[PLUG] Please Sign The Petition

shirish शिरीष shirishag75 at gmail.com
Tue Apr 14 05:26:34 IST 2015

In-line :-

On 4/11/15, Amarendra Godbole <amarendra.godbole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Milind,

Hi Amarendra,

> Though I understand the desire and need to be "in control" of your
> life and your software, which is a laudable goal, I am confused at the
> anti-Microsoft stance taken by many FOSS people, since it deflects
> slightly from the original goal of being "in control" - Microsoft is
> not the only software company that makes "proprietary" software, but
> you also have Apple, Google, IBM, HP, Lenovo, Nvidia, Hitachi,
> Toshiba, VMWare, Citrix, and pretty much EVERY company in the world
> that in the business of software. I don't see such hue and cry against
> Apple for instance. Linux happily accepts closed0-source drivers
> ("binary blobs"), so shouldn't those driver manufacturers be in the
> same boat as Microsoft? Are you willing to throw out Apple, and others
> from India?

Even Intel and AMD for large parts of their hardware/software. If one
wants to know how scary it is and can be, one just needs to type 'IME'
or Intel Management Engine to see what functionality it is known to
have and how it's harmful for us.

> Secondly, the common man uses "right tools for the job" -- have you
> considered if Linux provides the right tools in every instance to
> replace those produced by Microsoft? Consumers are way smart than you
> or me think, and they precisely know what software fulfils their needs
> - and they go for it. There is a big lesson there itself -- make the
> "right" tool and adoption shouldn't be a problem. Have you ever
> thought too much choice may be a big problem? Hell, Linux has dozens
> of distros', equivalent number of desktop look and feel, which only
> makes the geek happy. Guess what? Consumers are confused, and they
> look at Apple and Microsoft to provide a single user-experience, that
> can seamlessly transcend releases and work exactly the same way each
> time. Maybe FOSS should focus on unifying their tools and experience,
> rather than breaking it into BOSS and tons of other distros. And that
> seems to be the single-largest failure for Linux to displace several
> popular operating systems - lack of a unified strategy. Of course, I
> am not denying other innovative ideas that were born from Linux. So
> no, considering the lack of unified strategy, lack of support (BOSS
> Linux has support?), and lack of "right tools", the adoption will
> remain stable as it was a decade ago.

The idea that MS and Apple hit it right isn't also so true, whether
for the so-called 'single user experience' or any other. Both MS and
Apple had to spend millions of marketing dollars to sell their ribbon
interfaces, UI's etc. There are reasons why Vista and Windows 8.1
failed. In both those failures UI had lot to blame.

What you seem to not note is that for most people, they are accustomed
to the first GUI which came to them and obviously when you start with
any instrument/machine however good or bad it is, you become 'trained'
on it. There have been lot of studies done by neutral groups putting
kids in a control group, and kids who were introduced  'MS-Windows' as
well as kids who were shown a free software desktop ' GNOME' or 'KDE'
. The understanding between kids who experienced MS-Windows and kids
who were introduced to 'GNOME' and 'KDE' were at the same level with a
little bit of advantage for the free desktop kids as they had much
more to explore on the desktop than one is able to on an MS-Windows
desktop (by itself.)

> Where are the replacement "right tools"?

The replacement "right tools" are all here. What most of the tools are
waiting for are users. If you have not got the 'right tool' it is
possible it is not developed, it's also possible it's not known or
marketed and hence is not there. Where 'free software' lacks is not
that we don't have tools, we have more tools than we know what we do,
what we lack is more often than not 'visibility'. I could share quite
a number of tools/apps. who have gone that way and are going to the
software grave but will share one just so people don't think I'm
talking out of my ass.

There is this pretty nice tool/utility which came out of the GNOME
table sometime back called 'gnome-web-photo' .  As the short
description goes 'Create snapshot images and print web pages from the
command line' or the long description 'GNOME Web Photographer is a
tool to generate full-size image files and thumbnails from HTML files
and web pages. It can also be used to print  those.'

Now AFAIK there isn't an equivalent to this tool in the free software
world. I used to simply say the name of the application use one or
more options given in the --help option and have a screenshot of a
page which scrolled once or twice vertically which by conventional
means would make me take couple of snapshots and then in some tool
join the 2-3 pieces and cut out any over-lapping images. This made it
so easy. Unfortunately, the tool was never marketed properly and it
seems it will go to the grave soon as the code hasn't been touched in
over a year and the developer is not responding to the bug-reports and
I have been suffering because the tool does not wok anymore because
the underlying GTK library has chaned. Hence, I do grant the point
though that we are weak in marketing but not in development, or
anything else for that matter.

As far as the points being toted out in favor of 'unified strategy'
are concerned, I think the successes we have had so far would have
come if we had 'unified strategy'. Git wouldn't even have been born if
we didn't have the 'let a thousand flowers bloom' strategy. While a
corporation can make or attempt to have 'unified strategies'
communities are better/stronger  when they have freedom to explore,
criticize etc. If everybody is to be married to a unified strategy,
then democracy doesn't have a place in society, as democracy gives
everybody an unalienable right to believe in whatever they ought to.
It is precisely that there isn't a unified strategy that every 8 weeks
we have a new kernel. If we had unified strategy that would have been
4 years.

What we should be asking is do we want to become a MS-Windows clone or
an Apple's clone ?
Both of them have made lots of money but by doing deals with
Governments and all sorts of nefarious activities that they have

> - How do you propose to replace the extensive supply-chains, and other
> public utility systems that are deployed on Windows?
> - How do you propose to replace the extensive manufacturing systems
> that are deployed on Windows?
> - How do you propose to replace the extensive life-critical software
> in hospitals that is deployed on Windows?

Are you saying that these systems will be in stati ? All of the
examples you have shared are pretty much dynamic software systems and
they have to be changed. In fact, if you look at all the examples
quoted all of them are pretty much on the embedded side of things and
that's a place where GNU/Linux is situated rather well.

Apart from that, it will also benefit to have some or many of such
systems on a different OS from a security perspective as well. It is a
known and proven fact (time and again) that homogeneous systems are
more easily to be cracked/brute-forced then systems in a heterogeneous

> As for "your language", I think Linux got it all wrong. The computer
> was invented in English speaking countries, the software was invented
> in English speaking countries, so it goes without saying it has a
> strong English lineage. Its much easy to adapt to a new language, than
> adapting the tool to your local language. Do you modify a hammer
> because it doesn't fit the grooves of your hands? Localizing it for
> mass adoption is a good idea, provided everything else first functions
> flawlessly. Linux focused on localization too early, and the i18n
> layer made it more unstable, as well as buggy - not to mention it
> scares every developer shitless (ask anyone who has had to deal with
> wide-character array operations). If you don't believe me, check the %
> of code dedicated to i18n/l10n efforts in any Linux utility, as
> against a BSD utility, and you'll get the idea. I guess it is more
> important to focus on getting the job done right, than such secondary
> features - one reason why consumers repeatedly reject Linux.

I don't think it is as much as 'failures' which has been the cause of
customer irritation/annoyance it's more a lack of number of friendly
Linux geeks as well as paid support in case things go wrong.

If we had more and more hardware sellers supporting GNU/Linux those
numbers will go up, but that is a chicken and egg situation.

> <rant>
> If you really want freedom, the BSD license is as free as it can get.
> And nobody in the BSD world carries the moral baggage around, they
> actually focus on quality of their work. No wonder the *BSD, even
> though providing less features, are rock solid operating systems - the
> way it should be.
> And slightly on a tangential, why is this burning desire to be "in
> control" of software? Do we know or force "full disclosure of
> internals" of the medicine we take, or the LED TV set, or the car that
> we drive, or heck the airplane we fly in? By the FOSS yardstick, all
> these consumer products should make their designs and internal details
> open and available for tinkering..., else one should not be using it.
> And if this happens, you'll actually be turning the clock backwards
> for Indians!When we are comfortable handing our lives to Airbus or
> Boeing, and don't make a hue or cry about it, making such cry about
> software doesn't seem quiet right.
> </rant>

While I do agree with the part of the BSD license being a superior
license in the sense it doesn't 'infect' other people's work as the
GNU license does, it also leads me to wonder why is it that most BSD
distributions are not well-maintained (as in frequent releases, new
developments etc.) There are only 2-3 major innovations I can recall
from the BSD stable, that is the BSD real-time kernel (we have almost
feature parity there), ZFS ( BTRFS, sort of when it's ready) and the
BSD Jails (we do have partial working implementations but no clear
answer yet.) apart from that haven't heard anything interesting in
years. I would welcome if you were able to share more on their behalf.

As far as the part of do we know or force "full disclosure of
internals" of the medicine we take, I think you have hit the nail
right on the head. India is one of those paradoxical, hypocritical
nations where it does not ask for full disclosure or have as much
disclosure as possible in the public domain. There are fights both to
have these disclosures happenings as well as disclosures of patient
trials before a drug/treatment etc. should be approved for general
production of that medicine/treatment. In fact we wouldn't have the
fight for generics that we fight with US and Europe if some of our
people didn't have access to this information. If more people are
aware, we wouldn't go back but go forward as knowledge brings light
not darkness.

All the others that have been pointed out are the same things. If we
had the knowledge of how an LED TV is made, we could tinker and make
it better. Forget LED TV, even if we had the knowledge of making an
LED bulb, the price difference between an Incandescent and LED bulbs,
or solar panels all of them will reduce drastically. If we have to
become a leader for the world and not a follower, we need not only to
know but to master these technologies as well.

The reason we aren't at forefront of aircraft production is at the
time of country's infancy, it was thought that aircrafts are only for
the rich which is true even today. I dunno why we feel we shouldn't
have this understanding. Modern Aeroplanes like the Airbus A380 are
made from composite materials. If we know/knew what these composite
materials are/were we could have better materials to work, which would
revolutionize industries such as clothes to space travel and
everything in-between.

I don't think striving to be self-sufficient is wrong in any sense. If
people believed the same then they wouldn't have responded so
favorably with the 'Make in India' concept .  We are on old and yet
young country and have both the fire and curiosity to know how the
wold ticks/runs.

> So no, I am not signing the petition. Linux, simply, is not the "right
> tool for the job", and it is buggy. I choose to spend my time being
> more productive, and Apple and BSD satisfies that need. Crying about
> Microsoft being evil and proprietary when I use several other
> proprietary forms in my daily life is being hypocrite. And I hope
> Indian Government focuses on the right tools for the job, and if
> Microsoft provides them, so be it. (BTW, your petition provides no
> shred of evidence for Microsoft's corruption, apart from the licensing
> fees, which can hardly be called corruption. Your argument about this
> amount could be used for public good doesn't hold ground, since most
> softwrae systems for public good are actually deployed on Windows -
> moving them to Linux would require order of magnitude investment.)

That is of course, your choice.

There are plenty of examples of MS corruption if you care to look.

The simplest one would be :-

How it is that non-MS lappies have the same price or at times even
more than the one which has MS, the specs and everything the same.

I can cite many more but will digress as don't want it to be abou
tMS-bashing as well.

> -Amarendra


          Shirish Agarwal  शिरीष अग्रवाल
  My quotes in this email licensed under CC 3.0
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