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less a jumble tonight

I’ve been thinking a lot about the discussion Pete and Gabe and I had leading up to and briefly after BarCampMilwaukee4.  I told them I was done talking and on to doing and this was in relation to making libre software better, but I actually think that’s not the case. I have evangelical fatigue.  The problem is I don’t seem to be getting anywhere.  MadLUG is probably going to be having a State of the Union round-table (we don’t have addresses in the libre world, of course, that’s much too hierarchical) in November.  The date is still TBD, but I will be sure to post when the details are decided.

Some reasons for my fatigue:

  • My Linux cohort at work uses Windows at home.
  • Another guy who tries Linux at work occasionally has had trouble with ALSA because of Pulse Audio (see rant below).
  • Plenty of Linux users have iPhones.
  • Other than my brother, who uses Windows and Ubuntu, I haven’t convinced anyone in my family to give Linux a shot (not that I’ve tried that hard, because I don’t really want to support them…I’ve nudged, by getting my dad to post to the Ubuntu forums and such in their old Other OS section).  The problems with my aunt and my dad were probably the OEM situation where they were going to be tied to specific models and prices with Linux.

The list goes on, but you get the picture.

The promised rant: I’m convinced Pulse is the worst thing to happen to desktop Linux in a long time.  I really don’t understand why the major distros are hell bent on including it.  If you want it to work, make it work.  I understand that Fedora is a developer playground. Fine. Use what you want.  Ubuntu, on the other hand, is supposed to be Linux for Human beings.  Human beings don’t like brown and orange (seriously, look at Tennessee fans, are any of those people human? ROLL TIDE!) and more importantly, human beings just want their stuff to work.  It’s odd that Windows gives the impression of just working since a blank XP disk as so few drivers, but for people getting enterprise builds and OEM builds, it does just work…except we all know Windows doesn’t really work.  The devil you know, I suppose.  I hate Apple and their Steve knows best attitude, but they just work.  Jobs’ “benevolent dictatorship” has worked well for them.  If we learned anything from the Bush administration, it’s that Americans don’t actually give a sh*t about freedom. Give me convenience or give me death! Apple is the American way…not that there’s something wrong with a little convenience and not that the TSA guidelines are exactly convenient, but the point is, freedom is not high on a lot of priority lists.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve had some successes.  I think before I left Chapel Hill, COSI was really getting somewhere.  I’m sad to say that doesn’t seem to be the case once I left.  I was able to convince my ex-girlfriend to use Firefox and Thunderbird and another ex-girlfriend whose brother worked at Microsoft to start using Firefox (you can see why that relationship didn’t last!).  I’m pretty sure on the home computer my parents (or at least my dad) use Firefox.  I haven’t seen my mom’s new laptop.  I hope my dad had the sense to put Firefox on it.  Maybe I was just living in a fantasy land in Chapel Hill, with Red Hat down the road.  I’m beginning to think that more every day, but I’d still like to do good 1000 miles away from the promised land.  With my current connections, I don’t see how I can really make any headway with the Wisconsin state government or the University of Wisconsin, the two organizations I think could really have an impact on the libre world.  With one of the largest employers in Madison being a proprietary software vendor and Microsoft putting their dirty paws on events like BarCampMilwaukee4 (I should just stop there at 666 words. METAL!), it’s not David vs. Goliath, it’s Doug vs. an phalanx of Goliaths.  In that statement, I think I see the biggest problem of all. In Chapel Hill, it was Red Hat, ibiblio, Doug and at least two battalions of fierce libre warriors.  In Madison, it’s just Doug, trying desperately to amass an army to storm the gates of software’s Mordor.

There are a lot of people sitting on the fence. I see them. I talk to them. They are staying on the fence, and here’s the upshot, talking isn’t going to get them off the fence. The grass may be greener but from their angle, it’s only slightly greener and the cows are all still on the other side.  We need to water the grass.