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February 16th, 2017

Why I’m Not a Full-Throttle FOSS Advocate

“Software Freedom” shouldn’t mean “use free software or else.” It should mean you are free to use the software you choose.

Roblimo’s Hideaway

I have the Chrome web browser running full-screen on my Ubuntu desktop. Not Chromium, but proprietary Chrome — because it suits my needs better than open source Chromium. I also like Chrome better than Firefox, and I say this after using only Firefox for a week and trying hard to like it.

Some of this may be habit. We humans tend to prefer the familiar to the unfamiliar, and I’ll admit that I have gotten used to Chrome and its features.

This does not mean that I consider all or even most proprietary software better than open source or free software. Not even close! I am, for example, a long-time (and highly satisfied) Gimp user, and the few times I have tried to use Photoshop on friends’ computers I was totally confused.

For day-to-day text and HTML editing, Bluefish is my all-time favorite. And what I purely love when I’m doing work that has a lot of cut and paste in it, such as extensive quotes or (typical for me) a lot of links, is the combination of Bluefish and Linux-style (or Unix-style) “highlight/paste” without the bothersome intermediate Windows step of highlight/SELECT/paste.

I know there are a million “writers’ programs” out there. But most of the time, all I want is simple and fast, and a good selection of premade HTML tags I can click into my document.

Which, of course, leads me to LibreOffice, which I use when I need to read or edit something made in Microsoft Office. I’ve followed (and used) this ever-improving program since it was StarOffice. It was frustrating to use back then, but it’s smooth as Teflon now. And free software? TEN-FOUR, BAY-BEE!

Sound: I love Audacity, and use it regularly. Improvement in Audacity since I started using it has been amazing. It is now, in my opinion, far superior to most proprietary alternatives.

And now we come to the first question I ask before selecting a program: Will it do what I need to do without a lot of fuss and muss?

For video editing, my favorite program is proprietary, Windows-only Vegas. Every year or two I try the most popular FOSS video editors, and so far — in my opinion — they have only been good for very simple edits, roughly equivalent to Windows Movie Maker. I’ve been sick (and hospitalized twice) in the last couple of years, so I’m behind on a lot of things I should have already done, and checking the latest Linux and/or FOSS video editors is one of those things. Now I’m starting to gear up for a new round of video software reviews. Coming soon, possibly even starting next week…

…but back to the main topic. Only after I identify software that fills my needs do I start to shop for licenses. I went through a phase, years ago, where I would only do things with my computer that I could do with free software. That meant, if all interesting videos were Flash, I couldn’t watch videos. Games? I’ve never been an on-screen gamer, but I’ve watched with amusement as many ardent free software types would admit, forlornly, that they loved their (ultra-proprietary) game consoles or that they had a Windows partition — only for gaming, of course.

I’m not this kind of hypocrite. I’m a pragmatic computer user. I use free software wherever I can, and open source as my #2 preference. But the main thing is that the software I use must be able to do the job.

About video editing software: I use and like Vegas. I now use the “consumer” version because it’s better than the Pro version was half a dozen years ago. A Mac (Book Pro) recently fell into my hands so I’m messing with Final Cut because it’s “the” industry standard until you hit the big-time and use Avid. But same as always, I would like to use non-proprietary video editing software on a non-proprietary operating system, so I’m getting ready for another round of reviews. And so, my question for you: What FOSS video editing software should I try?

free software bluefish

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Robin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin "Roblimo" Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. He also publishes the blog Robin ‘Roblimo’ Miller’s Personal Site. @robinAKAroblimo

39 comments to Why I’m Not a Full-Throttle FOSS Advocate

  • Mike

    > “I’m not this kind of hypocrite. I’m a pragmatic computer user.”

    How are they any more of a hypocrite than you?

    Just because they wish to use only FOSS, but are stymied by missing apps and/or games doesn’t make them a hypocrite any more than your lack of concern makes you one even as you enjoy the benefits of FOSS.

    Sure it is cool to not care about important things and we get it: You will take whatever works better regardless of FOSS principles, but you are flat out wrong to think people who choose software by license FIRST are somehow lesser than you.

    In fact, it’s the unconcerned “pragmatic” folks who make life difficult for those who do care about FOSS principles. Often people who care about FOSS (for everyone’s benefit) are labelled religious zealots by those same people who, in their quest for the next shiny thing, lend power to proprietary software and services by the sheer weight of their numbers.

    I’ve said this before…FOSS is to health food as proprietary software is to fast-food. FOSS may (sometimes) be less visually appealing and less convenient, but there is zero doubt it is better for everyone.

    Certainly you have the right to use proprietary software just like you have the right to eat fast-food. But until people start to consider the ramifications of their decisions they will continue to be fat, unhealthy, manipulated, and spied upon.

    Proprietary software is only good if you have no concern for freedom, privacy, or security. It will always converge on DRM and DRM always converges on malware.

  • Mike

    > “Software Freedom” shouldn’t mean “use free software or else.” It should mean you are free to use the software you choose.

    Advocating free software isn’t about dictating what software to use, it is about REALIZING that free software respects your freedom and privacy and spreading that knowledge which remains almost completely unknown outside a relatively small group of concerned people. (Yes all FOSS users are dwarfed by the number of people who’ve never even heard of it).

    You are certainly free to throw that all away and use proprietary software, but at least have the respect to realize that your decision makes it harder for those who want to preserve those rights for everyone, instead of acting like those people are somehow beneath you because they aren’t cool enough to toss their freedom aside so carelessly.

  • Mike S.

    The point you’re trying to make, Robin, is a central argument between the free software movement and the open source movement. The former are focused on free software because they care about *freedom*. The latter are focused on practicality.

    An open source user will pick the best tool for the job, and hopes that tool has an open source license. A free software user prizes freedom from privacy invasion, freedom to reuse, freedom to modify, freedom to redistribute, freedom from digital rights management and picks based on that.

    And I will admit, I’m a hypocrite. I use proprietary programs when it suits me. But I don’t think the Free Software Foundation and its more dedicated supporters are wrong. I *know* they are right, and I’m part of the problem, not them.

  • tracyanne

    Each to their own, clearly you have no problems with being “the product”, using no cost proprietary software like Chrome, and having a Google Plus and Facebook account, and that’s perfectly fine… if it’s your choice. That’s what it’s all about.

    I use Free Software exclusively, because I have no need for Proprietary Software. There’s nothing I do that I haven’t found a decent FOSS tool for.

  • Duncan

    I don’t use /exclusively/ free software either, but pretty close, with a few firmware blobs being the exception. There are two primary practical reasons I won’t so much as touch even such things as flash, or nVidia kernel drivers, let alone less so-called necessary “servantware”, but they both spring from the same root concept.

    Concept: I take my right to study and modify what runs on my machines seriously, and to share those modifications if they’re beneficial to me and to others.

    Practical reason #1: Those who would abridge that right, to put it as nicely as possible, have a very different set of ethics and concept of basic human rights than I do.

    As a result, I have a very powerful reason not to trust their code on my computer, because by making their software servantware and not giving me a chance to examine and modify it if I’m going to run it on my machines, and to share those modifications with others, they’re demonstrating a disregard for my rights, and if they won’t respect them there, how can I trust that their software doesn’t include spyware or other ethically challenged functionality? Bottom line, I can’t, and they make it as difficult as possible to ensure than I can’t, by not allowing me to examine, modify, and share what I find along with my modifications. And even if they haven’t /yet/ embedded such malware in their software, they’ve already demonstrated that their ethical barriers to doing so are pretty low, as they simply don’t respect the rights of would-be users of their software to examine, modify and share what they’d be running on their machines.

    So servantware has a pretty steep basic trust liability to overcome, as compared to freedomware, and in practice, that results in the servantware having to be not just a little, but a **LOT** better than the freedomware, in ordered to even be considered at all for running on my machines. In practice, that very very seldom happens as that trust deficit is simply too large to overcome.

    Practical reason #2: Liability waivers.

    Fact: Nearly all software, including most freedomware, comes with a liability waiver. The would-be runner of the software agrees to hold the author harmless should the software do something harmful to the hardware or other software on the machine, or to the data run thru the software, that would otherwise be reason to sue for damages.

    Now I have no problem with these agreements, *PROVIDED* they allow me (or someone that I trust with the decision if I can’t read the code myself, generally, that’s the free software community, distros and distro maintainers, etc) to actually examine the code to see what it does, without a corresponding restriction on sharing what I find by such examination, or on modifying the software and sharing my mods based on what I found.

    Since servantware by definition is attempting to prevent that examination, modification and sharing, I can’t see what the software code is designed to do, and as a result, I cannot and do not agree to to waive the author’s responsibility for what that code might do.

    Which in practice, means my legal rights to run that code in many jurisdictions, including to the best of my knowledge the United States in which I live, are questionable at best.

    Of course that has the nice effect of making the decision not to run servantware very easy in general, since in jurisdictions where authors or companies they’ve sold the rights to, have the right of control due to copyright or the like, they have forbidden me to run the software due to not agreeing with the legal conditions set that allow me to run it. =:^)

    So in the vast majority of cases, I couldn’t legally run servantware even if I’d otherwise want to. Nice and easy decision, then!

    Meanwhile, as I said, freedomware generally includes similar liability waiver provisions, but there’s a critical difference, freedomware actually allows me (or one who I may choose, in practice the distro, distro maintainers, etc) to do that examination, so I have no problem with agreeing to the liability waivers, etc. there. =:^)

    Again, nice and easy decision. =:^)

    Of course, there *is* software that does *not* come with associated liability waivers, etc. It tends to cost a *LOT* of money to get the functionality and security audits necessary to satisfy the liability insurers, etc, and to actually pay that liability insurance as well, so this sort of software tends to be priced well out of the general market, but it is available, and tends to be run on machines in airliners, nuclear and other power plants, etc.

    Meanwhile, IMO, the law should nullify liability waiver agreements where the sources are /not/ available to be examined, because without that availability the demand is inherently unfair. That wouldn’t outlaw servantware and I don’t believe it should be outlawed, but it would have the practical effect of basically pricing it out of the market for ordinary use, because the audit and liability costs of servantware would then be borne by those choosing to hide their code, and that’s as I believe it should be. =:^)

    Unfortunately, that’s unlikely in my lifetime, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream, and work for it to eventually happen, even if it’s after I personally am dead, because IMO it /would/ make for a better society. =:^)

    Of course I understand that others may not place the same priority on software freedom that I do, but I /do/ wonder how people can continue just waiving liability as they do, without actually knowing what the software does they’re agreeing to shoulder the liability for, and I /do/ wonder how people can so blithely sign away their rights as they do. OTOH, all you have to do is look at facebook and google to see that people do, especially if it means getting something “free” in place of those rights they just signed away to someone else.

  • Mike

    @Duncan

    > “the audit and liability costs of servantware would then be borne by those choosing to hide their code, and that’s as I believe it should be”

    Nicely put, and I completely agree.

  • Robin "Roblimo" Miller

    Whoa! If you want to use nothing but Free Software, fine. I love you for it. Just don’t tell me what a huge Free Software advocate you are, then talk about the latest proprietary game you play on your proprietary game console or proprietary operating system.

    I admit to being imperfect. FWIW, I also donate to free and open source projects whose software I use, and encourage others to do so as well. I’ve been a little slow about a lot of things in the past two years. Being sick and almost dying a couple of times takes it out of you.

    Since my most irritating (to me) proprietary software use is for video editing, I will now go on the hunt (again) for decent free/libre video software that runs on a free/libre operating system.

  • eMBee

    what specific features in chrome do you use, that chromium doesn’t have?

    i am curious. i never used chrome, only chromium, figuring that they should be identical for the most part. and whatever additional features chrome has, can only be stuff that i would not want anyways.

    greetings, eMBee.

  • Mike

    @Robin “Roblimo” Miller

    > “Just don’t tell me what a huge Free Software advocate you are, then talk about the latest proprietary game you play on your proprietary game console or proprietary operating system.”

    Why the h3ll not?!

    That’s some double standard you’ve got there: From what you’ve said, it’s not OK to use proprietary software if you care about FOSS principles, but just fine if you are ‘pragmatic’ and don’t give a damn about anything other than your own needs. Wow!

    It is INCREDIBLY difficult to be 100% FOSS only…and impossible using the latest modern hardware thanks to obstructionist behavior by companies like Intel. It requires discipline and sometimes even sacrifice of the latest whiz-bang shiny crap to even get close.

    Someone perhaps showing a bit of weakness and playing a proprietary game hardly means their espousing the freedoms of FOSS means any less or that they are a hypocrite…they are just trying to get by in a world that largely doesn’t give a damn about their concerns and makes their lives difficult through the world’s sheer ignorance and indifference.

    Certainly those FOSS advocates are more respectable than those who would play that same game while not giving a damn about FOSS in general. At least the FOSS advocate cares about more than his own petty needs. The ‘pragmatists’ are not better, they are the hypocrites (unless they are complete sociopaths). At least the general public has the excuse of not understanding what the hell FOSS, Free Software, or Open Source even mean.

  • tracyanne

    >>>Whoa! If you want to use nothing but Free Software, fine. I love you for it. Just don’t tell me what a huge Free Software advocate you are, then talk about the latest proprietary game you play on your proprietary game console or proprietary operating system. <<<<

    Whew!, then I'm not that type of hypocrite, and I'm not your type of hypocrite either.

  • Hey Robin,

    I’ll skip all the part about how you’re a bad person for not being a 100% dyed in the wool etcetera etcetera and answer your closing question. For my video editing, I use, and mostly love, Kdenlive. I’m not a blender make-some-video-magic guy. I’m somebody who wants to be able to use a reasonable number of video editing tricks like cut, paste, fades, audio adjusts, text, and just a tiny bit of magic here and there. Over the years, I have tried many other packages, but I keep coming back to this one because it’s relatively easy to work with, comes with a whack of useful effects, and it just keeps getting better with every release. So, you no good son of a I-use-what-works window dressing hamster, the answer is Kdenlive.

  • Mike

    @Marcel Gagne

    > “I’ll skip all the part about how you’re a bad person for not being a 100% dyed in the wool etcetera etcetera”

    You seemed to have missed the point…failing to use 100% FOSS doesn’t make you a bad person. I’ve never met a FOSS advocate who said otherwise, although I’ve met lots of people that claim FOSS advocates say such things. Partly I think it is people taking FOSS advocate criticisms of closed software as a personal affront to their choices, and partly I think it is projected guilt over those same choices. It’s easy to wash your hands and claim you don’t care, when caring is difficult.

    …but claiming that someone who espouses FOSS while sometimes using non-FOSS is somehow a hypocrite, does make you a bad person. Using all FOSS is very difficult in today’s society and using proprietary software (sometimes even being forced to) doesn’t invalidate concerns about it, or make someone a hypocrite.

    Robin even started his article with a quote which presents a viewpoint which he then completely undermines: “Software Freedom” shouldn’t mean “use free software or else.” It should mean you are free to use the software you choose.

    That freedom must also extend to those who put LICENSING as a primary factor in determining what software to use, and not only be limited to those who are ‘pragmatic’ and don’t care.

    As a FOSS advocate, I always make an informed decision when I use anything non-FOSS. I am keenly aware of what I am giving up by doing so and also take into consideration the additional pressure my actions may put upon potential FOSS solutions by possibly popularizing a non-FOSS product, API, or service.

    What we DON’T need is people who treat that consideration as zealotry merely because they are ‘pragmatic’, i.e. they don’t care. Ignorance is an excuse…not caring isn’t.

  • >“Software Freedom” shouldn’t mean “use free software or else.”

    That was a teaser that’s added by whomever edits an article and is not written by the author, so you can blame FOSS Force for that and not Robin.

    The problem here, as Leon Russell would say, is “we tried to talk it over but the words got in the way.”

  • Mike

    @Christine Hall

    I see. Still, the article almost directly contradicts that sentiment.

    That said, I don’t believe Robin is a bad guy, just misguided, as are a great many ‘software pragmatists’.

    My comments may sound harsh, but putting this unfair double standard on FOSS advocates is ridiculous and offensive and needs to stop.

    Those who would defend their software use with a pragmatism argument while simultaneously denouncing FOSS advocates as being hypocrites are themselves being hypocritical.

    If I demanded you only use FOSS then I WOULD be a hypocrite, as would practically anyone else, because it is almost impossible to use entirely FOSS. I’ve never met a FOSS advocate who berated other people for their software choices; but they do try to educate people on what the consequences of those choices are. Those consequences are very real, and one ignores them at their (and everyone else’s) peril. What FOSS advocates dislike is not the fact that someone would choose to use non-FOSS software, but that they don’t consider the consequences of that choice…at all.

    To abuse the food analogy again: Consider a situation where I believe in the virtues of health food, and try to encourage my friends and relatives to eat more of it and less unhealthy fast-food. Now my family wants to meet for lunch and have chosen McDonald’s even though I don’t like it. Does my going to lunch and perhaps even eating a Big Mac (horror!) make me a hypocrite, or someone who is just trying to stay connected in a world that largely doesn’t care about my concerns? Does my eating there invalidate everything I know to be true about eating healthy? Should I just be ‘pragmatic’ and not consider what food I eat and just accept whatever is most convenient and tastes best?

  • Personally, I think you’re being thin skinned and giving too much weight to a presumed slight which wasn’t intended. The article wasn’t about free software purists, but about how one can still be an advocate for free software while still using none free software. That’s the meat of this article, not some throwaway lines about zealots, which you are proving by focusing on that and that alone. And you made your point about four or five comments ago, IMO.

  • Mike S.

    In defense of the other Mike, I think the accusations that FOSS advocates are bitter zealots are common. Hear that often enough, and it gets under your skin no matter how thick it is.

    I’m actually more familiar with the speeches and writings of Bradley Kuhn, the former head of the Software Freedom Conservancy. He’s a fanatic for the issues related to free software. But he’s incredibly kind, considerate, and respectful to people that disagree in whole or in part and also to people who are ignorant of the issues involved.

    Maybe Richard Stallman is less careful about the distinction between attacking proprietary software versus attacking people that make and use them. I don’t know.

  • @Mike S Personally, I agree with almost everything Richard Stallman says — even if I do poke fun at his zealotry sometimes.

    What’s important, in my mind, isn’t that you completely adhere to using free software on your computer, but that when you make the choice to install non-free software that you fully understand what you are doing and the possible consequences of that decision.

    It’s completely possible to be a 100% FOSS advocate and still make the decision to use non-free software for certain purposes. I maintain that right is part of what software freedom is about.

  • @Mike, you seemed to have missed the point. I really just wanted to answer Robin’s question about what FOSS video editor he should look at and, since Robin is a friend and I’d already read several comments where he had to defend his free software creds or hand in his membership card, I thought I’d poke him a little more before making my recommendation. I’d hoped that my first line sounded tongue in cheek enough that it was obvious I was poking Robin. Nevertheless, thank you for your well thought out response. I would add that people like Robin have shown more times than I can count just how much they do care about free software and software freedom, having spent years doing their best to educate the public on a topic that most will forever too busy (and yes, may not care) to even look at. One should never doubt his dedication to ‘the cause’.

  • Mike

    I’d like to apologize to Robin for the tone of my comments. I realize he’s a FOSS proponent. It’s just the hypocrite line rubbed me the wrong way.

    Going forward, let’s make sure we don’t hold FOSS advocates (even self-proclaimed purists) to an unrealistic expectation and proclaim them hypocrites if (when?) they fail to live up to an impossible standard. Or worse…Use their actions as part of an ingenuous argument to nullify the value of FOSS over non-FOSS software.

    Using FOSS or non-FOSS in any given situation is always an individual decision. Many factors can make one’s choice differ from another’s. Let’s make sure those choices are always well-informed, and continue to spread awareness of the importance of FOSS in maintaining a free and secure society.

  • W. Anderson

    The statement by Robin Miller…. “Software Freedom” shouldn’t mean “use free software or else.” It should mean you are free to use the software you choose”…. can be applied equally well whether one runs only Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), only proprietary or a combination of both – choice, irrespective of the proportion, and is therefore of no real illumination on the subject.

    In more than 20 years of intense involvement and use of FOSS software – primarily, no-one that I know of or have heard advocating for FOSS only except Richard Stallman, and even he does not make FOSS use an “or else” altimatum.

    Mr. Miller’s article is therefore nonsensucal and sheds no intelligent thought on the subject of FOSS use. .

  • Nonya

    Choice is good, and everyone has the right to choose what software that they run. Informed choice is better! Knowing the consequences of your choices is something we should all strive for. I have friends who use Linux and (mostly) use FOSS software. I have friends who use Windows and mostly use proprietary software. For my friends who use proprietary operating systems and software, I try to make them aware of the consequences of their decisions. Some have decided that the possible consequences are not worth it, and I have helped them as much as I can. Others choose to use Windows and proprietary software. If I have helped them make an informed choice, thats all I can do.

    Its all about being able to choose what works best for you!

  • Mike

    Argh, I wish we could edit comments…I meant to say ‘disingenuous’.

  • I am with @Mike on this one. There was a typo in my post, but I only noticed it after the fact. Now, it’s driving me crazy and I hav no way to fix it, like the type I purposely left in this post which, like the last one, will drive me crazy. Or not, because I put it there on purpose. Purposely.

  • tracyanne

    I meant everything I said in both of my posts.

  • @W. Anderson Again, “Software Freedom” shouldn’t mean “use free software or else.” It should mean you are free to use the software you choose,” is not part of Robin’s article but was added by us at FOSS Force during edited. Please note that this line is in a different font and appears well ahead of the actual article.

  • Mike

    @Christine

    Maybe putting text from another source between the author’s name and the article text isn’t such a good idea. It strongly implies it is part of the article.

  • Robin "Roblimo" Miller

    “I use Free Software exclusively, because I have no need for Proprietary Software. There’s nothing I do that I haven’t found a decent FOSS tool for.”
    ————–
    It was the same for me, tracyanne, in the decade or so when I did no professional video work. And then, despite all the people telling me this or that free software editing program was wonderful, my real-life choice was either to use proprietary software or not produce professional video at commercial speed.

    Today I’m, doing very little video work (it comes and goes) so I’m running Linux almost all the time and using 90% free software — and more FOSS on my Android phone than most people, since hardly anyone looks at licenses for Android apps.

    You can call me a hypocrite or anything else you like, but reality = I use free and/or open source software whenever possible, and that *unlike most FOSS users* I freely donate money to the projects whose software I use. Money where mouth is and all that, eh?

    And now, I’d like to point out something in the proprietary world that bothers me one hell of a lot more than Chrome vs. Chromium: automotive repair information. A lot of the car makers are trying to keep basic schematics and diagnostic info away from the public and independent garages so you have to take your car to their “authorized” dealers for repairs. One reason I chose to buy a Kia Soul, other than liking the car, is that my favorite indie shop and I can get full service info for it. Talk about vendor lock-in! Scary when it comes to car companies.

  • tracyanne

    @Robin “Roblimo” Miller
    February 18, 2017 at 1:53 am

    I use UbuntuStudio, and the FOSS tools on it, as the basis of my private Music recording Studio. I have no need, or desire to use any of the proprietary tools available. I have not noticed any difference in quality between stuff recorded on my setup and stuff recorded on my friend’s Mac.

    The point you missed, is, if those gamers are hypocrites, then so are you, and as I said in my first post, if it’s your choice (it’s theirs too). That’s what it’s all about.

  • @Mike The “description,” or “teaser” (also known by several other names) is a common practice in both print and online. We do it on every article published on FOSS Force, and it’s done on every website that’s desperate enough to hire me as a writer. It’s set apart with a different font to indicate it’s not part of the actual article. For FOSS Force columnists, it’s also separated by the name of the column, to further make clear it’s not part of the article text (in this case “Roblimo’s Hideaway”) The practice has been around forever, but became prevalent in the late 1970s, and even moreso with the advent of the Internet.

  • Mike

    @Christine Hall

    What I’m hearing is “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”

    I hear that a lot in my line of work. It’s not a very good justification though. I imagine lots of people attribute those quotes to the article’s author. I certainly did. Being a different font is hardly a contextual clue given the location of the text. I’m not expecting anyone to change…I’m just saying.

  • Mike

    @tracyanne

    > “The point you missed, is, if those gamers are hypocrites, then so are you, and as I said in my first post, if it’s your choice (it’s theirs too). That’s what it’s all about.”

    That was part of my point too. While I was overly harsh in my comments, I stand by their substance. I didn’t mean to suggest Robin is a bad guy, just making a mistake which he probably might want to avoid in the future.

    Some people use the choice argument to say FOSS vs. non-FOSS doesn’t matter. While choice is great, it is wrong to draw an equivalence between proprietary and FOSS solutions by saying it doesn’t matter what you choose. It definitely matters and there is always a cost to freedom when a non-FOSS solution is chosen. It affects everybody, which is why the choice must be informed and weighed carefully.

    @Robin “Roblimo” Miller

    > “And now, I’d like to point out something in the proprietary world that bothers me one hell of a lot more than Chrome vs. Chromium: automotive repair information. A lot of the car makers are trying to keep basic schematics and diagnostic info away from the public and independent garages so you have to take your car to their “authorized” dealers for repairs.”

    They should both bother you, since it’s the exact same problem. Both are cases of someone limiting the flow of information to steal power away from you and limit what you can do. It isn’t just car manufacturers either — http://ifixit.org/blog/8780/apple-right-to-repair/

    This is why FOSS ‘purists’ can seem over-the-top. Most of them see a bigger picture where the fight between open and closed is going to (actually it’s already started) spill over into the broader world. Every inch we give in the software world is going to translate into a mile in the physical world…very soon.

    Anyone who cares about freedom and hasn’t read the following is doing themseleves a disservice: http://boingboing.net/2012/01/10/lockdown.html

    The article is from 2012 and what Cory Doctorow describes is now happening. Software now controls EVERYTHING from medical implants with wifi vulnerabilities (yes that’s real), to self-driving cars with the potential for government control over your movements. Just like Apple has a patent to prevent you from taking pictures at a concert (or protest?), self-driving cars could be directed to prevent mass protests from gathering. Computing hardware is also becoming increasingly locked-down to prevent a full FOSS solution. Linux can be completely undermined by firmware and hardware acting in concert at a level below the operating system and subverting everything the OS can see and do.

    Not to sound overly melodramatic, but we are quickly heading for a future where the choice will be FOSS…or virtual enslavement. Choose carefully.

  • tracyanne

    @Christine Hall

    Perhaps a more useful the teaser would be some actual statement taken from the article. Just a thought.

  • tracyanne

    @Robin “Roblimo” Miller

    FYI Emily Fox http://fossforce.com/2016/10/chris-were-interviews-linux-musician-emily-fox/ and http://fossforce.com/2016/04/young-linux-loving-singer-songwriter/ uses OpenShot for editing her YouTube videos.

    Also, I don’t think you answered the question. What does Chrome have specifically that makes it more useful than Chromium?

  • Robin Miller

    tracyanne, I have Linux, Windows, and Mac in my office, and Android in my pocket. Chrome is easy to install and auto-updates in all of these operating systems, plus there’s the Flash/H.264/MP3 thing. I am 64 years old, and long ago came to grips with the fact that I am not a good person. I’m so rotten I have a shiksa wife. And I’ve been chewed out for not putting my (dubious) talent to work for the Worker’s (communist) Revolution, for not supporting Republicans, for favoring thorough background checks for gun buyers, and for advocating legal marijuana.

    So (sob) you are pure and I’m not. Part of life.

    Despite my obvious unworthiness, I still plan to test KDEnlive and OpenShot over the next week or so. Last time I tried OpenShot I had crash problems. Maybe they’ve fixed them. I’ll see.

  • tracyanne

    @Robin Miller
    February 19, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks for the uncalled for sarcasm.

    The fact that you want consistency across all the operating systems you use is reasonable enough as far as I’m concerned.

    Personally I don’t have that problem as I can’t afford to own an Apple or Windows PC. Fortunately I can purchase the hardware at wholesale rates, due to still having a reseller account with a small OEM, in my country. They will even install Ubuntu for free.

    As for OpenShot, you did ask for suggestions regarding a FOSS video editing tool. Personally I prefer KDEnlive, but that had already been suggested.

  • CFWhitman

    I prefer Firefox for my Web browsing. This is partly because it has full support for color profiling/calibration and nothing not based on Firefox seems to have this. I suppose it is also partly because I have used a Mozilla based browser since 2000 and I’m used to it.

    KDEnlive has been the video editor I’ve used the most (though that’s not saying much), and it seems quite significantly improved over when I first started using it a couple of years ago (it seems much more stable).

  • Thong N

    Great article but I think most people reply forgot about your question. I am playing around with OpenShot because recently it supports 4K. OpenShot crashes on me when editing with high bitrate videos that are moving to the hour long arrangement. I have repeated the process with several linux distros and pretty much crashes about the 50 minute mark (Fedora, CentOS, Manjaro, Ubuntu, and so on – ). My CAD/video machine is HPZ 420 with E5-1620 and 32GB RAM (picked up used). Does anyone know of a good BluRay authoring tool (I just need a simple menu and allow to run custom microJava apps).

  • Mike

    @CFWhitman

    > “I prefer Firefox for my Web browsing. This is partly because it has full support for color profiling/calibration and nothing not based on Firefox seems to have this.”

    I also use Firefox because of something not found on other browsers: A plugin called RequestPolicy Continued. https://requestpolicycontinued.github.io/

    When running RequestPolicy, web pages are forbidden from making calls to other sites even if javascript is allowed. You can whitelist individual destinations based on the requesting page giving you absolute fined-grained control over which pages can communciate with other sites. This means by default all the ads, third-party tracking and other bullshit are automatically stopped in their tracks, without relying on a blacklist that needs to be updated regularly.

  • Marc T

    Blender with the velvets, a bit daunting at first but powerful Foss video editor…