Re: GNOME: lack of strategic roadmap

On Thu, 2010-02-25 at 09:27 -0500, Richard Stallman wrote:
>     but it will never capture a significant market, which in the
>     end just means that you'll slowly become irrelevant.
> Is your standard of relevance based solely on "market" success?
> Only a few percent of computer users run the GNU/Linux system, and
> even fewer run BSD.  Some people would say this is not "a significant
> market".  But these systems are the only ways to use a computer and
> have freedom, and that makes them very relevant for a different set of
> values.

I value the potential market we can cater as highly important, as this
directly determines the size of the economical ecosystem we can build
around F/OSS. While most of us are not in this to become rich, we all
have to eat and feed the bills. If we want our project to have
significant traction, we'll need to create a system that's

Furthermore, and I'll think we'll have to agree to disagree here, I
don't think the moral/ethical victory of running a F/OSS solution in
itself will convince more than a fraction of the market.

This is very parallel to the environmentalist movement: yes they capture
the minds of a fraction of the population based on ethics, but no, they
did not cause the increased attention for the environment. The fact that
we will lose out in comfort combined with the fact that greener
solutions are getting economically preferable have caused this
attention, with a better environment as a pleasant byproduct.

The same applies to GNOME/KDE/...: I agree with you that we have won and
are the freest thing out there, we have captured the minds of the
ethical. But if we want to make the world a truly better, more free,
place, we need to focus on winning the market and have freedom as the
pleasant byproduct.

Because, like being green, a large fraction of the population just
doesn't care about software ethics, regardless of how much you educate
them (I have a lot of friends that fully agree with the F/OSS
philosophy, yet stil buy a Mac out of comfort). It is only when you can
make your option the best all across the board that you can capture this
segment, which is needed for a critical mass.

If we truly want to make our world better, we need to aim for critical
mass, such that we can actually have a dominant influence. Without that,
we're just pleasing the ethics knights, but we'll be leaving the
ignorant/uncaring in the cold.

Keep in mind that not everyone wants to be an activist, but everyone
does want a better life. The question is: do you want to save the
climate or do you want everyone to think green?

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