an expression of “bigotry” too? Or is it only those who support the Bill of Rights who are “zealots”.

    “Codecs are needed to keep using what people are using now… you need to make a soft transition, not an imposing one”

    First of all, that is a rather presumptuous statement. What “people” are you talking about? If such “people” want to live in a proprietary world, then let them. There’s no one holding a gun to their head and forcing them to use Free Software. You make it sound as though it is literally impossible to use GNU/Linux without proprietary support. I can testify from first hand experience that this is clearly not the case.

    Secondly, WRT “transitions” … yes evolutionary change is less of an imposition than revolutionary change. However it is also a very slow process, during which sometimes intractable compromises are made that irreparably damage the final goal. It is my contention that it is better to firmly establish the principles at the beginning then gradually persuade others to embrace those principles, than to start with a weak hand that only gets weaker as the stakes get higher. And in the corporate world of Intellectual Monopolists, the stakes are very, very high indeed – hence the thuggish behaviour that borders on racketeering (and requires antitrust investigations).

    Certainly the “imposition” of this revolutionary change will not likely result in an initially high adoption rate. May I ask why this is important to you? What does it matter to you that others use Windows?

    I’m certainly eager to convert the willing over to GNU/Linux, but the mere existence of Windows and its users doesn’t bother me, and neither does this concept of “market share”. Indeed, why should market share matter to Free Software at all. Free Software exists … it is there for anyone who wishes to use it … mission accomplished. There is no agenda of Free Software market domination that I’m aware of, surely things like that only matter to monopolies like Microsoft, who frantically play this whack-a-mole game in order to “fscking kill” anything that threatens their (vast) bottom line.

    Indeed, the only time that I actually “care” about market share, is when monopolies abuse their market power to suppress Free Software and Open Standards, just like Microsoft does. In this sense, and only in this sense, do I “care” about market share, since this particular abuse (an illegal abuse I might add) potentially threatens the future of Free Software. The specific numbers are wholly irrelevant, as long as Free Software is not compromised, then it will always be there for those who want it.

    And can you please stop claiming that I’m “mixing things up”. I know very well that standards; licenses; patents; trademarks; trade secrets; and RAND covenants are different, but at one time or another all of those things have been abused by Intellectual Monopolists to repress Free Software. Just because they are all different, that doesn’t mean that I’m not “allowed” to use them all in the same sentence. OOXML; Mono; Moonlight; and MP3 may all be a threat to Free Software for different reasons, but they are nonetheless still a threat. You whitewashing the issue with pedantry isn’t going to change that.

  71. Balzac said,

    June 11, 2008 at 5:14 pm

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    “why can’t Mark pay for codecs to give people choice now if that choice turns out to be bad then that is his and Canonicals choice, so if you can’t understand that then I think we have ourselves a serious issue at hand. ” – spartan2276

    No one can stop Mark Shuttleworth from paying for codecs. So the answer to your question “whey can’t Mark pay for codecs” is that the premise of your question is invalid.

    Now for the next part of your run-on sentence which begins with a question and ends with a statement – Since I can’t understand your premise or your punctuation, I would say that it is not we, but you, who has a serious issue at hand.

    How will you take this issue seriously?

  72. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 5:24 pm

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    @Miles

    “Slated’s view that if you aren’t willing to give up you right to view your media (which is encoded in a proprietary format), you aren’t entitled to run Linux is just warped and hateful.”

    That is a gross misrepresentation.

    This has nothing to do with what rights people (as in end-users) have to mix proprietary and/or otherwise encumbered software with Free Software. This is about whether or not GNU/Linux distro vendors or other distributors should be shipping and promoting such software, thereby encouraging its use.

    What end-users subsequently do with software in the privacy of their own homes, is another matter, and nobody’s business but their own.

    However, I would still be inclined to discourage the use of such software. Discouraging is not quite the same thing as dictating though. Indeed, I view it as the moral obligation of all Free Software advocates to encourage its use, which is AFAICT exactly what I am doing.

  73. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Gravatar

    @Aleksey

    “GNU and Linux were originally developed using proprietary software”

    The surface of the Earth was originally covered in molten lava, but that doesn’t mean things didn’t change for the better over time.

  74. spartan2276 said,

    June 11, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Gravatar

    @Balzac

    So clearly this means that if people don’t agree with one another then we should go to insults. I certainly was not paying attention to what I was writing then and I’m not now at least in a grammatical sense. My argument still stands and again if you can’t understand it then most of you have some real issues to work out. It is in plain English, grammatical errors or not.

    Freedom is Freedom, the GPL is freedom from monopolistic entities(Microsoft,IBM etc…) but if you start trying to force it on everyone then it is no longer freedom because then at that point it is no longer a choice which will then defeat the whole purpose of what the GPL stands for altogether. Was this clear enough for you Balzac and everyone who wants to insult?

    The GPL is great, but to force it on people is not which is part of what Phobos was saying which is the part that agree with, now everything else you guys can go ahead and debate/argue until the sun sets and rises.

  75. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Gravatar

    @spartan2276

    “why can’t Mark pay for codecs”

    Mark may pay for whatever he likes. What he does or doesn’t pay for, is none of my concern.

    “to give people choice”

    People (i.e. end-users) already have choice. What Canonical is doing is not “offering choice”, it is tainting Free Software by default, and promoting the use of proprietary and/or encumbered software.

    I absolutely guarantee you that if this commercial codec package was omitted from Netbook Remix, I would still be able to access proprietary media using Free Software obtained elsewhere, if I had any proprietary media that is. I know this for a fact from past experience.

    This codec package is not a necessary inclusion, it is a point of convenience only, and a nod of compliance to the Intellectual Monopolists who erode our Freedom, little by little, with each compromise we make.

  76. spartan2276 said,

    June 11, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Gravatar

    @Balzac

    trust me when I tell you, I’m all for Ubuntu not having proprietary code in it’s inner workings, but that is not up to me. I also hate the fact that this Dumb ASS Miguel De Icaza is working on this Mono/Moonlight project.

    But people let’s get down to reality here all they care about is money and not freedom. As for Mark the question is still out on him, because he already has money(although I bet he will argue that you can’t never have too much money). But he is at least trying to do something positive. If he is making the right decision or not time will tell and if you guys can change his mind about not using those codecs then by all means do so. Because it would be really sad if Linux becomes proprietary.

  77. spartan2276 said,

    June 11, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated

    you are absolutely 100% correct, but that is still their choice not ours. And that is not my argument I too can choose not use the restricted codecs package but I don’t and that is freedom, which is for an individual to do what they want when they want to even if it is breaking the law. But again that is Mark and Canonicals choice to make and all we can do is protest against it and not use Ubuntu as a distro. So according to you and everyone else Canonical is not giving people choice because according to the GPL it is not choice we understand and agree.

    Keep up the good fight, great work you are doing here Roy+Crew! FUCK NOVELL SELL OUTS

  78. spartan2276 said,

    June 11, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Gravatar

    @Roy

    Did you see this?
    http://bigbolshevik.blogs.friendster.com/a_man_and_his_penguin/2008/06/boycott_boycott.html

    What is this all about? It seems that you are attracting people’s attention!

  79. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Gravatar

    @spartan2276

    “Freedom is Freedom, the GPL is freedom from monopolistic entities(Microsoft,IBM etc…) but if you start trying to force it on everyone then it is no longer freedom because then at that point it is no longer a choice which will then defeat the whole purpose of what the GPL stands for altogether.”

    This is the most ridiculously warped view of Free Software advocacy that I have ever witnessed.

    First of all, advocacy is not “force”, it is merely debate.

    Secondly, Canonical are more than happy to benefit from the work and altruism of Free Software developers (without whom Ubuntu would simply not exist), but then they reward that same community who facilitated their distro in the first place, with proprietary and/or encumbered software that taints that Free Software, and binds those users to additional restrictions.

    Can you not see what a slap in the face this is to Free Software developers and users?

    Can you also not see how this compromises your Freedom, since this is tantamount to an admission of liability for something you should not actually be liable for? You are being exploited by the Intellectual Monopolists … and Canonical is helping them.

    Tell me this, when was the last time you paid for something that you didn’t actually receive? Are you quite content to be exploited in such a fashion?

    In the case of MP3 “patents”, you are paying for something that is fundamentally fictitious (Intellectual Property … i.e. “thin air”), and even if you don’t actually hand over any money, your Freedom (i.e. “rights”) have still been compromised by non-Free licenses and/or patents. Maybe you’d like to run that software on alternative hardware architectures unsupported by the vendor … well tough, you can’t do that, since the software is not Free, and you are both technically and legally prohibited from doing so. That is not Freedom. That is not what Free Software is all about. That is not be something that Canonical, or any GNU/Linux distro vendor should be either facilitating or promoting. Period.

    It is a rather upside-down view of things to claim that protecting Free Software is somehow limiting “choice”, when it is actually the tainting of Free Software with proprietary and/or encumbered software that removes that choice, by compromising Free Software and placing your control and rights into other people’s hands, especially when those other “people” have malicious intent (i.e. the Intellectual Monopolists). That is not advocating “choice”, it is advocating the supplementation of Free Software with proprietary and/or encumbered software. It is advocating the revocation of your Freedom, and voluntarily becoming a slave to those who seek to exploit you.

    Canonical should not be distributing and promoting proprietary and/or encumbered software. Period. If end-users want to install such software of their own accord, then that is their own choice (yes they do already have that choice – which makes your whole line of reasoning rather moot).

  80. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Gravatar

    @spartan2276

    Ref: the link to a Blog that no one has ever heard of.

    Some guy called “Christopher”, who is 22; loves cats; and aspires to “date women” (according to his profile [1]), thinks BN is about “Communism” and that Roy is “autistic”.

    Well I must say, that blog convinced me. That’s it, I’m off … no more BoycottNovell for me. I shall dedicate the rest of my life to reading about “Christopher’s” autistic cats, or whatever profoundly essential topics he has waiting for me in the treasure chest of his world renowned Blog.

    However, a serious word of caution to those contemplating visiting that site …

    Clicking on his “Profile” link takes you here:

    [1] http://profiles . friendster . com / 9370811
    *** WARNING! Do not follow this link***

    Which subsequently redirects here:

    http://scan . winspywarescanner . com / 266 / 5022 /
    *** WARNING! Do not follow this link***

    Which is a known scam site “selling” fake anti-spyware software.

    Maybe someone aught to tell “Christopher” that his site, and possibly even his autistic cats, have been compromised.

  81. RyanT said,

    June 11, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Gravatar

    Adding in proprietary codecs would only be limiting choice if you couldn’t in any way choose any other form of codec, or re-encode the file to another one.

    You are removing choice, because you are not allowing people to view content in formats they already use, amongst many others. You are causing more harm than good – you are putting up flimsy, unnecessary barriers, especially when you consider that without those codecs, then how are people supposed to change their files into new, open formats instead?

    The only way to do it is transition, which is exactly what Netbook Remix is doing. Including the codecs for people that need, and including the open formats too, ready and waiting to be converted to. They wouldn’t be able to do that without the proprietary codecs in the first place so they can read and convert them, meaning no transition, no more FOSS converts,etc etc.

    Why do you think OpenOffice includes support for MS Office foramts? Because people still have documents in taht format, and the only way you’re going to get new people and get them to transfer over completely, you have to be compatible with said formats in the first place, otherwise there’s no way to access or change formats.

    By not having the codecs, they would be blocking themselves from a much larger audience ripe for transition.

  82. Aleksey said,

    June 11, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated

    ““GNU and Linux were originally developed using proprietary software”

    The surface of the Earth was originally covered in molten lava, but that doesn’t mean things didn’t change for the better over time.”

    While I might disagree on the first part, I’d like to say that the second part was exactly my point. Things have changed in FOSS towards the better, but that doesn’t mean they are done changing. And discarding a part that isn’t done changing yet, hurts the cause as a whole.

    BTW, I chose Linux because it was the right tool for the right job for me, not because it’s a crime to use proprietary software. I love the freedom philosophy it has behind it and hope it spreads further and further, but I don’t let that get in my way when I have no choice but to use proprietary software for say, music and video producation. Sometimes you have to live practically, not idealogically, otherwise I’d get fired.

  83. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Gravatar

    @Miles

    Let’s examine your personal attack on me in detail:

    “Slated’s view that if you aren’t willing to give up you right to view your media (which is encoded in a proprietary format), you aren’t entitled to run Linux is just warped and hateful.”

    I’ve already addressed your misconception about “rights” above (this is about the vendor promoting and facilitating encumbered software, not what the end-user may or may not do).

    What interests me far more than your misconception, is your use of the word “hateful”.

    Please explain to me who exactly it is you think I “hate”.

    Do you think I “hate” Mark Shuttleworth, a man who has probably done more for the promotion of GNU/Linux than nearly anyone else in the community?

    IMHO this “codecs” decision by Canonical is certainly a mistake, but I hardly think that qualifies as a reason to “hate” either Mark, Canonical or Ubuntu (or even it’s users and developers).

    “Dissent” does not equivocate to “hatred”, Miles. That just your paranoia and defensiveness. I suggest you redirect your paranoia and defensiveness where it is needed most, towards the Intellectual Monopolists who want to take away your Freedom. If I was to “hate” anyone it would be them, and I believe I would be fully justified.

    When it comes to vendors pushing commercially “licensed” patents in Free Software, regardless of who is making that transgression, I profoundly disagree with that decision; always will; and will voice my dissent against it in the hope of influencing a reversal of that misguided decision. But that is not hatred.

    Do you think that all those politicians who yell at each other in parliament/congress “hate” each other? Most of them probably have a meal together in the same restaurant after work, laughing and joking about the day’s events.

    “Slated is an elitist”

    That is a blatant falsehood and misrepresentation.

    I am not mandating who may or may not use GNU/Linux. I am campaigning against the default inclusion and promotion of proprietary and/or encumbered software in Free Software distributions. As I’ve said (several times now) it is entirely up to the end-user what he or she does with his own Free Software in the privacy of his or her own home. But Free Software distributors should not be promoting and facilitating the use of non-Free software.

    “and clearly does not want the average Joe to be able to run Linux”

    Your utter lack of faith in the capabilities of Free Software is noted. So you really do believe that Free Software can not work properly without proprietary and/or encumbered software? That is a sad revelation indeed.

    “(as he himself stated above).”

    That is also a blatant lie.

    What I stated was that “Free Software is not a popularity contest, it is about Freedom.” This has nothing to with what I “want” for the “average Joe”. I do not want anything (either way) for the average Joe, beyond the availability of untainted Free Software. It is your contention that average Joe can’t survive without proprietary and/or encumbered software, not mine. If anything, it is you who is the “elitist” for making such demands on average Joe to use proprietary software. I, on the other hand, have clearly stated my disinterest in what average Joe does in the privacy of his own home.

    “The Free Software community has been plagued by people like him”

    I might easily equate people like you to a “plague” also, since it is they who are completely indifferent to the erosion of their own liberty, and the integrity of Free Software, by Intellectual Monopolists. Apathy is certainly more like a “plague” than advocating Freedom, that’s for sure. I can’t see anything destructive about my efforts. Yours OTOH seems to be geared towards the destruction of Free Software, whether you intend it to or not.

    “they are hurting the advance of Free Software.”

    The problem is that your definition of “advance”, and mine, are radically different.

    My idea of “advancing” Free Software is to protect and promote it, to ensure it remains Free and untainted.

    Your definition of “advance” seems to be about the utterly irrelevant concept of “market share”, which AFAICT should not matter to anyone except monopolists like Microsoft.

    “He seems to be the type of person who runs Linux merely because it allows him to feel that he is better than everyone else. “I run Linux, so I’m cooler than you” ”

    Oh dear, what a childish (not to mention utterly inaccurate) analysis.

    I am not some child who contemplates “cool factors”, I am a grown man who has worked in UNIX and Linux consultancy probably longer than you have even lived on this green planet.

    The first computers I ever worked with could not possibly even run Windows, primarily because it simply didn’t exist at that time, and if it had existed then it would have been incompatible with DECs architecture.

    I have succeeded in living and working most of my life without hardly even being exposed to Windows at all, and if it hadn’t been for an unfortunate accident with a mug of coffee and a rather elderly 16-bit computer around eight years ago, I would still be quite oblivious to Microsoft’s finest Bloatware.

    Considerations of “coolness” had absolutely zero to do with any of that.

    “These people have major self-esteem issues”

    Again, a very childish, and wholly unsubstantiated personal attack. You do not know the first thing about who I am, beyond my opinions of Free Software.

    I am not here for my own benefit, since I have the knowledge and means to deploy GNU/Linux autonomously, if I so wished, without any intervention from Canonical or anyone else. Indeed I have done so on many occasions, as required by my work. If you’d care to actually learn something, rather than spouting ad hominem attacks against complete strangers, I recommend you read this:

    http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/

    I am here because I see it as a moral duty to both promote and protect Free Software. I have benefited greatly from Free Software over the years, and this is just one of the ways in which I can give something back to the community. You may not like what I have to say, but then not everything that is good for you is pleasant.

    “as can clearly be seen by Slated’s temper tantrum”

    I’m far too old to indulge in such things as “tantrums”. How you can deduce this from my writings, I have no idea. I use italics and bold for emphasis, and I believe I used the word “bloody” above as a sarcastic reference to MP3, but I can assure you that as I sit here I am, as always, perfectly calm.

    “and from what I can tell – he has them quite often.”

    And you deduced this how, exactly?

    Please, if you wish to debate then do so, but by lowering yourself to ad hominem attacks, you only concede what little argument you may have.

  84. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Gravatar

    @Aleksey

    “discarding a part that isn’t done changing yet, hurts the cause as a whole”

    The problem is that this particular “change” is for the worse, not better. Tainting Free Software, thus creating additional restrictions for those who depend on the openness and freeness of that software, is far more hurtful than the trivial imposition of end-users having to make their own personal arrangements to acquire any non-Free software they think they might need.

    As for whether or not it’s a “crime” to use proprietary software, well despite the fact that you probably meant that sarcastically, it may nonetheless be true under certain circumstances, since the restrictions of proprietary software may be such that you are in violation of that license, at which point your Freedom (which has already been compromised by your acceptance of that proprietary license) is then further compromised by the imposition of having to make changes to satisfy those license conditions.

    One example of this would be if Microsoft changed their licensing conditions for Windows Media codecs, and those unfortunate GNU/Linux users who had misguidedly licensed those codecs from Microsoft (even indirectly from Fluendo) found themselves further obligated to Microsoft (either financially, or in some other way).

    Proprietary software is tricky that way.

    You claim that you had “no choice but to use proprietary software”, and since I am not you then I will have to take that statement on face value, but I must admit I find it very hard to believe.

    As a professional who has worked in the industry for many years, and used computers extensively in private life too, I cannot think of any task which can’t be satisfied by Free Software.

    But your personal choices are your own, of course.

    Nonetheless, this does not excuse Free Software distributors from their wholly contradictory and destructive promotion and facilitation of non-Free software.

  85. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 11, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m catching up with this discussion at the moment and it’s still upsets that religious and political terms are used to dismiss opinions about technical things. Were women who fought for equality “zealots”? Was the fight against slavery “communism”? I really don’t get it and I can only imagine where these stereotypes come from.

    The only passionate (or supposedly “zealous”) fight is one for control by a vendor. The ‘default’ was Free software a few decades ago. Why is resistance to shackling “not pragmatic”? Or “rebellious”?

    As I said at the start, there are no easy decisions in this case. I certainly don’t hate anyone. I never hated Novell, either. So please, enough with the labels. It’s a debate, not an attack.

  86. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Gravatar

    @RyanT

    “You are removing choice, because you are not allowing people to view content in formats they already use, amongst many others.”

    I am neither removing nor disallowing anything.

    I am campaigning for Free Software to be distributed in an untainted form, by Free Software vendors who are currently facilitating and promoting proprietary and/or encumbered software.

    This goes equally for OpenOffice.org.

    As I’ve said many; many times now, what the end-user decides to do with that software, and whether or not he decides to also use non-Free software, is entirely up to him.

    Facilitating and promoting proprietary and/or encumbered software does nothing to encourage Free Software adoption, since it only serves to make end-users further dependant on those non-Free components. By distributing Free Software in an untainted state (as it should rightfully be) we are encouraging end-users to consider Free Software first and foremost … not as a poor cousin to non-Free software. If, and only if those end-users still need non-Free software, despite the best efforts of all concerned (i.e. upstream and distro maintainers), then those end-users are, as always, still free to obtain those proprietary and/or encumbered components from elsewhere.

    This is not rocket science, it is nothing more than a mild inconvenience, and a very small price to pay to promote and protect Free Software. The alternative, OTOH, is to severely compromise Free Software for nothing more than the sake of convenience for one segment of the GNU/Linux community.

    Compromising Freedom for any reason is unacceptable, but to do so for such trivial reasons is an utter travesty.

  87. Balzac said,

    June 11, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Gravatar

    The “Open Source” (aka Mixed Source) crowd doesn’t see how the Free Software Movement is the headwaters for the river of wealth they aspire to partake in. They don’t understand how the authentically free software is clean and pure like water melting from snow-caps in the mountains, and they’re down in the valley drinking water already sullied by the “mixed source” opportunists who exist further downstream.

  88. Slated said,

    June 11, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Gravatar

    @Balzac

    Yes, very poetic :)

    However I think you are generalising too much.

    With the exception of Tim O’Reilly; Eric Raymond and other old-school Open Source proponents, IME the vast majority of those who use the term “Open Source” have no idea that there is any difference between Open Source and Free Software.

    For other’s, it seems that the term “Open Source” is preferred because they believe the term “Free Software” might be confused with “Freeware”, which is only “free” in the financial sense.

    Then again there are more recent proponents of Open Source who deliberately use that term to obfuscate the fact that their software is not really Free (and often not really Open either). Microsoft’s “Shared Source” initiatives and Port25 come to mind. Here’s a very recent example:

    http://port25.technet.com/archive/2008/06/06/sandcastle-removed-from-codeplex.aspx

    However, certain people at Microsoft can barely even bring themselves to utter the words “Open Source”, much less “stoop” to saying “Free Software”:

    [quote]
    If I ask you who is Microsoft’s biggest competitor now, who would it be?

    Ballmer: Open…Linux. I don’t want to say open source.
    [/quote]

    http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/soa/Ballmer-Q-A-Feeling-the-heat-at-Microsoft/0,130061733,339286406,00.htm

    And his friend Gates devised an all new way of phrasing “Open Source” in such a way as to give it a negative attribute:

    [quote]
    The government and Microsoft signed two agreements Monday stressing Uribe’s strong commitment to Microsoft products at a time when other countries in the region are promoting the non-proprietary Linux operating system.
    [/quote]

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/308188_gatescolombia20.html

    Note: “non-proprietary”.

    The first time I saw that bastardisation, I commented that Gates must have tasked Ballmer with the job of rephrasing Open Source in a negative way. I think I said something like:

    Ballmer: [opens his Ballmer Dictionary] Hmm, “Open Source”. How about “Bad Source”? No, no … “Nasty Source”? No. Non-Good Source”. Hmm. Oh, I know … “Non-Proprietary Source” … er, better make it just “Non-Proprietary”, since we don’t really *ship* much in the way of “Source”. That’s it, perfect. Proprietary = Good, Non-Proprietary = Bad. Now, where’s those entries for “benevolent” and “altruistic”?

    However, in general I wouldn’t read too much into those who say Open Source or FOSS. In general it is quite benign, much like when people say Linux, but actually mean GNU/Linux rather than the Linux kernel. Certainly from the POV of correct attribution, not to mention good manners, people should say GNU/Linux instead of just Linux, but as I said this is mostly harmless, and not done out of malice.

  89. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 12, 2008 at 2:13 am

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    In his talks, Richard Stallman speaks about “non-Free software” rather than “proprietary software”. Same thing, but negative chracterisation of software of its unnatural form rather than negative chracterisation of software that respects its user.

  90. RyanT said,

    June 12, 2008 at 5:36 am

    Gravatar

    SLated, yes you are. You are not saying to not put in proprietary codecs as stadnard, therefore restricting, therefore removing choice.

    You have not directly addressed my point, but weaselled put of it. ou have nt addressed the much, much larger amount of people who use proprietary codecs, therefore require those codecs, and to switch to open ones, need them for the seek of compatibility to even cinvert them to the open formats we want them to use.

    Noone said anything about FOSS as a poor alternative or anything like that. It is short sighted and naive to think you can get in more people to the FOSS movement without anything to actually ease them across, in this case, compatibility for codecs they already use, along with the codecs they don’t and hopefully will. If you don;t you cut off your audience and cannot reach a wider audience, again, ripe for transition.

    The only way you are going to get new people and spread the movement isn’t just convincing them, but providing the necessary tools to come across. Having a hissy fit and talking about being tainted, when all that’s going on is some codecs that are needed if Netbook Remix is going to be anywhere near mainstream and do well, even if just to begrudgingly provide that functionality for the majority that use it, with the obvious advantage of being able to promtoe and convert to ne standards in the process, then so be it.

  91. Mark Shuttleworth said,

    June 12, 2008 at 7:17 am

    Gravatar

    @Slated

    You say:
    I absolutely guarantee you that if this commercial codec package was omitted from Netbook Remix, I would still be able to access proprietary media using Free Software obtained elsewhere, if I had any proprietary media that is. I know this for a fact from past experience.

    That is absolutely true, and as I’m sure you know, in Ubuntu we have made it straightforward for people to download and install free software implementations of all the codecs for which this is possible. We encourage and support the use of free software – this is the best way to improve those codec implementations, and inspire innovation in the development of new codecs. People who have patent licenses, and people who do not need patent licenses, and people who are legally entitled to do research around these issues without patent licenses, are perfectly supported in this.

    However, an OEM like Dell or Lenovo or Quanta or Asus that shipped a product using those free implementations in the USA specifically would face the risk of a lawsuit on patent violation grounds. I think we all agree that the patent system which makes that true is broken, but I hope we would also all agree that it is NOT in the interests of free software for a major OEM to be sued, and incur huge costs, on this issue. We want the industry to work with free software, and to see free software as a solution and not a risk. With regard to Ubuntu as you download it from ubuntu.com there is no question that we will not taint the global platform with proprietary codecs just because a few countries have bad patent legal system. At the same time, to the extent that we can help ship free software on devices in a way that complies with the law, we will help.

    I liked the reference to civil disobedience earlier – it is entirely appropriate for individuals to stand for their beliefs in the face of laws which undermine fundamental rights and truths. I grew up in South Africa, where change would not have happened without measured and appropriate civil disobedience. But I can’t and will not make that choice on behalf of someone – it should be their decision whether they will exercise that inalienable right. Ubuntu does not compromise on your behalf, but nor will we force millions of users into a position of illegal behaviour that they may be entirely unaware of.

  92. Igor said,

    June 12, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Gravatar

    Thanks that you are not in charge of any community, your “all software has to be free” is viral and is *not* they way that Linux has to run and be managed.

    My laptop or *any* hardware I have needs non-free software to run.

    Basically what you’re telling me that is wrong to make deals with a company so the user can have an out-of-the-box and legal solution to media formats?

  93. Slated said,

    June 12, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Gravatar

    @Mark Shuttleworth

    I certainly understand your motives, but I strongly disagree with your solution.

    “However, an OEM like Dell or Lenovo or Quanta or Asus that shipped a product using those free implementations in the USA specifically would face the risk of a lawsuit on patent violation grounds.”

    Not if those free implementations are not pre-installed, but acquired after-market by the end-user (the option 3 that I suggested earlier in the thread).

  94. Balzac said,

    June 12, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Gravatar

    “… I’m sure even Rick Stallman would agree.” – spartan2276

    spartan2276, here is Richard’s response:

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html

  95. Balzac said,

    June 12, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Gravatar

    Well, that didn’t quite work. Let’s try it without the period at the end of the URL:

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html

  96. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 12, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Gravatar

    I’ve just mended the first URL. Thanks, Balzac. The page is informative.

  97. Slated said,

    June 12, 2008 at 1:44 pm

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    @RyanT

    “SLated, yes you are. [removing and disallowing]”

    No I am not.

    I have no power to arbitrarily remove or disallow anything from Ubuntu Remx, or any other distro. That is not “weaseling”, as you put it, it is a statement of fact. The mere fact that I am campaigning for something, does not mean I have the power to force it to happen. I suppose I should feel complemented that you believe I somehow wield so much power.

    As to what I am campaigning for … altering the delivery method is not “removal of choice”. Those codecs are still obtainable, regardless of whether or not they are pre-installed. Are you so inept that you cannot download and install your own software?

    “much larger amount of people who use proprietary codecs”

    The numbers are wholly irrelevant, since all those people, regardless of how many there are (and you have no way to quantify that) may still obtain those codecs. That “choice” has not mysteriously disappeared. I am arguing that Free Software should not be distributed in a tainted state, not that end-users don’t have the “right” to subsequently taint their own Free Software (or do whatever else they want with it).

    “need them for the seek of compatibility to even cinvert them to the open formats we want them to use”

    End-users do not need non-Free software to achieve that, as Mark Shuttleworth himself confirmed (above). Exactly the same process can be achieved using Free Software alternatives that end-users can acquire from third-party repositories.

    You are just making excuses. You are arguing vehemently for something that will compromise Free Software, for no better reason than convenience. That is unacceptable IMO.

    “Noone said anything about FOSS as a poor alternative”

    By continually insisting that it is more important to taint the distro by pre-installing this non-Free software, than merely allow end-users to make their own arrangements, you are giving precedence to that non-Free software.

    Worse than that, end-users will then be exposed to that non-Free software by default, before they have even been given the opportunity to choose the Free Software alternatives. The end result of this farce may then be that most, if not all, users of Ubuntu Remix will end up using that non-Free software through apathy or ignorance, even if they do not live in a country that enforces these ridiculous software patent laws.

    I might just as easily argue that pre-installing these non-Free codecs “removes choice” from those who prefer the Free Software alternatives, according to your logic.

    “It is short sighted and naive to think you can get in more people to the FOSS movement”

    I think you must be confusing your own ambitions with mine. As I have said, and repeatedly reiterated throughout this thread, Free Software is not a popularity contest, it is about Freedom. Non-Free software takes away that Freedom, especially when it is pre-installed as the de facto option, thus causing the ignorant or apathetic to haplessly accept that de facto condition without question, even if they have no legal reason to do so.

    It is a very sad state of affairs, when members of the GNU/Linux community are so utterly contemptuous of the Free Software that they benefit from, without which they would not even have a Free operating system, that they would battle relentlessly to taint that Free Software, for the sake of the “convenience” of pre-installed non-Free software that they are convinced is utterly “essential”, because it is so much “better” than Free Software alternatives.

    “Having a hissy fit and talking about being tainted”

    Your contempt for Free Software is palpable.

    As I indicated earlier in the thread, I am far too old to be prone to such juvenile things as “tantrums” or “hissy fits”. You are the one who is using ad hominem attacks to bolster your rather weak argument.

  98. Slated said,

    June 12, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Gravatar

    @Balzac

    The relevant bits from your FSF link:

    [quote]
    something that encourages users of the free software to install nonfree software is harmful

    we don’t expect free system distributions to exclude any software because of threats from patents. On the other hand, it’s also not a problem if a distributor chooses to exclude some software to minimize the risk of patent infringement suits against them
    [quote]

    So the recommendation is … don’t ship non-Free software (or patent infringing software, if you are subject to software patent law).

    Which means that the best solution for Ubuntu Remix would be to allow users to obtain encumbered codec support from third-party repos outside the jurisdiction of software patents.

    This is exactly what I am campaigning for.

  99. Slated said,

    June 12, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Gravatar

    I should clarify that what I meant was, the best solution is to not ship non-Free software by default, but to simply promote the existing option of users making their own arrangements to obtain encumbered software from third-party repositories.

  100. Aleksey said,

    June 12, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated: Well, according to that link RMS would have you not even promote the option of installing codecs for a third party. So you should be against that. By reading that link, I understand that RMS thinks that people may use proprietary software if they wish, but we should discourage them and make it hard for them to do so. So you are being more liberal than RMS by advocating the use of a third party repository for the codecs in Ubuntu Remix.

    While I do admire RMS’s and Slates’s effort in pushing Free software, and it wouldn’t have gotten to where it is now if not for people like them (although the more ‘liberal’ people like me, who sometimes think temporary compromise will help Free software grow more further down the road help as well, IMHO), I kinda get scared of how Free software becomes a religion to some.

  101. Balzac said,

    June 12, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Gravatar

    “I kinda get scared of how Free software becomes a religion to some. ”

    Don’t worry, the St. Ignucias shtick is just a joke.

    But the benefits of authentic free software are no joke.

    I don’t really feel the need to argue with people about it except for when they are misrepresenting things and deceiving others.

  102. Slated said,

    June 12, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Gravatar

    @Aleksey

    “Well, according to that link RMS would have you not even promote the option of installing codecs for a third party.”

    That is not correct. Read this again:

    “we don’t expect free system distributions to exclude any software because of threats from patents.”

    The MP3 codec is, itself, patent encumbered, but there are both Free and non-Free implementations of it. One example of a Free implementation is libavcodec (MPlayer, ffmpeg and others).

    Fluendo’s codec package is not either free or Free (except the MP3 decoder-only package, which is free of cost).

    IMO the libavcodec implementation is ethical, even though it is not legal in the US. By implication this means that (IMO) the US laws on software patents are not ethical, because software patents themselves are bogus. AFAICT Stallman shares that view.

    [quote]
    The way to prevent software patents from bollixing software development is simple: don’t authorise them.
    [/quote]

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2005/jun/23/onlinesupplement.insideit

    IOW Canonical distributing proprietary software (Fluendo’s codec package) is an ethical problem, but it is not a legal problem.

    Canonical distributing Free but patent encumbered software is not an ethical problem (IMO and in Stallman’s) but it is a legal problem (in America at least).

    So from Canonical’s POV they have two options:

    1. Release commercially “licensed”; proprietary; patent encumbered software, or

    2. Provide documentation that explains to end-users how to acquire Free but patent encumbered software from elsewhere.

    No. 1 is legal, but IMO unethical, and counter-productive to the goals of Free Software.

    No 2. is both ethical and legal, since it neither distributes proprietary software, nor distributes “unlicensed” patent encumbered software.

    However, the main point of this is that Free Software is distributed untainted; remains the first choice priority (e.g. Ogg Vorbis); is promoted over and above proprietary software (which is neither distributed nor promoted by the vendor at all), but there is still the option for end-users to acquire whatever other software they need from third-party repositories (they don’t lose any “freedom” of choice).

  103. Slated said,

    June 12, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Gravatar

    One caveat to that last point is that Stallman considers MP3 a special case:

    [quote]
    For example, the MP3 audio format is covered by a software patent in the USA and some other countries. A patent holder has threatened lawsuits against the developers of free programs (these are not GNU programs) to produce and play MP3, and some GNU/Linux distributors are afraid to include them. Development of the programs continues, but we campaign for the rejection of MP3 format in favor of Ogg Vorbis format.
    [quote]

    http://www.gnu.org/prep/maintain/html_node/Ethical-and-Philosophical-Consideration.html

    However, a campaign of rejection does not mean that Free implementations of patent encumbered software somehow magically become non-Free. They are still Free Software, even if they break unethical American laws.

    But I do personally agree that people should favour Ogg Vorbis over MP3.

  104. Slated said,

    June 12, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Gravatar

    @Aleksey

    “While I do admire RMS’s and Slates’s effort in pushing Free software, and it wouldn’t have gotten to where it is now if not for people like them (although the more ‘liberal’ people like me, who sometimes think temporary compromise will help Free software grow more further down the road help as well, IMHO), I kinda get scared of how Free software becomes a religion to some.”

    Let me explain my position.

    I am (amongst other things) a Freedom activist. Certain people might (unkindly) describe me as a “zealot”, but AFAIAC the concept of “bigotry” simply cannot be applied to issues of “Freedom” … it’s almost an oxymoron. How can one possibly apply negative connotation to liberty, in good conscience? So please (and I don’t mean to single you out personally) if you are going to apply any definition to my cause at all, refer to it as “activism”.

    As to the concept of pragmatism, I simply don’t believe in it. If the law; circumstances or anything else conflicts with my ideals, then I fight the law or change those circumstances. In that sense, it may also be accurate to describe me as a fundamentalist (or again rather unkindly, “extremist”). My views on pragmatism are very bleak indeed:

    [quote]
    I’m sometimes accused of having a rather inflexible attitude towards freedom, leaning too far towards idealism, and seemingly incapable of accepting pragmatism. The fact is, however, that those who preach pragmatism are mostly hypocrites, who ostensibly extend olive branches of compromise, but with no genuine intention of making concessions, instead continuing their intractable agenda of oppression – unabated. Rarely do I ever see any progress that favours the side of freedom. In reality, pragmatism is nothing more than a euphemism for the oppressed surrendering unconditionally to their oppressors. To perceive it otherwise, is to indulge in denial.
    [/quote]

    http://slated.org/intellectual_insanity

    I make no apologies for who I am; what I do; or what I believe in. In that sense, I fully admit my arrogance, and I can quite sympathise with those who find my opinions (and the way I express those opinions) quite infuriating.

    So be it.

    Battles are fought with swords, not feathers.

    However…

    I may be arrogant, I may even be an extremist, but I am not delusional. I fully accept the inevitable truth … that I cannot possibly ever win.

    With that in mind, it may seem that my cause is utterly futile, but the point is not to “win” … the point is to cause change, however subtle, for the better.

    Now there are those who claim that the “revolutionary” approach is imprudent, because it is confrontational, and therefore only succeeds in creating enemies rather than friends. But the harsh reality is that there are extremists on both sides of this battle, and many of those who seek to take away our freedom can simply not be reasoned with, despite the best diplomatic efforts. That is the real futility. Such people may even smile as they shake your hand, but their agenda remains unalterably malevolent. They will never change.

    I believe that Microsoft is one such entity, although they are far from unique. Exercising pragmatism in any dealings with Microsoft, is akin to the parable of the scorpion and and the frog. It is the scorpion’s nature to kill the frog, even at it’s own peril.

    My attitude and methods are harsh; even brutal, but I have counterparts on the opposite side of this battle who are equally brutal, and the gentle stroke of a feather is not going to defeat them.

    Let the pragmatists talk amongst themselves. I have work to do.

  105. Woods said,

    June 12, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated:

    All I can say is that I am relieved to find people like yourself still in the FOSS-world. These days it increasingly feels like such words can be heard from RMS alone.

  106. Victor Soliz said,

    June 12, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Gravatar

    OGG won’t work on most MP3 players, so converting all your collection from mp3 to ogg will leave you with a bunch of files that will *only* work on your linux box… (windows doesn’t support OGG natively either)

    Which is a pointless thing to say now, since we are talking about reproducing music in ubuntu remix, not in windows, not in an ipod.

    @Everyone: The question is:
    - Do we really want to rush migrations? Cause that’s sort of the impression I get when people say that we should first care about attracting users and then care about freedom.
    - If Linux became succesfull, but this success required codec payment, would it really be worth it? The dream with Linux is to have a free as in money and as in freedom operating system, not to replace windows or conquer the world. If Linux has to become something like windows in order to succeed, we would essentially have two windows, why would this be good at all?

    ..
    This should be living proof that blogs suck, sure they can kind of work for 4 comments, but if you get more than 100 comments, hell breaks lose.

  107. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 13, 2008 at 12:01 am

    Gravatar

    The target audience of Remix includes a lot of existing Ubuntu users. This was pointed out by Russell over at ZDNet about 3 months ago (he passed away recently). This means that the issue of compromise is more likely to be tolerated and technical skills (e.g. ones required to add software) might be a non-issue. Many GNU/Linux users don’t care for WMV/A anyway.

  108. MSISNOTMS said,

    June 13, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Gravatar

    Can we differentiate MS from M$?
    See? simple!

  109. Slated said,

    June 13, 2008 at 2:10 am

    Gravatar

    @Victor Soliz

    Ref: Phobos’ comment “OGG won’t work on most MP3 players”

    An even better argument is … Linux isn’t deployed on most PC’s, does that mean we should advocate Windows in preference to Linux, simply because Windows is more ubiquitous?

    It seems to me that many in the Ubuntu community have a rather odd obsession with market share. It’s a very Microsoft-esque attitude that I find completely irrelevant to GNU/Linux. I get the impression that they think GNU/Linux has to dominate the IT world before it can “succeed”. Well, just look at the Mac. I don’t think anyone can deny what a success that is, both in terms of technical achievement or Apple’s profits, and yet MacOSX seems to have a market share roughly comparable to our own. Does that mean it has “failed” somehow?

    Very strange.

    Although I’d certainly love to see Microsoft dead and buried, it’s not because I want market “domination” for GNU/Linux, it’s simply because Microsoft is a bunch of thugs who run their Bizniz® like gangsters – suppressing Free Software (and everyone else) with racketeering.

    But market share?

    Nah.

    The key word is “parity”. I want equal opportunity … not dominance. If the only way to achieve that parity is to kill-off Microsoft somehow, then of course I’m all for it, but I sincerely doubt GNU/Linux will achieve that with numbers alone, since that will still not prevent Microsoft’s racketeering from guaranteeing them an income with dodgy “Memorandum of Understanding” contracts.

    In a world where nearly every single PC is sold pre-installed with Windows, encouraging even every single one of those PC owners to either dual-boot or replace Windows with GNU/Linux is not going to kill the threat of Microsoft. They still make their money regardless. So I think this Ubuntu “market share” vision is utterly pointless.

    Actually, IIRC I’m sure there’s a bug entry on launchpad that (presumably as a sort of joke) indicates that Ubuntu’s lack of market share is a serious “bug” that needs fixing. I think some of the users may have taken it rather too seriously. Mind you, a lot of them seem to be very; very young, so I shouldn’t be surprised if they’re so impressionable. Ubuntu definitely seems to be a young man’s distro ;)

    Of course it may be that a disproportionately large number of Ubuntu users are Windows converts, which might explain the Microsoft-esque mentality, both in terms of this market share obsession and their passion for proprietary and/or encumbered software. Hmm, I think I might be on to something there.

    No, the only way to defeat Microsoft is with the law (antitrust and unbundling), and with Open Standards that make Microsoft’s lock-in formats irrelevant. Microsoft know this, which is why they battled tooth and nail to get OOXML accepted. I mean, didn’t you ever wonder why they fought so viciously just to get a supposedly “Open” standard accepted, even to the extent of stacking ISO panels and bribing delegates? Seems like a monumental effort (not to mention expense) just for a piece of paper (OK, 6000 pieces of paper) with an ISO rubber stamp on it. I mean, it’s not like OOXML, in and of itself, is a product that MS can sell, right? And since this is supposed to be an “Open” standard, naturally Microsoft don’t have any kind of exclusive advantage … right?

    LOL! Their motives are painfully transparent.

    But in the end, you know, I think what will finally kill Microsoft … is Microsoft. They’re dinosaurs … stuck in the dark ages, using an outmoded Bizniz® model to sell outmoded software. Vista nearly killed them, and if Windows 7 doesn’t finish the job then I think Gates’ departure might. Either that or MS Office, the latest incarnation of which seems to be even less popular than Vista.

    Personally, I can’t wait.

    Good riddance.

  110. Petar said,

    June 15, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Gravatar

    So Canonical is working on Ubuntu Netbook Remix distribution. So what?
    First of all it will help spreading Ubuntu and GNU/Linux software in the countries where stupid software patents exists.

    Please don’t try to convince me that you can persuade your GNU/Linux noob friend to switch from Windows to any Linux distribution by telling him how powerful and good it is but mentioning that:
    “…Well, you won’t be able to play mp3, mp4, wma, wmv, 3gp and DVDs, but YOU DON’T NEED THAT CRAP cause you have OGG and Theora and Speex and dude they are OPEN and FREE”.

    And don’t tell me that you NEVER, EVER listen to mp3 music and have never watched an encrypted DVD on your GNU/Linux powered PC.

    From my current experience with few GNU/Linux distributions I can say that Ubuntu is “The most Anarchistic and ABSOLUTELY FREE distribution” as it gives me FREEDOM to do ANYTHING I WANT with my computer with no extra effort at all (i don’t need to recompile xine, ffmpeg etc.).

    And at the end, how the hell do you expect Canonical to be able to sponsor Ubuntu development if it is not allowed to build a healthy business model that will guarantee steady money income? Did you purchase a support from their online shop? Do you regularly buy Ubuntu T-shirts and mugs for your friends?

    You want Freedom and a free Beer at the same time. I want that too. And I currently have that with Ubuntu. But I am smart enough to know that there aren’t any beer springs, so someone has to make that beer, and probably be payed for making it.

    The only problem I could have with Ubuntu Netbook Remix is if, as it’s user, I would not be allowed to download packages that are currently present in the Medibuntu repository.

  111. yman said,

    June 15, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Gravatar

    I don’t see this as a bad thing. Users expect this, and vendors need to sell according to customer demand, or risk losing business. If Canonical doesn’t provide what vendors need, the vendors will either use their own custom solution (like LinDVD on Dell computers), which is sub-optimal, or they will eploy the services of another company with a different OS, which is bad for both Canonical and the Ubuntu project.

  112. yman said,

    June 15, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Gravatar

    I don’t see this as a bad thing. Users expect this, and vendors need to sell according to customer demand, or risk losing business. If Canonical doesn’t provide what vendors need, the vendors will either use their own custom solution (like LinDVD on Dell computers), which is sub-optimal, or they will employ the services of another company with a different OS, which is bad for both Canonical and the Ubuntu project.

  113. yman said,

    June 15, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Gravatar

    “Actually, IIRC I’m sure there’s a bug entry on launchpad that (presumably as a sort of joke) indicates that Ubuntu’s lack of market share is a serious “bug” that needs fixing.”

    You are referring to bug #1, which states:
    Microsoft has a majority market share

    Bug description

    Microsoft has a majority market share in the new desktop PC marketplace.
    This is a bug, which Ubuntu is designed to fix.

    Non-free software is holding back innovation in the IT industry, restricting access to IT to a small part of the world’s population and limiting the ability of software developers to reach their full potential, globally. This bug is widely evident in the PC industry.

    Steps to repeat:

    1. Visit a local PC store.

    What happens:
    2. Observe that a majority of PCs for sale have non-free software pre-installed.
    3. Observe very few PCs with Ubuntu and free software pre-installed.

    What should happen:
    1. A majority of the PCs for sale should include only free software like Ubuntu.
    2. Ubuntu should be marketed in a way such that its amazing features and benefits would be apparent and known by all.
    3. The system shall become more and more user friendly as time passes.

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/1/+viewstatus

  114. yman said,

    June 15, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated: “Secondly, Canonical are more than happy to benefit from the work and altruism of Free Software developers (without whom Ubuntu would simply not exist), but then they reward that same community who facilitated their distro in the first place, with proprietary and/or encumbered software that taints that Free Software, and binds those users to additional restrictions.”

    Canonical is a strong force in the development of Ubuntu. It’s free software so they can do what they want as long as they don’t make it into non-free software. Free software does not become restricted just because there happens to be non-free software on the same system.

    Canonical is a company out to make money through the promotion of free software, and are abiding by all the rules that the developers set for the use of the software they developed. Complaining about someone doing what is within his rights sounds very much like calling for modification of the rules to prohibit that which is allowed.

    Personally, I’m glad your views aren’t prevalent, or I’d be forced to use Windows. Incidentally, I don’t think corporates would invest so much in developing free software if they were forced not to use available technologies that are required in order to stand on par with the competition.

    One might also argue that not shipping proprietary codecs on preinstalled systems is encouraging the user to not use free software, since the user would be presented with a choice between a “just works” solution, and an “extra work to make it work” solution. And what matters is installed base: Those who create content distribute it in the format consumers can already use, and that means proprietary. It’s only once the installed base of free formats reaches a significant size that content providers will start to widely use those formats. And they will use them since they offer lower cost, provided they offer sufficient quality for the use they are being put to.

    It’s a similar situation with applications (which I regard as content). Users use Wine and various emulators in order to run applications that don’t have suitable native replacements. As time progresses, the need for alien applications decreases, because the growth in users means more resources for the development of free software, as well as more incentive to develop software for free platforms. That is, of course, in addition to the constant improvemt that takes place anyway.

    When something is good, I want all others to benefit from it as well, even if they belong to the majority who don’t care about the ideology and just want to get work done. Aside from that, the more who use it, the better for me and all those who do care about the ideology, since it means better hardware support, more content, more software, and better software.

  115. Slated said,

    June 16, 2008 at 7:42 am

    Gravatar

    @Petar

    [quote]
    Please don’t try to convince me that you can persuade your GNU/Linux noob friend to switch from Windows to any Linux distribution by telling him how powerful and good it is but mentioning that:
    “…Well, you won’t be able to play mp3, mp4, wma, wmv, 3gp and DVDs, but YOU DON’T NEED THAT CRAP cause you have OGG and Theora and Speex and dude they are OPEN and FREE”.
    [/quote]

    First of all, you are presenting a false dichotomy with your presumption that end-users require officially licensed patented software to accomplish the same thing that Free Software implementations can equally accomplish (e.g. Fluendo vs MPlayer).

    Canonical can not legally distribute unlicensed MP3 technology in America, but that doesn’t prevent end-users from downloading MPlayer or mpg321, does it?

    IOW Canonical does not need to distribute these “officially licensed” codecs at all. Doing so accomplishes nothing but acceptance of liability for something they should not be liable, and that acceptance of liability extends to those who use Remix too, even if they are not actually required to according to the laws in their respective countries. It is vindication of unethical laws for the Intellectual Monopolists and patent trolls, and a means of extending America’s totalitarian regime beyond its borders into other countries. I am not an American, and I have no interest in ever becoming one, so why the Hell should I be obligated by its insane laws?

    Secondly I do not try to persuade anyone to switch from Windows to GNU/Linux, based on the availability, or lack thereof, of proprietary technology. I only advocate one thing, and that is Free Software. People can listen to what I have to say, or not, that is entirely up to them. I’m not interested in “switching” people to one particular OS or another. I don’t have a “market share” obsession. If someone finds proprietary software more important than Freedom, then that is entirely their choice. It isn’t for me to dictate to others that they cannot voluntarily choose to be slaves, if that is what they think they really want.

    [quote]
    And don’t tell me that you NEVER, EVER listen to mp3 music and have never watched an encrypted DVD on your GNU/Linux powered PC.
    [/quote]

    I fully realise that you somehow believe that MP3 is the be-all and end-all of audio media, but I can assure you that I simply do not use it. All my music comes via CDs from Amazon, and is then ripped to Ogg Vorbis. Period.

    As for CSS encrypted DVDs, that is not a patent issue, that is a DMCA issue, which again is wholly irrelevant in my country. And even in the America, there is nothing preventing end-users from downloading libdvdcss from sources outside the jurisdiction of America’s totalitarian regime. Again, Canonical do not need to capitulate to the demands of the Intellectual Monopolists in order for their end-users to be able to play DVDs.

    [quote]
    And at the end, how the hell do you expect Canonical to be able to sponsor Ubuntu development if it is not allowed to build a healthy business model that will guarantee steady money income?
    [/quote]

    I have zero interest in Canonical’s business model or their income. I only care about Freedom.

    Now certainly, end-users are “free” to choose proprietary software (i.e. freedom to choose slavery), but the promotion and facilitation of that slavery by Free Software distributors is unethical and in contradiction to the principles of Free Software (and Freedom in general). There is a huge difference between someone making a personal choice, and someone imposing that choice on them (e.g. distributing non-Free software).

    [quote]
    You want Freedom and a free Beer at the same time
    [/quote]

    No I don’t. You presume too much without (apparently) having the slightest clue what I advocate.

    I have zero interest in “cost”. I only care about Freedom. I would quite happily pay (money) to receive Free Software, provided that software was actually Free (Freedom), and not restricted in some way (Intellectual Monopolies).

  116. Slated said,

    June 16, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Gravatar

    @yman

    [quote]
    Free software does not become restricted just because there happens to be non-free software on the same system.
    [/quote]

    That is a pretty obvious contradiction, and patently wrong.

    First, by distributing that non-Free software, Remix end-users are exposed to the restrictions and obligations of that non-Free software by default (i.e. this is like “opt-out” vs “opt-in”).

    Secondly, these codecs are gstreamer plugins, which taint a Free Software package with non-Free software.

    Third, the distribution as a whole is now tainted with non-Free components, thus making it non-Free, since the redistribution of that entire system (exactly as distributed) is no longer possible without first removing non-Free software (or receiving official “licensing” supplemental to the GPL).

    [quote]
    Complaining about someone doing what is within his rights sounds very much like calling for modification of the rules to prohibit that which is allowed.
    [/quote]

    Correct. IMHO these “rules” protecting Free Software are not strict enough.

    I’m more than happy for people to make money from Free Software, but what Canonical is doing is making money by tainting Free Software. Not quite the same thing. They need to make up their minds what it is they want – Free Software or proprietary/encumbered software, and stick with it, rather than poisoning Free Software with non-Free components, and exposing their end-users to additional restrictions imposed by the Intellectual Monopolists.

    [quote]
    Personally, I’m glad your views aren’t prevalent, or I’d be forced to use Windows.
    [/quote]

    Well if you love the slavery of proprietary software so much, then maybe you should. I certainly will not try to stop you.

  117. yman said,

    June 16, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated:
    “Correct. IMHO these “rules” protecting Free Software are not strict enough.”
    Yay! I finally ‘read’ someone correctly! This doesn’t happen often so I feel good.

    If the users don’t want non-free software, they won’t use it. This means it’s up to the user to decide how to use his software, which makes sense since it’s free. Whether it’s installed by default or not still doesn’t encourage use of non-free software, since currently the content is non-free. The users want (or need) to be able to access existing content, free or not. The greater the installed base of free software, the more of the content they want will be available in free formats and the less dependent they will be on non-free software. Thus, even if non-free codecs are installed by default (which is only by specific request from the OEM, i.e., the customer of Canonical). this still serves to encourage the use of free multimedia formats like Theora and Vorbis.

    As to “tainting”, this is only in the case the user chose to use non-free software, which is within his rights. This choice could be to not make the effort of adding non-free software, or the choice of removing non-free software. The latter only applies when the OEM chooses to include non-free software.

    Ubuntu isn’t “tainted”. There is no “Ubuntu Netbook Remix Distribution”, only some free software packages for Netbook platforms. If any non-free software will be used, it will be by customer (OEM) demand, and probably only in countries in which such patents respected.

    “Well if you love the slavery of proprietary software so much, then maybe you should. I certainly will not try to stop you.”
    I don’t “love the slavery of proprietary software”, but there are things I need to do that are currently impossible without it. When something free and adequate is available I always prefer it, but if not then there is still work that has to get done, regardless of ideology.

    Aside from that, I don’t like Windows. Ubuntu makes computing fun, convenient and comfortable. Windows makes it a drag.

    I too believe information can’t be owned, but I must obey the rules of the country I’m in as long as they don’t force me to perform an immoral action. This whole civil-disobedience thing is too complex for me to be sure about when it’s right and when it’s wrong, but since patents don’t seem to force people to perform immoral actions then I’d say they must be obeyed in countries where they exist. On the other hand, disobeying the patent laws doesn’t seem to cause harm either, so maybe it’s alright?

    So for short, Canonical is giving users and customers the ability to do what they want. Those customers and users can stay on the safe side by using non-free software, or they can go the free software way. They can also choose not to use at all any stuff that has patent issues.

  118. Petar said,

    June 16, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated

    Please remind yourself why Microsoft is being sued in EU. It’s because they preinstall Internet Explorer on their Windows OS. Does that prevent users from downloading Firefox afterwards? No. But it is general opinion that by this, Microsoft gains unfair advantage over the competitors. Unexperienced computer users have only heard of Internet, but not for the plethora of browsers that exist on the market and they’ll use the first program that will get them to the WWW.

    Now, you sell unexperinced computer users, Ubuntu preinstalled personal computer. They want to play DVD on it. As far as my experience goes with lots of new computer users (yes you can still find them in my country), they have no idea what codec is, or that some of the DVD are encripted (encryption, what is that???). They have never heard of ffmpeg, fluendo, libdvdcss. And what they do usually? They call their friend who has Windows XP and ask them to visit them and install Windows XP on their machine too. Please note that in my country people rarely buy licensed software.

    To convince you why I stand to my believes I’ll tell you this:
    Two months ago my neighbors called me to help them reinstall their one month old PC which they bought from our Telecom that offers rather expensive ADSL2+PC+Original Windows Vista Starter Edition deals and which wasn’t working as they expected it should.
    And you know Microsoft is so stupid that they try to sell a modern OS that is able to start only two programs at same time. Which meant that Internet explorer opens only two windows at the same time :). They didn’t care that they already payed for their licensed copy of Vista and asked me to install pirated Windows XP for them.
    What I’m trying to say, most of computer buyers expect their computers to do everything from the first time they start them and continue to do so in next months. Preinstalled codecs (licenced or unlicenced) really makes a difference for a new user.

    I understand what you are fighting for, and I try to fight for the same cause as you are, but we have different views on how to get there.

    I can’t be as extreme as Stallman is, I prefer the more pragmatic approach of Linus and Mark Shuttleworth. But I’m not saying that Stallman is wrong and that he should not do or say things that he currently does or says. It is because of his “extremism”, but also from Linus and Mark pragmatism that GNU/Linux came this far.

    I haven’t had experience with latest GNU/Linux distributions other than Ubuntu for the last 2.5 years. Does any other distribution offers full ffdshow or mencoder or gxine without a need to recompile it from the source (this is not a rethoric question, I would really like to know that)? When I installed Ubuntu 8.04 and realized that I can download full ffmpeg package from ubuntu repositories I felt really excited and said to myself:

    “Dude this Mark Shuttleworth is really crazy(read COOL), he doesn’t give a fu*k about stupid IP software patents and stupid corporations that threaten to sue all the time”

    And this is MY understanding of FREEDOM :)

  119. Petar said,

    June 16, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated

    I also forgot to mention this in my previous post. I have an ADSL internet connection from very recently (a month and a half). Previously I could only surf the internet using dial-up with 45kbps speed which at the same time was prohibitively expensive (2 euros/h from 6am to 6pm, 1 euro/h from 6pm to 12am, and 0.3 euros/h from 12am to 6am; average sallary 300 euros). So u can imagine how FREE I could feel when I needed to download additional packages, like additional codecs etc.

    Although Ubuntu is not a good example as it does not come with restricted codecs by default, and I can be bitchy and blame people like you for that :) (I’m kidding, I know that this has more to do with stupid laws in some countries), I hope you can understand how it would make a big difference in those days, If I could receive a free Ubuntu CD with the non-free codecs already on it (THANK YOU Mark Shuttleworth for all the CDs you sent me :)).

  120. Petar said,

    June 16, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Gravatar

    BIG apology for other GNU/Linux HEROES I haven’t mentioned in my previous post as Stallman, Linus and Mark Shuttleworth are not the only persons that helped GNU/Linux come this far.

  121. Slated said,

    June 17, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Gravatar

    @yman

    “If the users don’t want non-free software, they won’t use it. This means it’s up to the user to decide how to use his software”

    Again, you are ignoring the obvious fact that this particular issue is not about use, it is about distribution. The damage to Free Software is already done merely with the distribution of non-Free software by the vendor, thus making that software the de facto choice (opt out), and tainting Free Software by default, even for those who vehemently don’t want it.

    I don’t know if I can make this any easier for you to understand, so this is my last resort effort: If you add too much salt when making soup, then it is destroyed – you can’t take it out afterwards. OTOH if you make a soup with little or no salt, then those who like salty foods can add it afterwards.

    If you think this is a non-issue, then you really don’t understand the principles of Freedom. It would be like the Catholic church denouncing slavery, whilst occasionally transporting slaves in cargo ships, because “some of our parishioners really need them”. Your argument seems to be that this is acceptable because “you can always take them out afterwards”.

    No, it isn’t acceptable at all. It is a gross violation of principles. Some of us have them, apparently many others have none at all.

    “which makes sense since it’s free.”

    If it includes non-Free software, then no – it is not Free.

    “Whether it’s installed by default or not still doesn’t encourage use of non-free software”

    You haven’t thought about that statement at all, have you. Clearly the default setting in any software will be the most used, especially by the sort of people who are likely to use Ubuntu and/or Remix (i.e. noobs).

    “since currently the content is non-free.”

    The licensing of “content” has no bearing whatsoever on the licensing of software required to play that content, unless you think it should, which AFAICT is the kind of thinking employed by the Intellectual Monopolists.

    “The users want (or need) to be able to access existing content, free or not.”

    And they can already do that with Free Software.

    “The greater the installed base of free software, the more of the content they want will be available in free formats and the less dependent they will be on non-free software.”

    You are still confusing two entirely different propositions. All content, Free or otherwise, may be accessed using Free Software. No proprietary software is required to fulfil that task. To suggest otherwise is a false dichotomy.

    “Thus, even if non-free codecs are installed by default (which is only by specific request from the OEM, i.e., the customer of Canonical). this still serves to encourage the use of free multimedia formats like Theora and Vorbis.”

    I don’t see how, if the “customer” is being force-fed proprietary software for encumbered codecs by the vendor. And you present this as though these OEMs might well choose to not install the Fluendo codecs, which is very unlikely since they can only legally distribute these “officially licensed” codecs or not at all. It is highly probably that these OEMs will in fact choose to taint Free Software rather than break insane American laws (or provide nothing). OEMs don’t think like Free Software advocates, they typically don’t give a damn about Freedom, they only care about profits.

    “As to “tainting”, this is only in the case the user chose to use non-free software”

    No, it occurs the moment that non-Free software is distributed with Free Software.

    “which is within his rights.”

    It is within a users “rights” to use software however he wishes, however Free Software vendors should not be tainting Free Software by distributing proprietary and/or encumbered software by default.

    You apparently still completely fail to grasp the issue. I hope the generally low level of comprehension in this thread is not typical of all Ubuntu users, since AFAICT you all seem to think I am attempting to deny end-users their “rights”, when the truth is the total opposite. Nothing that I have written has anything to do with denying end-users’ rights. This is about vendors, not end-users. It is about distribution, not use.

    “This choice could be to not make the effort of adding non-free software, or the choice of removing non-free software. The latter only applies when the OEM chooses to include non-free software.”

    And since Canonical has “officially licensed” this non-Free software, now the OEMs can (and will) included it by default.

    “Ubuntu isn’t “tainted”. There is no “Ubuntu Netbook Remix Distribution”, only some free software packages for Netbook platforms.”

    The OS as supplied on the proposed Netbooks will be a distribution of software, and it will be tainted by non-Free software. Fact.

    “If any non-free software will be used, it will be by customer (OEM) demand, and probably only in countries in which such patents respected.”

    You presume to know what the OEMs will do with this distribution, but IMHO they will all choose what they misperceive to be the “legal” option as it pertains to the US, regardless of whether or not that is required by laws in other countries. Apart from anything else, I seriously doubt that OEMs are going to make any effort to customise each release per region – that takes money, and the less they spend the more profit they make.

    So these Netbooks will all be shipped with a version of Ubuntu that is tainted with non-Free software by default, and most of the (mainly noob) users will blindly accept that non-Free and patent encumbered software as their only (or best) option, even if it clearly isn’t, either from a technical; legal or ethical point of view.

    “I don’t “love the slavery of proprietary software”, but there are things I need to do that are currently impossible without it.”

    Name them.

    “When something free and adequate is available I always prefer it, but if not then there is still work that has to get done, regardless of ideology.”

    Rather than make sweeping generalisations condemning Free Software, why don’t you be specific? What is it exactly that you think you “need” non-Free software for?

    “Aside from that, I don’t like Windows. Ubuntu makes computing fun, convenient and comfortable. Windows makes it a drag.”

    It’s much worse than just a “drag”. When you run Windows, the OS and most of the software on it does not belong to you … ever. You are nothing but a tenant on your own system, and can be kicked out any time the “landlord” pleases. You should actually read some of those EULA’s you blindly click on without reading, some time.

    “I too believe information can’t be owned, but I must obey the rules of the country I’m in as long as they don’t force me to perform an immoral action.”

    First, I am not in your country (which I assume is the US), and therefore I am not bound by that totalitarian regime.

    Secondly, tainting Free Software with non-Free software is immoral, and yet you don’t seem to mind. Why is that?

    “This whole civil-disobedience thing is too complex for me to be sure about when it’s right and when it’s wrong”

    Then let me make it simple for you. You are not breaking the law by downloading MPlayer or mpg321, therefore there is no need for you to worry about civil disobedience. It is only those who distribute “unlicensed” patented software from within the US who are breaking those ridiculous laws … not you, the user. Neither is it a “crime” for you to use such software.

    “but since patents don’t seem to force people to perform immoral actions”

    Patenting “algorithms” is most certainly immoral. It’s like trying to patent “1+1=2″. It’s absolutely perverse. You obviously don’t understand the issue at all. Here, it’s time for you to catch up on some essential reading:

    http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/stallman-patents.html
    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/fighting-software-patents.html
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/feb/21/intellectual.property
    http://w2.eff.org/patent/
    http://www.ffii.org/

    “then I’d say they must be obeyed in countries where they exist.”

    No, they must be fought and revoked in countries where they exist.

    “On the other hand, disobeying the patent laws doesn’t seem to cause harm either”

    Except for US companies being fined heavily for implementing maths formulae, that is.

    “so maybe it’s alright?”

    Far from it.

    “So for short, Canonical is giving users and customers the ability to do what they want.”

    No, in short Canonical is tainting Free Software for profit.

    “Those customers and users can stay on the safe side by using non-free software”

    What is “safe” about losing one’s liberty?

    “or they can go the free software way. They can also choose not to use at all any stuff that has patent issues.”

    Those patent issues exist regardless of whether or not the end-users choose “officially licensed” codecs or the Free Software implementations. You still don’t seem to understand the problem at all, much less the difference between non-Free software and patent encumbered Free Software.

  122. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 17, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Gravatar

    Petar, yman,

    Let’s try a parable. Remind yourself of the fact that a woman can rarely ‘capture’ a man by sleeping with him on the first night. Likewise, in order to fight for freedom, we can’t just accept software patents and hope that they will go away the next morning; instead, we’ll end up pregnant and neglected (with a bad headache). RMS has always stressed the point about acceptance of non-Free software as a bad precedence that’s hard to reverse. Complacency is risk. I worry that other distributors will try to compete with Remix on equal footing, using Microsoft codecs of course (unfair advantage).

    Using tainted software in this case is akin to allowing an athlete to compete in the Olympic games while on steroids.

  123. yman said,

    June 17, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Gravatar

    @Slated:
    When I talk about the content not being free I mean it’s distributed in non free formats like WMV or MP3.

    I get it. Non-free software is as bad as the torture, humiliation, and enslavement of those dark skinned fellows by their light-skinned counterparts. NOT!

    It’s pretty bad when people can own ideas, but it’s not absolutely terrible like slavery or stuff like that where people actually suffered.

    “Again, you are ignoring the obvious fact that this particular issue is not about use, it is about distribution. The damage to Free Software is already done merely with the distribution of non-Free software by the vendor, thus making that software the de facto choice (opt out), and tainting Free Software by default, even for those who vehemently don’t want it.”

    So those who don’t want it should get another distribution. It’s not like Ubuntu Netbook Remix with licensed proprietary formats is the only option out there. Those who get it with licensed proprietary formats either don’t care about the issue, need to get real work done that requires them (and don’t want the risk of using unlicensed codecs), or even think these ridiculous patents should be respected. Why should these people be forced against their will to take part in your civil disobedience?

    “I don’t know if I can make this any easier for you to understand, so this is my last resort effort: If you add too much salt when making soup, then it is destroyed – you can’t take it out afterwards. OTOH if you make a soup with little or no salt, then those who like salty foods can add it afterwards.”

    That’s a rather bad metaphor. Try Roy’s instead:
    Remind yourself of the fact that a woman can rarely ‘capture’ a man by sleeping with him on the first night. Likewise, if we offer only the free-software option right from the start, people will dabble in free software, discover they can’t do with it everything they need, then switch back. If on the other hand we first stick to building a relationship with the user, the when we can drop the non-free stuff and keep the user. In fact, by building a relationship first, we are giving ourselves a chance at educating the user bringing him over to our cause.

    I know that comparing the removal of non-free software to having sex sounds a little weird, but the metaphor works as a whole.

    “You presume to know what the OEMs will do with this distribution, but IMHO they will all choose what they misperceive to be the “legal” option as it pertains to the US, regardless of whether or not that is required by laws in other countries. Apart from anything else, I seriously doubt that OEMs are going to make any effort to customise each release per region – that takes money, and the less they spend the more profit they make.”

    Actually, it’s customized for countries that respect patents, and customized for countries that don’t. Thats two version, and in those who don’t they cut the cost of buying licenses.

    “So these Netbooks will all be shipped with a version of Ubuntu that is tainted with non-Free software by default, and most of the (mainly noob) users will blindly accept that non-Free and patent encumbered software as their only (or best) option, even if it clearly isn’t, either from a technical; legal or ethical point of view.”
    On the other hand it increases the installed base for free formats, which means more content in free formats and thus less need for proprietary one. This will mean the eventual demise of proprietary formats.

    “Name them.”
    Personally, rmvb video and Adobe Flash. For my dad it’s editing and saving PDF forms.

    “Rather than make sweeping generalisations condemning Free Software, why don’t you be specific? What is it exactly that you think you “need” non-Free software for?”
    Just because the software is free doesn’t mean it’s quality is better.

    “It’s much worse than just a “drag”. When you run Windows, the OS and most of the software on it does not belong to you … ever. You are nothing but a tenant on your own system, and can be kicked out any time the “landlord” pleases. You should actually read some of those EULA’s you blindly click on without reading, some time.”
    But that’s not what I’m talking about. If I wanted to state the obvious, I would.

    “Secondly, tainting Free Software with non-Free software is immoral, and yet you don’t seem to mind. Why is that?”
    Just because you arrived at a certain conclusion doesn’t mean you’re right, although I do very much appreciate your confidence in your views. Many people qualify everything they say and don’t show true conviction towards their beliefs.

    It may be ‘tainting’, but in the long run it allows us to win.

    “Then let me make it simple for you. You are not breaking the law by downloading MPlayer or mpg321, therefore there is no need for you to worry about civil disobedience. It is only those who distribute “unlicensed” patented software from within the US who are breaking those ridiculous laws … not you, the user. Neither is it a “crime” for you to use such software.”

    I’m not going to take legal advise from you. Sorry.

    “Patenting “algorithms” is most certainly immoral. It’s like trying to patent “1+1=2″. It’s absolutely perverse. You obviously don’t understand the issue at all. Here, it’s time for you to catch up on some essential reading:”
    Not it’s not. It forbids people from doing that which is allowed, which is not the same as forcing them to do that which is forbidden.

    “Except for US companies being fined heavily for implementing maths formulae, that is.”
    I mean that those who disobey don’t cause harm to society.

    “Far from it.”
    Far from being alright to perform civil disobedience over information freedom violations? I think you misunderstood me there.

    “What is “safe” about losing one’s liberty?”
    Not getting punished. Besides, it’s not about losing, but rather about not regaining, since if these few compromises won’t be made, they’d be forced to use a lot more non-free software.

    “Those patent issues exist regardless of whether or not the end-users choose “officially licensed” codecs or the Free Software implementations.”
    Or, for the sake of it, why not buy a license to decode a certain multimedia format using an implementation of a specific patent. Then you have permission from the patent-holder to use any implementation you want, including a free software one.

    “You still don’t seem to understand the problem at all, much less the difference between non-Free software and patent encumbered Free Software.”
    We differ in the means, not goal. Just please don’t insult me because I disagree with you over the method for achieving our common goal.

  124. yman said,

    June 17, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy Schestowitz:
    Remind yourself of the fact that a woman can rarely ‘capture’ a man by sleeping with him on the first night. Likewise, if we offer only the free-software option right from the start, people will dabble in free software, discover they can’t do with it everything they need, then switch back. If on the other hand we first stick to building a relationship with the user, the when we can drop the non-free stuff and keep the user. In fact, by building a relationship first, we are giving ourselves a chance at educating the user bringing him over to our cause.

    The above is what I assumed your metaphor meant. I was quite shocked that you somehow managed to make it mean the exact opposite.

  125. Slated said,

    June 17, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Gravatar

    @Petar

    The EU antitrust issue on IE only serves to strengthen my argument that these pre-installed codecs inhibit the choice of Free Software, since the EU clearly believes that bundling makes unfair de facto conditions despite the availability of after-market alternatives.

    As to your contention that noobs will be unable to play DVDs, need I remind you that it was only fairly recently that Microsoft included DVD support in Windows (WMP10 IIRC) by default, and that up to that point Windows users also had to independently obtain software from third-parties to play DVDs. So I don’t think this “it’s too difficult” argument holds any water at all. It just seems like an excuse to taint Free Software for the sake of convenience, nothing more.

    “What I’m trying to say, most of computer buyers expect their computers to do everything from the first time they start them and continue to do so in next months.”

    Well if you are basing users’ expectations on their experiences of Windows, then their expectations must be far lower than anything Free Software can offer them, from many perspectives. Not least of which is multimedia support, since libavcodec (which is Free Software) currently supports some ~350 codecs … far more than anything WMP can offer, or any “officially licensed” codecs from Fluendo either.

    “Preinstalled codecs (licenced or unlicenced) really makes a difference for a new user.”

    You should tell Microsoft, who pre-install hardly any at all on Windows, beyond an MP3 (decoder only until recently) and of course their own Windows Media garbage, and a handful of archaic codecs that nobody uses any more (Indeo® and Cinepak®).

    You have actually used Windows before, haven’t you, because by the sound of things you don’t seem very aware of it’s inherent restrictions?

    And yes, preinstalling such codecs does make a huge difference … it make the OS more expensive because the vendor has to pay licensing fees. It also obligates the end-users to additional restrictions that they may not want, rather that giving those end-users the autonomy to decide for themselves if they wish to be bound by such conditions.

    “I understand what you are fighting for, and I try to fight for the same cause as you are, but we have different views on how to get there.”

    Not at all, I think you are just unaware of what Free Software can actually offer beyond Freedom, and have misconceptions about users’ expectations and prior experiences.

    “I can’t be as extreme as Stallman is”

    Ha! Stallman is not “extreme”, he is merely fighting for Freedom, just as I am. The cause of liberty is not “extremism”, surely?

    Compared to me, Stallman is positively liberal.

    “I prefer the more pragmatic approach”

    IOW you prefer to be exploited.

    I’m afraid I don’t have anything good to say about pragmatism at all:

    http://slated.org/intellectual_insanity

    “It is because of his “extremism”, but also from Linus and Mark pragmatism that GNU/Linux came this far.”

    Without GNU and the Freedom of GPL there simply wouldn’t be either Linux or Ubuntu in their present state (would likely have been proprietary systems that nobody wanted in preference to that other proprietary system – Windows), don’t forget that. And as for Mark’s “pragmatism”, it is comments like his (recent Ubuntu UK podcast [*]) that inspire people like you to denounce people like Stallman as “extremists”.

    [*]
    [quote]
    So when you get down to that sort of very fundamentalist view … there’s nothing wrong with it, that’s why we created Gobuntu, we wanted to articulate it … we were unable to, you know, have a sustainable community that actually had consensus on – when you go beyond what Ubuntu provides – what that should mean.
    [/quote]

    http://uk-lo-2.static.podcast.ubuntu-uk.org/uupc/s01/e06/uupc_s01e06_low.ogg

    Is it any wonder that Ubuntu’s users view issues of liberty as “fundamentalism” when that mantra is expounded by the very founder of their distro?

    Freedom is not any form of extremism … at all … ever. It is a basic human right (i.e. ethics), and should also be a basic civil right (i.e. the law), but in many countries, it seems, Freedom is regarded as a kind of dissidence bordering on terrorism. It is a gross perversion of morality.

    BTW: The “guy” that Shuttleworth is talking about, when he refers to the suggestion that Gobuntu should have used Iceweasel in preference to Thunderbird … was me. And despite Shuttleworth’s incredulity of the significance of this issue, it was serious enough to cause Firefox and Thunderbird to be booted by Debian (the distro upon which Ubuntu is based), after all.

    “I haven’t had experience with latest GNU/Linux distributions other than Ubuntu for the last 2.5 years. Does any other distribution offers full ffdshow or mencoder or gxine without a need to recompile it from the source (this is not a rethoric question, I would really like to know that)?”

    Is that what Ubuntu users are lead to believe about other distros … that Ubuntu has some kind of special “capability” that can only be mimicked on other distros by “compiling from source”? Good grief! No wonder Ubuntu users are pegged as fanboys by the rest of the Free Software community. What a grossly ridiculous misconception.

    Yes, MPlayer is certainly available for other distros (without “compiling from source”).

    Here’s just one of many encumbered software resources for (in this case) Fedora:

    http://livna-dl.reloumirrors.net/fedora/9/i386/

    And yes, ffmpeg too. And pretty much any other encumbered (but nonetheless still Free) software you can think of.

    “Dude this Mark Shuttleworth is really crazy(read COOL), he doesn’t give a fu*k about stupid IP software patents and stupid corporations that threaten to sue all the time

    And this is MY understanding of FREEDOM :)”

    “Not giving a fu*k” is not “Freedom”, that is just lawlessness and anarchy. I advocate changing the law, and circumventing it where possible (i.e. go elsewhere), but I do not advocate criminal behaviour. Nothing in anything I have written promotes criminal behaviour. As much as the Intellectual Monopolists would like you to believe that circumventing their attempts to impose corporate fascism is “illegal”, unfortunately for them it isn’t.

    “Previously I could only surf the internet using dial-up … So u can imagine how FREE I could feel when I needed to download additional packages, like additional codecs etc.”

    MPlayer is ~4MB; ffmpeg-libs (libavcodec) is ~2MB; ffmpeg is ~200KB; and libdvdcss is just 32KB. Is downloading ~6.2MB such a problem, even on dial-up? How do Windows dial-up users cope with megabytes of downloads for Windows update every month, I wonder? Come to that, how did you manage to cope with megabytes of Ubuntu updates every week on dial-up?

    More excuses.

    “I’m kidding, I know that this has more to do with stupid laws in some countries”

    I know your comments are not motivated by malice, but ignorance and apathy are far worse problems IMHO, since one expects the former from the enemies of Freedom, but one hopes for something better than the latter from those who use and benefit from Free Software.

    “I hope you can understand how it would make a big difference in those days, If I could receive a free Ubuntu CD with the non-free codecs already on it”

    Yes it would make a big difference, but not for the better.

  126. Petar said,

    June 17, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Gravatar

    Are all restricted and non-free codecs in possession of Microsoft?
    Last I remember Windows XP is not play most of the media formats out of the box. So it would be logical that Ubuntu Netbook shouldn’t come with the non-free media codecs by default.

    But the difference is that on Windows I can easily add them by borrowing one or more installation files on flash or CD/DVD from my Windows using friends, and on Ubuntu or any other distribution I usually need direct access to internet, which as I already told you used to be a BIG problem for me and I presume can be a real problem for many people too.

    I strongly believe that most of PCs today are perceived as multimedia machines by common users, and not as number crunching/ spreadsheet or word processing machines like they were marketed an perceived 10-15 years ago. So the more media codecs preinstalled on their new PC, the more they’ll find it usefull and comfortable to use.

    Please stop with the more and more heated responses and comments on this subject. I believe we all have right to express our opinion and I find it intellectually challenging when a person can read opinions from people with different experiences and backgrounds from all over the world.

  127. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 17, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Gravatar

    Petar,

    When do you have ‘enough’ media codecs? By allowing yourself to be taxed from so many directions (GNU cannot cross-license), you’re permitting your rivals to abuse you and set your price. And what is RAND anyway? What’s [R]easonable? Neelie is already angry at Microsoft for being unreasonable.

    Where does one stop? Should Canonical also ‘license’ Moonlight, which is — to put it quite bluntly — a piece of junk? Nokia recently licensed ‘Moonlight’. Is Canonical a software patent gorilla like Nokia?

    It’s endless. You have to say no. Free software cannot, I repeat, it *cannot* compete based on rules that got bought by the intellectual monopolies. They corrupt the system for it. Defeatism would get Free software nowhere. So join the fight; don’t surrender to a losing game.

  128. Petar said,

    June 17, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated
    quote
    “How do Windows dial-up users cope with megabytes of downloads for Windows update every month, I wonder? Come to that, how did you manage to cope with megabytes of Ubuntu updates every week on dial-up?”

    It’s because that you think that I’m using dishonest arguments I’ll tell you how. I went to my more fortune friend who had cable internet and was thanks god interested in gnu/linux and than by reading quiet a few ubuntu forums until I was able to make a local mirror for ubuntu repositories on his PC and then burned them to DVDs. ,Ubuntu 5.10 3DVDs , Ubuntu 6.10 DVDs, Ubuntu 7.4 4DVDs. The first two versions I downloaded at one friend, the last at another on ADSL. By doing so I could install all the packages i needed without a need for internet connection. If I needed round 2000 packages on average, I had to download 21000+ by which I irretrievably and unnecessarily spent 30GB+ of transfer from Ubuntu servers which I believe costs them too.

    I never could do security updates but being rarely on the net, I could live with that.
    And all because I was stubborn and wanted to ditch Windows XP.

    So I hope you can see I am not a lier

  129. Slated said,

    June 17, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Gravatar

    @yman

    “I get it. Non-free software is as bad as the torture, humiliation, and enslavement of those dark skinned fellows by their light-skinned counterparts. NOT!”

    Your contempt for Freedom is palpable, and extremely naive, since you really cannot see the dangers of dependence on non-Free software, much less understand the violation of Free Software that occurs when it is willingly compromised.

    You attempt to trivialise the issue with hyperbole (“torture”), whilst ignoring the threat to your own liberty. Well as they say, people rarely appreciate Freedom until it is gone. How will you feel in the future, when your use of a computer is strictly controlled by government policy, that dictates exactly what you can do and how; forces you to pay for everything you do, no matter how trivial; and worse still – mandates that all of that money goes to just one corporation … Microsoft.

    Unlikely? Have you heard about ACTA?

    http://antitrust.slated.org/censorship/acta-proposal-2007.pdf

    “It’s pretty bad when people can own ideas, but it’s not absolutely terrible like slavery or stuff like that where people actually suffered.”

    You are obviously too young to understand the implications of intellectual totalitarianism. If anything, it is far worse than torture. It is living in fear of knowledge itself … “illegal” knowledge that could possibly cause imprisonment or execution. The current totalitarian regime in China is exactly like that (censorship; banned books; etc.), and it seems the West is now implementing its own variation through Corporatism. Is this the future you dream of?

    “So those who don’t want it should get another distribution.”

    Not good enough I’m afraid. Telling people to “look the other way” does not mean a violation is not being committed. You seem to forget that there are actual Free Software developers out there, whose Free Software is actually on that tainted distro. These developers cannot just “go away” and find an alternative, since they have no choice but to acknowledge that their Free Software is on that tainted distro. It also is little comfort to those who will inevitably end up being exposed to that non-Free software by default, probably without even realising it.

    “Those who get it with licensed proprietary formats either don’t care about the issue”

    Then they should. And regardless of what they (or you) don’t care about … I most certainly do care. Your lack of compassion for Freedom is not suddenly going to make me indifferent towards it.

    “need to get real work done”

    Oh dear. At last we come to the naked truth of the matter. I have seen this vile expression many; many times before, but rarely in the Free Software community. It is blatantly obvious that you have the mentality of a Windows Troll, with nothing but contempt for the Fee Software that you benefit from.

    “Why should these people be forced against their will to take part in your civil disobedience?”

    That is the most incredible misrepresentation of what I am campaigning for, that it is quite sickening.

    First, as pointed out many times before, I am not forcing anyone. Advocacy is merely debate, not forcing. I have a right to Free Speech, or is that yet another Freedom you wish to denounce as “extremism”? Perhaps you’d like to add censorship to your list of “needs”.

    “Likewise, if we offer only the free-software option right from the start, people will dabble in free software, discover they can’t do with it everything they need, then switch back.”

    Or so you claim, and yet you fail to give any specific examples. You also fail to appreciate what Free Software is supposed to be all about. Since when is it our “duty” to promote and advocate non-Free software. You talk as if this was some kind of moral obligation.

    “If on the other hand we first stick to building a relationship with the user”

    That’s a poor euphemism for poisoning Free Software.

    “we can drop the non-free stuff and keep the user.”

    Assuming that “user” has not now developed a dependency on the non-Free software you gave him.

    What kind of message does that send to this user: “It’s really OK to taint Free Software for your personal convenience”?

    So what exactly are you hoping will motivate this user to then drop that dependence, after you’ve already told him there’s no problem with it?

    Do you advocate supporting a junkie’s addiction by continuing to supply him with heroin, when methadone is available on a free prescription?

    “In fact, by building a relationship first, we are giving ourselves a chance at educating the user bringing him over to our cause.”

    Yes, you’re educating the user that “proprietary software is better”; “Free Software is inadequate”; and “It’s OK to compromise the principles of Freedom”.

    “Actually, it’s customized for countries that respect patents, and customized for countries that don’t. Thats two version, and in those who don’t they cut the cost of buying licenses.”

    I’d appreciate a link to a formal statement on this issue.

    However, I feel it is far more important for Canonical to respect their users, that to “respect patents”. As I’ve said before, those users can still obtain Free Software implementations of encumbered software elsewhere. Canonical do not need to vindicate the claims of the Intellectual Monopolists just to facilitate media playback.

    “On the other hand it increases the installed base for free formats”

    This is just another meaningless “market share” argument. Freedom is not a popularity contest, remember?

    “which means more content in free formats”

    Again, unlikely given those users new dependence on encumbered formats, thanks to their default inclusion in the distro.

    “Personally, rmvb video and Adobe Flash.”

    MPlayer (Free Software) has supported both of these for years:

    http://www1.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/codecs/

    “For my dad it’s editing and saving PDF forms.”

    http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/project/pdfimport

    Any other myths I can debunk while I’m at it?

    “Just because the software is free doesn’t mean it’s quality is better.”

    I see, so first the excuse was compatibility (which I have debunked), and now the excuse is “quality”. Can you be more specific? Exactly what “quality” issues are you having with Free Software?

    Ref: “Windows is a drag”

    “But that’s not what I’m talking about. If I wanted to state the obvious, I would.”

    Well you already did by using platitudes like “Windows is a drag”. That statement fails to address the severity of the issue by quite a margin, essentially sweeping those issues under the carpet.

    “Just because you arrived at a certain conclusion doesn’t mean you’re right, although I do very much appreciate your confidence in your views. Many people qualify everything they say and don’t show true conviction towards their beliefs.”

    I came to that “conclusion” because the creator of the GPL came to that “conclusion”:

    http://www.gnu.org/prep/maintain/html_node/Ethical-and-Philosophical-Consideration.html

    By tainting Free Software with non-Free software one is violating the principles of that Free Software. That is not an “opinion”, it is a statement of fact as documented in the license for that Free Software. So unless you somehow think that violating the principles of Free Software is in some way a perfectly “moral” undertaking, then I don’t see how you can dismiss my conclusions so easily.

    “It may be ‘tainting’, but in the long run it allows us to win.”

    So you admit that it is fundamentally wrong, but it is worth it in order to “win”.

    Please define “win”.

    AFAICT your interpretation of “win” is “gain market share”. And yet again I repeat that Free Software is not a popularity contest. How do you expect the principles of Freedom to prevail, if you violate and destroy those principles in order to have them more widely adopted? That’s not spreading the principles of Freedom, that’s capitulating to oppression.

    “I’m not going to take legal advise from you. Sorry.”

    But you are more than happy to believe unconditionally in the lie that the Intellectual Monopolists propagate?

    By all means don’t take my word for it, consult a lawyer.

    Ref: immoral patents.

    “Not it’s not. It forbids people from doing that which is allowed, which is not the same as forcing them to do that which is forbidden.”

    That statement makes absolutely no sense at all.

    Attempting to claim “ownership” of maths formulae, or frankly any other knowledge, is simply perverse. However, US laws enforce this ridiculous concept, forbidding anyone from using that knowledge without permission from (and payment to) the “owner”.

    “I mean that those who disobey don’t cause harm to society.”

    Unless it is combined with a flagrant disregard for others’ Freedom, such as by tainting Free Software with non-Free software, as a kind of misguided “protest”.

    [H]omer: “What is “safe” about losing one’s liberty?”

    “Not getting punished.”

    What worse punishment is there than losing one’s liberty?

    “Or, for the sake of it, why not buy a license to decode a certain multimedia format using an implementation of a specific patent. Then you have permission from the patent-holder”

    Screw the “patent holder”. There should be no “patent holders” in the first place.

    Whatever happened to your “civil disobedience”?

  130. Slated said,

    June 17, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Gravatar

    @Petar

    Ref: your dial-up situation

    I did not call you a liar, and I didn’t mean to imply as much either, but I did (and still do) think that your arguments are hyperbole. Exaggeration is not necessarily a lie, but it can be misleading.

  131. Petar said,

    June 17, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated

    I still keep those old 5.10, 6.10 and 7.04 Ubuntu DVDs so I can show them to you any time you like
    If you ever have more time to spare please google for more information on Macedonia, the global problem we have here with our monopolistic telecom (recently re branded to T-home), also look for information on how our Telecom used to believe that is one of the most modern in Europe, but in order to transfer from analog to digital technology they massively used PCMs (some kind of multiplexers that allows one line to be used by maximum of 8 users) and with all that information try not to think that I am exaggerating when I tell you that I had 44k dual up connection only for the last half year or so before I got ADSL (they switched me from PCM to normal line), and before that it was 28.000 and sometimes 31.200 bps. Add to that that for unknown reasons the transfer used to stop for a minute or two on every two minutes (if you are lucky without dropping your line in a middle of a download).

  132. Slated said,

    June 17, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Gravatar

    @Petar

    Well the first modem I ever used was a mere 300 b/s (0.3 Kb/s or 0.0003 Mb/s), so believe me when I say I know what it’s like to have a slow network connection. In fact I still have that modem, which is a Commodore Modem/300, circa early 80′s … still boxed and in pristine condition. At the time I used it primarily for BBS, but also for direct connections via telnet.

    Compare that to my current 8,388,608 b/s ( 8,192 Kb/s or 8 Mb/s) connection, and sometime within the next year or so that will increase further to 24 Mb/s :)

    Combined with your obviously unreliable service, I can quite appreciate your difficulties in obtaining software, however – difficulties should only strengthen your resolve to overcome those difficulties. If everyone were to simply resign themselves to accepting circumstances, then their would never be any progress. As you’ve already mentioned, forming a network of Linux-using friends can help a great deal. Personally I would have been inclined to join (or even start) a LUG (Linux Users Group). Are you anywhere near Bitola or Skopje, by any chance?:

    http://www.linux.org/groups/Macedonia

  133. Petar said,

    June 17, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Gravatar

    The Ubuntu LUG in Macedonia is in a process a forming. Yesterday I won “Ubuntu for Macedonia” T-Shirt for writing a detailed manual on how to set up Pidgin to automatically connect on #ubuntu-mk and #lugola IRC channels on irc.freenode.net. And I’m going to pick it up on a Firefox Release Party organized by that LUG. :)
    Thanks for spending time to search for Macedonia :)

  134. Petar said,

    June 17, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Gravatar

    I believe I wasn’t clear in my question about availability of “full” mplayer and ffmpeg etc. I was referring to http://www.medibuntu.org/ repository that provides codecs for 3gp, aac etc. and the previous applications compiled to support them.

    Are this kind of packages available in other current GNU/Linux distributions?

  135. Slated said,

    June 17, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Gravatar

    @Petar

    The implementation of MPlayer I am using from Livna is “full”, indeed I am not sure what other kind of implementation there is, unless Ubuntu is distributing a more limited version for some reason. FYI Livna’s repo is located in France.

    Certainly it supports AAC and 3gp … and around 350 other codecs, so I’d consider that pretty “full”. :)

    Exactly the same goes for ffmpeg.

    Incidentally, there are plenty of other options too, including Xine, and VLC which is very good with streaming protocols in particular.

  136. Slated said,

    June 18, 2008 at 12:25 am

    Gravatar

    I just found this, which is extremely relevant to this discussion:

    [quote]
    “Since I consider non-free software to be unethical and antisocial, I think it would be wrong for me to recommend it to others. Therefore, if a collection of software contains (or suggests installation of) some non-free program, I do not recommend it. The systems I recommend are therefore those that do not contain (or suggest installation of) non-free software.” ~ Richard Stallman
    [/quote]

    http://kerneltrap.org/OpenBSD/That_Which_We_Call_Free

    Now certainly this is about what RMS recommends rather than what he defines as “Free”, but this is also a quite unambiguous citation that proves RMS believes that non-Free software is unethical, and that even suggesting (promoting) non-Free software is wrong.

  137. Slated said,

    June 18, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Gravatar

    Even more relevant:

    [quote]
    However, one so-called freedom that we do not advocate is the “freedom to choose any license you want for software you write”. We reject this because it is really a form of power, not a freedom.

    This oft-overlooked distinction is crucial. Freedom is being able to make decisions that affect mainly you. Power is being able to make decisions that affect others more than you. If we confuse power with freedom, we will fail to uphold real freedom.

    Proprietary software is an exercise of power.
    [/quote]

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/freedom-or-power.html

  138. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 18, 2008 at 12:44 am

    Gravatar

    It’s akin to “land of the free”, as in “free market”, i.e. a market that is free to become a dog-eat-dog world without rules or regulation.

  139. yman said,

    June 18, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated:
    “Your contempt for Freedom is palpable”
    Contempt!? Where did you get that from? A little uncertainty yes, but I’m definitely in favor of information freedom.

    “You attempt to trivialise the issue with hyperbole (”torture”),”
    You’re the one who compared it to the slavery of Americans by Americans. I think that’s over-reacting.

    “whilst ignoring the threat to your own liberty”
    There is a growing threat, but it’s not like we’re low on chips and have to go all in just yet. In fact, even while being as conservative as we are now, we are slowly closing the gap. Look at the EU anti-trust, or FF popularity, or HTML5, or many other advances. We win some, lose some, and win a little more than we lose.

    “You are obviously too young to understand the implications of intellectual totalitarianism.”
    I’m sorry I haven’t made this clear, but I’m talking about the current situation, not the bleak future which could turn out very bad.

    “Not good enough I’m afraid. Telling people to “look the other way” does not mean a violation is not being committed.”
    A violation means getting people who were using 99% non-free software to use 99% free-software? I’d say it’s making improvements, not violating something.

    “You seem to forget that there are actual Free Software developers out there,”
    They chose the license, and if the license allows this specific use, we must assume they are OK with it.

    “since they have no choice but to acknowledge that their Free Software is on that tainted distro.”
    It’s a one-sided thing: I create software, you use it anyway you want within the specified limits. You are arguing here based on your wishes for the future, saying that possible future license terms should be respected as part of licenses that don’t include them.

    “Then they should.”
    That’s right, but they don’t. What are you going to do, preach to them like some seemingly lunatic pastor? You must find a way that actually works, you know.

    “Oh dear. At last we come to the naked truth of the matter. I have seen this vile expression many; many times before, but rarely in the Free Software community. It is blatantly obvious that you have the mentality of a Windows Troll, with nothing but contempt for the Fee Software that you benefit from.”
    Again baseless accusations against me. Some stuff, like saving PDF forms, doesn’t yet have a free software implementation. I also tried MPlayer, and it couldn’t play my rmvb files, even though it appears to be from the Medibuntu repository. From the link you gave me, it appears the latest version of rmvb that is supported is 9, while the current version is 11. In regards to Flash, I wasn’t talking about Flash Video, but about all things Flash, such as interactive Flash content embedded in web pages. I didn’t even mention that there are some really bad websites, namely bank sites, that can only be properly accessed with IE. All I’m saying is from personal experience, being the closest thing to the system administrator we have in this house.

    “That is the most incredible misrepresentation of what I am campaigning for, that it is quite sickening.”
    By removing the option to not participate in civil disobedience, you leave only one option, which is to partake in it.

    “I have a right to Free Speech”
    And I’m not trying to shut you up. I’m trying to have a debate on whether or not OEMs should be allowed to ship non-free software preinstalled on almost entirely free systems.

    BTW, I think REdistribution should have no restrictions over it, but that which can’t in practical terms be redistributed doesn’t matter. This means that I think systems can be preinstalled with non-free software, but that the installation disc that comes with them shouldn’t include non-free software.

    “or is that yet another Freedom you wish to denounce as “extremism”?”
    I actually hate the term “extremist”, since it doesn’t help for anything at all except delegitimizing an opponent’s opinion. I don’t even think such a thing as an “extreme” opinion can even exist. Instead, all I care about is whether an opinion is correct, incorrect, and which is more correct or incorrect than the other.

    “Or so you claim, and yet you fail to give any specific examples.”
    I gave you 3 examples, and added one now. Again, I only mention stuff I’ve seen for myself (or at least I try. No one’s perfect).

    “Since when is it our “duty” to promote and advocate non-Free software.”
    To the contrary. People are now mostly tied in to non-free software, and thus run systems in which the vast majority of software is non-free. A gradual switch would allow systems that are almost entirely free in the short term, and completely free in the long term. If we ignore proprietary tie-ins, we fail to maximize the spread of software freedom. Besides, this isn’t promotion but rather the lack of demotion. If we weren’t involved, this non-free software would be used anyway.

    “Assuming that “user” has not now developed a dependency on the non-Free software you gave him.”
    The user already has a dependency, we are trying to wean him off of that to free software.

    “What kind of message does that send to this user: “It’s really OK to taint Free Software for your personal convenience”?”
    The user doesn’t even think in those terms, and your approach will never give him the chance.

    “So what exactly are you hoping will motivate this user to then drop that dependence, after you’ve already told him there’s no problem with it?”
    Freedom being the default, plus content providers (of all types) providing their content in free formats for free will quickly make non-free software obsolete.

    “Do you advocate supporting a junkie’s addiction by continuing to supply him with heroin, when methadone is available on a free prescription?”
    Incidentally, methadone is a variation of Heroin. It’s more like me suggesting to treat with Methadone while you suggest the junky just drop the drugs and deal with the full-blown withdrawal symptoms.

    “I’d appreciate a link to a formal statement on this issue.”
    What I wrote on this issue is based on reason, just like all you wrote on this issue is based on reason. There is no reason I should back up my reasoning using absolute proof while you don’t see a need to do that yourself. Incidentally, no official statements were issued by any party involved that are relevant to this issue.

    “As I’ve said before, those users can still obtain Free Software implementations of encumbered software elsewhere.”
    And as I’ve said before this isn’t good enough. It leads to a situation where it’s a choice between my way or the highway. The user is forced to choose between absolute slavery and useless freedom, without the option of minimal evil which is often necessary.

    “This is just another meaningless “market share” argument. Freedom is not a popularity contest, remember?”
    If you want freedom to be the standard, popularity can certainly be a big help. I’m not talking about popularity as the goal, but as a means to achieving a goal.

    “Again, unlikely given those users new dependence on encumbered formats, thanks to their default inclusion in the distro.”
    The users are already dependent. Making free formats the default for encoding, as well as their null cost and often higher quality will ensure that those who use free systems will produce content in free formats. Non-free formats are there as legacy support and training wheels, not as the default and the ideal. And again, users are already dependent on non-free formats, and ignoring this dependence will not eliminate it.

    “I see, so first the excuse was compatibility (which I have debunked), and now the excuse is “quality”. Can you be more specific? Exactly what “quality” issues are you having with Free Software?”
    Then let me make it clearer:
    Just because the software is free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s quality is better. It could be better, it could be worse. As for examples from purely personal experience:
    Annoying interface for The GIMP: It has loads of unnecessary pop-ups and lacks a bounding box. In addition, It uses multiple windows that can’t be docked to the side of the main windows (by which I mean the window in which the picture is edited).
    Evince can’t save PDF forms, although it’s the only one that seems able to edit them.

    And these aren’t excuses, they are reasons. Nor am I changing them, rather I am stating both at once because both are true.

    “Well you already did by using platitudes like “Windows is a drag”. That statement fails to address the severity of the issue by quite a margin, essentially sweeping those issues under the carpet.”
    Since it’s already quite obviouse that we both value our freedom and that Windows is not free, I simply avoided stating what we both already know. Rather, I opted to voice my opinion over the quality of Windows in comparison to that of Ubuntu.

    “I came to that “conclusion” because the creator of the GPL came to that “conclusion”:”
    My discussion is with you, not the entire community of free software activists or the author of the GPL. Similarly, I don’t try to hide behind a group but rather voice my opinions as those of a particular individual: me.

    “By tainting Free Software with non-Free software one is violating the principles of that Free Software. That is not an “opinion”, it is a statement of fact as documented in the license for that Free Software. So unless you somehow think that violating the principles of Free Software is in some way a perfectly “moral” undertaking, then I don’t see how you can dismiss my conclusions so easily.”
    Talk like that scares me, because you sound as if you think the GPL is the divine word of God handed down to us mortal by the prophet RMS. Just a word of advice: sound more rational if you wish to convince the uninitiated.

    “So you admit that it is fundamentally wrong, but it is worth it in order to “win”.”
    No. That’s just a quirk of the English language that made the best expression of my thoughts be taken to mean something else. I don’t think it’s fundamentally wrong if it allows us to win.

    “AFAICT your interpretation of “win” is “gain market share”. And yet again I repeat that Free Software is not a popularity contest. How do you expect the principles of Freedom to prevail, if you violate and destroy those principles in order to have them more widely adopted? That’s not spreading the principles of Freedom, that’s capitulating to oppression.”
    Market share will be a huge help in eliminating non-free software. It may even be crucial. The rest I already talked about above, and see no reason to repeat myself.

    “But you are more than happy to believe unconditionally in the lie that the Intellectual Monopolists propagate?”
    No. I don’t take legal advice from them either. Aside from that, I don’t know you, I don’t know your credentials, and I don’t anything else about you that may be relevant except that you are a devoted member of the free software movement and that your considerations are different than mine.

    “By all means don’t take my word for it, consult a lawyer.”
    Maybe I will.

    “Attempting to claim “ownership” of maths formulae, or frankly any other knowledge, is simply perverse. However, US laws enforce this ridiculous concept, forbidding anyone from using that knowledge without permission from (and payment to) the “owner”.”
    You fail to grasp the difference between action and lack thereof.

    “Unless it is combined with a flagrant disregard for others’ Freedom, such as by tainting Free Software with non-Free software, as a kind of misguided “protest”.”
    You completely misunderstood this. It’s an argument in favor of civil disobedience.

    “What worse punishment is there than losing one’s liberty?”
    When it’s already lost, and you might not only not regain it but also lose what little leverage you have in this world, and that’s money.

    “Screw the “patent holder”. There should be no “patent holders” in the first place.”
    But as long as there are, this would at least allow legal use of free software where only non-free software is now legally available. It changes nothing where patents hold no power, which is another advantage.

    “Whatever happened to your “civil disobedience”?”
    I told you I’m somewhat uncertain, and that those who for various reasons aren’t willing to perform it should still be allowed to get the maximum benefit of freedom that their situation allows.

  140. Petar said,

    June 18, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated

    Quote from Stallman:
    “Since I consider non-free software to be unethical and antisocial, I
    think it would be wrong for me to recommend it to others. Therefore,
    if a collection of software contains (or suggests installation of) some non-free program, I do not recommend it. The systems I recommend are therefore those that do not contain (or suggest installation of)
    non-free software.”

    According to this quote ,you also do unethical thing by suggesting installation of the non-free codecs (I don’t have problem with it, Stallman does).

    Debian distribution, and most of it’s derivatives (like Ubuntu) is unethical according to Stallman, because they offer repositories of packages that contain non-free software.

    Because I can see you are a strong supporter of the Free Software movement, I would suggest you to try this simple test.

    Write an email to Stallman. In the email tell him that you are strong supporter of the Free Software movement. Write him about GNU/Linux distribution you use (from you mentionig Livna’s repository, I presume you use Fedora), give him a list of packages you have installed on your PC and ask him:

    “Am I following to the last words your ideas?” :)

    Please share with us the answer you get from him.

    Roy Schestowitz you can do the same test for us too.

  141. Petar said,

    June 18, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Gravatar

    I just read Stallman’s letter from one of the links.

    He likes gNewSense. I presume that is his vision of how Debian should really be like. I need comment from all of the Free Software supporters here, if they used it (or better USE IT) and do they see it as EXCELENT alternative for Ubuntu Netbook Remix (presuming it will be preinstalled on the laptops that Ubuntu Netbook Remix targets) ?

  142. Petar said,

    June 18, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Gravatar

    I am also interested in what distribution you recommend, or you will recommend (in case you recommended Ubuntu, but now you hate it) to GNU/Linux noob people that ask for your advice?

  143. Slated said,

    June 18, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Gravatar

    @Petar

    “According to this quote ,you also do unethical thing by suggesting installation of the non-free codecs (I don’t have problem with it, Stallman does).”

    You need to understand the difference between proprietary software and Free Software implementations of patent encumbered technology.

    MPlayer is not non-Free, it is licensed under the GPL. The fact that the Intellectual Monopolists make unethical claims against that technology (only binding in the US) is completely irrelevant to the GPL. It is still Free Software.

    Fluendo’s codec package is an entirely different thing, since it is not only patent encumbered, but also proprietary software, thus non-Free.

    So I am in no way suggesting (or recommending that others suggest) non-Free software, since MPlayer is Free.

    However, I would tend to also promote patent-free formats over patent encumbered formats, but that is a side issue (a matter of protest against software patents) rather than a matter of Free Software advocacy.

  144. Slated said,

    June 18, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Gravatar

    @Petar

    Ref: Recommended distro

    I don’t recommend any distro, since they all have ethical issues of one kind or another, (e.g. even gNewSense contains Mono). Now these issues are not (all) contradictions of Freedom, but some are nonetheless implementations that I personally disagree with for political or strategic reasons (mainly the avoidance of any Microsoft technology).

    One should be able to tailor any given distro to one’s personal needs (either technical or political), so recommendations are rather moot.

    I personally use Fedora, since I have worked with Red Hat systems all my life, so I am more comfortable with them, but I remove offending packages like Mono and all its dependants, and various other Microsoft technology like CIFS/Samba, so I end up with a “clean” system. AFAIK I would (sadly) have to do the same with pretty much any distro to accomplish the same result, so precisely which distro I start out with is mostly irrelevant from that perspective.

    Naturally I would prefer if all distros followed the same ideology, whilst offloading offending packages to third-party repos (or just depreciating them altogether), but until that happens I have to make do with my own methods.

    I am currently working on my own “clean” fork of Fedora, utilising such projects as GNU IceCat; Debian’s Icedove and
    Linux-Libre.

  145. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 18, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Gravatar

    @Petar: you must have gotten the wrong impression. I am actually pro-Ubuntu (among others distribution). I wrote this post impulsively and quickly with some concern because of the implication it may have (I could elaborate on this if you wish).

    Regarding Stallman, I prefer not to burn this bridge by spending his time discussion something to which an answer is already out there.

  146. Petar said,

    June 18, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Gravatar

    Slated and Roy Schestowitz thank you both for your answers.

    One last request, I am interested in what countries you come from, and how often you meet people (in your country) using GNU/Linux (among your friends, relatives, colleagues etc.) professionally or privately?

  147. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 18, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Gravatar

    Petar,

    You’re very welcome. We both live in the UK (no, I’ve never met him) and the Linux/FOSS community where I live is in good shape. In fact, the first GNU/Linux distribution was created here (MCC).

  148. Slated said,

    June 19, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Gravatar

    @yman

    [quote]
    “You attempt to trivialise the issue with hyperbole (”torture”),”

    You’re the one who compared it to the slavery of Americans by Americans. I think that’s over-reacting.
    [/quote]

    No I don’t think it is at all.

    The corporate-backed political attacks against civil liberties in America (and elsewhere) are one of the biggest threats to Freedom in the modern history of democracy, since your Freedom is being attacked in ways that transcend well beyond whips and chains. The Intellectual Monopolists attacks on the Freedom of ideas is just one part of that agenda.

    I used slavery as a very appropriate analogy for that development, and you countered with a blasé and sarcastic reference to “torture”. Either you completely fail to grasp the severity of the problem, or you simply don’t care. I suggest you research this, before you find it too late to save your own Freedom:

    http://antitrust.slated.org/censorship/acta-proposal-2007.pdf

    This is not some hysterical paranoia about a remotely possible dystopian future. Our Freedom is being destroyed right nowtoday. Are you going to fight it, or pretend it’s not happening?

    [quote]
    What are you going to do, preach to them like some seemingly lunatic pastor?
    [/quote]

    You think advocating Freedom is “lunacy” now?

    [quote]
    Some stuff, like saving PDF forms, doesn’t yet have a free software implementation.
    [/quote]

    Well while you’re waiting for Sun to complete their PDF Forms support, perhaps you could try this:

    http://www.ecademix.com/JohannesHofmann/flpsed.html

    [quote]
    I also tried MPlayer, and it couldn’t play my rmvb files, even though it appears to be from the Medibuntu repository. From the link you gave me, it appears the latest version of rmvb that is supported is 9, while the current version is 11.
    [quote]

    I have no idea what codecs Medibuntu ships, but they obviously don’t provide the right ones, since I have no difficulty playing RMVB files using the codecs supplied here:

    http://www1.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/codecs/rp9codecs-win32-20050115.tar.bz2

    You did actually install them, didn’t you? They should be installed (from that tarball) into /usr/lib/codecs/.

    WRT the codec versions, RealMedia formats have not changed significantly enough since RP9 to make them incompatible with older releases (of either Real Player or MPlayer). AFAICT the only really new (codec) feature of Real Player 11 is support for H264 AVC, which you get with MPlayer anyway using native support.

    Perhaps you could point me to one of these problematic RMVB files, so I can see for myself.

    [quote]
    In regards to Flash, I wasn’t talking about Flash Video, but about all things Flash, such as interactive Flash content embedded in web pages.
    [/quote]

    Then use Gnash, like I do.

    Again, if you have a problem using this Free Software, then please point me to the source of your problem.

    And by that I don’t mean that there won’t be any. Part of the whole ethos of Free Software is “participation”. You get, because others give. That’s the way it works. If nobody was to give, then it wouldn’t work. One of the things you can do to “give” is to provide bug reports if and when your Free Software doesn’t work, that way we can fix it so that it will work.

    This is just a rather long-winded way of saying that perhaps your involvement in Free Software would be better served by participating, rather than just leeching and complaining.

    [quote]
    I didn’t even mention that there are some really bad websites, namely bank sites, that can only be properly accessed with IE.
    [/quote]

    Given the popularity of Firefox, and the litany of security issues with IE, I would hope that most banks would have moved away from proprietary IE standards by now. Certainly mine has. If yours hasn’t, then I suggest you write to them and complain. You might also wish to draw the following article to their attention:

    “Indeed, some banks have even been looking into Linux Live CDs for their customers to use.”

    http://www.itwire.com/content/view/18411/1143/

    I really don’t know why you seem to be getting apparently inundated by all these proprietary formats. I cannot personally even remember ever seeing a RMVB file before (I had to hunt the Internet just now to find one), and the last time I had problems with IE specific Websites was some time last century. As for PDF forms, I’ve never even seen one, but it seems like a rather archaic method of completing some kind of application form. Surely it would be easier to just provide a secure Web form. If your father has absolutely no choice but to accept these proprietary forms, then maybe he should just print them out; fill them in; then FAX them back (or scan and Email them).

    Personally, I think you’re just reaching.

    It is part of the proprietary software agenda to produce proprietary formats that are deliberately incompatible with their competitors’ software (and hence ours too, until such time as we reverse engineer them). In addition to this, certain proprietary software vendors are now abusing patents for the same purpose (which we circumvent by hosting our software outside the jurisdiction of software patents). Barring antitrust rulings, this will likely always be the case.

    So what are you going to do?

    Are you going to run back to Windows every time some proprietary software vendor arbitrarily comes up with a new way to lock customers into their software? Is it absolutely essential that you support every single format in the world?

    Of course if you were really committed to supporting Open Standards, Open Formats and Free Software, then you wouldn’t have that problem. I know I don’t.

    You wrote: “Why should these people be forced against their will to take part in your civil disobedience?”

    I wrote: “That is the most incredible misrepresentation of what I am campaigning for, that it is quite sickening.”

    You wrote: “By removing the option to not participate in civil disobedience, you leave only one option, which is to partake in it.”

    This conclusion wrong on every level.

    First, I am neither forcing nor removing anything, I am merely campaigning. I have no power to forcibly remove anything.

    Secondly, what I am campaigning for is wholly ethical. The way you present it makes it sound like I was snatching handbags from little old ladies.

    Then there is this nonsense to do with “civil disobedience”, which is your contention – not mine. AFAIAC I am not “disobeying” anything, since these American laws simply do not apply to me. And as for American citizens, they are not (despite your cynicism) “disobeying” any law either, since merely using “unlicensed” patent encumbered Free Software is not a crime (again, feel free to confirm this with your lawyer). It is the distribution of unlicensed patent encumbered Free Software, from within the US, that is in violation of Draconian US laws on software patents … that is all.

    But if you can find any laws that are actually relevant to you, then please feel free to go and break them, if that is what you want to do. I won’t try to stop you.

    Again, please feel free to confirm this with your lawyer.

    [quote]
    And I’m not trying to shut you up.
    [/quote]

    Well by continually claiming that I am trying to “force” other people to do things they (according to you) don’t want, you are clearly challenging my right to even speak on the subject. Please explain to me how debating is “forcing”, exactly?

    [quote]
    BTW, I think REdistribution should have no restrictions over it,
    [/quote]

    Yes, I think I’m well aware of your opinions by now.

    [quote]
    all I care about is whether an opinion is correct, incorrect, and which is more correct or incorrect than the other.
    [/quote]

    Opinions can, by virtue of their subjectivity, neither be right nor wrong.

    [quote]
    If we ignore proprietary tie-ins, we fail to maximize the spread of software freedom.
    [/quote]

    This is just another “market share” argument, that advocates compromising principles in order to spread their adoption. The former is unacceptable, and the latter is irrelevant.

    [quote]
    If we weren’t involved, this non-free software would be used anyway.
    [/quote]

    My specific involvement here is to complain about the default distribution of non-Free software in an otherwise Free Software distribution. In that sense, I am not here to promote anything. Or at least I hadn’t anticipated doing so, until I was confronted by a barrage of anti-Free-Software sentiment.

    [quote]
    The user already has a dependency, we are trying to wean him off of that to free software.
    [/quote]

    By giving him more non-Free software for him to become dependant on?

    I wrote: “What kind of message does that send to this user: “It’s really OK to taint Free Software for your personal convenience”?”

    You wrote: “The user doesn’t even think in those terms, and your approach will never give him the chance.”

    It stands a much better chance than you giving such a user the first-impression that non-Free software is so essential that it must be included in a Free Software distribution.

    I wrote: “So what exactly are you hoping will motivate this user to then drop that dependence, after you’ve already told him there’s no problem with it?”

    You wrote: “Freedom being the default”

    Well it clearly isn’t the default in Remix, now is it?

    [quote]
    plus content providers (of all types) providing their content in free formats
    [/quote]

    And what is going to motivate them to do that, if everyone (even GNU/Linux users) is using proprietary formats, just as Remix users are now likely to do, thanks to the Fluendo codecs?

    [quote]
    for free will quickly make non-free software obsolete.
    [/quote]

    My main concern is that this insistence, by some in the community, on continuing to pro-actively support proprietary formats will quickly make Free Software obsolete, especially once the legal reach of the Intellectual Monopolists extends beyond the boundaries of America (Ref: the secret ACTA proposal), and more and more Free Software vendors are forced to make pacts with corporations like Microsoft.

    [quote]
    It’s more like me suggesting to treat with Methadone while you suggest the junky just drop the drugs and deal with the full-blown withdrawal symptoms.
    [/quote]

    IOW as far as you’re concerned, using Free Software is akin to not using software at all.

    It’s reassuring to see you have such confidence in the software platform that you “advocate” for.

    You wrote: “Actually, it’s customized for countries that respect patents, and customized for countries that don’t.”

    I wrote: “I’d appreciate a link to a formal statement on this issue.”

    You wrote: “What I wrote on this issue is based on reason”

    So there is no formal statement from Canonical, or any OEM, confirming your supposition that Remix will be customised per region?

    IOW it is indeed quite likely that even those not governed by America’s ridiculous software patent laws, will nonetheless be presented with “officially licensed” proprietary codecs, even if there is no legal reason to do so, thus not only vindicating those Intellectual Monopolists unethical claims, but even spreading the disease of their indoctrination outside the boundaries of the US.

    [quote]
    There is no reason I should back up my reasoning using absolute proof while you don’t see a need to do that yourself.
    [/quote]

    I wasn’t demanding proof, I was asking you to clarify if that was an official position at Canonical, or merely your opinion.

    [quote]
    Incidentally, no official statements were issued by any party involved that are relevant to this issue.
    [/quote]

    Thank you.

    I wrote: “As I’ve said before, those users can still obtain Free Software implementations of encumbered software elsewhere.”

    Youe wrote: “And as I’ve said before this isn’t good enough. It leads to a situation where it’s a choice between my way or the highway.”

    Again, this is a very twisted view of things. These users still have exactly the same choices as before, but Free Software is not tainted in order for them to have those choices. And again, you present this as though what I am proposing is the ravings of an unethical dictator. I consider being “forced” to accept proprietary software far more dictatorial and unethical. Most of the noobs who will be victims of this injustice will not even be aware of the issue, and thus completely unable to make an informed choice … not that they currently have a choice anyway, thanks to this decision.

    [quote]
    The user is forced to choose between absolute slavery and useless freedom
    [/quote]

    It’s good to know that you have such a high opinion of Freedom. Perhaps you’d like to revoke the Bill of Rights too, since Freedom is so “useless”.

    I find it amazing that anyone could even think in terms of Freedom being an imposition, much less see the word “forced” associated with it.

    [quote]
    without the option of minimal evil which is often necessary.
    [/quote]

    Yes, you’ve demonstrated quite admirably that you find evil necessary. I don’t.

    [quote]
    I’m not talking about popularity as the goal, but as a means to achieving a goal.
    [/quote]

    But again I refer you to the contradiction of achieving Freedom by giving it up. Are you so naive as to think that capitulating to the demands of an exploiter will somehow edge you closer to Freedom?

    I wrote: “Again, unlikely given those users new dependence on encumbered formats, thanks to their default inclusion in the distro.”

    You wrote: “The users are already dependent. Making free formats the default for encoding”

    But Canonical are not making free formats or even Free Software the default for encoding. That’s the whole point.

    [quote]
    ignoring this dependence will not eliminate it.
    [/quote]

    It’ll eliminate it a lot faster than if we promote it, as Canonical are currently doing.

    Do you suppose that anyone would be using Windows Media today, if Microsoft had included support for popular competing formats in Windows Media Player? No, it is only because Microsoft practically ignored every other format out there that Windows Media has any kind of foothold at all.

    It is my contention that the Free Software community should take exactly the same approach with Ogg Vorbis and Theora.

    However, that is all quite beside the point. Free Software distributors should not be promoting and distributing non-Free software. Period. And for as long as America maintains its insane software patent laws, end-users should simply acquire their patent encumbered Free Software elsewhere.

    I wrote: “Exactly what “quality” issues are you having with Free Software?”

    You wrote: “Annoying interface for The GIMP”

    That has nothing to do with quality, that is merely your personal taste. I happen to prefer the Gimp’s interface to that of other image manipulation software.

    [quote]
    Evince can’t save PDF forms, although it’s the only one that seems able to edit them.
    [/quote]

    Again, that has nothing to do with “quality”. You are simply using the wrong tool for the job.

    [quote]
    both are true.
    [/quote]

    No, the first is merely an opinion (neither true nor false), and the second is your error in trying to use a document viewer to try to edit documents.

    I wrote: “I came to that “conclusion” because the creator of the GPL came to that “conclusion”:”

    You wrote: “My discussion is with you, not the entire community of free software activists or the author of the GPL.”

    But you are more than happy to try to marginalise me as a fringe fanatic, where I am creating my own “loony” doctrine, whereas the reality is I am merely reiterating other’s doctrines that I happen to support.

    [quote]
    Similarly, I don’t try to hide behind a group
    [/quote]

    I’m not hiding. I’m right here expressing my support for the ideologies of Free Software.

    You on the other hand, are hiding behind a fictitious army of people who you claim cannot survive without non-Free software, yet you can barely even give any supporting evidence of your own absolute dependence on such software, and what little evidence you have presented is shallow at best.

    I wrote: “By tainting Free Software with non-Free software one is violating the principles of that Free Software. That is not an “opinion”, it is a statement of fact as documented in the license for that Free Software. So unless you somehow think that violating the principles of Free Software is in some way a perfectly “moral” undertaking, then I don’t see how you can dismiss my conclusions so easily.”

    You wrote: “Talk like that scares me, because you sound as if you think the GPL is the divine word of God handed down to us mortal by the prophet RMS.”

    Again, you show nothing but utter contempt for the written license of Free Software. Do you describe the Windows EULA as “the divine word of God” too? Would you consider violating that license simply because you had contempt for it?

    This is not a chapter from the bible … it is a licence that ensures Freedom for software developers and users, chosen by those who, unlike you, believe in and respect those principles.

    Your attempt to demonise Free Software and its advocates with references to religion is despicable.

    [quote]
    Just a word of advice: sound more rational if you wish to convince the uninitiated.
    [/quote]

    Right now I’d be happy enough just convincing you what an utter bigot you are.

    [quote]
    I don’t think it’s fundamentally wrong if it allows us to win.
    [/quote]

    Where “win” presumably means “market share” again, I suppose. Yes, I’m well aware that you have more interest in popularity than your own (and others’) Freedom.

    [quote]
    Market share will be a huge help in eliminating non-free software.
    [/quote]

    Not if that Free Software continues to spread the disease of non-Free software, by distribution and promotion.

    [quote]
    I don’t know your credentials
    [/quote]

    Do I need “credentials” in order to state the obvious?

    But no, I do not expect you to take legal advice from me (if you think you really need it). I’ve said several times now that you should consult a lawyer, please do so and put this FUD to rest once and for all.

    [quote]
    You fail to grasp the difference between action and lack thereof.
    [/quote]

    You’re still not making any sense. What has “action” got to do with anything. Legal circumvention of unethical laws? Is that the “action” you are referring to?

    [quote]
    You completely misunderstood this. It’s an argument in favor of civil disobedience.
    [/quote]

    No, you completely misunderstood me, since I am not in favour of civil disobedience, mainly because there is nothing to disobey in the first place, since the solution is perfectly legal, but also because your idea of “disobedience” is to poison Free Software in an act of protest. I can think of less destructive ways of “protesting”.

    I wrote: “What worse punishment is there than losing one’s liberty?”

    You worte: “When it’s already lost”

    Well maybe you have lost yours, but I certainly haven’t lost mine, and I don’t intend to do so any time soon.

    [quote]
    and you might not only not regain it but also lose what little leverage you have in this world, and that’s money.
    [/quote]

    You think the only way to achieve Freedom is to buy it? If you honestly believe that then you truly are a lost cause.

    [quote]
    this would at least allow legal use of free software
    [/quote]

    I’m not going to allow some American corporate gangsters to dictate to me what is, or is not, “legal” in my own country. And WRT to what you mistakenly think is illegal in your country, again I refer you to your lawyer.

    I wrote: “Whatever happened to your “civil disobedience”?”

    You wrote: “I told you I’m somewhat uncertain.”

    I was being sarcastic.

  149. yman said,

    June 24, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Gravatar

    @Slated
    Due to lack of information, I connot continue this debate. Instead, I’ll list corrections to some errors you’ve made during our debate:
    1. Action isn’t the same as inaction.
    2. Supporting an existing dependency isn’t the same as creating a new dependency.
    3. Promoting something isn’t the same as not demoting it.
    4. This debate could have real-life consequences, and thus those consequences are relevant to this debate.
    5. Don’t get into hysterics when criticised.

    Aside from that, I’m surprised that you think that free formats have no merit at all, not even the merit of being free, over non-free formats.

    I guess this is what’s called an inflamatory post, but I really don’t like being called names, or being told that certain relevant stuff isn’t open for discussion. You did have some fair points about distribution vs use (assuming you are correct about the law), so you might be right.

    In the end I couldn’t resist, so I will respond to specifics:

    “You think advocating Freedom is “lunacy” now?”
    No, but you occasionally express yourself in a way that might seem like that.

    “Well while you’re waiting for Sun to complete their PDF Forms support, perhaps you could try this:”
    Ineresting app, but not what I need. I can’t present this to my dad as a suitable replacement.

    “You did actually install them, didn’t you? They should be installed (from that tarball) into /usr/lib/codecs/.”
    I tried that. It’s no good.

    “Perhaps you could point me to one of these problematic RMVB files, so I can see for myself.”
    I’d rather not.

    “Then use Gnash, like I do.”
    It implements Flash 7, partially implements Flash 8, and hardly at all implements Flash 9. Maybe it’s just prejudice, but I prefer a full implementation.

    “And by that I don’t mean that there won’t be any. Part of the whole ethos of Free Software is “participation”. You get, because others give. That’s the way it works. If nobody was to give, then it wouldn’t work. One of the things you can do to “give” is to provide bug reports if and when your Free Software doesn’t work, that way we can fix it so that it will work.

    This is just a rather long-winded way of saying that perhaps your involvement in Free Software would be better served by participating, rather than just leeching and complaining.”
    I do give occasionally, and I expect to give at ann accelerated rate as my CS studies progress. My main interest is in creating software.

    BTW, I’m complaining here because you are talking as if free software is perfect and there is no need at all for non-free software. If you were dissing free software I’d be defending it. I simply dislike people only seeing one half of the cup.

    “This is just a rather long-winded way of saying that perhaps your involvement in Free Software would be better served by participating, rather than just leeching and complaining.”
    So I give you real problems I experience, but since they aren’t you problems then they must be made up, right?

    “So what are you going to do?”
    Slowly wean myself off of non-free formats.

    “First, I am neither forcing nor removing anything, I am merely campaigning. I have no power to forcibly remove anything.”
    You are campaining for it. I’m talking about what happens if you succeed. In other words, I’m talking about what happens if your ideas are realised.

    “Well by continually claiming that I am trying to “force” other people to do things they (according to you) don’t want, you are clearly challenging my right to even speak on the subject. Please explain to me how debating is “forcing”, exactly?”
    I’m talking about consequences.

    “Opinions can, by virtue of their subjectivity, neither be right nor wrong.”
    When they are a matter of personal taste. But an opinion that claims that 2+1 = 3 (in the decimal system) is correct. An opinion that claims that 2+1 = 1 (in the decimal system) is incorrect.

    “This is just another “market share” argument, that advocates compromising principles in order to spread their adoption. The former is unacceptable, and the latter is irrelevant.”
    The latter will lead to the elimination of non-free software.

    “until I was confronted by a barrage of anti-Free-Software sentiment.”
    This is a figment of your imagination. No one here is against free software.

    “By giving him more non-Free software for him to become dependant on?”
    He is already dependent upon it.

    “It stands a much better chance than you giving such a user the first-impression that non-Free software is so essential that it must be included in a Free Software distribution.”
    But then you never gain an opening in which to speak about software freedom.

    “Well it clearly isn’t the default in Remix, now is it?”
    I have poorly expressed myself. I mean free formats being included by default and used for encoding by default. This will lead to more and more content being provided in free formats until non-free formats become unneccessary.

    “And what is going to motivate them to do that, if everyone (even GNU/Linux users) is using proprietary formats, just as Remix users are now likely to do, thanks to the Fluendo codecs?”
    Free of charge, large installed base, it’s the default encoding format, and sometimes has superior quality.

    “IOW as far as you’re concerned, using Free Software is akin to not using software at all.”
    You are taking what I said out of context to create a provocative statement I never made.

    “It’s good to know that you have such a high opinion of Freedom. Perhaps you’d like to revoke the Bill of Rights too, since Freedom is so “useless”.”
    I mean useless to those who need functionality it doesn’t provide.

    And the choice is forced, not freedom.

    “But again I refer you to the contradiction of achieving Freedom by giving it up”
    There is no contradiction. It is gaining freedom inch by inch rather than all at once.

    “But Canonical are not making free formats or even Free Software the default for encoding. That’s the whole point.”
    Where is the source for that?

    “Do you suppose that anyone would be using Windows Media today, if Microsoft had included support for popular competing formats in Windows Media Player? No, it is only because Microsoft practically ignored every other format out there that Windows Media has any kind of foothold at all.”
    Fair point. However, wasn’t Windows already the dominant platform at that point?

    “That has nothing to do with quality, that is merely your personal taste. I happen to prefer the Gimp’s interface to that of other image manipulation software.”
    And when personal taste makes something annoying, that is a quality issue for the user who is annoyed.

    “Again, that has nothing to do with “quality”. You are simply using the wrong tool for the job.”
    Interestingly enough, Evince is supposed to be able to edit PDF forms, and the release notes for 2.20 said that saving wasn’t implemented yet.

    “No, the first is merely an opinion (neither true nor false), and the second is your error in trying to use a document viewer to try to edit documents.”
    It’s a matter of opinion whether a certain website is displayed properly, or whether a multimedia file plays? It’s an error to use a program the way it’s intended? It is a document viewer, but why would they add support for editing PDF forms if not in order to edit PDF forms? And what other free program is there that can edit PDF forms? The ine you showed me is for editing PDF documents, and mentions nothing about forms.

    “reality is I am merely reiterating other’s doctrines that I happen to support.”
    If you agree with it then it’s your opinion, right? Why then can’t you have a discussion with me as an individual?

    “You on the other hand, are hiding behind a fictitious army of people who you claim cannot survive without non-Free software”
    No. I’m arguing for the sake of myself, as well as any other people who maight share my needs. However, I do not draw authority to my claims merely from having other people support them. Numbers and names mean nothing to my arguments.

    “Again, you show nothing but utter contempt for the written license of Free Software”
    No. I’m pointing out that you expressed yourself here in an alienating fashion.

    “Your attempt to demonise Free Software and its advocates with references to religion is despicable.”
    I’m not demonizing anything. You expressed your opinions badly, and I’m trying to help you so you don’t sound like a religious zealot next time.

    “Right now I’d be happy enough just convincing you what an utter bigot you are.”

    “Bigot

    2. A person who regards his own faith and views in matters of
    religion as unquestionably right, and any belief or
    opinion opposed to or differing from them as unreasonable
    or wicked. In an extended sense, a person who is
    intolerant of opinions which conflict with his own, as in
    politics or morals; one obstinately and blindly devoted to
    his own church, party, belief, or opinion.”
    – From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48

    Sounds to me more like a description of you.

    “Where “win” presumably means “market share” again, I suppose. Yes, I’m well aware that you have more interest in popularity than your own (and others’) Freedom.”
    ‘Win’ means the elimination of IP.

    “You’re still not making any sense. What has “action” got to do with anything. Legal circumvention of unethical laws? Is that the “action” you are referring to?”
    Examples:
    If The government ordered you to kill someone undeserving of death, it will be requiring you to perform an immoral action. This is an action which is forbidden.
    If the government forbade crossing the street at a red light, it would be forbidding the performance of a morally neutral action. This is an inaction which is allowed.

    Forbidding the use of patented ideas without a lisence is forbidding the performance of that which is allowed. You don’t have a moral obligation to use patented ideas, and you don’t have a moral obligation to avoid using patented ideas. You can do what you want. However, the government steps in and forbids the use of patented ideas without a license. Do you now have to violate this prohibition, comply with it, or may you ignore it?

    I hope this helps you see the difference between action and inaction.

    As to changing the law, that is a totally seperate issue from obaying existing laws.

    “but also because your idea of “disobedience” is to poison Free Software in an act of protest.”
    By using free-software implementations of patents? I thought that was your idea of civil disobedience.

    “Well maybe you have lost yours, but I certainly haven’t lost mine, and I don’t intend to do so any time soon”
    So don’t use non-free software. But for those who already lost it, it would be great if they could regain some.

    “You think the only way to achieve Freedom is to buy it?”
    No, you completely misunderstood. If you get fined over the use of free implementations of patents (I have to say this, otherwise I can’t respond at all to this mistake of yours) you lose money.

    “I’m not going to allow some American corporate gangsters to dictate to me what is, or is not, “legal” in my own country”
    And I wasn’t suggesting that.

  150. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 24, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Gravatar

    In reference to your last remarks: by playing according to the rules imposed (often bought, i.e. bribery) by intellectual monopolies you gain nothing. They play dirty; will you obey them?

  151. yman said,

    June 24, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Gravatar

    @Roy Schestowitz:
    Sometimes in chess you need to sacrifice a queen to get checkmate. Are you saying we should play chess without losing a single piece? I assume it is theoretically possible, but your opponent will have to be a complete idiot or you’d have to be genius. My point is how do we win: absolute purism or pragmatism. That’s the debate for me. I think that in this case both can bring victory, and that pragmatism is quicker.

  152. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 24, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m actually more lenient than you think. Nonetheless, I believe Stallman when he says that, based on history and experience, when we accept non-Free software, it’s unlikely to ever be replaced by libre counterparts. After ATI’s moves I’m not so sure anymore, but let’s live peacefully and find out. At least I never needed to pay ATI (or AMD) in terms of money, unlike codecs.

    It’s a complicated issue. Companies like Sun or AMD typically wake up when their business suffers. Microsoft, on the other hand, becomes more like SCO as its profits decline (they did in the last quarter).

  153. Slated said,

    June 25, 2008 at 12:36 am

    Gravatar

    @yman

    “1. Action isn’t the same as inaction.”

    I still have absolutely no idea what “action” you are referring to.

    “2. Supporting an existing dependency isn’t the same as creating a new dependency.”

    I never mentioned anything about “new” dependencies. I am complaining about the distribution of non-Free software, regardless of whether those who end up using it already think they have a dependency for it, especially as that same functionality can be provided using Free Software, either by primary or third-party distribution.

    “3. Promoting something isn’t the same as not demoting it.”

    By distributing Fluendo’s codecs Canonical is promoting their use over Free Software equivalents. What’s difficult to understand about that?

    “4. This debate could have real-life consequences, and thus those consequences are relevant to this debate.”

    You make it sound like your life depended on non-Free software. That’s hyperbole at best, and sheer hysteria at worst.

    “5. Don’t get into hysterics when criticised.”

    On the contrary, as ever I am perfectly calm. You OTOH are the one making hysterical claims of “useless freedom”; “lunatic”; “torture” and “forcing”. As for your “criticism”, I have yet to see any valid assertions from you whatsoever, critical or otherwise.

    “Aside from that, I’m surprised that you think that free formats have no merit at all, not even the merit of being free, over non-free formats.”

    Well that’s just a blatant lie, since I have made no such recommendations. My dissent is with Canonical distributing and promoting proprietary software, regardless of whether or not it is also patent encumbered, and I have further pointed out that users are still able to obtain that patent encumbered software elsewhere in the form of Free Software, but that is in no way an endorsement of patent encumbered software, it is merely a response to those who make excuses about “needing” to distribute proprietary software in Free Software distributions, when that clearly is not the case.

    “I guess this is what’s called an inflamatory post, but I really don’t like being called names”

    Well I don’t like being marginalised as a fringe fanatic by people who have contempt for the principles of Freedom.

    “or being told that certain relevant stuff isn’t open for discussion.”

    Another lie. Where exactly did I attempt to dictate to you what you may or may not discuss?

    You OTOH have done nothing but infer that I have no right to discuss my objections, with your continuous references to my supposed “forcing”.

    “You did have some fair points about distribution vs use (assuming you are correct about the law), so you might be right.”

    I’m sure I am, but again, please confirm this with your lawyer.

    I wrote: “Well while you’re waiting for Sun to complete their PDF Forms support, perhaps you could try this:”

    You wrote: “Ineresting app, but not what I need. I can’t present this to my dad as a suitable replacement.”

    Why?

    I wrote: “You did actually install them, didn’t you? They should be installed (from that tarball) into /usr/lib/codecs/.”

    You wrote “I tried that. It’s no good.”

    Well that’s a bit vague. Define “no good”. The specific error message would be a good starting point.

    I wrote: “Perhaps you could point me to one of these problematic RMVB files, so I can see for myself.”

    You wrote: “I’d rather not.”

    Well that’s just downright suspicious. And you wonder why I question your veracity.

    I wrote: “Then use Gnash, like I do.”

    You wrote “It implements Flash 7, partially implements Flash 8, and hardly at all implements Flash 9. Maybe it’s just prejudice, but I prefer a full implementation.”

    That’s evasive. Does it or doesn’t it work? You might as well say that you prefer car “x” over car “y” because car “x” can do 200MPH, even though you’ll never have the opportunity to drive at 200MPH because it’s illegal.

    IOW your perceived problem is fictitious, and your attitude is therefore bigoted.

    “BTW, I’m complaining here because you are talking as if free software is perfect”

    Rubbish, I already clearly stated that “I don’t mean there won’t be any [problems]“. This debate has nothing to do with technical issues, which exist in all software, Free or otherwise (Windows has more than it’s fair share too, or have you forgotten that?). I have made no such claim of technical “perfection”, that’s just more of your hyperbole.

    However, you seem to be claiming that Free Software has insurmountable problems, the specific details of which you seem rather unwilling to share. I am merely refuting the supposedly insurmountable nature of those problems.

    “and there is no need at all for non-free software.”

    I have no need for it, certainly. You claim to do so, but then what you “want” and what you “need” are not necessarily the same thing.

    But again, this is all beside the point. My complaint has nothing to do with the mere existence of proprietary software, it is to do with a Free Software vendor distributing such software by default.

    As I’ve already indicated, if you really want proprietary software, then clearly your best option is Windows. Please feel free to use it, I won’t stop you.

    “I simply dislike people only seeing one half of the cup.”

    You seem to be rather confused about exactly what is being debated here. AFAIAC there are not two sides to this story. If you want to use proprietary software, then do so. If you want to use Free software, then do so. But what you are advocating is compromising Free Software with the inclusion of proprietary software, for no better reason than convenience, whilst ignoring the perfectly viable Free Software alternative. Compromising Freedom is not a two-sided story IMHO, unless one believes the morally reprehensible “side” is worthy of consideration.

    I wrote: “This is just a rather long-winded way of saying that perhaps your involvement in Free Software would be better served by participating, rather than just leeching and complaining.”

    You wrote: “So I give you real problems I experience, but since they aren’t you problems then they must be made up, right?”

    More hyperbole and misrepresentation.

    Firstly, my comment has nothing to do with insinuating that you lied, although given the extremely sparse information you’ve provided so far, I am inclined to believe you are (at the very least) exaggerating.

    Secondly, my comment was a perfectly unambiguous suggestion that you should simply seek resolutions to your problems, rather than just complaining about them.

    You seem rather too eager to give up without trying.

    Of course, if it’s convenience you want, then by all means go and use Windows instead. However, I hear it has quite a few inconvenience issues itself, and unlike GNU/Linux, many of those problems are insurmountable, since you do not have access to the sources, which pretty much kills any hope you might have of fixing broken proprietary software (another issue you should bear in mind, when advocating for proprietary software in GNU/Linux).

    I wrote: “So what are you going to do?”

    You wrote: “Slowly wean myself off of non-free formats.”

    You haven’t demonstrated much enthusiasm for that so far, so I’m inclined to think that you won’t, in the long term. I’m further inclined to think that others exposed to such formats by default will be equally apathetic, as people are naturally predisposed to be.

    I wrote: “First, I am neither forcing nor removing anything, I am merely campaigning. I have no power to forcibly remove anything.”

    You wrote: “You are campaining for it. I’m talking about what happens if you succeed. In other words, I’m talking about what happens if your ideas are realised.”

    Then stop insinuating that I am “forcing” something. If change happens then it will be by consensus, not by the iron will and dictatorial powers you seem to think I posses.

    Are you afraid that others might actually agree with my opinions? Is that why you’re so keen to censor me?

    It’s called Freedom of speech, my friend. Deal with it.

    I wrote: “Opinions can, by virtue of their subjectivity, neither be right nor wrong.”

    You wrote: “When they are a matter of personal taste.”

    Just like your previous claim about the Gimp’s interface.

    “But an opinion that claims that 2+1 = 3 (in the decimal system) is correct.”

    No, that is not an opinion, it is a preposition based upon a series of established axioms, which may be deemed to be correct by consensus derived through logical evidence, and thus established as fact. Thus it may be said that “1+1=2″ is a fact as concluded by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell in a 1000 page mathematical proof contained within their published work; Principia Mathematica, and by subsequent consensus and ratification by the scientific community.

    “An opinion that claims that 2+1 = 1 (in the decimal system) is incorrect.”

    No, that is not an opinion either, it is a fallacy which contradicts established fact.

    Of course there is always the principle of existentialism, which maintains that there are no facts, or anything else, beyond that of individual perception. But unless you believe you live in a world of your own, at some point you have to accept that there are certain established facts.

    Most of your assertions so far have been opinions, and those which might conceivably be facts are largely unsupported.

    I wrote: “This is just another “market share” argument, that advocates compromising principles in order to spread their adoption. The former is unacceptable, and the latter is irrelevant.”

    You wrote: “The latter will lead to the elimination of non-free software.”

    An increased market share of non-Free software (Fluendo codecs) will hardly lead to the elimination of itself, now will it? That’s just common sense.

    I wrote: “until I was confronted by a barrage of anti-Free-Software sentiment.”

    You wrote: “This is a figment of your imagination. No one here is against free software.”

    If you really believe that then you are obviously blind to your own bigotry. This entire discussion has comprised nothing but your criticism of Free Software.

    I wrote: “By giving him more non-Free software for him to become dependant on?”

    You wrote: “He is already dependent upon it.”

    Speak for yourself. You presume to know an awful lot about what other people are dependant on. But providing such software will certainly not break that dependency, as you rather naively claim.

    I wrote: “It stands a much better chance than you giving such a user the first-impression that non-Free software is so essential that it must be included in a Free Software distribution.”

    You wrote: “But then you never gain an opening in which to speak about software freedom.”

    What opening? Who exactly is going to be doing this “speaking” to Remix users, to persuade them to remove the non-Free software they’ve been provided with, and thus become dependant on.

    Better by far to provide them with Free Software, and let each individual explore his own options from there. If they still end up seeking out non-Free software, then so be it, but encouraging that by actually shoving it down their throats is not exactly conducive to Free Software adoption, much less an exercise in upholding the principles of Free Software, is it?

    I wrote: “Well it clearly isn’t the default in Remix, now is it?”

    You wrote: “I have poorly expressed myself. I mean free formats being included by default and used for encoding by default.”

    My original statement stands. The Fluendo codecs are neither Free nor unencumbered.

    I wrote: “And what is going to motivate them to do that, if everyone (even GNU/Linux users) is using proprietary formats, just as Remix users are now likely to do, thanks to the Fluendo codecs?”

    You wrote: “Free of charge”

    The Fluendo codecs will be preinstalled and included in the price of the respective OEM’s Netbooks. End users will not be aware of the costs involved, will not pay directly for the commercial software, and will likely not have a choice in the matter.

    “large installed base”

    The largest codecs “installed base” is encumbered formats, and Remix will only exacerbate that problem.

    “it’s the default encoding format”

    You keep repeating that, but I see no evidence for it.

    How do you draw that conclusion, given that the Fluendo codecs are both encumbered and non-Free, and installed by default?

    Who is going to mandate which codecs Remix users utilise, to discourage them from using encumbered formats?

    “and sometimes has superior quality.”

    They’ll never have a chance to find that out, if they’re force-fed Fluendo’s codecs.

    You said: “It’s more like me suggesting to treat with Methadone while you suggest the junky just drop the drugs and deal with the full-blown withdrawal symptoms.”

    I said: “IOW as far as you’re concerned, using Free Software is akin to not using software at all.”

    You said: “You are taking what I said out of context to create a provocative statement I never made.”

    It’s right there (above). You clearly stated that my solution was akin to “full-blown withdrawal” … i.e. “nothing at all”. IOW you think that using Free Software in lieu of proprietary/encumbered software is just like not using software at all. It seemed like a clear enough condemnation to me. More bigotry.

    I wrote: “It’s good to know that you have such a high opinion of Freedom. Perhaps you’d like to revoke the Bill of Rights too, since Freedom is so “useless”.”

    You wrote: “I mean useless to those who need functionality it doesn’t provide.”

    Regardless of to whom, or for what purpose, I find it utterly deplorable that you could consider Freedom to be “useless”. Yet more bigotry.

    “And the choice is forced, not freedom.”

    Again you make this ridiculous accusation that users are being “forced”. Changing the delivery method does not preclude delivery.

    OTOH users receiving proprietary software on a Free Software distribution, without choice, is forcing them to accept something they may not want.

    Users who do not receive such software, may still obtain it from elsewhere. They have choice. What choice does everyone else have? What choice do uninformed noobs have, when they receive a Free Software distribution that they don’t even know is tainted?

    I wrote: “But again I refer you to the contradiction of achieving Freedom by giving it up”

    You wrote: “There is no contradiction. It is gaining freedom inch by inch rather than all at once.”

    But once again, you talk as though that Freedom were already lost. Maybe yours is, but mine isn’t. Such users are not “gaining freedom”, inch by inch or by any other means, they are simply losing the Freedom they already have, and for no better reason than because Canonical mandates that proprietary software belongs in Remix.

    I wrote: “But Canonical are not making free formats or even Free Software the default for encoding. That’s the whole point.”

    You wrote: “Where is the source for that?”

    Good grief, I hope you’re kidding. That’s the whole point of this article. Proprietary and encumbered codecs will be distributed by OEMs by default in Remix. That software is commercial, proprietary and encumbered. Feel free to prove me wrong by providing the URL to the source code for the Fluendo codecs packages, and the GPL license contained therein.

    I wrote: “Do you suppose that anyone would be using Windows Media today, if Microsoft had included support for popular competing formats in Windows Media Player? No, it is only because Microsoft practically ignored every other format out there that Windows Media has any kind of foothold at all.”

    You wrote: “Fair point. However, wasn’t Windows already the dominant platform at that point?”

    This isn’t about platforms, it’s about Media. The MP3 format predates Windows Media by several years, going back as far as 1979, and popularly implemented by 1993, some six years before the release of Windows Media V1. The same can be said about video codecs like MPEG1, which dates back to 1988, with a full implementation and release in 1992.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mp3#History
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Media_Audio#Development_history

    The initial release of Windows XP only included a very restricted MP3 codec limited to very low bitrates. It wasn’t until the release of WMP10 in 2004 that an unrestricted encoder was provided, and even then not system-wide, but only for WMP10, some 5 years after the release of the Windows Media format. It requires a hack to make the codec available to other media encoders on the system:

    http://forum.videohelp.com/topic238704.html

    I wrote: “That has nothing to do with quality, that is merely your personal taste. I happen to prefer the Gimp’s interface to that of other image manipulation software.”

    You wrote: “And when personal taste makes something annoying, that is a quality issue for the user who is annoyed.”

    You have a very odd definition for “quality”. Your subjectively poor opinion of a design does not objectively make that design poor quality. That’s merely a poor opinion, not poor quality. If the object in question has some verifiable fault, then that may be said to be “poor quality”, but what you are describing is not a fault, it is merely your taste.

    I wrote: “Again, that has nothing to do with “quality”. You are simply using the wrong tool for the job.”

    You wrote: Interestingly enough, Evince is supposed to be able to edit PDF forms, and the release notes for 2.20 said that saving wasn’t implemented yet.

    Nonetheless, Evince is a document viewer, not an editor. The fact that the author(s) have decided to incorporate editing features is merely a bonus, which you will presumably benefit from once it’s complete.

    I wrote: “No, the first is merely an opinion (neither true nor false), and the second is your error in trying to use a document viewer to try to edit documents.”

    You wrote: “It’s a matter of opinion whether a certain website is displayed properly”

    You’re changing the subject in an attempt to manipulate the argument to apply to an unrelated topic. The “opinion” you expressed, and to which I was responding, was WRT the Gimp, not Web page rendering.

    And even WRT Web pages, I think you’re grossly exaggerating the extent of the problem. Please point me to the problem Web page in question … one you actually use, as opposed to one you had to research to unearth the problem.

    “or whether a multimedia file plays?”

    Again, this is unrelated to the point I was responding to. However, the fact is that I cannot reproduce your issue with media playback here, so I must assume that the problem lies with Medibuntu, and not MPlayer.

    “The ine you showed me is for editing PDF documents, and mentions nothing about forms.”

    Your pedantry does not alter the fact that exactly the same result is achieved using that software.

    I wrote: “reality is I am merely reiterating other’s doctrines that I happen to support.”

    You wrote: “If you agree with it then it’s your opinion, right? Why then can’t you have a discussion with me as an individual?”

    Are you suggesting that I should deny my beliefs in order to have a discussion with you?

    The fact is that you have continuously attempted to discredit my opinions by marginalising me as a fringe fanatic, therefore it became necessary for me to remind you that I was not unique and had not manufactured my own doctrine.

    You can’t have it both ways, either you think I’m purely anomalous and self-opinionated, or I am representative of this larger group that you purport I “hide behind”.

    So which is it?

    I wrote: “You on the other hand, are hiding behind a fictitious army of people who you claim cannot survive without non-Free software”

    You wrote: “No. I’m arguing for the sake of myself, as well as any other people who maight share my needs.”

    That’s a change of tack, since up to now you have claimed greater support for your ideologies than mine (“I’m glad your views aren’t prevalent”, “the majority who don’t care about the ideology and just want to get work done”) without any supporting evidence.

    You’ll notice that the crux of my argument does not depend on numbers whatsoever, and indeed I have repeatedly stated that it is irrelevant. Freedom is a principle, Free Software is governed by a license, these things are immutable and wholly unrelated to popularity.

    So my entire argument is an expression of principles, and my concern that those principles are not being implemented where they rightfully should.

    In contrast, your argument has so far hinged on your unquantifiable presumption that the “majority” don’t care about such principles, and that this “majority” have higher priorities, but again, without any supporting evidence.

    You’ve then used this unquantified and unsupported assertion to dismiss my opinions and suggestions as the ravings of a fringe lunatic, thus my assertion that you have attempted to marginalise me. The reality is that, short of your personal anecdotal evidence, you have absolutely nothing to support your assertions, and your continued attack on my integrity is nothing but the workings of a bigot.

    “However, I do not draw authority to my claims merely from having other people support them.”

    Well clearly you do, as I have just explained.

    And if you mean to insinuate that I “draw” on such authority, well unlike you I am not making unsubstantiated claims about popular opinion, I am merely quoting verbatim from the GPL licence; the GPL FAQ; and the various philosophy documents at the FSF and GNU. Since I am not here to discuss my opinions of cheese, or the best breed of dog, I have no option but to “draw” on such authority, since the meaning of those documents is not in question, and I am not here to debate them, I am merely here to complain that those philosophies are not being implemented by Canonical.

    “Numbers and names mean nothing to my arguments.”

    That’s in total contradiction to everything you’ve just written.

    I wrote: “Again, you show nothing but utter contempt for the written license of Free Software”

    You wrote: “No. I’m pointing out that you expressed yourself here in an alienating fashion.”

    Well if anyone feels alienated merely because I am concerned about people “violating the principles of Free Software”, then I’m sure such people are more than welcome to feel alienated, since I’d find it very difficult to sympathise with their position.

    I wrote: “Your attempt to demonise Free Software and its advocates with references to religion is despicable.”

    You wrote: “I’m not demonizing anything. You expressed your opinions badly, and I’m trying to help you so you don’t sound like a religious zealot next time.”

    I see, so I’m a “religious zealot” now, am I? And you still don’t understand why I call you a bigot?

    And please explain to me how expecting Free Software distributors to follow the Free Software doctrine is “zealotry”, exactly? Also please feel free to explain why you think me voicing my concerns over possible violations of this doctrine is “zealotry”, or for that matter how merely quoting the intent of the Free Software doctrine is “zealotry”; “hiding behind a group”; or “expressing [my]self badly”?

    I wrote: “Right now I’d be happy enough just convincing you what an utter bigot you are.”

    You wrote:

    Here’s a shorter one:

    [quote]
    a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.
    [/quote]

    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=bigot

    “Sounds to me more like a description of you.”

    I have expressed my personal distaste for non-Free software, but I have not expressed an “intolerance” of it (in and of itself), nor for anything else. My concern is that Free and non-Free software is being combined, and then distributed, in such a way that would expose those who expect to receive Free Software to actually receive non-Free software. Complaining about a Free Software distribution not following the doctrine of Free Software is not “intolerance”, it is merely the expectation that Free Software distributions should practise what they preach, rather than behave hypocritically and expose their users to unwarranted obligations.

    You OTOH have continually tried to marginalised me as a “zealot” and even described Freedom as “useless”, demonstrating the most extreme intolerance for the principles of Free Software, and indeed Freedom itself, that I have ever witnessed.

    I have already stated that I do not care if people use non-Free software (e.g. Windows), but poisoning Free Software with non-Free software is an entirely different matter.

    “‘Win’ means the elimination of IP.”

    Again, you are not going to achieve that by distributing non-Free software.

    So what you appear to be advocating is that the legal circumvention of unethical laws is, in and of itself, unethical, and that by so doing one is taking “action”; hence your assertion that this constitutes “civil disobedience”.

    Nearly every part of that is complete bullshit.

    First of all civil disobedience is defined as “the active refusal to obey certain laws”, and since no laws are being broken in this case, you have nothing to “disobey”. Again. please feel free to confirm this with your lawyer.

    Secondly, if I disobey something unethical, I am acting wholly ethically doing so, since to not do so would in fact be unethical. The alternative would be like you claiming that to not break the law is illegal. Your cognitive dissonance is overwhelmingly illogical.

    Thirdly, you seem to be implying that merely to disobey a “wish”, regardless of whether or not that wish is enforceable, is in some way an unethical act. That is a rather institutionalised attitude that I find alarmingly indoctrinated.

    I wrote: “but also because your idea of “disobedience” is to poison Free Software in an act of protest.”

    You wrote: “By using free-software implementations of patents? I thought that was your idea of civil disobedience.”

    Since the only way to “disobey” the law in this matter is for Canonical to distribute unlicensed patent encumbered software from within the US, I assumed that this is what you meant.

    I’ve already explained that I do not support civil disobedience in this matter, primarily because it is completely unnecessary.

    I wrote: “Well maybe you have lost yours, but I certainly haven’t lost mine, and I don’t intend to do so any time soon”

    You wrote: “So don’t use non-free software. But for those who already lost it, it would be great if they could regain some.”

    You’re claiming that the citizens of the US have lost something that they haven’t, since downloading unlicensed patent encumbered Free Software form outside the US is not illegal, as I have already explained to you. Several times.

    And I believe we’ve already covered the “look the other way” issue on compromising Free Software.

    I wrote: “You think the only way to achieve Freedom is to buy it?”

    You wrote: “No, you completely misunderstood. If you get fined over the use of free implementations of patents”

    How can one be fined for breaking a law that doesn’t exist?

    I wrote: “I’m not going to allow some American corporate gangsters to dictate to me what is, or is not, “legal” in my own country”

    You wrote: “And I wasn’t suggesting that.”

    But you’re quite happy to obey these fictitious laws, as indoctrinated by such gangsters, nonetheless.

  154. Robert said,

    July 21, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Gravatar

    it appears that we got a Microsoft Munchkin (YMAN) in this group. apparently, he cannot seem to get a clue. i wonder if this is Hadron Quark or one of the other trolls who infest COLA.
    Roy, Slated, why bother wasting time with this astroturfer.

  155. yman said,

    July 22, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Gravatar

    @Robert:
    I was going to give a coherent, well organized explanation of my views, but then I got a full time job and didn’t have the time or energy to keep this going.

    Throwing insults only proves how low your intellectual level is. If you wish to flaunt your stupidity and closed-mindedness, be my guest.

    Labeling someone who genuinely disagrees with your opinions and wishes to hold a proper debate on the issues as someone who’s opinions are illegitimate is an excellent example of denial. You simply don’t want to deal with opposing views, and thus shove them under the carpet.

    Frankly, I forgot what this debate was about and don’t feel like reviving it. I might revisit it at a later point, but right now I have other stuff of greater interest and importance to deal with, and only a limited amount of energy.

  156. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 22, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Gravatar

    Robert, yman is someone who contributes a lot to the Free/Open Source software push. I googled it to confirm.

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  9. Links 19/4/2014: Slow Easter News Day

    Links for the day



  10. Links 18/4/2014: New KDE, Kubuntu, and More

    Links for the day



  11. Some Perspective on Heartbleed®

    Our views on the whole Heartbleed® bonanza, which seems like partly a PR stunt (for multiple stakeholders)



  12. Microsoft is Leaving Windows -- Including Vista 8.1 -- Vulnerable to Non-Government Crackers, Not Only to NSA

    Microsoft makes it ever more evident that securing users of Windows is not at all a priority, and perhaps not even a desire



  13. Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

    Links for the day



  14. Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, 'Targeted' Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

    Links for the day



  15. More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

    Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates' close friend who is the world's largest patent troll



  16. Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of 'Pro-FOSS'

    Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS



  17. Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

    Links for the day



  18. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  19. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  20. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  21. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  22. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  24. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  25. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  26. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  27. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  28. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  29. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  30. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day


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