View Full Version : advocacy: answers to common questions

April 27th, 2009, 04:36 AM
A while ago, I wrote a thread with a bunch of advices to follow when doing advocacy. The discussion went quite well.

Someone suggested we should have a thread for people to post their best answers to common questions people usually ask.

Share your experience here in the form:

What is linux?

It's an Operating System like windows or Mac OSX.

You can post a question even if it already exists if you got a different answer.

April 27th, 2009, 05:06 AM
Question: What is Linux?
Answer: Linux is a kernel, capable of powering operating systems, the same way XNU powers OS X and NT powers Windows.

Question: What is a kernel, and how does it differ from an operating system?
Answer: If it works, you'll never notice it. It's the software that exists to help your other software, and it's this other software you see and interact with when using your computer. It's dishonest to refer to Linux as an "operating system," just like it's dishonest to refer to OS X or Windows as kernels.

Question: So I could use Linux to replace XNU or NT?
Answer: No. A replacement kernel for NT is being worked on (reactOS,) but NT differs in fundamental ways from Linux. OS X would be less of a stretch, but it would still require modification. Anyway, both are proprietary projects, so unless Apple or Microsoft decided to do this, it's not going to happen.

Question: What is Free Software, and how does it differ from freeware?
Answer: Free Software is software that respects the user's four freedoms. The user has freedom to run Free Software however he wishes; the user has freedom to redistribute Free Software however he wishes; the user has freedom to modify Free Software however he wishes; the user has freedom to distribute the modified versions however he wishes. The "Free" in Free Software refers to freedom, not price. "Freeware" is just software that costs nothing, and software labeled "freeware" typically is not Free Software (in the case of software which is "free for noncommercial use," zero out of four of these freedoms are respected.)

Question: What is Open Source, and how does it differ from Free Software?
Answer: In terms of the software itself, there is no difference. Open Source software typically qualifies as Free Software, and vice-versa. The philosophy is a bit different, though. Free Software advocates believe that proprietary software is actually evil and immoral, while Open Source advocates point out that proprietary software tends to be buggier, slower, more expensive, released in a less-timely fashion, and with more nasty surprises. Both arguments have merit. How they compare in terms of importance is open to debate.

April 28th, 2009, 02:07 AM
Wa. Maxiboy this is pretty nice. I think I've lost my girlfriend somewhere near the first 2 rows x)
It's a truly complete answer. I believe the answers has to be tuned a little bit depending of who you are talking with.
There's ground for development here.

I'll dig a little bit a come back to that.

November 11th, 2009, 09:13 AM
The advocacy thread reopen.

Any of you guys had tough questions to answer to which you replied just a bunch of er... well...?

The person I most recently tried to convert was my step daughter.
She showed a keen interest for linux the day before and we talked about putting it on to her computer.

The next day she said nay because it's just like windows really and she already has windows? What do you say to that? 12 years old girl! My stepfather life won't be easy with her :(