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aysiu
October 5th, 2005, 03:52 AM
I confess--I read Dear Abby on a daily basis. The latest Dear Abby (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ucda/20051004/lf_ucda/teenshouldgettoworkusingherowntwofeet) talked a bit about the value of money. This little section
Years ago, our local chamber of commerce sent 10 underprivileged kids to two weeks of overnight camp. Five of them paid $5 and five paid nothing.

Upon their return, we received five thank-you notes from the ones who paid. We heard nothing from those who attended for free. I think people only put a value on things that cost them something. made me think, "Are people not grateful for Ubuntu (and other Linux distros) because they don't have to pay money for them?"

What do you think?
Are people ungrateful?
Is it because Linux is usually cost-free?

mstlyevil
October 5th, 2005, 03:56 AM
the people of this community seem to express their grattitude for Ubuntu almost everyday when I read their post. I just do not believe such a general statement is true.

bmbeeman
October 5th, 2005, 03:58 AM
Well, I don't know exactly how to put this, but I have never been ungreatful for any of the Linux distros I have tried, their the greatest thing I have ever stumbled across and I'm looking for ways to contribute to "pay" for my use of them, but I guess there is a possibility that if something is free people will take it for granted and have certain expectations.

Artificial Intelligence
October 5th, 2005, 04:40 AM
I really don't know. But it's a good question. In general I think it's a question about how people raise their kids and the outcome can be seen when they are grew up to become adults. Though it's the parents responsibilty, but the influences of the society makes it marks to I guess.
Well some of it I can see when I help people out in the forums. Only 50% of them says thank you for your help. The other 50% doesn't even respond. Though they mighht have found help another place but it's a nice gesture to drop in and say 'Thank you for your time but I found the solution to my problem in another thread' or something similar.

When I think of it, I think you're right. Peoples attitude towards stuff there's free is pretty low. We live in a matrialistic world where the more expensive the stuff is the better it must be.
Luckly there some people who can see through it.

poofyhairguy
October 5th, 2005, 05:10 AM
No. People pay for Ubuntu with their time. That gives it a cost. Plus.....to base theory on Dear Abby.

Sex is free. Happiness is free. Life is free. Kinda. Like anything.

YourSurrogateGod
October 5th, 2005, 05:17 AM
the people of this community seem to express their grattitude for Ubuntu almost everyday when I read their post. I just do not believe such a general statement is true.
For some. Imo, there are those that are ungrateful for what Ubuntu and the OSC has done (some come in the forms of trolls whining about something not working just to **** others off.)

BoyOfDestiny
October 5th, 2005, 05:36 AM
I am extremely grateful for Ubuntu, Linux, GNU, open source, etc etc.
These have kept my interest in computers (well that and old games, but I end up using open source software to run those too :) )
The thing about the "free" aspect is that it makes some people suspicious.
This is probably a decent analogy, back in the day (I totally forgot the name), a competing hot dog stand sold their dogs for 5 cents each, while the other was 10 cents. People were suspicious, despite it being good beef...
The 5 cents genius decided to let doctors and nurses eat free as long as they were in their lab coats.
Thus, when people saw who was eating, they jumped in as well. (Saw this on history channel, might have some innacuracies due to memory and human error).
When you hear that Linux runs on super computers, or that large corporations, or governments make use of it... Some people may be more willing to give it a go, and leave their comfort zone.
Hopefully this wasn't too off topic :)

heimo
October 5th, 2005, 05:41 AM
Good question aysiu. Not sure if I'm able to express myself on this topic. In general, people treat stuff differently if they got it free, paid for it or got it as a gift. Who gave it to you? Stranger or a friend?

On these forums, some people are very kind and grateful - I would say, most are. But as in any group of people, we have those who poke, provoke and ask for trouble. Some people just seem rude, but aren't. We are not all English teachers here. ;)

Some people use very arrogant, selfish tone. Those people don't contribute much, but would like to get all the attention and help - help they need, medicine to fix attitude.

I'm paying for Free and Open Software - and I see dozens if not hundreds of people on these forums doing the same thing. I can't program well enough to participate in development, but not all the work involves coding. We are the virtual help desk team for Ubuntu - spending hundreds of hours of our free time to further values we believe in. (of course the reasons vary)

We know that there's value in free software - much greater than any individual (even Mark) can pay. Value with V.

Ride Jib
October 5th, 2005, 05:41 AM
Appreciation/Gratitude has to do with upbringing (morals and ethics), not cost.

Emerzen
October 5th, 2005, 06:15 AM
Well, that Dear Abby column is a little suspect. Why would the Chamber of Commerce pay for 5 kids and make another 5 come up w/ $5? Was the Chamber of Commerce conducting their own study? And, if so, did they have to get approval, like the rest of the scientific world, from an Internal Review Board? No, my guess is Dear Abby concocted a story to fit her pre-determined beliefs. Anyway, that's kindof besides the point. People appreciate what they invest in...I think all of us who do appreciate OSS/Ubuntu have an investment in it, much more valuable than money. Our time, community, excellence, fun...

Goober
October 5th, 2005, 06:25 AM
I am extremely grateful to Ubuntu, probably a large part because of the price. Being a student, my bank account is limited, and I frankly cannot afford to spend money on programs for Windows that cost money, but you can get for free in Ubuntu (OOo is the bext example, do you guys even want to know what the equivalent for M$ Office costs?). Just being able to change Ubuntu so much makes me grateful for it. Being able to have colour schemes that I like (burgundy top bar, deep purple bottom bar, made my friend smack me :p ) instead of the bloody standard XP colour schemes, which I utterly detest, makes me extremely grateful.

No, I am very grateful for Ubuntu. I would do a huge thank you to Mark and everybody in my Sig, but I have already reached the limit . . .

Kvark
October 5th, 2005, 06:57 AM
Some people may come across as ungrateful due to their culture. Here in Sweden we often skip redunant courtesies. When on a trip to UK I had a very hard time remembering to add "excuse me", "I'm sorry", "please" and "thank you" as often as the brittish people do to not sound like some kind of barbaric viking.

Another reason people may seem ungrateful is that many youths are spoiled by their parents or display bad attitude because they think it's cool. They'll learn after getting fired from their first job for going Ricki Lake on the boss.

23meg
October 5th, 2005, 07:17 AM
Forgive me for this, but I have to put this in a Windows vs. Linux perspective to share a few observations: I see this attitude in many people who refuse to leave Windows and switch to Linux even though they are well aware of the advantages of Linux for themselves. It's something like "I'm not that cheap; I'm well off enough to be able to pay for an OS". For them something can't be free and good at the same time. They weigh every value in a monetary scale, and would be at shame to be seen using an OS that doesn't cost anything. For them using Linux would be like wearing two dollar flea market t-shirts when they could afford Lacoste or DKNY or whatever. Next time you see an "Is Linux ready for the desktop?" / "How can Linux compete with Windows?" debate, remember the presence of this conformist majority, and rethink your conclusions.

And they have counterparts in the open source community as well: those who say (to paraphrase a post I had seen in this forum) "Don't look a gift OS in the mouth", those who just overlook the weak points of Linux on the basis that "it didn't cost them a penny anyway".

I'm grateful for Ubuntu and I sincerely feel indebted to the people who made it a reality; it proves once more that the best things in life are free.

mathias
October 5th, 2005, 08:16 AM
As a psychologist I just have to respond to this thread...

What they managed to do is something shown in loads of motivation research in the psychology area...
When you charge 5 kids for attending, you make them "invest" something in a thing they are not sure if they like or not, say the are neutral to the thing from start (even though no one is truly neutral about anything...). When you let 5 kids attend for free they do not invest anything...

What happens is, when you have invested in something, you tend to be more interested and you value it more, because if you thought that you hade just wasted you're money, you would feel like you we're an idiot, and no one wants to feel like they have been ripped off...therefore they tend to be more positive towards it than if they had gotten in for free, where they really don't loose anything for being there but their time (and then they can always come back from camp and say it was crap, but hey, at least I didn't have to pay anything...)

This might look like it is actually good to charge money for something in order to make people more positive about it, but that is not exactly true. Because you get two different kind of motivation from it...

In psychology we talk about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. For instance if a salesperson gets a promotion, or works on provision he might be a lot more motivated to sell something, because something external to him motivates him, the fact he can make a lot of money if he is good (it raises the extrinsic motivation). In short-term the productivity and effectiveness is raised (which is why companies give provision...). The problem is, when you raise extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation usually gets lower and lower. You tend to be more and more interested in doing things only for the extarnal benifits, which makes raising the money people make the only way to keep them happy...

This is also the basic phenomena why open-source is so successful, here you have people that invest hours and hours for no external benefit, only for the fact it is fun, it makes you feel good and it gives a since of "higher meaning" to your life...

note 1: some people value external benefits higher than internal, and therefore not everyone responds in a similar ways when it comes to these kinds of methods, after all, humans are rather complex beings...

note 2: this is also why Ubuntu exists and why people can motivate switching from Windows to Linux, even though it initially is a lot of hard work to get used to it...
//Mathias

Artificial Intelligence
October 5th, 2005, 09:06 AM
Seems logical enough, Mathias.



Some people may come across as ungrateful due to their culture. Here in Sweden we often skip redunant courtesies. When on a trip to UK I had a very hard time remembering to add "excuse me", "I'm sorry", "please" and "thank you" as often as the brittish people do to not sound like some kind of barbaric viking.

Many youths are spoiled by their parents or display bad attitude because they think it's cool. They'll learn after getting fired from their first job for going Ricki Lake on the boss.

I think it's a thing in nowadays scandinavian culture, I'm from Denmark and I see the exactly the same "issue" here.

But nonetheless, I think people on the ubuntu forum a nice and polite in general.

Stormy Eyes
October 5th, 2005, 02:15 PM
Sex is free. Happiness is free. Life is free. Kinda. Like anything.

If you think sex is free, then you haven't tried dating American women. :)

Stormy Eyes
October 5th, 2005, 02:18 PM
Are people ungrateful?

I think some people are, because they think that those with experience are morally obligated to bend over backwards to help newbies and forget that those who help usually do so out of benevolence, and not obligation. Noblesse oblige will only go so far in the face of "Linux isn't ready for the desktop 'cos I can't play my MMORPGS! Waaaaaaaaaaa!"

skoal
October 5th, 2005, 03:30 PM
I strongly disagree with those CoC "findings". Their research seems quite limited in scope and nothing more should be implied from it, IMO. As a market consumer, _you_ owe me "thanks", not vice a versa. It's my hard earned money your taking. You owe me greatly, since your very livelihood depends upon it. I don't know how anyone else could possibly view that differently.

I can't think of one single service driven company still in business today which would disagree with that attitude. Even the late Sam Walton would tell you the same...

WRT to linux: what poofy said...

\\//_

bob_c_b
October 5th, 2005, 03:54 PM
I think some people are, because they think that those with experience are morally obligated to bend over backwards to help newbies and forget that those who help usually do so out of benevolence, and not obligation. Noblesse oblige will only go so far in the face of "Linux isn't ready for the desktop 'cos I can't play my MMORPGS! Waaaaaaaaaaa!"

I agree with Stormy and would add a little.

I think a lot of frustrated Windows users come here and they are attracted because it is free. They have had a viable option with the Mac for the last few years (I'm biased and don't care for Mac OS pre-X, sorry), but didn't go because it wasn't "free as in beer". They come to Linux with the idea that we have to compete with MS and proprietary software houses and that the only way we can "win" is to become more like them.

They completely ignore the culture, the history of F/OSS, the freely given gifts of hard working programmers and (as stormy notes so eloquently) the time of benevolent veterans. There is an insistance that Linux and OSS can only "be good" if it becomes more like Windows. Of course, some of these people come to know and love the culture, but many others expend a lot of effort repeating themselves. These are the people who I would consider ungrateful.

Linux and F/OSS is clearly large enough to bear the weight of many "free riders", but can the free riders bear the obligation of understanding and contributing?

Stormy Eyes
October 5th, 2005, 04:22 PM
Linux and F/OSS is clearly large enough to bear the weight of many "free riders", but can the free riders bear the obligation of understanding and contributing?

If they could, would they still be free riders?

bob_c_b
October 5th, 2005, 04:43 PM
If they could, would they still be free riders?

Quid pro quo, stormy, quid pro quo indeed:) (sorry, couldn't think of anything actually funny and was watching Silence of the Lambs the other night).

Fair point, but "free riders" typically lean toward being quiet and not annoying the operator, which is a fairly minimal burden. Anything beyond that, you are correct, does remove them from "free rider" status.

totalshredder
October 5th, 2005, 05:40 PM
No. People pay for Ubuntu with their time. That gives it a cost. Plus.....to base theory on Dear Abby.

Sex is free. Happiness is free. Life is free. Kinda. Like anything.

See, I'd never thank somebody for sex unless I paid for it. Expectations are so weird.

Kvark
October 5th, 2005, 06:57 PM
One of the best ways to measure how much benefit FOSS is to society would be to measure the amount of 'free riders'. If only geeks who contribute back with code, beta testing and such use FOSS then it is only useful for the FOSS community itself and hardly useful for society as a whole. On the other hand, if millions of lumber jacks, hairdressers, cab drivers, etc who don't know enough about computers to make their own programs or even contribute back by tracking down bugs are using FOSS as 'free riders' then it is giving something useful and valuable to society.

bob_c_b
October 5th, 2005, 07:18 PM
One of the best ways to measure how much benefit FOSS is to society would be to measure the amount of 'free riders'. If only geeks who contribute back with code, beta testing and such use FOSS then it is only useful for the FOSS community itself and hardly useful for society as a whole. On the other hand, if millions of lumber jacks, hairdressers, cab drivers, etc who don't know enough about computers to make their own programs or even contribute back by tracking down bugs are using FOSS as 'free riders' then it is giving something useful and valuable to society.

I agree completely Kvark;there is no physical or philosophical way you and I could be more in sync. But I would also hope that those lumber jacks, hairdressers, cab drivers, etc wouldn't stop by here week after week, day after day and tell us that we are failing to compete properly with the likes MS and that we need to change in order to be A) more like Windows and B) more user friendly even though I have put zero effort in to really learning an new OS.

Free riders are part of the equation, in many regards they are more important than some are willing to give credit. That said, they have an obligation (when receiving a gift) to not be jerks. After all, regardless of culture, when grandma gives you a sweater she knitted by hand for your birthday and it doesn't quite fit, you don't tell her it sucks and she should be manufacturing sweaters like that factory across the street, do you?

cmh_ubuntu
October 6th, 2005, 03:22 AM
I have no idea about the motives of Dear Abby.

However, I used to work for a public library. People seems to complain the most about what they get for "free." Now that I work for organizations that charge for our services, our clients seem much happier, less whiney, etc. Even when they are getting less service!

Cirkus
October 6th, 2005, 04:12 AM
Are people ungrateful?yes


Is it because Linux is usually cost-free?
yes

landotter
October 6th, 2005, 05:28 AM
I'm incredibly grateful for the Ubuntu community and I've been part of it for nearly a year. I think what MS refugees need to unlearn when deciding to use Ubuntu, is that it's no longer about "them" and "us", it's simply "we". That might sound a bit flower-childish, but I think it's true.

I'm not a programmer, but I find other ways to contribute to the community. I probably spend an hour per day helping new Linux users solve problems on a different board. Whenever I encounter a bug, while it might irritate me--I by no means get angry at the developers--I think it my duty to file a bug report.

A lot of people coming to this community have been brainwashed, or simply aren't familiar with how the FOSS world works compared to the commercial environment, give them patience and gentle hints on how to give back, don't flame them!

That's why I think Ubuntu is the perfectly named Linux distro, its definition perfectly encompasses why I enjoy Linux on my desktop.

:D

jimcooncat
October 6th, 2005, 09:05 AM
I think community-based software is giving folks the wrong idea in marketing their wares as "cost-free". I prefer to think of the software as "already almost paid-for".
At this point, we need people to run the software in order to expose it to the public awareness. Just loading and using the software is a contribution. Later down the road, there will come a time when that's not needed so much because "free software" will be the status quo. We have a hard time right now to envision this, especially us Americans who can't even get the metric system in place.
Funny that some of the replies here imply that one has to be a programmer to contribute. In my mind, what's needed even more is the non-developer input, and ways to make that happen. As much progress as we've made toward usability, there are still many improvements to come. We need feedback from receptionists, authors, housewives, factory workers, and all other types in order to make software that works FOR them, rather than the other way around. Of course, we have to develop a framework to capture that feedback and implement it in a sane way.
I can see ten years down the road that community software may start changing its tune, and post on their websites that they expect a contribution back for running their products -- other than just running them. We may even see the return of a type of spyware that forces usability data back to the developers.
What I can't quite grasp is how to explain the concept of "Free Software" to those unfamiliar with it. We have software of varying licence schemes. We have zealots who expound their views saying "our license is more free than theirs". We have companies complaining about the "viral nature" of some of the licenses. We've come up with acronyms like FOSS and FLOSS to try to explain it, but the best I can come up with is "well, it depends ..."

Spoofhound
October 6th, 2005, 08:27 PM
This is also the basic phenomena why open-source is so successful, here you have people that invest hours and hours for no external benefit, only for the fact it is fun, it makes you feel good and it gives a since of "higher meaning" to your life...
//Mathias

I think that Mathias makes an excellent point here about the value of the investment and how it impacts the experience. However, if you rephrase this I think you get closer to understanding some of the ingratitude that gets displayed.

In truth, every Linux distribution requires an investment - particularly for an immigrant from Windows - there's an investment in doing strange things like reformatting part of your hard-disk, getting the computer to boot from an install cd, getting sound and video to work properly etc. etc. All of this is pretty scary for many of the newly arrived, and its a "hidden" investment. How often do we read in these forums a post that like " I've just spent x hours/days trying to get this to work..." This is the investment that needs to be made - its not free.

Its a bit like having a big football game or concert in town and being told that there's free entry to the stadium. When you get there the stadium doors are indeed wide open. However, once inside you find that you have to climb several fences, swim a moat and dodge some hungry rottweilers to get to see the game/concert. Then instead of a normal seat, you find you have to hang sideways from from some scaffolding and crane your neck to see the action.

However, after a while you find that hanging from the scaffolding is actually quite comfortable and feels better than your old seat - in fact its so good that the persistent backache you used to have has all but vanished - and the game is even more exciting than it used to be. In the end the investment has been worth it.

For others though, free will always mean not having to make an investment, and for these people linux will "suck compared to windows" for some time to come.

Me? I'm just enjoying the game.

aysiu
October 6th, 2005, 08:36 PM
spoofhound, that is a wonderful analogy. I really like it about as much as the car/motorcycle analogy when talking about Linux as an alternative to (as opposed to a replacement for) Windows.

It really boils down to the cliche time is money

Frankly, though, I would rather spend time learning something than spend money not learning something. Others have different priorities.

alred
October 6th, 2005, 08:42 PM
I think community-based software is giving folks the wrong idea in marketing their wares as "cost-free". I prefer to think of the software as "already almost paid-for".
At this point, we need people to run the software in order to expose it to the public awareness. Just loading and using the software is a contribution. Later down the road, there will come a time when that's not needed so much because "free software" will be the status quo. We have a hard time right now to envision this, especially us Americans who can't even get the metric system in place.
Funny that some of the replies here imply that one has to be a programmer to contribute. In my mind, what's needed even more is the non-developer input, and ways to make that happen. As much progress as we've made toward usability, there are still many improvements to come. We need feedback from receptionists, authors, housewives, factory workers, and all other types in order to make software that works FOR them, rather than the other way around. Of course, we have to develop a framework to capture that feedback and implement it in a sane way.
I can see ten years down the road that community software may start changing its tune, and post on their websites that they expect a contribution back for running their products -- other than just running them. We may even see the return of a type of spyware that forces usability data back to the developers.
What I can't quite grasp is how to explain the concept of "Free Software" to those unfamiliar with it. We have software of varying licence schemes. We have zealots who expound their views saying "our license is more free than theirs". We have companies complaining about the "viral nature" of some of the licenses. We've come up with acronyms like FOSS and FLOSS to try to explain it, but the best I can come up with is "well, it depends ..."

software as "already almost paid-for" , thats a powerful one
but can community software really exists ??
just curious ...

xequence
October 6th, 2005, 08:42 PM
No, but people probably would prefer to tell people "hey, this software was 10,000$" over "Its free, legally"

alred
October 7th, 2005, 07:41 AM
No, but people probably would prefer to tell people "hey, this software was 10,000$" over "Its free, legally"

if that is so , then how to make it possible so that community software really exists ??