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Think gOS. It might not be such a bad advice after all. It's been hyped up, but it sold out. And there may be lessons in its deployment and success for all of us Free Software and GNU/Linux advocates!


It's important that we remember what makes the Internet so interesting and unique. There are two crucial characteristics:

  1. It's fundamentally decentralized, meaning you can cut out any part without affecting the rest,
  2. It allows freedom of access, meaning you have the same ability to access and write it as anyone else.

Because they permit extraordinary flexibility and rapid growth, both of these characteristics have brought the Internet way beyond any other network. Today, they are endangered. How come, and what can we do about it?


As Apple's Steve Jobs is announcing that they suddenly "want native third-party applications on the iPhone", something its users have been yearning to have ever since they started buying these phones (even if it meant hacking them), Steve justifies their prior resistance to this kind of openness by security threats. As he says, they are "trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once — provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc."


Today I found an excellent small website about the gender imbalance in Free software. There's been a lot about the topic on the linux/free software news sites too.

Large parts of the free software community are rather hostile towards women, as unfortunately is usual in communities with a huge male majority. Which then prevents the community from becoming balanced because it will be unattractive to women.


"Don't talk about Microsoft" is a meme some people would gladly adopt for it is true that many in the Free Software community often appear obsessed with what Microsoft does and how could that be a part of a plan to hurt Free Software and GNU/Linux specifically. However, there are certain facts that can't be validly denied; Microsoft has a reputation of being quite a devious "competitor", if we can even fairly attribute such a noble term to them. They simply shown that they will use every trick in the book, regardless even of legality or ethics, to stay on the top.


It's the big problem of the net: how do you make money if everyone can access the files you produce for free?

Earning money is not evil, it makes it possible to produce more art or information. It's a waste of talent to need a day job to support what you consider your real work.


It is not enough to have Richard Stallman travel around the world endlessly giving standard Free Software speeches among other things repeating how Open Source is not the same thing as Free Software and how the operating system widely known as "Linux" is actually "GNU/Linux" (because GNU project in fact started that OS). It is not even enough to have Free Software supporters constantly keep pointing these things out and arguing why they believe so.


Due to the increased diffusion of "Open Source" as a term this article suggests its gradual phase out in favor of the original "Free Software" term and renaming of the "Open Source Initiative" into "Free Software Business Initiative" (no matter how controversial the proposal may be).

There are three ways we could look at Microsoft's recent approaches to the "Open Source" phenomenon.

  • 1. They are in a process towards genuinely embracing Free Software or Open Source.

The following is a letter I received as an associate member of the Free Software Foundation few days ago (August 2007), but written on July 13, 2007.

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Dear . .,

Help us build Libre Planet - a base for free software activists and community. Your support will help launch Libre Planet by August 2007!