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The Voice of Groklaw - page 4

The Scope of Groklaw

  • December 31, 2003
  • By Jacqueline Emigh

LinuxPlanet: What are the three things you like best about open source software?

Jones:

  1. The fact that you can look inside and change whatever you like without worrying that you are doing something wrong.
  2. That there is no speed bump, because you can multitask. It doesn't matter how many applications you are working with at one time, it just keeps on humming. You never have to sit and wait for the computer to catch up with what you want it to do. At least I never have.
  3. I appreciate the freedoms the GPL gives me. The ethics and method behind GNU/Linux's creation and development mean something to me. I honor the guys who pooled their knowledge, in the scientific manner and then gave their creative work to the world to enjoy. I appreciate the gift. Groklaw is my Thank You.

Um... there are more things I like than just three. I love that I can share it. I love that I can make it look any way I want. I love that there are so many applications that can do almost the same thing. Those variations are intriguing and useful. I actually use four or five editors regularly, each for different things, for example. I love the creativity. I love that I can learn as much as my abilities allow. I love that there is a community that will help you with problems. I love it because I feel like I can breathe when I use it. No license worries. No one treating me like a criminal. No IP police. No unmanageable worries about security or viruses. Just me and my computer, having fun.

LinuxPlanet: What are the five things you dislike most about proprietary software?

Jones:

  1. EULAs. That was the first thing that came to mind. Having to retain a piece of paper to prove I didn't steal the software. I always am careful to respect copyright and I pay for my software, but the feeling I get when I read a EULA... I just don't like the one-sided terms. There is a hostility toward the customer that I can feel. When I have to go dig up that card again so I can type in my numbers and get to use the software, it bothers me. I probably feel it more than most, because of reinstalling so often in my career when I was learning computers. EULAs read like terms of probation to me.
  2. Never knowing if it's spying on you, reporting home. I seriously hate it when that happens. You can't know for sure ever. And whenever you do know, it's always bad news, it seems. When I read about Longhorn and DRM and .NET and Microsoft's plans for all that, it gives me chills and makes me feel an impulse to start planning a getaway, like a prison break, if you will. How come Linux is able to provide security without robbing me of my privacy and my flexibility? Linux doesn't need to control my hardware and software to be able to offer security. Why is Microsoft unable to provide security without imprisoning and monitoring the user's software and now hardware, according to them?
  3. Security issues, viruses, malware of various types. There is no escape in a Windows environment as a desktop user, in my experience. That I learned from my days maintaining the office computers in a small company. It's likely better in a large corporation where you have big money to spend on security, but for an individual or a small to medium office, security problems are heart-sickeningly frequent.
  4. I hate a business environment where companies will do just anything to make a buck, including using litigation as a competitive tool. It's a mind set that is repulsive to me. I naturally avoid products from companies I find repulsive.
  5. Proprietary software is like petrified wood. It used to be alive, but then it was fixed in time and put in a box. GNU/Linux software, in contrast, is alive, always changing and improving. I love that it's more a process than a product.

I'm not saying I never use proprietary software. And, as I told you, I have a relative who was a programmer/analyst and who made a living writing proprietary software, and I love him dearly. If they write something better than anything else I can find, I'll use it. For work, sometimes I have to. For evidence in court, I use SnagIt, for example. It's a great tool for capturing web sites to attach to court documents, and I use it for that. I avoid using Windows or Microsoft applications, like IE, on the internet, because it feels very insecure, like being all alone in Times Square at 3 AM. I still have a Windows 98 box because one attorney I do work for wants me to.

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