Posted by: gurglin | July 1, 2008

Open letter to Open-Source Community

I am a part-time Linux user, just a final user and not a programmer nor an IT expert. I would love to get rid of MS for good, but sadly enough Linux is not always compatible with some hardware (there is no way for connecting my ADSL Modem and with KDE3 I cannot use my external NTFS HDD) nor with some software.

Here I want to share with you some considerations, critics, ideas that might be useful to further developments of the Penguin, especially because they come from a final user, somebody who sees PCs just as tools for rapidly executing some tasks and not a problem-making machine for trialling my informatics skills, which I do not have nor want to acquire.

1) Towards a remote-controlled PC. Sometimes I browse through some Linux blogs, and honestly I feel speechless, because my impression is I am dealing with a sect: open-source, all right, but closed-community. Guys, if you do not consider PCs as mere instruments of a new religion, I fear most of you have to change mentality, philosophy, and goals, otherwise you will leave everybody but an informatics guru out. The tendency for mass-usage of a PC must have TVs and the first mobile phones as examples: one-click usage, that’s it! We should not forget that the trend is leading to the integration of PCs with the digital TV, the Hi-Fi, telephone, game console, video recorder, because at households Media Centre Systems and HTPCs will replace the PC, hence everything should/will be used mainly by a remote control, sometimes a joystick, rarely by a keyboard, and, in the case, just for writing messages, letters, etc. So, RULE NUMBER ONE: forget the command line and the compile-thing as a tool for final users!

2) New PCs. Microsoft is successful mainly due a marketing strategy, because most of PCs have Windows pre-installed, but we, Open-Source & Linux community, have missed an amazing chance offered us by the changing of the Hardware market: laptops are still a priority of giant producers such as HP, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, etc, but the Desktops PC oligopoly disbanded! Big corporations keep on buying desktops from majors – because they prefer to avail themselves of their helpdesks – but small companies and normal consumers most of the times buy assembled PCs at a medium sized PC vendor/assembler or even at the “corner shop” run by some IT geek. There you go, where the chance comes out! Why small PC builders and vendors do not pre-install Linux on those machines? End-users are lazy, so they probably would prefer to keep Linux (an extremely user-friendly version of Linux) running, instead of “buying”/cracking some Windows OS and installing it. Give something for free to somebody, without giving him/her any hassle: that is the best present you can offer. Think about it!

3) The importance of the territory. It is true that we are fascinated by the concept of virtual reality and remote interaction/consultancy, but I truly believe that spatial vicinity is a must, especially when – directly at a shop/warehouse – there is the necessity of installing an OS on a blank PC. The spreading of so many different Linux distributions on the planet is warranty of a presence of some helpful Penguin on the territory, whilst Microsoft is simply too far away.

That is an extraordinary chance for the dozens of Linux Software Houses around the globe! A small PC producer/assembler can easily cooperate with a Linux software company in his area, which can send over a technician for counselling the better hardware to use and combine for building a Linux PC, and later for the installation and configuration of the whole system. Moreover, once you buy your Linux PC you should also get a list (updated on an internet URL) with all the compatible hardware one can buy and use with the PC.

The strategy might be successful especially for enabling those linux software companies to provide help and consultancy to small PC producers and assemblers, and later on directly to the final users. For instance, to boost the market, Linux Software Houses or their representatives & local consultants could offer a one-year warranty & telephone (VoIP) consultancy for free to final users! Men, this can be our Big bang!

4) Old PCs. Everything I wrote so far is a strategy intended for new PCs, but what about the old ones? Of course there are thousand of companies and people who change a PC every couple of years, but in respect of ecology, sustainability, dignity, and why not?, our bank account, why not recycling old PCs installing brand new low-resource-consuming OSs? The idea is that the Community should create a tiny .exe (yes, windows executable) – a massive database on any Linux OS and Software available (or better, of the companies that are willing to share the project), with their characteristics and hardware compatibilities – capable of analysing the architecture of the computer where it is running, compiling a list of compatible Linux OS and software and ideally – after the PC owner makes a choice among the different available options/packages – connecting to the internet for installing the required OS together with the chosen packages, which should be a variety of different applications and drivers selected by our “wizard” according to the characteristics of the analysed PC and its external drives (HDD, CD/DVD Drives, ADSL Modems, etc.).

Please, take a look at this survey (both in Italian and English)

Per l’Italia, c’è questa interessante petizione.



  1. Hey I came across this comment a bit late, but I’m glad I read it. For the most part, Ubuntu has addressed most if not all of your concerns. Interestingly, we share the opinion with regards to the opportunity waiting to be unlocked by PC companies. Check out my post if you’d like…

  2. Ubuntu?!?!? I fear you did not read my article on Kubuntu…

  3. rewriting might just be a great idea. but hope puppy won’t put sites bookmarked in the browser just like mint.

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