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The StartX Files: HancomWord Dumps WINE for Qt

Mail Call

November 15, 2001

I get quite a bit of e-mail about The StartX Files, which probably comes as no surprise. Most of it falls into one of two categories: messages written by psychopaths and messages written by normal people.

Mail from psychopaths is almost always bad, even if they're complementary. These are the kind of messages that make me glad not too many people know where I live. So far. These messages have their own particular telltales: the f-word used every three words (instead of once per paragraph) and a certain disassociation with reality like confusing my columns with Dennis Powell's. Or (God help me) Dinotrac's.

I do not get many of this type of message, thankfully. When I do, they get round filed without reply.

I do try to reply to the normal messages. These may be compliments or criticisms, but they are usually politely worded or at the very least not calling me names. The names may be true (quisling bastard is a personal favorite), but I am very likely not to pay attention to the rest of the message unless such insults are employed in the spirit of that male ritual known as "put-downs."

Mail is the lead-in today because I received a great e-mail from one of the LyX developers the other day who told me that after he'd read my review of LyX, he was motivated to start working on LyX again. That made me feel pretty good.

Sometimes, it seems, the little triumphs mean the most.

Linux is very much about the little triumphs. Rather than going for the big win, like Microsoft continually tries to do, Linux's developers tend to take the slow and steady approach to solving problems.

Last week, I think I lost sight of that a bit when I complained about the slow progress of KOffice.

I don't say this to take back my words, so much as explain the spirit in which the column was originally written. It was not my intention to badmouth the progress of KDE thus far. I was lamenting the fact that if it (and GNOME and every other open source project) could do this well with limited or zero funding, just think how fantastic things would be if open source developers could get the salaries they deserve for working on those projects.

Admittedly, some are lucky enough to have the best of both worlds: funding and open source. But many open source developers do not.

Is money the answer to all of open sources woes? No, because a lack of money would certainly not stop open source from succeeding. It hasn't yet.

So the point last week, and this week, and the weeks to come is this: it's time to take some action. Funding is not the only thing we need. A clear and concise focus on goals is also needed. What do we need to make Linux a viable desktop alternative, something that was hardly a mission consideration until recently?

Pilots have one clear creed when something goes wrong during a flight. No matter what the problem: a faulty altimeter or a failed engine, the first response is always the same: fly the airplane.

As the computer world shifts around us, we need to find the goals for Linux and fly Linux towards them.

Every time.

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