Monday, December 23, 2013

Does Gigastrand OS "ignore the rules" for Linux and Open Source?

A question was once posed to me: "By incorporating closed source and considering the inclusion Microsoft apps like Skype, does Gigastrand OS break with FOSS standards and ignore the rules for a traditional Linux distro?"

My answer at the time was "I hope so." 

Truth be told, I really don't care if this distro breaks a few of the traditionally held rules that Linux must be all open source or not at all. I don't care because my customers don't care. They just want it to work for them.

Look at all the bad OSes that users run. Look at how disparate they are. Look at how some users trade one set of OS problems for another. Not that I am saying Gigastrand OS is perfect, but these are the problems it is trying to solve.

Here is another truth: if you understand that question well enough to ask it or even be offended at my answer, then you are not the target audience for this distro. The politics of open vs. closed source is not something most users are even aware of. They not only buy devices with closed source software, but the devices themselves are more closed (read "non-upgradeable") than ever.

If I had a choice to build this OS exclusively on open source software, I would do that in a heartbeat. The reality is that what we wanted to do requires the combination of closed and open source software.

For your final truth, closed source is not bad. There is very good closed source software out there. For example, I have a colleague of mine ( develops specialized software on Linux systems and most - if not all - of his software is closed source. His customers love it and still buy from him.

When we think of closed source it is often the companies themselves and their business practices that makes us think of it as bad. 


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