Linux Users Still Left Out, Why Source Code Matters to End Users

Here we go with another round of Linux Today reader comments. Let’s start off with an issue that has been on my mind: Vendors who boast of the their Linux-based devices, but they only support Windows and Mac clients. It’s a step in the right direction, but would supporting Linux clients be so difficult? LT readers weigh in with examples:

“[Rodney] [Built on Linux, but….]

The device might be built using Linux, but can I update it and its maps from my computer running Linux? You cannot do that with their other devices.


“[ghomem] [Tom tom is one of them]

Don’t be afraid to mention names. Tom tom uses Linux inside the product but it can’t be used from Linux desktops. How lame is that?”

[Joe User] [ASUS]

I own an ASUS motherboard. They offer a version of Linux in the bootloader the call Splashtop. It allows you to get to the internet in 5 seconds from power up. Thats the good news. There is no mention of Linux anywhere. Thats the start of the bad news. There are upgrades of Splashtop available. Thats the good news. You can’t run Linux and upgrade. Thats the bad news. There is a USB gadget that allows you to safely overclock on the fly without rebooting or bios changes. Thats the good news. There is no functionality to do this in Linux. Thats the bad news. ASUS made mountains of money off of Linux by putting it on notebooks. Thats the good news. ASUS dropped Linux and berates it, as often as they can, and offers no support now. Thats the bad news.


“[Khan Md Ashraf] [Motorola]

I have a ‘Linux’ based Motorola phone. The A810. It comes with a Windows only software for sync. Motorola also is not making it easy to make it compatible with GNU/Linux”


There were some good comments on why source code availability matters to end users, like this one:

[Onan the Barbarian] [Re: The last paragraph]

> Even if a person never looks at the source code and may not know any programming at all, that person is covered mainly because others have the ability to look at the code and ensure it is quality.

“Exactly. Once I listened to RMS giving a talk and he explained this with a nice analogy: software freedom is like freedom of press. Saying “I’m not concerned with software freedom because I’m not a programmer” is just as silly as saying “I’m not concerned with freedom of press because I’m not a journalist”. Freedom of press is actually meant for the benefit of all who read the press, not just those who write it — that is, it really means freedom for the people to get informed. In the same way, software freedom benefits all users of software, not just programmers — that is, it really means freedom for the people to use their computer as they see fit, and not letting anyone dictate what you can or cannot do with your computer (DRM anyone?).”

Thank you as always to everyone who contributes thoughtful, interesting comments!

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