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Points of Clarification

A follow-up post is needed to explain many of my positions in greater detail about previous posts I have put on this blog. I will address them in order.

-Open Discussion Day

This post seems to be the most misunderstood of all. I don't know if people are just skimming the post looking for highlights or what, but a lot of confusion is generated from this post. The confusion seems to be me preaching to others that they need to use open instant messaging (IM) protocols and services and ditch their legacy proprietary accounts. That's not the case at all, although I can see how that point is derived from the post. The point of the post is because I am an Open Source Software (OSS) purist and advocate, it makes little sense for me to login to proprietary services. That's all. Nothing more.

I'm not telling my family or friends that they need to ditch their accounts either. However, if they want to IM me, they need to add a Jabber account. They can continue to login to MSN or whatever all they like. They certainly have their agency, and are entitled to it. However, if they must get ahold of me, they also have my email address and cell number. Hopefully, they will see the benefits of OSS and Jabber and eventually begin using it more and more, but this is just a side effect. An extra bonus. I am making the switch exclusively, because I am an OSS purist in every sense of the word. That doesn't mean you need to be either. I don't believe in supressing the beliefs of others to elevate my own. I certainly don't believe in imposing my beliefs on others either.

-Where Art Thou Gnome 3.0?

I actually find the replies to this post quite humorous. First off, I don't care about versoin numbers. Regardless what the "theme" of the underlying post was. What I am concerned about is the overall progress of the Gnome Desktop Manager (GDM) and the Window Manager (WM). The reason I mention "3.0", is I believe it is time for some serious user interface (UI) changes. That is all. More functionality and innovation and less updates and "service packs". Just as Windows users are tired of the XP UI (6 years and counting), I am tired of the Gnome UI.

I hear all this talk about these great features and plans, but where are they? Why are we only seeing- and again, you can call it what you like- minimal improvements? There are no drastic changes, and there hasn't been. Look at the changes of KDE during the same timespan. It is massive. They have integrated the desktop tightly with useful software.

Ultimately, it comes down to direction and innovation. 3.0 is just a representation of "the major breakthrough" with Gnome. Also, when I talk about streamlining Gnome, I think of AOL. The AOL browser, email and IM client are tightly integrated into a streamlined package. I can't think of a better example. Currently, from what I can tell, Nautilus is integrating very little of the Gnome Desktop. Some features exist, but many more could be added. All in all, I like Gnome and use it fairly often, I just don't see a bright future ahead, and I currently don't see it's direction.

-Proprietary Software in an Open Source World

Hehe. This post has gotten a TON of bad press, mainly because of my examples of DVD and MP3 codecs as being proprietary in nature. I won't digress with those examples. Both of those codecs are as proprietary and closed source as you can get. Sure, you can download and install OSS to run and manage both, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is legal. Prove to me that the use of patents to protect intellectual property is open and free (as in speech). Prove to me that paying for restrictive licenses to use the codecs is open and free (as in speech). Prove to me that DVDs and MP3s are open and free (as in speech). They just aren't. End of argument.

Further, the new revision of GPL takes direct aim at DRM and patented software as "a threat to free software" and "a campaign to limit user's rights". The draft also aims at eliminating DRM and other patented codecs completely. So in other words, don't expect to get DVD or MP3 support with the new license, which is why Linux Torvalds and Linux are turning away from GPL v3.

Again, as with my Jabber post, I am not getting on a soap box saying that you have to make the switch to OSS or else! All I am saying, is that I am an OSS purist, and believe strongly in the GPL. I would side more with Richard Stallman than Linus Torvalds. However, because Linux was designed with the end user in mind, I see no problems with proprietary software existing in Linux, I just have no need for it. That's all.

Finally, under this post, I want to address an issue that Stuart Jansen brought up. I would leave a comment, but it isn't enabled. HURD isn't going anywhere, not because it isn't stable (which is another issue entirely), but because there just is no support. I agree with you that my argument of whether or not I can run proprietary software in HURD is not the issue, and a bad argument at that. As you mentioned, they are both licensed under the GPL. I look at that, and laugh. What was I thinking at the moment? I don't know.

However, how long has HURD been in development? How about 16 years! It takes 16 or more years to get a stable kernel? No, most certainly not. It needs support, most likely, commercial support at that. HURD isn't attracting commercial support, except for Debian, for whatever reasons. I agree though, when it comes out, it will be solid.

The question, though, is not when, but if. You have to admit, though, that it isn't welcoming of proprietary software, and codecs. Because HURD will be licensed under GPL v3, which I do know a fair amount about, I can't help but wonder if all software for HURD will also have to be licensed under v3, even though v3 is branching out to be more compatible with older versions. If that is the case, then running proprieatry software on HURD isn't welcomed. I don't know much about these technical legalities, however.

-Conclusion

I am not offended by anyone's comments on my blog, or by posts on other blogs, despite some of them being very assertive. I welcome all comments, and would love to engage in a decent conversation about any of the above mentioned topics. I have been getting a lot of press about these mentioned posts, both good and bad. As they say, bad press is still press. While I'm not necessarily looking to exand my readership, it definitely has expanded these past few days.

Realize, that these posts come from an FOSS/GNU extremist. Heck, I have thought of building my own restaurant chain where I give away the recipes to my meals for every paying customer. Talk about risk! So when you read these posts, they aren't going to satisfy a great number of people, and that is okay. I don't mind. The greatest gift that each of us have on this planet is agency, and I fully respect that.

Finally, I love how people come out of the wordwork when these debates are brought up. Everyone has to put in their $0.02. Really. I think it is great. It sparks deep, reflective conversations. Fortunately, I have fairly thick skin, so I can take most stuff thrown at me. The best part, is when I am losing an argument, I know when to stop and just say "ok". I have learned the fine art of eating crow, so-to-speak.

At any event, keep rocking OSS and Linux. The world is changing because of these principles, and I'm excited to see the progress.

P.S.- If any of these posts are offensive to you or others, please let me know. Either send me an email, instant message or leave a comment in the offending post. I try my best to keep on top of comments on my blog. I'll review the post in question, and keep in touch with you about making the necessary changes.

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