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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund

From: Kevin Donnelly
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 23:24:09 +0000
User-agent: KMail/1.9.5

On Saturday 26 January 2008 15:53, Chris Croughton wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 25, 2008 at 11:35:51AM +0000, Kevin Donnelly wrote:
> > 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
> software.


> 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.

Fair enough, but of course  you only get that sort of development when you get 
users giving feedback to the developers, so we're back to the chicken and egg 

> > 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.

Er ... the Rosegarden .rg file is a gzipped XML file, so you now have an 
excuse to be more interested :-)  If that's what you're looking for (ie 
you're going to handle typesetting yourself), you may not even need Lilypond.

> 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.

Yes, it's quite good, though the last time I used it a couple of years ago I 
found it very unintuitive.  I just installed it again, to test, and I still 
think the same - even setting the time-signature is not that obvious.  There 
is also the Muse sequencer - they were originally one package.  Another 
package worth looking at may be Canorus (canorus.org, when it's up), but it 
is still at a very early stage - when I tried it last year it was very 

> 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. 

Not the whole story - people often support shareware because it is good 
enough, even if it's not perfect, in the hope that features they would like 
will be added in future.  It's the same for all species of software, which is 
why I think it's important to give free software a fair crack of the whip.

> And the 
> same goes for advocates, if I recommend something which doesn't do the
> job then my reputation suffers. 

Certainly, but doesn't it depend a bit on how you define the job in the first 
place?  Everything has drawbacks and shortcomings - it's a matter of picking 
the option whose shortcomings are least annoying.  Viewed in that light, it's 
a question of putting options to people.

> 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.

So that why there's all those BOGOFF offers in the shops, is it?

> > 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.

Not quite.  The impression given in earlier posts was that free software could 
only go so far, and beyond that the only realistic option was closed 
software.  This is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and free software would never 
have got anywhere if people had accepted that it was only a niche product.  
That's what I mean by giving closed software a privileged position. 

You're perfectly free to choose whatever software you want, but I think it's a 
bit hypocritical to "advocate" free software by saying that it has inherent 
and unchanging limits on where it can be used, and then to suggest that any 
who don't agree are being zealots (or in your words "fanatics").  It 
currently does some things less well than closed software (and a lot of 
things better) - but that's been the case for years - it hasn't stopped its 
increasing use as it improves and gets better.  I read only today that the 
French gendarmerie is going to switch 70,000 desktops to Linux 
(http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/30/french_open) - presumably another 
set of unfortunates who don't realise that the Linux desktop isn't yet ready.

> > - 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.

Yes, which is very different from the tied analogies (eg traffic-lights) you 
used earlier.  Imagine the fuss there'd be if people had to get a special 
Microsoft power-line to run their Windows PCs.

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

But that's exactly the point - they wouldn't take kindly to the carmaker 
saying that they could only install that carmaker's own brand of radio, and 
not one by Bose or whoever took their fancy.

Pob hwyl / Best wishes

Kevin Donnelly

www.klebran.org.uk - Gwirydd gramadeg rhydd i'r Gymraeg
www.eurfa.org.uk - Geiriadur rhydd i'r Gymraeg
www.rhedadur.org.uk - Rhedeg berfau Cymraeg

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