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Re: [ossig] Expensive Open Source PC?



Folks,

Imran Smith wrote:-

> > And if the open source movement calls for the authorities to crack down
on
> > pirated software, it will not go down well with consumers and I expect
it will
> > backfire on us.
> >
> > Charles
>
> That was Taiwan's experience.  First they did a major software
> anti-piracy campaign, with end-user arrests etc, then the
> (especially student) population started asking the Government
> "why are you arresting your citizens to support the interests
> of a foreign monopoly".

Sounds like what our Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry is
doing -- IE. paying more attenting to foreign vendors affairs that is.

> To try to fix the problem long term,
> Taiwan Govt began to move towards open source.

Last night, a local systems integrator company told me that they do a lot of
projects for the government with open source software and that the
government is committeed to moving over to OSS and MAMPU will be coming out
with a statement on it soon. Anyone know anything about this and its
significance?

> So maybe a end user software piracy clampdown isn't too bad,
> if it alerts the Govt and end users that there is a solution
> that keeps everyone (except proprietary vendors) happy...

Well, I'm not totally against proprietary software and multimedia
content vendors, especially not the small local guys struggling to get a bit
of the IT sunshine, and while piracy is unpleasant for the big proprietary
vendors, it's lethal for the small guys, so an end user piracy clampdown
isn't that bad, especially if it shifts small companies and consumers to use
open source.

I reckon that another problem hindering consumer usage of open source
software is resistance to change.
For instance, some non-profit organisations don't want to use StarOffice 6.0
or OpenOffice 6.0 simply because its members bring their documents in
Microsoft Word format and moreover they are used to using Microsoft Word, so
it's a force of habit which also militates against adoption of open source
or other proprietary applications for that matter.

I used WordStar back in the old DOS days and somewhat managed to master its
rather arcane Ctrl this, that and the other commands and was able to be
rather productive.

It took me a wole weekend to pick up the commands of other perfectly good
word processors like IBM DisplayWrite, Microsoft Word (DOS version),
MultiMate, PFS and WordPerfect and I also found that it took me much longer
to write a letter with these word processors than I could with WordStar and
hence my productivity suffered while I forced myself to go through a new
learning curve and this is not what most clerks, secretaries, business
executives and managers can afford to do where their productivity is
concerned, so just as I eventually did, they also fall back on to what they
are familiar with.

It's easier to adapt to different GUI-based word processors, browsers and
other applications, especially when they can read multiple documents formats
but there still is the problem of giving up the familiar to go through a
learning curve and the attitude of most would most probably be, "if it ain't
broke, why fix it" which from the end users' point of view is quite a valid
response.

However today, I'v still got to learn how to do a mailmerge with Lotus
WordPro, Microsoft Word, OpenOffice or any other GUI-based operating system
when I was teaching people how to do it with dBase III and WordStar running
on DOS.

That's why I believe that besides the ability to read popular document and
file formats, it's important that there be specifications for a standard
user interface in terms of layout, look, feel, etc for open-source operating
systems and applications which developers could adhere to so that end-users
won't have to go through a learning curve when they switch between GUIs and
applications.

It's just like a car. We can more or less get into any car these days and
get used to handling it pretty quickly and that's because most cars use the
same gear shift positions with their floorboard manual gear -- ie. left up
for first, left down for second, middle up for third, middle down for fourth
with some variation in the positions of for fifth and reverse gears -- ie
either right up for fifth and right down for reverse or the other way
around.

Regards

Charles

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