RE: My New tcolumn

Subject: RE: My New tcolumn
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 2004 12:58:13 -0800

Quoting John Posada <JPosada -at- isogon -dot- com>:

>> Bruce...I only bring these things up because while it may be cool to
> discuss the simpler issues in the Linux magazine, you're preaching to
> the choir.

I see what you're saying. However, the point isn't that the issues are simpler,
but that, for the audience, the issues that interest you have been done to
death. They would bore me to write about regularly, and they would bore the

What makes the gig interesting for me is that I have the chance to be among the
first to raise the topics with this particular audience. While AbiWord and
Koffice are interesting, they do not have anything like the same feature set as
OOo. As a result, many Linux users don't have a clear idea of things like
styles or templates - and I have a chance to explain these topics to them. I'm
not the first to do so by any means, but I have the chance to reach people that
the third party books don't.

Not only that, but with some of the inaccuracies in the on-line help, and with
the way that these inaccuracies have been repeated without anyone checking them
out, I have points to raise that have never been made before.

I don't know whether these things are exciting to anyone else, but as an ex-
instructor, they are what is cool about the gig.

> If the person is reading the Linux mag, s/he probably already
> are using OO and already hates MS.

This sounds like a good chance to explain a couple of important background

First, it's hard for for anyone who hasn't explored Linux to appreciate the
amount of choice available. Although only a few are as advanced as OOo, I can
think of at least seven or eight free or proprietary office suites that Linux
users use.

Second, and far more importantly, very few Linux users hate Microsoft. They
dislike the company's practices, true. But, for most Linux users, Microsoft is
mainly irrelevant. It's out there, and none of us are going to cry if it loses
sales or is embarrassed. Yet it's simply not very important to our lives. So
long as we can do things our way, most Linux users are content. Not very many
are interested in evangelizing.

> However, if you want to convert those who are not sold on it, you need
> to speak to me and others like me...the ones who can convince the
> enterprise because we do real work on existing tools and who, you hope,
> could claim that they could do MORE work on OO tools.

But that's just it: people like me aren't especially interested in converting
anyone. We don't mind talking a little about it, and we'd be glad if anyone did
switch. If you ask, many of us will be glad to help, too. But we talk a lot
about these things, and what is a new topic to you is an old one to us. More
importantly, in the end, it's your decision, and interfering too much with it
seems vaguely distasteful.

Maybe this is arrogance, and the belief that the software and the ethos that
provided it speak for themselves is naive or just plain wrong. Or maybe it's
just egocentricity; if we found out about these things through our own
curiosity, the reasoning might go, so can other people. Still, the attitude
seems to work well enough. Five years ago, hardly anyone had heard of free or
open source software. Now, it's hard to find a business that doesn't use them

Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604-421.7177


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RE: My New tcolumn: From: John Posada

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