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9 Characteristics of Free Software Users

Jan 11, 2008, 01:00 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

"Operating systems come with cultures as much as codebases. I was forcibly reminded of this fact over the holidays when several family members and neighbors press-ganged me into troubleshooting their Windows computers. Although none of us had any formal computer training, and I know almost nothing about Windows, I was able to solve problems that baffled the others--not because of any technical brilliance, but because the free software culture in which I spend my days made me better able to cope.

"The origins of these cultures are more or less obvious. Windows and other proprietary software are the products of a commercial software market. In this culture, information flows mainly in one direction--from the manufacturer--and companies' obsession with so-called intellectual property and vendor lock-in encourages them to force users into the role of unquestioning consumers..."

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