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hpr1441 :: Jono Bacon and Stuart Langridge talk with pokey

Jono Bacon @jonobacon and Stuart Langridge @sil talk with pokey about how they think he got it wrong

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Hosted by pokey on 2014-02-10 is flagged as Explicit and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Open Source, GUI, CLI. 5.
The show is available on the Internet Archive at:

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Duration: 02:10:21


Jono Bacon and Stuart Langridge were not entirely pleased with the things pokey had to say about them in the Hacker Public Radio New Years Eve Show episode 1418. They graciously contacted HPR and asked for a chance to clear the air. In this episode pokey has a chat with them about their views on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and advocacy.


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Comment #1 posted on 2014-02-11 16:30:36 by David L. Willson



Thanks for pissing them off so much that this show happened. I loved it! It took me back to the golden days of LUG Radio. I miss that show.

Keep up the good fight.

A few things they missed:

On Bug #1: We did win.

On free software not mattering. Of course it matters. When Aq mentioned all the things you can switch to when the thing you use now pisses you off, he listed several Linuxes, one MacOS, and one Windows. The switch cost between versions of Linux is much lower than the switch cost from MacOS or Windows.

On not being an ass-hat. It is perfectly possible to win with free software, to love free software, to be it's passionate advocate, without caring that someone else loves proprietary software. Proprietary software isn't evil, it's ineffective for a particular set of desired outcomes.

On command-lines. Really, Aq? It's a bug if there's not a GUI to do everything the user wants to do? Interestingly the CLI way of doing most things is the same for several years, if not eternally, but the GUI changes with the wind. Linus gave the GNOME project hell over this very thing. Stop breaking user-space without a good reason, and I'll stop teaching people to solve their problems from the CLI whenever possible. CLI's are powerful, so are chain-saws. The fact that they're both scary just adds to their beauty.

Ok, enough, or someone will tell me to record it, rather than writing it.


Comment #2 posted on 2014-02-19 01:28:40 by pokey

Wow. Thank you.

David, I agree with everything you've said here (with the exception of proprietary software not being evil), and I'm flattered that you've taken the time to say them so well. I wish I could have made these points durring the recording.

I am SUPER HAPPY whenever someone likes a show that I've done. It makes my day when it actually resonates with a real person. I often feel like I'm not articulate enough when I need to be, so I feel like when someone likes one of my shows, that means it's a special person. Thank you for making my day.

Comment #3 posted on 2014-03-08 14:00:25 by sil


Yes. Yes, it's a bug if there's not a GUI way to do a thing that a user wants to do. I am of the opinion that the advantages of Ubuntu being wildly popular all around the world are advantages that I want to see -- much better hardware support, much better software support, no longer being a second-class citizen in many things -- and that most people are not interested in using the CLI, and teaching them to do so is the wrong approach.

As you say, it IS perfectly possible to win with free software, to love free software, to be its passionate advocate, without caring that someone else loves proprietary software. But not everyone does. And the people who castigate you make the environment so unpleasant that they're what drive you out. It seems that the "advocate open source" model has become, for some people, the "chastise those who are insufficiently dedicated to open source" model, and hearing that all the time is very, very tiring. It doesn't matter if there are a hundred nice people for every one nasty person, because you never get to hear from the nice people, just the nasty ones. And there is no culture of nice people calling out the nasty ones and stopping them doing it, because then the nice people look insufficiently dedicated and so become targets of zealot ire too.

Comment #4 posted on 2014-04-02 16:41:24 by pokey

Sil, I can not disagree with you more.

At the time of this writing, HPR has almost 1500 episodes. Almost all of them are dedicated advocating, Free/Open Source Software, GNU/Linux, Open Standards and/or Free Culture and ALMOST ALL of them (I cant think of any exceptions) are hosted by NICE people being NICE.

I'm familiar with the attitude that you're describing, but I think it's the exception these days. I'm somewhat of a late-comer to Linux/Free Software (2007ish), so maybe I'm not an acceptable measuring stick, but I don't even remember a time when that attitude was the rule.

Comment #5 posted on 2014-04-06 13:33:57 by Ken Fallon

Ubuntu != the only GUI

Hi Stu,

re: "..most people are not interested in using the CLI, and teaching them to do so is the wrong approach..."

It may be the wrong approach but there is no one single unified way to do things via the GUI. Fact.

Even within the Ubuntu family common tasks like copying files, adding printers, adding packages are all in different locations. Ubuntu GNOME - Ubuntu with the GNOME desktop environment Kubuntu - Ubuntu with the K Desktop environment Lubuntu - Ubuntu that uses LXDE Mythbuntu - Designed for creating a home theatre PC with MythTV Ubuntu Studio - Designed for multimedia editing and creation Xubuntu - Ubuntu with the XFCE desktop environment

Were Ubuntu/Canonical actually serious about this vision, then a lot more work would be paid to pushing common methods of doing things in the GUI to the Free Desktop or some other upstream project. Taking care of the translation and accessibility support as you go.

Right now when a friend asks how to do something and they need it done urgently, the only common way we have to *help* them is to do so in the command line.


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