A response to a FOSS skeptic

[Blogger’s note: This is not a CrunchBang-specific blog item, but since it has to do with Free/Open Source Software and it explains a lot of how the paradigm works, it might be beneficial to CrunchBang users and the FOSS advocates among us. Thanks. –Larry]

Don Parris wrote a book a while back called “Penguin in the Pew.” The book is an outstanding guide for nonprofits — aimed at churches, but it can apply to any other nonprofit — in the way to use Free/Open Source Software, which Don like to call “libre,” but you know it’s the same thing.

SCALE 10XWhile the book is due for an update (I say, nudging Don . . .), I also have to confess that I’ve used the points the book makes to apply to the for-profit business advantages of using FOSS in a business environment. This is important to me in my work at Redwood Digital Research, where a great part of our business is to provide small businesses and home offices with FOSS solutions instead of the closed-source proprietary software they are, for the most part, forced to use.

But I digress. Don wrote a brilliant blog item this morning in crossing verbal swords with a FOSS skeptic. It starts out as follows:

“Someone I know well and admire greatly recently sent me a question about the premise of my book, ‘Penguin in the Pew.’ His question, I think, reflects the mindset of many who remain outside the realm of the libre software domain. It has taken me some time to get around to answering his question, but I thought I would expand on my response to him here on my blog.”

And that he does, in a very complete, civil and concise way. It’s definitely worth a read.

Meanwhile, I have two presentations (three if you count the UpSCALE talk I’m doing with my daughter Mimi), a tsunami of press releases and other media work to do for SCALE 10X before next weekend (not to mention studying for the LPI-1 exam), so posts are going to be a little sparse over the next two weeks; unless, of course, they’re about SCALE. That could be disappointing to some and a relief to others.

But, as always, watch this space.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started testing and developing software in his new home office, Redwood Digital Research, in the redwood-covered hills of Felton, California, USA. RDR is a consultancy that advises small business/home office owners on the benefits of using FOSS in the business environment.)

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2 responses to “A response to a FOSS skeptic

  1. Thanks for relaying that Blog. The passion that Mr. Parris has for FOSS is commendable and he argues his points with a fine tuned fork!

    A couple of points I would like to see more discussion on is the Virtual Family and how the changes of a project can cause radical fracturing.. Ubuntu/Unity comes to mind.. Another issue I have witnessed that disturbs me is the hard core FOSS line that is a double edged sword. “If you do not like it, use something else”. Of course having choices is a great thing, but to use it to push users away is just as damning as anything to that Virtual Family.

    Good Luck at SCALE 10X and with everything you must complete..

    • Those are good points, vastone. Skipping over the Ubuntu/Unity one, I have always taken the phrase, “If you do not like it, use something else,” as a reflection of the many options in FOSS rather than something negative, but you make a good point (which I’ll get to in a minute) about how that is framed. I always interpreted that statement as, “If you don’t like Debian (“it”), use Fedora (“something else”), or “If you don’t like LibreOffice, use AbiWord.” The list can be long, but I think you get the point, and I think the intention is to reflect the options we have using FOSS. But I think you’re right: Perhaps framing that sentiment or option in a more positive manner might work better.

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