View Full Version : Does FOSS community benefit from large userbase?

March 14th, 2008, 11:40 PM
I did full switch to Ubuntu and now I have this Richard Stallman type of questions.

Does FOSS community really benefit from large userbase of non-technical non-advance users?

I haven't filed any bug reports (and those I filed are pretty bad), I can't program nor fixed anything, I can't help other people.

All I can do is cry out for help on IRC or these forums.

Will there be a point when users like me will damage FOSS?

ps I do support FOSS and I LOVE the community, but this question is just bothering me.

March 14th, 2008, 11:46 PM
The answer is that yes the community benefits from a large user base. You are one more person that has achieved freedom and therefore can tell others about it. You shouldn't need to be technical to have freedom. Freedom is for everyone that wants it. It doesn't matter at this stage of the game whether or not you can program really. If you are really concerned with contributing then join a Loco team. Donate monetarily to Ubuntu or the Free Software Foundation or you favourite Foss Project of Choice. Even if your skills are limited one thing all the projects need are supports and any one with a few bucks can do that. Remember that you are a member of the community and therefore own a little piece of its success too. So just have fun and I am sure that you will see in no time that you have more to contribute then you know.

March 14th, 2008, 11:53 PM
The benefits may be indirect, but they're there.

First of all, you may think of yourself as a helpless new user, but the more you use Ubuntu, the better of a position you'll be in to help other users. About a month after I started using Linux, I was already helping Ubuntu users with simple problems. Pretty soon, I was helping out with intermediate problems and have been doing so ever since (the advanced problems I still can't handle). I'm not a computer scientist, programmer, sys admin, network admin, or director of technology. I've always worked in education, first as a teacher, and then in admissions. You'd be surprised how much you can help people if you know only a little.

Secondly, the general public (especially when it comes to technology) do not like to use something "no one else" is using. So if a friend or family member of yours starts on Ubuntu, she'll take comfort in knowing that at least you are another user to commiserate with, even if you're not much help on the technical front.

Thirdly, if there is a large enough desktop userbase in Linux, then hardware companies will have to either open their drivers or port them to Linux.