You might say “Zorin OS is like Windows” or “Vim improves workflow once you learn it”

That’s not good enough.

If it isn’t clean enough, simple enough, and reliable enough for someone to sit down like at a Win10 machine, iPhone or any other device and fulfill their use cases in a minimum of clicks and decision points, it isn’t good enough.

If FOSS wants to take over the world they have to be noticeably better than those that already have. Ideology isn’t a good enough pitch: Superiority is.

@wholesomedonut define 'better'...

Is it 'better' because it is prevalent? The windows environment got where it is by making sure that nothing else got a look in on the supply chain... Does that make it better?

Apple and others have also tried using the US patent system to prevent others from using their 'better'.

Part of the 'better' for me is not putting up barriers to use... Simple things like having decent user documentation helps a lot! 'Read the code' responses do not...

@wholesomedonut the software that finally allowed me to untether from Windows was the Godot Engine. The Godot Engine is an extremely low resource, portable game engine that runs out of the box on basically everything and can build out of the box to most major platforms. Especially once it hit the 3.0 revision (and I think we will see another surge as 4.0 is finished), the documentation finally got to a critical mass so that more users could learn the basic concepts on their own.

If FOSS wants to actually capture the hearts and minds of the general public, then we need software that makes every aspect of computing as pleasant, easy, and powerful as Godot. And to be frank, even Windows support isn't enough at this point. The vast majority of people on this planet now use Android and iOS, and I think it's one area where we could liberate a lot of average users with currently poor software options.

@wholesomedonut a bit of speculation the other day: What if we had an OS engine that made EVERY aspect of computing like that?

@wholesomedonut well, not quite. Software is a tool, and like any other tool, yoi have to learn how to use it. There are tools which are easy to use, but they are limited in what you can achieve.
There is a reason why windows has a powershell. Not the most intuitive tool either. Vim has its use cases. Sure, VS Code is simplier. But I argue, vim is more powerful.

@x2ero I agree. My brother wanted to try to write HTML. I don't recommend Vim, but VS Code. And when my father wanted to try out that Linux stuff, I of course didn't convince him to use Arch, but something like Ubuntu or Manjaro. I myself use Arch and vim, but not because they're intuitive or easy. These tools and all other obscure technology has it's place for it's niche, not necessarily the newcomers.

For me, FOSS is useful because you can hack the software.


@x2ero “tools that are easy to use but limited in what you can achieve” I do agree with this. My thought process is that a balancing point between ease of use and productivity needs to be more of a focus in design going forward.

I think it's all about subjective point of views, clean enough and simple enough don't exists simply objectivly.
For example my parents found using linux UIs much easier than windows/iphone/.
Simply, no UX will ever be universally good enough

Adoption, again depends on how you view it. Linux is the main OS on laptops, phones, servers, IoT, rockets, ISS,etc. Not to mention how many web services are built on libre backends.

To me, FLOSS has already "won".

@wuwei and you are right from a servers, embedded systems and architecture perspective. The world runs in Unix / Linux systems. Not Windows or Win Server.

I argue Android and Chromebooks (Linux laptops) as being FLOSS because they aren’t. At least, not out of the gate from the OEM. It’s very opinionated and commercialized. And its hard to fully unlock the potential of the Linux systems underneath l, as opposed to a Pinephone that was built for the purpose of being a Linux phone, not Linux-based

Android is certainly open-source.
Okay ChromeOS isn't but it's just a slightly modified version of the open-source ChromiumOS.

So yes, open-source part of FLOSS is winning, it's just that the libre software part (and with it stuff like easy rooting) isn't.

tech, FLOSS discourse 

@wholesomedonut I see takes like these all the time and I don't understand them.
You put an average windows user in front of a computer with Mint or Kubuntu or Manjaro installed on it and they'll find their way around sooner or later. Obviously it's not the same thing. But switching from Windows to OS X or vice versa is not an easy task either. But I don't get how Win10 can be touted as simple and reliable when many people, including myself, switched away from it because it kept breaking and they weren't able to tell what was going on on it anymore.

tech, FLOSS discourse 

@schratze these takes might make more sense in a different job sector. The US govt and the majority of its departments are very Win10-centric.

some of the biggest employers in the US are, generally, the federal or state governments or the military. All of which are Win10-centric. I can’t think of a single time that I’ve worked with/for a dept thats used Linux at the office as their actual desktop OS.

It might not be GOOD but it’s what people KNOW. And change is hard to do.

@wholesomedonut well Vim is definitely superior to any alternative. So I don't really understand what are you talking about. Free software is superior in almost every field out there.

If someone is familiar with something, then that will be easy for them. It doesn't matter it's Windows or GNU+Linux. GNU+Linux isn't more difficult, it's just different. It isn't the same thing.

Someone who has only used GNU+Linux would have a really hard time using Windows.


I for one don't care if FOSS takes over the world, I just want more privacy; security; and user control. For those things FOSS meets my needs plenty well. If Windows and Mac users don't care about those three things I won't lose sleep over it.

@PublicNuisance that’s a fair statement and I agree with you. I try to use FOSS when I can and I’m not going to lose sleep over somebody else making their own adult choices.

Maybe I’m just crazy. But I seem to see a rhetoric pop up every now and again that growth in FOSS is necessary and leaving behind Big Tech is the only way to do it.

Which grinds my gears a wee bit because the current state of things is -not- how I’d imagine we could actually successfully do that. Lol.

Hence the rant..


Oh there's plenty of delusion out there for sure. On the gaming side many thought we'd hit this avalanche of Linux gaming but 8 years later still sub 1% of the market. People have a hard time being realistic and honest with FOSS, maybe passion gets in the way.

@wholesomedonut But that is forced upon generations of users from the same company. They arn't the sole keyholders to what is easy and good design. Honestly Windows10 is more confusing in some ways than Ubuntu or elementaryos. We should not compare Linux to Windows and copy their designs just to be "good". We need to actually build what the majority thinks and experiences as good. Linux can set the standards, if only the DE devs would decide to with the help of all the community. Let us build the next good, not copy the current majority.

The whole concept of "FOSS wanting to take over the world" makes absolutely no sense.
FOSS isn't an organisation or person, FOSS is simply an attribute. It's like saying "blue cars want to take over the world".

@wholesomedonut "Vim improves workflow once you learn it" should of course be understood in the same context that learning how to operate an industrial grade CNC router drastically improves the workflow (and output) over a handheld router.

No one should read that sentence and think they can sit their Uncle Jessie down and have him write his (surely Oscar-worthy) screenplay in Vim. Vim is an industrial grade programmer's editor. If you don't need that, don't use it.

@splatt9990 @wholesomedonut it's beautiful how I agree with the OP and this response at the same time.

What I mean is, I'm pretty sure there's a simpler vim-like possible that gets you onboarded with the industrial grade productivity with less friction.

It may also already exist, but that's too late for me.

@splatt9990 @wholesomedonut no one steps up to a industrial grade CNC and turns out perfect results at top speed on the first try either... it takes practice... lots of practice. vi(m) is exactly the same, you can greatly increase productivity, after LOTS of practice.

@utahcon @wholesomedonut which is a good deal if you're working for (or starting) a furniture business. Its probably not worth it though for one person making a birdhouse for fun though (this metaphor is really getting stretched isn't it?)

The point I'm trying to elucidate is that for casual use cases, maybe vim isn't a good recommendation.

@wholesomedonut Superiority but with keeping core concepts of freedom, privacy, and security. If you will compromise users’ freedom then keep using Windows or macOS as the result will be the same. Ideology was behind the whole concept of free/libre software and movement.

@Coneng which is totally reasonable to suggest: if you get rid of all the user agency, open-ness and privacy stuff then ultimately you're just using a different fruit to make the same salad, per se.

Which is why I'm harping on improved UI/UX, and generally just being better than what's out there. If sustainable community growth is the desired outcome, then I believe ideology isn't enough. It's gotta be better overall, if people don't deeply care about the societal issues FOSS addresses.

Tools are just tools.
Some people think tiling window managers are superior, while some others will never used to them.
I love FOSS because people made various useful tools. I can choose the tool that fit my need, or make a brand new tool that might be useful for others.
Proprietary software never provide the same freedom. When Microsoft or Apple force you to "upgrade" your tool, you basically have no choice but have to accept it.
They removed the feature that you need? Sorry.

@wholesomedonut I see people accepting regular, absurd Windows10 failures and jumping through unnecessary hoops on Windows *all the time*, because they believe it's NORMAL.

Superiority is bought through market dominance, familiarity and lock-in.

If it was actual technical and practicality superiority, Windows would have been ditched years ago.

This doesn't mean FOSS shouldn't also improve: some GUIs suck, for example.

Installing and using a printer though? Way easier on linux than on Win.

@wholesomedonut a common retort on the printer thing?

"Well try to use a non well supported one on Linux, it's a nightmare!"

Which... besides being pretty rare these days, where's the blame there? Try using an unsupported hardware on windows.

But they're all supported! One would object.

And why? Because *vendors make the effort*. Not Microsoft.

(If anything, MS tends to break stuff from time to time)

Market dominance, familiarity, lock-in.

@renatoram You summed it up really well.

Bear in mind I’m not advocating Win10 is objectively better. It’s terrible and using it in enterprise networks is probably closer to a crime than it should be.

But it IS the supported system for lots of things. Unfortunately.

So somewhere between supporting Linux and other things better at a vendor and manufacturer level, and getting (to laymen) feature parity with the “system that works already” (Windows… which usually doesn’t work 😉) is success.

we're not trying to be like those other systems or compete at all, they simply exist. I personally don't find anything good about win/ios to compare it to either. I find gnome shell gives me a much better organization and distraction-free work environment, not to mention it doesn't go out of its way to prevent me from customizing or discovering settings. A win10 or ios device takes choice away and forces you to do only what it allows you to. with foss, u change what u dont like.

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