TUX Desktop Watch -- August 29, 2006

 Welcome to the TUX Desktop Watch

  This Week: The Quote Heard 'Round the Community

  "No matter how painful, no matter how ugly, we must enable the Linux desktop
  to run Windows media, to support iPods.  We may not want binary programs in
  user-space, but we must have them." Eric Raymond, author of "The Cathedral
  and the Bazaar" in a panel discussion at Linux World 2006.

  I would encourage everyone to search for more information on the discussion
  and the background.  Of course, it is nothing new to readers of TUX and TUX
  Desktop Watch.  I've been talking all around the subjects which are the
  foundation for his remarks.  The Register was the first to break the story
  and you can find their report here:

  It's funny how we filter information.  We each bring to every bit of
  information every experience that makes us unique.  When we add new
  information to that unique mixture of experiences, it becomes like
  chemistry.  There are interactions between our experiences and the new
  information, those reactions often form what we take the new information to

  So it is with Raymond's comments.  We all read or heard what he had to say
  and then like chemistry we arrive at our reactions (our conclusions).  For
  me, I think that Raymond is spot on some of this conclusions.  Now I'll
  admit his conclusions about the switch from 32- to 64-bit technology and the
  closing window for Linux are areas I've not considered.  But I see in his
  comments one critical conclusion.

  In his book The Cathedral and the Bazaar, Raymond documented his first hand
  experience with what makes the Open-Source software development process
  work.  In my opinion, no one can begin to understand what makes Open Source
  different, special, and mysterious without reading his book.  So I believe
  he is uniquely qualified to have voiced what he did.  So I believe Raymond
  sees a disconnect between what we all want Linux to become and what the
  developers working on Linux want.  For TUX and our readers, we want a Linux
  that just works, but Linux developers don't really care what we want.  Now
  I'm talking about the vast majority of individual developers who contribute
  to Linux and not the corporate interests of Linspire, Xandros, or Novell.
  From the other perspective many within that same development community
  believe that Linux represents everything that the ideals of the Free
  Software Foundation proclaim.  They believe that Linux should always reflect
  those ideals and should never be diluted with software that does not
  guarantee the free software ideals.  Many people first encountering Linux
  ask questions like Raymond proposes,"does it work with my iPod?" After
  telling many college students here in Puerto Rico about LInux, a very common
  question was, "does it run Windows Messenger?" To which I was like, mouth
  gaping, saying to myself "don't you mean does it support connecting to the
  Windows messenger service?"

  From both perspectives we have a gap, (I know here he goes again with the
  gap crap again...) that are uncrossable.  So I believe that Raymond has
  recognized that the two ends have no way to meet in the middle, so he made
  his call to the Linux community to make the effort to meet the users where
  it is most important to them.  Whether that compromise is drivers, or
  codecs, or whatever, the community must move the mountain to where the users
  are.  It's the only way! Raymond knows it and whether everyone else cares,
  it is the only way to reach widespread Linux desktop adoption.

  Otherwise, we have a great deal of cool content for you this week, which you
  can find below.  We have plenty of great Weblog entries, plus a chapter on
  compiling and installing source code from the book SUSE Linux by Chris Brown
  from O'Reilly Media.  We wish you much learning enjoyment!

  With best regards,

  Kevin Shockey
  Editor in Chief, TUX Magazine