but i would like to ask for some accuracy. with all due respect to the author, Chris J. Karr, it's pretty lame to soapbox your opinion on the matter by mischaracterizing the entire conversation. in other words, if you can't be accurate in your dealing with the topic, please don't bother.
ideological?now, i'm not sure how many times i stated that my position is purely pragmatic and has nothing to do with ideology. i do know that it wasn't enough times, however, as Chris managed to go on and on about how the only people who don't want Free software on non-Free platforms are the ideologically obssessed. the pragmatists, he claims, don't care. and yet, my position isn't ideological.
what my position is is long-viewed. it is certain that you can get a larger user base by supporting more platforms. but i've gone further and asked, "what happens 5 years down the road?" but before answering that, we need to realize that not all non-free platforms are equal.
friendshipwhat i care about more than "non-Free" is "friendly". Solaris, for instance, is friendly to Free software. i don't agree with everything Sun does or has done, but it's hard to argue that the company behind Solaris or the product Solaris itself is Free software hostile. heck, they are finally opening up Solaris itself! Apple is less Free software friendly, but not to the point of antagonism or posing any sort of threat to Free software on their platform. more like they just don't grok the culture completely, but nothing a few more years of hit and miss can't solve.
Microsoft tends to be quite unfriendly, however. and in the future, they are likely to be even less friendly as they lose more of their market share to Free and Free-friendly platforms. unlike Sun or Apple, it is not within Microsoft's business plan to see Free software grow unfettered. their business plan and our efforts are generally at odds with one another. needlessly so, but so it is.
so posing it as a "Free vs non-Free" discussion is to completely miss the point of my original conjecture. because i never spoke about non-Free platforms as a generality. i spoke of Microsoft Windows specifically. this is because i don't care about non-Free, i care about long-term sustainability. this is because i'm pragmatic.
it really disappoints and frustrates me to see people like Chris derail the discussion by focussing on an aspect that isn't relevant nor even part of the original discussion. you do us all a diservice by doing so, Chris.
telling people what to doChris also implies that i was trying to tell others what to do. i clarified that this was not my intention at all. i was attempting to encourage people to think about the consequences of their actions by creating a discussion. what anyone does is utimately up to them.
to try to imply that by offering a dissenting opinion is to tell people what to do is a rather slimy way of trying to discredit people who dissent. democratic discourse means sometimes disagreeing with each other, and you can do that without trying to tell each other what to do. again, i'm left saddened by Chris' position here as he shows a disturbing thought pattern: toe the party line or you're fighting against us. life is not so black and white, my friend. and my intentions are not so myopic or counterproductive as to try and dictate behaviour to others.
the benefitsChris did list a number of benefits to working on non-Free systems, and he is correct on several points: there are larger user bases to be had on non-Free platforms (Windows specifically), proprietary (non-portable, often) capabilities exist on the platforms, etc. there are also many disadvantages, and i'm highly suspicious of taking advantage of propreitary features which often lead to lock-in.
i'd sooner see us improve our Free systems capabilities than shrug off our limitations. this is a bold position to take, no doubt about it. but nearly every time i've ever had a capability offered to me, as a programmer, on Free terms i've had a better time of it. my experience may be different than yours, granted.
but again, this was not the point of my original conjecture, which was: the benefits that exist are short term benefits and that we ought to be aware of that. Microsoft Windows (again, not all non-Free platforms) represents a unique challenge that we need to be prepared for. we are making the migration off of that incredibly hostile company's platform harder to sell as a business proposition, not easier, by adding our commodity applications to it.