Linux Containers Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Derek Weeks

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Ubuntu User and Member Ryan Lortie Writes Open Letter to Free Software Foundation

He raises some big points dealing with the goals of the FSF and how to accomplish them

The Free Software Foundation is recommending gNewSense and Ututo as beginners' Linux distributions. Ubuntu user and member Ryan Lortie has written an Open Letter to the FSF raising some big points dealing with the goals of the FSF and how to accomplish them. We bring you the full text.
Hello FSF,

This is an open letter.

In the past year your organisation has seemingly taken a new stance on what is important. You have started participating in things that matter to people other than hackers. You are making attempts to reach normal people -- wouldbe consumers of Trojan Horse technology products. These efforts are absolutely commendable. There is no doubt that the fight for freedom will be won only by convincing people that there are practical alternatives to companies that are more interested in their bottom lines than they are in providing a working product.

Your Defective By Design campaign is brilliant. I've actually heard people other than hackers (albeit, still geeks) talking about it. Your new Bad Vista campaign also hits the nail right on the head by letting customers know what they need to know to make an informed decision. A distinct feature of these campaigns is that they don't spend time harping about ideological freedom, but rather, stress real world problems inherent in DRM. You talk about practical problems that people will encounter and be affected by. You talk about practical solutions.

I am writing this letter because of a controversial decision that you have made.

The Bad Vista page contains the following text:

...and provide a user-friendly gateway to the adoption of free software operating systems like gNewSense (http://www.gnewsense.org) and Ututo (http://www.ututo.org). 

I'm not aware of what Ututo is, but by your recommending it, I'm going to assume that it is subject to the same problems with gNewSense.

From the standpoint of focusing on real practical issues rather than harping about ideology, gNewSense is basically exactly the same thing as Ubuntu except that it doesn't work on most people's computers.

People have ATI and nVidia video cards. Most people have laptops with wireless cards that at least require firmware.

One of the real practical problems with closed source software is that if there's a bug then you can't fix the bug and this might prevent you from using your hardware. In terms of practicality, this isn't really much better then not being able to use your hardware at all in the first place.

Another practical problem is that gNewSense isn't a rock star. Ubuntu is.

Let's face it -- no matter how good you are, you're not going to get the average computer user to install a new operating system. The people you will convince to do this are people who are already technology geeks. These are the same people who have read tech news sites talking about this "Ubuntu" thing.

Faced with a recommendation to install gNewSense, they will say "huh?". Faced with a recommendation to install Ubuntu, they just might say "ya... I've been hearing a lot about that. Maybe I should give it a try."

Even if you manage to get people to install gNewSense, you're most likely going to be harming your cause. The overwhelming majority of computer users have some hardware that requires some sort of binary-only code to operate. People will install gNewSense and, with very high likelihood, some part of their system won't work. They will get frustrated and annoyed -- possibly turned off of free software forever. I know people who still pass judgement on Linux as a whole based on experiences from 5 years ago.

Ubuntu is more or less 99% free. It doesn't even come anywhere close to being as awful as Vista is. Besides -- I bet your computer is already at least a little non-free. Is your BIOS open source? The ROM firmware on all your devices? Your CPU's microcode? We all put up with these things in the meantime because we understand that the only chance of success will be to get people on to our platform. Without users, we can't make demands.

I understand that it's quite a strange position to be in to be condemning Ubuntu on one hand for their shipping of proprietary code, while recommending them to people on the other hand. To do so would require swallowing some pride. I hope that this is something that you're capable of doing.

Through your campaigns of the past year you've indicated your understanding of the fact that your key to success lies in public acceptance. Recommending Ubuntu instead of gNewSense will increase the public's acceptance of your platform. You have to make sacrifices -- that's just the way it is.

I'm sure you appreciate the importance of what you're trying to do and that you realise what a unique opportunity you have right now. Please don't waste it.

I am an Ubuntu user and member. This letter is my personal opinion.

Ryan Lortie

More Stories By Linux News Desk

SYS-CON's Linux News Desk gathers stories, analysis, and information from around the Linux world and synthesizes them into an easy to digest format for IT/IS managers and other business decision-makers.

Comments (5) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
just me 01/04/07 09:45:44 AM EST

"Another practical problem is that gNewSense isn't a rock star. Ubuntu is"

If Ubuntu is a rock star, something is wrong, very wrong

Try installing a Ubuntu deb on a debian distro and vise/versa and watch the system get destroyed. The Boob is NOT Debian compatible period !!

Ubuntu an african word for people who can't install Debian

I would rather use windows 98 than Ubuntu

just me 01/04/07 09:45:36 AM EST

"Another practical problem is that gNewSense isn't a rock star. Ubuntu is"

If Ubuntu is a rock star, something is wrong, very wrong

Try installing a Ubuntu deb on a debian distro and vise/versa and watch the system get destroyed. The Boob is NOT Debian compatible period !!

Ubuntu an african word for people who can't install Debian

I would rather use windows 98 than Ubuntu

fred arnold 01/03/07 09:31:44 PM EST

dude this is beyond clueless. The FSF does not promote non-Free software. writing an open letter instead of contacting them directly is not a genuine communication, just a stupid PR stunt promoting Ubuntu. Ubuntu is getting less Free with every release, which mr shuttleworth promised would never happen. so much for promises.

If you want to help the FSF, how about putting some genuine effort into working with hardware vendors to supply open source drivers? That would be meaningful. Not ramming ubuntu down everyone's throat.

Timeblog.net 12/31/06 07:57:23 AM EST

Trackback Added: gNoSense; If you want people to use your Linux, you have to provide the measures that it will simply work on most people’s PCs. If an otherwise good organisation like the Free Software Foundation now recommends the Linux distribution gNewSense, which is Ub...

Marcus Moeller 12/31/06 06:05:36 AM EST

I would personally suggest Debian GNU/Linux before Ubuntu, as I really think its more tested, stable and it's main tree does not include non-free software.

With Debian Etch and the new GTK+ Frontend to d-i, installation is a harm.

I don't really understand why ubuntu users and developers try to predict that their product is the best above all.

Dont't forget that ubuntu is a commercial distribution with canonical in the background.

And of course, ubuntu is nothing really special. It is originally based on a modified version of Debian SID (which is also known as unstable in the Debian world) and has a branched repository, instad of using the original Debian package source.

The only thing I know that devides ubuntu from other distributions is the ship-it program on which you can order free CDs.

Uncommercial distribution cannot offer this service without funding. It reminds me a bit of the M$ OEM strategy.

Best Regards

@ThingsExpo Stories
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
The IoT industry is now at a crossroads, between the fast-paced innovation of technologies and the pending mass adoption by global enterprises. The complexity of combining rapidly evolving technologies and the need to establish practices for market acceleration pose a strong challenge to global enterprises as well as IoT vendors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Smith, senior product manager for Numerex, will discuss how Numerex, as an experienced, established IoT provider, has embraced a ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and ...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Donna Yasay, President of HomeGrid Forum, today discussed with a panel of technology peers how certification programs are at the forefront of interoperability, and the answer for vendors looking to keep up with today's growing industry for smart home innovation. "To ensure multi-vendor interoperability, accredited industry certification programs should be used for every product to provide credibility and quality assurance for retail and carrier based customers looking to add ever increasing num...
The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), sponsor of the IoTivity open source project, and AllSeen Alliance, which provides the AllJoyn® open source IoT framework, today announced that the two organizations’ boards have approved a merger under the OCF name and bylaws. This merger will advance interoperability between connected devices from both groups, enabling the full operating potential of IoT and representing a significant step towards a connected ecosystem.
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet a...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...