Note : I have changed the Title from How people get moved by the word “Proprietary” to “How people get moved by the word “Freespire”
From the Freespire Wiki Page
“Freespire is a community-involved, Linux-based operating system…….but also provides users the choice of including proprietary codecs, drivers and applications as they see fit….”
Sounds sweet isnt it
There is nothing if that sounds sweet. Yes, many get deceived by this word Proprietary as that is the enemy of Open Source and currently the only hindrance (may be/may not) for the Open Source.
We do have many methods of installing proprietary stuffs today. Good example is Ubuntu’s Feisty Fawn, the latest release has very simple methods which instructs user the danger of using Proprietary Contents and then allowing the installation under User’s wish. Still Linspire claim they have the easiest solution of bundling the Proprietary Solutions into their distributions – Linspire and Freespire
Freespire WAS claimed to be a Community Based distro, but later as days passed by, Mr.Kevin Carmony changed it to Community Involved distro and not even a single discussion was held with the Community regarding this. Till now and I am sure it will be – “Linspire leads the Freespire Community. What we keep is rule and you users need to follow that no matter from where we take the actual sources to build our distribution or is it from OSS Standards”
We users , including me, were there from the start of Freespire project and today you can see there are many deceived users (including me) because of the things that has happened . No Community involvement, when asked , no answer. We are not slaves of Linspire to just use what they give.
I couldnt post any of the things that are happening in the forum as one must register in the forums to view them , yes even thats closed.Here is a post from Kevin,
Notice anything in the last year? FLAT LINE! Ubuntu had great growth their first years, BUT NOT FROM BRINGING MORE PEOPLE TO LINUX, but from canabalizing other distros. I think this is good and fine, consolidation is a good thing, BUT Ubunut has NOT attracted all that many new Linux users, certainly not in the last year. They have eaten up all the converts from the other distros. It’s now time to actually GROW the Desktop Linux space, and that means OEMs.
What one can comment for the above statement ?
We need to really wait on our major giant Dell Computers to see how they go on with their Linux based PCs and Laptops before telling that Linspire or Ubuntu is for OEMS.If you watch the Dell’s Ideastorm, Pre-Installed PC with Ubuntu/Fedora/Open SuSe tops the ideastorm . So where has been Linspire in the picture if it was the easiest desktop operating system with the easiest installation mechanism CNR, as said by Kevin.
Here is a nice post of Mark Shuttleworth explaining some of the factors why its so difficult to get a Pre-installed Linux PC
In spite of Kevin’s comments above on Ubuntu, Ubuntu was awarded ‘Most User-Friendly Linux Distribution’, and also Canonical the ‘Best combination of Community and Commerce’
I’d be willing to lay down a small bet that as Linspire’s recent community Freespire release gathers more supporters, and based on what I’ve seen of the distro, it will be near the top in our next survey.
But if you ask me personally I am not happy with that statement now
Pre-installed PCs need some solid and robust distro with all the hardware support and I cant see a reason to say Ubuntu doesn’t support most of the Linux hardwares out there in the market. Its like, when you know there are Linux supported hardwares available in the market, people still aim to build PCs with Windows supported hardware and try to run Linux in that.
System76 is one of the best example I can quote on selling pre-installed linux Laptops and Desktops and how they really have the Linux ready Hardware.
And another bold statement,
Today Linux is a NO SHOW on the desktop. I don’t get to excited about having just CNR for that tiny group of users.
If the above was true and if CNR is/was so successful, what about this ?
And when questioned what actually Freespire thinks of the Community based or driven, here is the post by Kevin himself again,
Probably a bad choice of words. Community-influenced or community-involved would probably be better ways of saying it. “Technically” Freespire is “community-driven,” since it is driven by the Vision Statement and Leadership Board (who are all members of the “community,”) but it probably doesn’t convey the correct dynamic. We’ve been very clear that the Freespire project was started for the purpose of being the baseline of Linspire, and letting the community be involved (testing, etc.) and have influence (bugzilla, suggestions, etc.), but you’re right, not so much “drive” it. We should probably change that term on the Freespire home page. All the content, FAQs, messaging, etc. have been clear about they dynamic of Freespire, but that term could certainly be contrary to that messaging.
By now you could have guessed how things might have changed then on. If you closely read the above statement from Kevin you can see how he defines a Community. According to him, if the members are out of the Linspire Corporation, they are called from the Community
Here is a question from one of the users,
How many non-Linspire.inc employees are involved in the development of Freespire? How many have contacted Cliff and asked to join the developers group? How many have actually joined the developers group? Just the numbers please.
And Kevin’s answer
Almost none.But, this is true with most open source projects. Most of the work on OpenOffice was paid for by Sun. Most of the work on Ubuntu is paid for by Canonical. Most of the work on Mozilla/Firefox was paid for by Netscape and AOL. And so on…
History has show that capitalism trumps socialism everytime
Let me get into the definition of Community (in regard with Free Software)
The free software community refers to the collective users and the developers of free software. Users of free software, more so than proprietary software, form a community because of the ability of all users to participate in the development and distribution of free software
Does Freespire fit into the Free Software Community as per the Kevin’s statement above?
I had been in their Community Board and I just resigned since I didn’t see Freespire to be open and the so called Freespire Community was put up just for Users and nothing else. It was like i was in a Microsoft MSDN Forum where you get only one option – Discuss regarding the Software,get help on how to use it. Never cross your line above that.
Ok, I agree there was an announcement by the Linspire Development Lead – Clifford in the Freespire forums on October 10th 2006,
Well, we’ve moved and things are pretty much in order. So this week I’ll be starting up the developers program. I expect this will be a gradual process, starting with some discussions to get people on the same page.
I’m going to run these discussions on the devel mailing list. If you are interested in software development for Freespire, please subscribe: http://wiki.freespire.org/index.php/Subscriptions
But where was that Developer’s Program and its nearly 6 months since the announcement. I can say it was to just show that they had some interest with the so called Community.
Even before this, Freespire Forums had opened the option to join their Freespire Developers and I can say even this was just a show off as no one was ever accepted in and the requests still stay the same (may be unread too). Here is my request,
|The following groups are available for you to join|
|User Group||Joining Conditions||Join Group|
| Requests to join must be approved by a group leader.
Group leaders: Clifford Beshers
| You requested to join this group 13-August-2006 at 12:27
Request Reason: Want to join the Freespire devel team
Coming to the Point, being Freespire an Open Source Project with a Open Source Community around,
- Who decides on the Development Plans ?
- Where has been the Development Process discussed ?
- Are there any Community Developers/Hackers in the Core Development ?
- Has Linspire brought in Developers/Hackers from the Community to their development process ?
- Has there been answers provided to the Community regarding any queries regarding core Freespire plans and the above mentioned queries ?
If you look into the Freespire Wiki, you may find this,
NOTE: In order to sit on the Freespire Technology Board you must be running Freespire as your main operating system. Naturally, this requirement can’t be met until after Freespire is released, at which time the Technology Board will start being added to. It also is just common sense to build this board out AFTER Freespire is out and developement work by the community is underway.
So are there no Freespire releases being released ?
On the parallel if you visit Ubuntu Forums, you may find they have started collecting ideas by starting Gutsy Gibbon Development forum even before initial release of Gutsy Gibbon.
I don’t see any point to include developers only after a release is done as per Freespire’s way of methodology.
If you closely monitor for each release of Freespire, you will find Known Bugs being published by Freespire. And have these been discussed in the devel-lists or forums ? The answer is very simple – Linspire deals with these and why would one allow other than Linspire Employees ! . As a User, you can only go up to the extent of reporting bugs.
Been in the Freespire Community Board for nearly a year, we were kept there for namesake and nothing was discussed with us or even seeked to discuss with Community regarding any plan of Freespire. We just knew there was a Leardership Board and Technology Board but never ever they discussed with us or we got a chance of interacting with them and I am sure it will never happen in the future too.
And then came along another news (again no Community involvement) from Kevin,
I think we should drop the Freespire OSS Edition. (This is the Open Source Software edition of Freespire that contains NO proprietary software in it at all).
I make this recommendation for three reasons:
1. We’ve been able to study the download statistics for Freespire 1.0, and for every person who downloaded the OSS Edition, there were almost 1,000 downloads of the “regular” Freespire version
2. Now that Freespire is being based off of Ubuntu, if someone is that motivated to run a 100% OSS Linux OS, they have lots of options, including Ubuntu.
3. Because all of the source code for Freespire is available, someone who wants to build their own OSS edition, can do so.
And again no answers were given to Community’s request of having an OSS edition
I can see why there is more involvement needed separately for OSS edition. When Linspire can build a distribution by adding the Proprietary stack into it, why cant they release just the distribution without the Proprietary stack ? If its modeled properly then it would be like inserting and removing Proprietary stack.
Still, there are many things going with the Freespire Community and we want the the Open Source world to know about the actual drama being played by Linspire.
Linspire uses Linux, yet they are not Open in whatever ways one tries to see them. One would come to know when they start interacting with the so called Freespire Community