Re: GNOME and the free software movement
- From: Richard Stallman <rms gnu org>
- To: Behdad Esfahbod <behdad behdad org>
- Cc: foundation-list gnome org
- Subject: Re: GNOME and the free software movement
- Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 14:48:55 -0500
I believe in the values of this freedom myself, but never use it as an
argument when I want to switch someone to GNU/Linux.
Explaining to these people about freedom is important even if it
doesn't bring immediate results in the sense of convincing them to
The most important thing that the proprietary software world teaches
people is a way of looking at the question of choosing software.
Consider convenience, reliability, efficiency, price...but don't
consider freedom and social solidarity. It is natural, therefore,
that the easiest way to persuade someone to switch to GNU/Linux is to
cite convenience, reliability, etc. Teaching people to judge the
question differently is harder, and takes time.
So please don't conclude this is a failure just because it doesn't
"work" quite so fast. Maybe a person will need five discussions to
conclude that freedom and social solidarity are important. If you
raise this issue along with the practical benefits, that would be the
first of five. You may not see results immediately, but it is still
I'm all for making GNOME work with free software movements to advance
the freedom of its target audience, particularly in the DRM and software
patent issues. I'm just not convinced that we have to expose it in the
face of the user in every single place. They simply don't care.
Some do care, and the rest don't care -yet-. We need to look for ways
to show them that there is something here to care about. It is
especially important to use the opportunoties to show them very
efficiently, such as on a web site or an "About" box. Even if it only
sparks an interest in 0.1% of the people that see it, that could
easily amount to hundreds of people, even thousands over a few years.
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