[sword-devel] Ethical trading and Microsoft .....

Barry Drake bdrake at crosswire.org
Wed Sep 7 10:19:05 MST 2011

On 07/09/11 16:22, Jonathan Morgan wrote:
> I'm almost at the point of thinking that Microsoft has lost that 
> battle already.  I see kids of three and four who haven't gone through 
> the education system, but are quite happy playing with iPhones, iPods, 
> and other similar non-Microsoft technology.  (in fact, they seem to 
> find it natural in a way that they don't find the PC - particularly in 
> things like drawing programs, drawing with the finger is picked up 
> like that while Paint with a mouse is slow and cumbersome and doesn't 
> get taken up).-
I agree - but the one that really annoys me, is the local junior schools 
teaching Microsoft Publisher as though it is some kind of standard.  It 
is not even a particularly good DTP.  I'd love to get schools generally 
to replace it with a FOSS application - Scribus perhaps?  My 
granddaughter (aged nearly 4) starts school next September.  Her mum is 
a dedicated Ubuntu supporter, and I'm certain a few things will be said 
at governor's meetings: my daughter is on the board of governors!!

I agree with what you say about the differences between what Windows 
likes and what open source can currently do.  What I find nasty are 
Microsoft's methods when they are clearly aimed at 'locking folk in'.  
In a sense, I don't totally blame them - I was in business for many a 
year, but I never lied about the competition, or gave away stuff to gain 
'lock in'.

Privacy - fine - but Richard has a point about the Windows ability to 
probe whatever it wants on your box without your prior knowledge.  I 
find that just a little obscene.

People don't 'like' Windows - it is what they know!  Inertia is a 
powerful force.  If they experienced a real alternative - and I believe 
Ubuntu (et al) at it's present level is just that - they would soon 
change loyalties.  They are 'locked in' when they have spent a great 
deal of time and money making products on Microsoft Publisher, or buying 
Logos stuff (now there's a non-Christian attitude for you - have you 
ever talked to them?) And what about the closed-standard 'AutoCad'?  
Windows only - really locked in.
> 5. Abusing standards: All right, I don't like this one.  But again, 
> they aren't the first and won't be the last.
I agree - and as a one-time CEO of a small firm, I don't blame them - 
but let's give the best a chance!  Bear in mind that the 'best' could be 
Windows - if there were ever a level playing field.

DRM - if not abused - is at the moment necessary.  I use an Amazon 
Kindle.  Some of the books I have on it are from Amazon and are 'locked' 
by Amazon to me personally.  I'm OK with that.  But Microsoft's DRM 
method is far more insidious than that - it is designed to lock you in 
to Microsoft (and Adobe).  Amazon don't do that!!!

Security wise, I really believe Microsoft's security is a little less 
watertight than the average sieve.  Yes the problems can be overcome - 
but where would be the commercial advantage in Microsoft actually doing 
> Also, given how many people's livelihoods depend on Microsoft Windows 
> to a greater or lesser extent, I would wonder if it is ethical to 
> prevent its usage.  There are many applications which are useful which 
> are Windows only (some may work on Wine, but not all do and even when 
> they do they don't always work to their full potential).  Do we 
> prevent their use because we are boycotting Microsoft?
I agree - which is why I propose gradualism.  First step - encouraging 
use of FOSS applications on Windows.  Especially when they replace 
restrictive stuff.  Second step - promote a FOSS operating system as 
being quite literally - better suited to what the user needs.
> For BPBible, while it is (with difficulty) able to be used on Linux, 
> it is best supported on Windows.  This is mostly for a few reasons:
I no longer develop.  If I did, I would want to develop cross-platform 
(as you do) because as you rightly say, in this part of the world, 
Windows is big.  If Sword fails to be totally cross-platform we have a 
BIG problem.  If I were still doing development, I would have a Windows 
box solely for development and would output Windows binaries.

I am not advocating a total boycott of Windows.  I am advocating raising 
awareness of the ethics (or lack of) that Microsoft seems to have.

God bless,        Barry

 From Barry Drake (The Revd) Health and Healing advisor to the East
Midlands Synod of the United Reformed Church.  See
http://www.urc5.org.uk/index for information about the synod, and
http://www.urc5.org.uk/?q=node/703 for the Synod Healing pages.

Replies - b.drake at ntlworld.com

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