Thursday, September 13, 2007

Another Interview with King Richard

richard.jpegThis time it's PC World's turn. King Richard speaks and the world listens.

Some quotes.

What's important about GNU is that it provides a way to use computers in freedom.

That reminds me of this story. The only operating system this guy could use in his cell was Windows. Tell me Richard, is this part of using computers in freedom?

Therefore, you should have these four essential freedoms for each program you use:

0. To run the program as you wish. 1. To study the source code and change it so the program does what you wish. 2. To redistribute exact copies when you wish, either giving them away or selling them. 3. To distribute copies of your modified versions when you wish.

First of all: how much of a nerd do you have to be to start counting at 0 in public. I mean, I know that many programming language's array indices start at 0, but come on, you realize there's a world outside your computer right? Second, only half of these freedoms apply to normal people (0 and 2). And even of those one can argue if people actually want to use freetard software. All of these "freedoms" may be irrelevant to 99% of people and growing.

Nobody knows who will win this fight, because the outcome depends on you and the readers. Will you fight for freedom? Will you reject Windows and MacOS and other non-free software, and switch to GNU/Linux? Or will you be too lazy to resist?

I have been using Windows for most of my professional career and I have yet to feel unfree. And yes, I am too lazy to "resist" I guess, I have no reason to spend hours and hours configuring and tuning a Linux -- ehm, I mean GNU/Linux -- system so that I can run its free and inferior software. So sue me.

Microsoft has frequently imposed non-interoperability; now, for example, it promotes the patented bogus "standard" OOXML instead of supporting Open Document Format. Microsoft believes it is so powerful that it can design an incompatible format, create obstacles to its implementation by others, and pressure most users to switch to it. Do you think users are really as foolish as Microsoft predicts?

Well I wouldn't call it stupid, but it's kind of true that Microsoft dictates the dominant file format. Microsoft Office is the dominant office suite so other have to adapt to that (if they feel they have to co-exist). Why would Microsoft adopt a free document format that is not their own? It would always decrease the product's quality. I mean, sure this ODF is standardized, still ODF documents look different in all software that supports it. Microsoft doesn't want to use a format that will mess its documents up, so pushed its own format. Both Microsoft and the consumer win.

Plus, the OOXML standard is much more impressive when printed.