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Overcoming Social Inertia

Nov 07, 2007, 23:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard Stallman)

"15 years have passed since the combination of GNU and Linux first made it possible to use a PC in freedom. During that time, we have come a long way. You can even buy a laptop with GNU/Linux preinstalled from more than one hardware vendor, although the systems they ship are not entirely free software. So what holds us back from total success?

"The main obstacle to the triumph of software freedom is social inertia. You have surely seen its many forms. Many commercial web sites are only accessible with Windows. The BBC's iPlayer handcuffware runs only on Windows. If you value short-term convenience instead of freedom, you might consider these reasons to use Windows. Most companies currently use Windows, so students who think short-term want to learn Windows, and ask schools to teach Windows, which they do, thus leading many other students to use Windows. Microsoft actively nurtures this inertia: it encourages schools to inculcate dependency on Windows, and contracts to set up web sites, which then turn out to work only with Internet Explorer..."

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