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LinuxWorld.com: Why your organization needs Linux

Oct 29, 2001, 21:22 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe Barr)
"I talked about Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation, and the GPL. I explained how it was the one thing that makes a dominant free software operating system inevitable by guaranteeing that those shoulders will always be available. And how, when the world's next ubergeek kernel hacking genius begins her freshman year in high school, she will be able to start her operating system odyssey not from the meek and mild Minix terminal emulator from which Linux sprang in 1990, but rather from the fire-breathing multiprocessor monster that Linux is today.

With two minutes left, Steve asked from the audience if I thought Windows XP was a good reason to migrate to Linux. A perfect cue for me to launch my final spiel about freedom. I was out of time, and had only covered two-thirds of what I had intended.

A few of us continued to talk afterwards. Steve told me how he had tried XP and decided there was no way he was going to upgrade. He said he didn't know how much longer it would be before Microsoft would "expire" support for the version of Windows he runs today. His unhappiness with Microsoft was palpable. Steve's feedback convinced me that Stallman has it right when he says we should use free software for the freedom it provides, not just because it's better, or because it's more cost effective. The conversation with Steve made me realize I'd ordered the bullet points in my talk backwards. Just as readers have taught me the what of Linux for the past three years, this audience member told me the right reason why.

A word of advice: If you're called upon to give a similar talk someday, start with freedom. It's all about freedom. Don't leave it out of your talk or give it short shrift the way I did."

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