Open Source

Badvista brings the wrong view

The winner of the "here we go again" award this week would undoubtedly have to go to the Free Software Foundation

It seems apt that in the middle of the carol season, someone gets up and starts preaching to the choir. The winner of the "here we go again" award this week would undoubtedly have to go to the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

The release of Vista was always going to produce some rhetoric from the foundation — this time it takes the form of a blog, badvista.fsf.org, that advocates that users install free software alternatives to Vista.

The look of the site is poor, the content is lacking and the news feed is monotonous. There is nothing on this site that would appeal to a casual browser; it appears the same as thousands of other poorly executed sites on the Web with a chip on their shoulder. Beyond the FSF logo on the left, there is nothing to distinguish this site from "Crazy Terry's Anti-Vista
Site!!11".

What is my beef with all of this? There is an important message underneath it all, that the DRM and functionality restrictions within Vista do cut down a user's freedom — but the execution is sorely lacking.

Few people will feel the need to visit this site if they are not already sold upon the message. Which means that the subtotal of converts to the free software cause will be minimal. Those that are viewing the site will already know the issues at hand and are likely to be active users of free software already.

While this may be an attempt at a grass roots campaign, in essence it is no different to the way people have been switched to using free software for years — someone you know shows you some free software and sets you on your
way.

This new initiative changes nothing and makes the community look as extreme as ever.

About Chris Duckett

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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