Hi Andrew,

It's great to read about your "experimentalism" -- my experience of learning
about computers is similar.

I don't think there's much to be gained from wishing that Stallman would
drop inconvenient beliefs; Skype is probably the best example of non-Free
software out there, by the way, and I look forward to the day when a
complete alternative is available.  Stallman makes it very clear what meets
his definition of Free software and what doesn't -- Ubuntu isn't entirely
Free because it ships with non-free drivers.  And that's OK, I use Ubuntu
and promote it as much as possible, in the knowledge that being less than
completely Free is better than being completely non-Free.  Over time, Ubuntu
will probably get closer to this ideal, and may even attain it.

A good example is that Ubuntu used to ship with Nvidia drivers by default;
now it ships with Nouveau (Free drivers for Nvidia) by default because the
Free drivers are good enough to provide a good user experience now.  When I
used Nvidia's proprietary drivers I didn't wishfully convince myself that
they were as Free as Nouveau, but rather accepted that it wasn't an option
for me at the time.

It seems to have become fashionable to lambast Richard Stallman for
reminding us that we've still got a long way to go in our quest for
computing freedom, which is most regrettable.

If you feel the urge to criticise Stallman, that is most certainly your
right, but please don't turn him into a straw man.  Free software has too
many enemies and too few friends for us to bash each other about over
relatively minor and ultimately reconcilable differences.

Keep up your journey of discovery, Andrew.  I hope you inspire many others
to follow suit.

Alex Garber


On Sat, Sep 24, 2011 at 12:00, Andrew Thornton <secretel...@gmail.com>wrote:

> Ubuntu is a great example of a OS ready for the desktop market. If only
> Stallman would see it as such. I suppose we can continue in spite of him. I
> don't see how you can go against what people want; if people want to use
> Skype in a Linux OS then Stallman to me is engaging in anti-marketing by not
> putting it on a recognized OS list of "free" software".
>
> Anyway. What I want to get to is why people use Linux. This was discussed
> on SFD. I want to concentrate on my own motivations.
>
> I left school in the early 90's with absolute computer illiteracy. I
> couldn't put a disk in the drive. I couldn't turn on a computer. This was in
> spite of an abundance of computers and being taught about computers at
> school. It took me a long time to get anywhere with computers. I didn't
> really understand what a file was until about 2004.
>
> Now I experiment with any computer technology that I can find. It might be
> free software or opensource. It might be paid software. I am dual booted
> with Win 7 and Fedora 15 mainly to experiment with fedora. I use Windows
> most of the time and it alone would meet my needs. Sometimes in my
> experiments the instructions are wrong in documentation or tutorials so I
> have to "work it out". In such cases I try to avoid going to forums or
> mailing lists except as a last resort; it's my intent to "solve the puzzle"
> with my own brains. That I have succeeded in that a number of times with my
> own unassisted efforts makes me believe that I am "good" with computers. At
> least by that definition. I have never learnt C++. I don't understand IPV6
> and so many other things. I have no idea how to set a laptop display for
> talks; I have never had a laptop. But for all that I am "good" with
> computers. And all that with a lack of any training. I have never studied
> computing at TAFE or university; I wish that I had been in the system 5
> years later and I might have done comp sci at uni. But I was in the wrong
> era in the last days of a pre-internet world when computers were thrown at
> kids without any help.
>
> Web application frameworks. Shopping carts. Databases. GUI programming.
> Prolog. Python. Clonezilla. Backtrack. VMware. OpenIndiana Linux [fork of
> Solaris] IPV6 [trying to understand it! Whether I get anywhere with NAT and
> Teredo tunnels is another matter]. Had I a dollar for everything that I try
> and get into I would be rich. It all fascinates me. I spend hours with it
> all. A lot of the time it is random. I might go to Wikipedia and look up
> say, comparison of web application frameworks. What's that one? Never tried
> one. So I set it up and play with it.
>
> I wish that I could learn it all. But of course nobody can. So I guess that
> I have narrowed it down to a broad intent of sorts. I am studying a mixture
> of graphics design [Dip of Design] and some IT certificates in php and
> python and .NET. The providers are online courses and there are no
> deadlines. So I can romp down whatever IT rabbit hole I wish. So in the end
> it's graphics design/web programming that is the overarching broad intent. I
> am heading for a similar skillset to that guy who does the VTC.com lectures,
> Geoff Blake.
>
> So that's it. I am an  experimentalist. I have no bias for it. I will
> experiment with anything. I have astonishing opportunities as a student.I
> have access to a free, entirely legal student copy [can't be used for
> commercial work] of 3D Autodesk Max. Because my college for graphics is
> recognized by Autodesk. So I am playing with that. Sometimes I have played
> with blender.
>
>
>
>
>
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