[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [Fsfe-uk] the GNU/Linux FAQ, was: BBC's DRM Iplayer windows only

From: MJ Ray
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] the GNU/Linux FAQ, was: BBC's DRM Iplayer windows only
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 15:40:43 +0000
User-agent: Heirloom mailx 12.2 01/07/07

Yavor Doganov <address@hidden> wrote:
> В Sun, 13 Jan 2008 07:27:00 +0000, MJ Ray написа:
> > The GNU/Linux FAQ is inadequate because it ignores frequently asked
> > questions like "Is this just credit-seeking by the GNU project?"
> The GNU/Linux FAQ does not attempt to answer all questions in their 
> entirety, it is intended to be read as a supplement to other articles 
> like linux-and-gnu, why-gnu-linux and gnu-users-never-heard-of-gnu.

That is another reason why it is inadequate.  No conversation like:

  Newbie: Can you summarise why we should call it GNU/Linux?
  GNUbie: Here, read these four rambling web pages.
  Newbie: *snore*

will convince many people.

But the point I was trying to make before was that it both answers
many questions which are not very frequently asked *and* ignores some
that I suspect are among the most frequently asked - because they are
hard, perhaps?

I often look at company-produced FAQs, look for a really obvious
question, then look at what is actually there, and decide "crock of
marketing ****".  I'd much rather people didn't have the same reaction
to this FAQ.

> > "Why does FSF still reject some groups who call it GNU/Linux?"
> This is explained at /gnu/gnu-user-groups.

Not really, as "we suggest that you avoid acronyms that contain 'lug'"
actually seems to mean "you must..." in most cases and things like

> > and "How have groups been persuaded to call it GNU/Linux?"
> There is no single answer to this question.

Then there are answers to it!!!  Don't fear diversity of opinion!
Give a few examples to inspire if poss, rather than just ducking it.

> And unfortunately most of the groups call it "Linux".

Including most of the groups who were persuaded once, I suspect, as
most renamed groups get SFA thanks or support AFAICT and so the
Linux-namers usually get revenge on the free software advocates.

> > Some of the questions there that actually are frequently-asked ones,
> > such as the X11-Apache-Perl one, have weak answers and don't give
> > references to support the claims.
> Why do you think it's a weak answer?  IMO it's very persuasive. 

It doesn't give references to support the claims.  See Dave
Crossland's (IIRC) message earlier in the thread which linked a study
by David Wheeler(?).

> Like this one:
> http://mail.gnome.org/archives/foundation-list/2006-August/msg00101.html

Like the FAQ, it also fails to use available references.

> Alan Cox is not exactly the person who is afraid to argue or defend his
> position, but there were no followups to this message.  Not surprising.

In the absence of an "OK, you're right" message, I think it's
dangerous to infer much from that.

> > Finally, it's unstructured (compare with the GPL FAQ) and rather random.
> > There are lots of questions there but I suspect many of them are
> > relatively uncommon.  It's mostly a list of "Questions I Wish Were
> > Frequently Asked" as far as I can tell.
> This is because of the way this article has evolved.  You are wrong that
> this is an artificial compilation;

OK, so can someone give the numbers then?

> initially the article contained only 
> a few questions asked by various people when the GNU project began this 
> educational campaign.  Most of the questions were asked in real life, at 
> various speeches, interviews, or by mail from people who wrote to RMS and 
> the various GNU addresses.

That means they are "asked questions" but not necessarily "frequently
asked questions".  See the difference?  *frequently*

> The CVS history is public and in case you're 
> interested you can take a look at it:
> http://web.cvs.savannah.gnu.org/viewvc/www/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html?root=www&view=log

So?  It's good to be open, but most of them say things like "(always):
New answer." with no suggestion where they came from.  There are also
many cross-references to rt.gnu.org which I think is private and used
instead of the public one at http://savannah.gnu.org/bugs/?group=www

> > I don't remember it ever helping me in persuading people to name GNU. 
> I believe you.  Try harder, and don't give up.  Persuading people is 
> difficult, with or without the help of the essays.  I don't think that 
> the sycophantic followers of Linus Torvalds can be persuaded, but that 
> shouldn't stop us trying.

I doubt there are many sycophantic followers of Linus Torvalds, if any.

The GNU project could make it easier by providing better resources and
more support to persuaders, but denying the weaknesses of materials
like the GNU/Linux FAQ, as done in this thread, suggests that ain't
gonna happen any time soon.  So I can't really blame anyone who
prefers to spend their time on easier wins.

> > And you may not fix those bugs, because it's verbatim copying terms.
> Sure you can, but the changes have to be approved by the author, who is 
> the leader of the GNU project.  If the license allowed arbitrary changes, 
> it would turn the article into "Why we should call the OS Linux" very 
> quickly.  Personal opinions are just that: personal opinions.  I don't
> think it is useful for the society to modify them.

The GNU/Linxu FAQ is just a personal opinion of the leader of the GNU
project and not a practical tool?  I think that summarises many of the
problems with both the FAQ and the GNU marketing effort.

If we couldn't defend this view from "Why we should call the OS Linux"
and if it really is easy to change that FAQ into that (I don't see how
it would be if it actually gave substantive references where
available), then maybe our view wouldn't deserve to win after all.

But I think we could defend it, so it should prevail.  It's a shame
the GNU project is less confident than me, isn't it?

MJ Ray http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html tel:+44-844-4437-237 -
Webmaster-developer, statistician, sysadmin, online shop builder,
consumer and workers co-operative member http://www.ttllp.co.uk/ -
Writing on koha, debian, sat TV, Kewstoke http://mjr.towers.org.uk/

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]