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aysiu
May 26th, 2007, 07:30 PM
This may end up going nowhere, but I'm still interested to hear people's opinions on the subject.

From a Free software (in the Richard Stallman way) perspective, is it "better" (however you define it) for someone to use a closed source operating system but almost exclusively open source applications... or for someone to use an open source operating system but with mainly closed source applications?

For example:

Jenny uses Mac OS X with Camino, Adium, Thunderbird, Juice, VLC, NeoOffice, Audacity, GIMP, and Cyberduck. She also has various appliications installed using Fink.

Kurt uses Ubuntu with w32codecs, Skype, CS2 and Dreamweaver in Wine, Microsoft Office in Crossover Office, various Windows-only games via Cedega, Opera, Pixel, Sun Java, and Google Earth.

Are Jenny and Kurt pretty much equal from a Free software standpoint?

Bachstelze
May 26th, 2007, 07:32 PM
Are Jenny and Kurt pretty much equal from a Free software standpoint?

Yes. From the FSF point of view, even the tiniest bit of non-free software installed on a system makes it "bad".

juxtaposed
May 26th, 2007, 07:36 PM
Quite the interesting question - but I would assume that using a free OS would be better to them.

My reasoning is that you would first tell them your OS; tell them it is OSX and they won't like that instantly. Tell them it is linux and they won't mind, until you later tell them you use non free programs.

Bachstelze
May 26th, 2007, 07:41 PM
Tell them it is linux and they won't mind

Yes, they will, because you didn't call it GNU/Linux.

nrs
May 26th, 2007, 07:42 PM
From a similar question in an interview;


RMS: Taking a step towards freedom is a good thing--better than nothing. The risk is that people who have taken one step will think that the place they have arrived is the ultimate destination and will stay there, not taking further steps. Much of our community focuses on practical benefits exclusively, and that doesn't show other users a reason to keep moving till they reach freedom. Users can remain in our community for years without encountering the idea. As a result, I think that we should focus our efforts not on encouraging more people to take the first step, but rather on encouraging and helping those who have already taken the first step to take more steps.

If you google around for some of his interviews you can see when often asked the question you have, he responds similarly.

aysiu
May 26th, 2007, 07:43 PM
But RMS's response doesn't really answer the question directly.

Adamant1988
May 26th, 2007, 07:50 PM
Better to start with something poisoned and attempt to purify it, than to start with something pure and attempt to poison it.

That's the way I look at it at least, but I'm also not a big free-software person.

nrs
May 26th, 2007, 07:55 PM
But RMS's response doesn't really answer the question directly.

I thought it rather gave his positions away :P But I admit it was a lazy cop-out because I didn't want to search for the interview I remembered.

http://www.linuxdevcenter.com/pub/a/linux/2004/12/22/rms_interview.html


FB: Do you think it's a good idea to port a free software project to a proprietary OS such as Windows?

RMS: Porting free applications to nonfree operating systems is often useful. This allows users of those operating systems to try out using a few free programs and see that they can be good to use, that free software won't bite them. This can help people overcome worries about trying a free operating system such as GNU/Linux. Many users really do follow this path.

However, we need to be careful to avoid suggesting that the purpose of free applications is to be used on a proprietary system in that way. Using free applications is a step forward, but it doesn't take you all the way to freedom. To reach that destination, we need to avoid the proprietary software that denies users their freedom.

Any better? IMO his attitude seems to be something is better than nothing but everything is better than something. None of the examples originally provided will be considered satisfactory from a free-software position. They maybe considered first-steps but never an ultimate destination. One is no better than the other.

Note: the first quote I provided was in response to being asked about running proprietary software on GNU/Linux (via WINE).

Sluipvoet
May 26th, 2007, 08:13 PM
Personally I don't have any problem with non-free software, so I won't say that the first situation is better than the other.
But I do think you shouldn't force other people to use non-free software.
And the main reason you can do that is via sharing documents in a proprietary format, eg. free *.odt is better than proprietary *.doc.

So in your example, I would say that Jenny(NeoOffice has ODT, while MS OFFICE(Wine) doesn't) has the most free system.

EDIT: Maybe a stupid analogy but I'll still post it. Freedom includes to the freedom to do bad things, as long as you don't harm others.
eg. People should be free to use proprietary software(which the FSF says is bad for you) just like you should be free to smoke cigarettes(which is certainly bad for you), but if you blow your cigarettesmoke in someoneelses face you don't respect his freedom to not inhale cigarettesmoke. I think the same way about proprietary software.

kanem
May 26th, 2007, 08:26 PM
I'd have to think harder to say which I thought were "better". But I know which one I'd prefer. I'd rather use Windows with all open-source apps than Linux with a bunch of closed-source ones.

Hex_Mandos
May 26th, 2007, 08:27 PM
Someone with a free OS is much more likely to use free apps... I used a few before I switched, but now 99% of what I use is free.

To make it clearer: to someone on Windows or OSX, software freedom is an exception. To someone in a free OS, software freedom is the rule and proprietary software the exception.

aysiu
May 26th, 2007, 08:32 PM
Good point, Hex_Mandos. In many ways, the question is mainly hypothetical.

Celegorm
May 26th, 2007, 09:08 PM
I'd say the one with the free OS is better. The OS is the very core of the system, and everything else stems out from that. Even using proprietary software with wine, well, wine is free software. Besides which, having easy access to the repos which have tons of free software very much encourages the use of free software.

frrobert
May 26th, 2007, 10:16 PM
A free OS is better. Here is my thought.

If you use a non free OS you are limited and under the global control creator of the OS. They can limit what you can do, what programs you can run, what hardware you use. Their control over your system is much more global in nature.

If you use closed programs they can limit what you can do with the program but their control is limited and localized to the program.

use a name
May 26th, 2007, 10:56 PM
Kurt uses Ubuntu with w32codecs, Skype, CS2 and Dreamweaver in Wine, Microsoft Office in Crossover Office, various Windows-only games via Cedega, Opera, Pixel, Sun Java, and Google Earth.

Why does Kurt not run Windows?

How Free are they? Jenny runs some OS, but uses what she wants. Kurt uses an OS of choice (I guess, unless it came preinstalled with his Dell...), but is bound to Wine, Crossover Office and Cedega... I think Jenny is more free in using her system the way she likes.

juxtaposed
May 26th, 2007, 11:38 PM
Why does Kurt not run Windows?

Probably the same reasons that most people here don't.


but is bound to Wine, Crossover Office and Cedega... I think Jenny is more free in using her system the way she likes.

Kurt is using what he wants - and he wants windows programs, and wants to use linux. The only way to do that is with programs like wine and crossover and cedega.

It's funny talking about fake people like they're real :)

aysiu
May 27th, 2007, 03:28 AM
I don't know why Kurt doesn't just use Windows, but I see a lot of Kurts around here and often wonder the same thing about them, too.

eentonig
May 27th, 2007, 07:10 AM
I always get a big smile on my face when I see those treads from new converts asking for wine assistence to run program x or y, or game z.

I believe in using what is best suited for your needs. And given the choice, I'll use FOSS equivalents.

I frankly don't see the added value in using linux and then try to get all your old programs to run via wine.I have one dealbreaker app I can't find a replacement for to my liking. Photoshop. (I now, GIMP, etc...I said 'to my liking'). So I have PS installed on my work laptop and under a VM.
I'm not a gamer. But if I'd wanted to play games. I'd play them on a windows box. Or play the linux games that are existing.

And to answer the question. they are both as free. Free also means the freedom to choose for closed source software.

blackspyder
May 27th, 2007, 08:12 AM
I prefer a proprietary OS with open source apps. Thats the way my XP is setup. but both *buntu's I run are strictly Open Source. I just prefer OS apps to proprietary ones. when F7 gets installed it will be the same way

tajmox
May 27th, 2007, 08:24 AM
Same here.
I think Jenny is better.
JMO.