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Thread: "Linux is Free" is no excuse

  1. #1
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    "Linux is Free" is no excuse

    Every once and a while, I'll see a post about a problem in Linux and the person will express their frustration with Linux as a whole and openly question why they even use it. We've all seen those.

    Then, invariably, there will be a response that basically goes like this:
    Hey, Linux is free, so don't complain.
    But, is "Linux is free" a valid excuse?

    I don't think so. To use an excuse like that is to say "you get what you pay for" and since you pay nothing, that implies that you get nothing.

    A big part of the "free and open source software" movement is supposed to be that it's method is superior to that of the closed-source model. According to its proponents, free/libre software isn't supposed to be a cheap knock-off or a "free alternative". It is supposed to be better.

    But apparently it isn't, and other excuses like lack of commercial hardware support are only a part of the problem. Lucid has problems with my older desktop's nVidia Riva TNT2 graphics card, even though it worked fine in Jaunty. That isn't a fault of the hardware company, that's a regression.

    Then there are things that are just embarrassing, like that we still have clipboard issues. I always need to open up gedit and paste there so that I know my text won't get lost in the black hole that is Linux clipboard support, which it does at least 50% of the time. I had this happen when using my computer with my sister once and she laughed out load at the stupidity of it.

    We can't keep saying "well, Linux is free" like that makes the problems go away. Either Linux is worthy of being a desktop OS or it isn't. Price doesn't matter.

    I could post a list of my ideas of what Linux needs. I could post a string of demands for the Ubuntu devs. But I won't.

    All I ask is that people on this forum stop trying to use this lame excuse. It isn't constructive and just makes Linux look bad.

    If you disagree with me, and still think that "Linux is free" is a perfectly valid excuse, fine. But I'll tell you this: My opinions are free...
    My Laptop: Gateway T-6330u, 2.0 GHz Pentium Dual-Core, 3 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD - Ubuntu 14.04
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  2. #2
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    Re: "Linux is Free" is no excuse

    Kind of agree - but I do feel it works both ways. We should retain high standards, but if you do have an issue, you should do whatever you can to help fix it, rather than just complain. "I'm not a programmer" isn't always an excuse, either.

  3. #3
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    Re: "Linux is Free" is no excuse

    /me resists urge to do a rant about people not wanting to put "code(s)" into the terminal..... (Most of the time they're talking about commands, not escape sequences or writing a program)
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  4. #4
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    Re: "Linux is Free" is no excuse

    Quote Originally Posted by V for Vincent View Post
    Kind of agree - but I do feel it works both ways. We should retain high standards, but if you do have an issue, you should do whatever you can to help fix it, rather than just complain. "I'm not a programmer" isn't always an excuse, either.
    Agreed, and I do try to do whatever I can to help others with it. I've filed bug reports about issues and try to post help on the forums as much as I can.

    From my research into my graphics problem, the issue is that the newer versions of X.org break compatibility with nVidia legacy cards, so I don't really see too many options there.

    As for the clipboard, I have no idea what the problem is, but I've heard of others with the same issue. I've read articles like this - http://www.linux.com/archive/articles/123462 - and have decided that it really isn't worth my time to fiddle with a bunch of clipboard alternatives. What I ask for is only what Windows has: a clipboard that can hold text, images, or files until I paste those appropriately into the application of my choosing. An OS-based clipboard. The default clipboard(s) set-up is fine as long as you paste right away. The issues come when you wait more than a minute to paste, or close the wrong application in the process. I know that coding such a thing is harder than it sounds, and my coding skills are very limited, but it just doesn't seem like that much to ask...
    Last edited by chessnerd; July 23rd, 2010 at 08:43 AM.
    My Laptop: Gateway T-6330u, 2.0 GHz Pentium Dual-Core, 3 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD - Ubuntu 14.04
    My Desktop: Lenovo IdeaCentre K450, 3.2 GHz Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 2.5 TB HDD - Windows 8.1, Ubuntu 14.04 in VM

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    Re: "Linux is Free" is no excuse

    Are you using the NVIDIA driver for your graphics card?

    In Linux if you put something to the clipboard within an application and that application gets closed or terminated for some reason those clipboard items are no longer on the clipboad , just something to be aware and careful about when using the clipboad.

  6. #6
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    Re: "Linux is Free" is no excuse

    Quote Originally Posted by numinous View Post
    Are you using the NVIDIA driver for your graphics card?
    The proprietary driver doesn't work. For one, the proper driver module no longer exists in the repositories. When I've forced the use of the proprietary nVidia driver by removing the Nouveau driver the system would show Plymouth, but wouldn't load X.org.

    I tried to install the driver from nVidia's website, but it said that it was incompatible with my current version of X.org.

    The Nouveau driver sort of works, but it is very buggy. The mouse is constantly flickering, windows will some times vanish and then reappear, and it takes a minute for graphics changes to load on the screen after minimizing or moving a window.

    EDIT: this is the driver I would need to work - http://www.nvidia.com/object/linux_d..._71.86.13.html

    Quote Originally Posted by numinous View Post
    In Linux if you put something to the clipboard within an application and that application gets closed or terminated for some reason those clipboard items are no longer on the clipboad , just something to be aware and careful about when using the clipboad.
    That seems like a design flaw to me. Ah well, gedit manual clipboard it is...
    Last edited by chessnerd; July 23rd, 2010 at 09:23 AM.
    My Laptop: Gateway T-6330u, 2.0 GHz Pentium Dual-Core, 3 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD - Ubuntu 14.04
    My Desktop: Lenovo IdeaCentre K450, 3.2 GHz Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 2.5 TB HDD - Windows 8.1, Ubuntu 14.04 in VM

  7. #7
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    Re: "Linux is Free" is no excuse

    Quote Originally Posted by chessnerd View Post
    That seems like a design flaw to me. Ah well, gedit manual clipboard it is...
    Not a design flaw, there actually is no clipboard. (If there was one, and it behaved like this, it would of course be a flaw).

    If you want a clipboard, you have to install one yourself (there are several very good ones available in the repositories). Otherwise copy/paste is just handled directly from source to destination, without any actual clipboard in between (much in the same way as the traditional copy/paste method in Unix/linux, the primary selection.)

    edit: what comes to the "it's free" argument, even though the people who use it probably use it in the "you get what you pay for"-sense, I prefer interpreting the "free" as in freedom. So, "it's free, don't complain" would mean that "if you don't like it, you are free to fix it".
    Last edited by mcduck; July 23rd, 2010 at 09:33 AM.

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    Re: "Linux is Free" is no excuse

    Quote Originally Posted by mcduck View Post
    Not a design flaw, there actually is no clipboard.
    you have to install one yourself (there are several very good ones available in the repositories).
    Thanks this is good to know.

    It feels like there is a clipboard since I can select text and paste it into other apps.

    Maybe distros such as Ubuntu should include a default clipboard program, users can easily get confused about what is really going on in with this behaviour.

  9. #9
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    Re: "Linux is Free" is no excuse

    Quote Originally Posted by mcduck View Post
    Not a design flaw, there actually is no clipboard. (If there was one, and it behaved like this, it would of course be a flaw).
    Alright, well I installed Parcellite (Glipper didn't seem to work) and set it up to run at startup with the no icon setting. So far, it works as I expected. If I ever remixed my own distro, it would include a clipboard manager. I'm surprised that Ubuntu doesn't already...

    Quote Originally Posted by mcduck View Post
    edit: what comes to the "it's free" argument, even though the people who use it probably use it in the "you get what you pay for"-sense, I prefer interpreting the "free" as in freedom. So, "it's free, don't complain" would mean that "if you don't like it, you are free to fix it".
    I can see that to a certain degree. You certainly don't have that option with Windows. However, I think that the "you can code it yourself" argument misses the point. Ubuntu isn't supposed to be a "code it yourself" solution. If it is, Canonical should advertise it as such, not as "Linux for human beings" which implies that normal people can use it.

    When I wanted a way to make multi-image desktop backgrounds, I coded a program myself, GUI and all, in Java that auto-writes the XML file. That is beyond most and is about the limit of my abilities. I can't re-code a driver or fix bugs in Firefox. (Maybe someday, but not now).
    My Laptop: Gateway T-6330u, 2.0 GHz Pentium Dual-Core, 3 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD - Ubuntu 14.04
    My Desktop: Lenovo IdeaCentre K450, 3.2 GHz Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 2.5 TB HDD - Windows 8.1, Ubuntu 14.04 in VM

  10. #10
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    Re: "Linux is Free" is no excuse

    I've always interpreted the Ubuntu being usable by everyone to mean that there are no language, legal, technical or other restrictions stopping anybody from using Ubuntu, but you still might need to learn how to use it. If you don't want to, that's your fault, not the operating system's.

    That being said I'm not against making things easy to learn, at least as long as it doesn't make things less powerful. My point is simply that being able to use something and being able to use something without having to learn anything are two different concepts.

    Also doing something about the problems doesn't always mean that you should learn to program and fix it yourself. You can also find somebody else to do it for you, or contact the developer and ask for a fix, or really anything other than just complaining and expecting that somebody else does this for you.
    Last edited by mcduck; July 23rd, 2010 at 10:53 AM.

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