21 January 2010

Sometime Linux is the wrong forefront on OSS migration

I try to reflect this to my country where something is quite wrong (not working properly) with its OSS movement. Namely IGOS, a popular distro of indonesian Linux. The distro mainly target Internet Cafe by using its own somewhat "not user friendly" billing application that have been endorsed quite loudly by many activists. But where is migration?

Personally I never took IT/similar education in my life so my guess might be inaccurate. But I see this as the cause of self centered Linux userbase that flourished in IT institutions. They are thinking: just because they felt comfortable with Linux, so should the rest of people. The truth is: majority people didn't/not need to care about Linux's strength, thats particularly true for Indonesia where user just want their job get done. So what they need is kicking ass productivity software that works and reliable. I have tried many free OS as much as those IT guys (I think) and mostly what I do is comparing files inside etc folder across FreeBSD 4.8, some GnuLinux and QNX4 inside shell years ago. And I practically do nothing of creative work.

I see linux userbase mostly talk about browser, webstuff, mail, network, voip inside Gnu Linux OS. They rarely talk about real apps like GnuCash, Gnumeric, Blender and other potential apps (for me years ago its AutoCAD and 3ds MAX). They don't even do simple task like make translation for application that really matter. I rarely see usable id translation at application level anyway.

Why don't they lured Windows user with interesting cross-platform OSS? In fact this decade we start to see many OSS that quite suffice the user needs on general basis of "real work" while the commercial apps getting bloated and overkill. GTK, QT, Java and Python are quite popular among cross-platform GUI apps. That is once users jump in, chance is they will not relying on commercial apps as much. Why? it's cross platform! It will be the same operation regardless the OS is and job still get done almost instantly (no need to re-train, wasting time and so on)

Problem in Indonesia is the prevalent piracy, every software cost you as much as $2 (yummy!) in mall or 20cent from rental. But OSS (most licenses) is free yet legal for commercial usage, practically the biggest interest for most users here. Thus the options when user get caught is: pay the windows or pay the whole warez? (of course for notebook users, they will completely safe if using OSS). This way they might move to Linux less reluctantly because they have mastered their critical software, though I still trapped in SketchUp and DoubleCAD XT. heheh :D

Translation and better standardized translation is some of way to improve OSS appeal to the crowd (hell, they even lazy to read docs/help). In my country, OSS is even more important economically (I have seen many small venture went obscure after get caught and paid a lot amout of bribe). Silly things like converting video from one format to another, guess what they use? adobe premiere. Well said people!
Or in my case:
- drafting a house with $3500 AutoCAD (yes that's not LT)
- build 3d model in $500 SketchUp Pro (yes Pro. Just to able export as dwg to 3ds Max/AutoCAD)
- preparing very common texturing operation and add some billboards in another $3500 3ds Max (not Viz)
- render with $1000 V-Ray (just to get fancy with GI shadow)
Man.. amazing $8500 workflow (enough to buy a house in my country). For me sketchup is still has no equivalent OSS and QCad just not satisfying.

Just my rant as diehard windows user (also as ex. warez pirate and distributor)

Of course this exclude the more important freedom (source code usage) they will gain by adopting OSS.

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