[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [zzdev] :gbg: Flame: User-hostile ethic of the Linux community

This has been a pretty interesting discussion among gentlefolk - as
opposed to a flame war.  I like that.  I don't intend to change its

I don't think the Linux or GNU communities intentionally practice
exclusion through their insistence on certain file formats, nor do the
DOS/Windows or Mac user communities.  It's a matter of standard
practices, which come from the history of the software used by those
communities.  And the standards are incompatible.  This is something
incomprehensible to the average user...  the same average user who sends
me email attachments made by some piece of software I don't own and
can't emulate.

You could say that the PC users are excluding me by adhering to
[proprietary] standards not accessible to me, as a Mac and Unix user
(and a PC user as well - just not a user of Visio, PaintShop, Access,
QuarkXpress, Exchange, ... well, you get the picture).  They don't even
realize they're denying me access to information!  I doubt there is any
intention here either.

By and large, non-Unix users developed standard practices based on the
use of specific popular commercial software products, while Unix users
tended toward practices arising from free software and published
standards.  Attempts to establish a standard format for non-Unix
document exchange have been relatively unsuccessful, because the makers
of the most popular software packages never fully cooperated.  It is not
in Microsoft's interests to concentrate development expense on making
thier products compatible with their competitors', nor should it be.

I would ask you, if PostScript, TeX and Mozilla files are inappropriate
standards for information exchange, what are?  And are they accessible
to everyone at reasonable cost, on all platforms?


PS - my Mac runs MacOS, Linux and Windows - I use them all pretty much
equally, and have no particular bias (well, not really - MacOS is the
most effortless for most of my work).  I switch around mostly because I
get files that are not PostScript, text, PDF, HTML, RTF or TeX, and I'm
in no position to dictate a format to the submitters of articles to the
bulletin I edit for a non-profit organization.  Most of them don't even
understand it when I ask them to "Save As text".  I never even think of
them as "lusers".