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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund

From: Chris Croughton
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 15:53:17 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.11

On Fri, Jan 25, 2008 at 11:35:51AM +0000, Kevin Donnelly wrote:
> On Thursday 24 January 2008 13:51, Chris Croughton wrote:
> > I will reiterate my offer, which didn't get any takers last time.  The
> > best music scoring and composing software I've found is Sibelius
> > (http://www.sibelius.com/, Windows/Mac).  It costs around 600 pounds
> > (and is proprietary), so what I actually use is Noteworthy Composer
> > (www.ntworthy.com, Windows, also proprietary) which is not as powerful
> > but which has the best user interface I've come across.  I will offer
> > the cost of Sibelius, 600 pounds, to anyone who produces a program with
> > the functionality and ease of use of Noteworthy Composer as free
> > software (I don't insist on it being identical, I do insist that it must
> > have all of the functionality and have an interface which is as easy to
> > use with both mouse and keyboard).  I am happy to work with them to test
> > the features and interface.
> If you mean a feature for feature copy of Noteworthy (which I've never used), 
> I doubt you'll find that.  But Noteworthy is supposed to run quite well on 
> WINE (http://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=application&iId=831).  
> Have you explored that?

It didn't when I tried it, but then I had trouble getting WINE to talk
nicely to sound hardware.  And of course it's still using proprietary

Well, I want most of the features of Noteworthy certainly.  Not
necessarily in exactly the same way, though, if that's what you mean by
"feature for feature".  What  Ido want particularly is something where a
lot of free software written for GUI use breaks down, and that is both
the keyboard and mouse interfaces must be capable of doing everything
with comparable ease (OK, some things might need selecting a menu item
with the mouse but be a single keystroke, others may need a couple of
keystrokes to do a single mouse click, but on average they should be
about the same).  If there are any functions, es[pecially common ones,
which can only be done with the mouse or only with the keyboard then as
far as I'm concerned it is bad.  This is an area where I hold up
Noteworthy as great UI as an example for any system.

> Have you tried using Rosegarden, one of the unsung heroes of free software?  
> The latest version of this has dealt with a lot of the notation issues 
> earlier versions had.  I've just entered a 5-page piano piece, and that went 
> swimmingly - I found the interface quite easy.  You also get output in 
> Lilypond, widely recognised (even by some Noteworthy users on their forum) as 
> providing very good music typography.  Try it and see how you get on - if you 
> have difficulties getting it running, email me offlist.

If it produced output in XML I'd be more interested.  As far as I could
tell the Lilypond format is very good at typography but less so for
performance or converting to MIDIfile or other formats.  I work with a
number of other people and we need to have things compatible, preferably
all using the same software.

I have been pointed at MuseScore, and I like what I see.  It's nowhere
near complete yet but it's certainly going in the right direction.  And
being based on Qt4 it is available for Windows and Mac as well, so other
people can use it directly (see discussions on the success of Firefox,
it has become popular because it is available wherever people want it).
It saves in its own XML formast as well as MusicXML (interchangeable
pretty much using XSLT).  I need to find out about it and where they are
going with it, but they are certainly a candidate for my money.

> I'm sure the remarkable Chris Cannam (also responsible for DSSI, Vamp, Sonic 
> Visualiser, etc) and the guys would welcome a ?600 donation, provided it's 
> not accompanied with a request like "completely redo this functionality to be 
> like NWC's, and can I have it by next month, please?".

Next week, please *g*.

> > Any takers?  Anyone else want to join in sponsoring it?
> I've donated in the past, but one of the problems is that there are only a 
> few 
> people working on it, and ?600, while a lot, is not enough if you want to do 
> major development.  This really comes back to the earlier threads - unless 
> people are encouraged to use free software, even if it's not quite there yet, 
> it's makes it more difficult to get it there.  If free software could get 
> some of the shareware or license revenue currently going to closed software, 
> things would be a lot healthier, but of course that won't happen 
> if "advocates" don't actually advocate - with friends like that, who needs 
> enemies?

But shareware only gets money because it does what is needed when people
use it.  Shareware which isn't up to quality gets no money.  And the
same goes for advocates, if I recommend something which doesn't do the
job then my reputation suffers.  If I've got them to change a complete
OS and they don't find it useful then they'll really be pissed not only
with me but with free software, and there's already too much "anything
free is worth (only) what you paid for it" attitude.

> Well this is complete baloney!  The difference between a PC and these is that 
> the PC is predicated on the assumption that you can change bits of it, and 
> that applies especially to the OS - that was the big advance of the PC over 
> the 80s model, where if you wanted to use the Amiga OS you had to have Amiga 
> hardware, and if you wanted to use the Commodore OS you had to have a C64.

It is still true in practice for almost all computer users.  In practice
they can't change even applications without help (and for many companies
they aren't allowed to) and don't even know what an OS is.

> If you want to use this sort of daft analogy, I could ask why people argue 
> for  
> closed software being allowed to retain a privileged position when they 
> wouldn't stand for:

I don't see anyone arguing for this "privileged position", we are
arguing for freedom.  Freedom to choose what we want is no more wanting
to force everyone to use proprietary software than freedom to choose to
have an abortion is wanting to abort every pregnancy.

> - using Citroen-branded petrol because that's all the manufacturer of their 
> Citroen car allows them to use;

Even Windows computers run on the same electricity as GNU+Linux ones.

> - only being allowed to upgrade their drill bit when the manufacturer of 
> their 
> Bosch drill releases a new one;
> and so on.  

Well, that's certainly true of a Bosch microwave oven, you have to pay a
lot to get a Bosch technician to even look at it when it goes wrong.

It's actually more like buying a new radio for the car, and people do
indeed do that and pay for it.

Chris C

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