Why KDE4 is called KDE?

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at cox.net
Thu Dec 10 00:22:59 GMT 2009

Eyolf Ă˜strem posted on Wed, 09 Dec 2009 14:35:45 +0100 as excerpted:

> As I started out saying: I endorse the ideological side of FOSS
> completely; Richard Stallman is one of my true idols, not only for what
> he is doing for software (sorry: for humanity, in the area of software,
> I meant to say..). My main point was that even though free open software
> ideologically is empowering people on the general level, that is a very
> remote concept for ME as an end user in the specific situation when I've
> e.g. upgraded my installation of kde and a lot of customization options
> are gone. The only way in PRACTICE the regular end-user is empowered, is
> through the control he is given over the interaction with the program,
> through customization and documentation. Without that control, an open
> source application is just as much a black box to me as a closed source
> one.

++ on the RMS reference.  Can't disagree with that (obviously, given my 
sig, tho I'm not sure I'd call him my idol, nor, from what I've read, 
would I necessarily get along so well with him as a person).  But to the 
larger point...

I already mentioned one practical benefit for users, as illustrated by 
the nVidia closed source drivers.  Another point on that is that the 
kernel folks, for instance, generally consider a proprietary module taint 
a big stop-sign to further debugging, simply because it's a black-box 
they have no way of groking the functionality of, or really, how it 
interacts with the rest of the system.  Now before you say ordinary users 
aren't interested in that, consider the effect those otherwise traced and 
fixed bugs have on their Linux usage, whether they understand or care 
where the bugs are, and why they're not fixed, or not.  That's a very 
practical situation in which a non-coder definitely benefits from the 
transparent boxes of free/libre and open source software.

Another, perhaps more appreciable end user benefit, is with stuff like  
DVD player software.  Proprietary apps can and do tend to enforce the 
various region restrictions, the "Must-play" flag as used on the FBI 
warning and often ads, etc.  In the FLOSS world, such things don't tend 
to fly, tho apps like Okular sometimes do have the /option/ to enforce 
the no-copy flag, for instance (with certain companies that will exercise 
that option and lock it down).  But as hard-coded no-choice-you-get-what-
we-say functionality, such things don't tend to survive long in the FLOSS 
world, because if for some reason the developer releases it with the 
lockdowns in place, someone else quickly comes along and removes them, 
and guess which software gets used, the crippled or the functional 
version? =:^)  Even where various distributions ship the crippled 
versions for legal reasons, the option to get the fully functional 
version is as close as configuring a different repository, in most cases, 
and in fact, distributions such as Mint Linux (based on Ubuntu so Gnome, 
but anyway...) are available that ship the un-crippled versions from the 

Of course there are down-sides as well.  Having to point at that second 
repository is one.  Another is that last time I tried gnash and swfdec, 
they weren't reliable enough to use in general, so I presently run 
without flash in the browser (but with those flash ads and flash cookie 
tracking, is that such a bad thing?), but OTOH, icecat (generic firefox) 
has extensions such as DownloadHelper that will grab the youtube videos, 
often giving me quite a choice of formats, and then I have the videos 
locally and can play them full-screen in my media-player of choice 
(smplayer, FWIW).  So it's more trouble to browse them initially, since I 
have to download them to view, but once downloaded, I have them available 
to keep if desired, and play again and again, either windowed for full 
screen, again as desired, even if the RIAA or someone else decides to 
play the DMCA card and youtube takes them down.

Proprietaryware makes that sort of thing much more difficult for the 
user, /especially/ users that don't code, and thus can't enjoy the most 
direct benefit of FLOSS, the open code itself.

So there is /indeed/ benefits to FLOSS for the ordinary user, and users 
who choose to run nonfree programs are indeed submitting themselves to 
the mastership of that software's lord and master, in a way unlike that 
of running FLOSS, even if they can't write a single line of code, 

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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