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Re: Dangerous precedent being set - possible serious violation of the GPL

On Tue, 7 Dec 1999, Bruce Perens wrote:

> Folks,
> I don't think we have to evaluate Linux _relative_to_windows_ when we talk
> about user-friendliness. It is sufficient to look at Linux and realize that
> there is much that could be improved and would make the naive' user's life
> easier without making life more difficult for the rest of us.

The "relative to Windows" bit isn't the important part, but it does
matter. The important thing is merely to get a system that Joe Sixpack can
use. However, the sad truth is that at this point in time, Joe Sixpack is
also Joe WinIdiot. Unless something looks like an attractive __alternative
to Windows__-- for that is precisely how Joe WinIdiot will view anything
!Windows-- he will not switch. So, in this particular world that we
live in, the only way GNU/Linux will even -get- into the naive
users' lives is by using Windows as a yardstick. That's just the way
things go. (As a side-note-- look at what the commercial GNU/Linux dists
that are targeted at "desktop" users are doing. They're impersonating
Windows! There's a reason.)

I don't like Windows and I don't like using it as a yardstick. But unless
we want to lose the war to the profiteers, we're going to have to act now
to create a 100% (or as -damned- close as humanly possible) free-software
GNU/Linux dist that WinIdiots will like.

As for the "help naive users without hurting the rest of us" bit-- yeah,
of course. We should look for ways to accommodate all. But there are
always ways to add user-friendliness without screwing real hackers if
one's clever enough, so that doesn't negate the very real need to take
immediate action towards making 100% free GNU/Linux systems feasible for
Joe Sixpack, as well as J. Random Hacker.

> 	Thanks
> 	Bruce

 = Jon "Caspian" Blank,  right-brained computer programmer at large =
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