[TriLUG] Open Source Empowerment
jonc at nc.rr.com
Tue Nov 4 15:42:22 EST 2003
On Tue, 2003-11-04 at 13:41, Tanner Lovelace wrote:
> Ilan Volow wrote:
> > <heresy>
> > In a response that has nothing to do Novell/Suse et al but just with
> > some ideas that have been forming in my head about Open Source, I
> > recently came to the conclusion that Open Source only empowers those who
> > have the technical knowledge to make changes. For anyone who isn't a
> > programmer or a sysadmin, they are as powerless and unable to make
> > changes as they were with Microsoft. It only gets worse when you have a
> > situation where there are people who know how to fix things but don't
> > have the technical knowledge to do so, and there are people with the
> > technical know-how to make the fixes but who don't think there is a
> > problem and will in no way listen to the first group of people.
> > </heresy>
> > Sorry for the off-topic rant; just had to get that off my chest.
> I disagree here. With Open Source you have the opportunity to teach
> yourself what you need to do to fix whatever problem you have. Or,
> you can find someone else and pay them (or barter or persuade, if you
> want) to do it for you. You can't do this with MS at all. That's
> a huge difference. You aren't locked into one vendor who probably
> doesn't care that much about you.
I see Ilan's point. Doing support for the Mailman list everyday I see
folks ask for changes they could easily make themselves. They have
"learned helplessness". There is an (imaginary) barrier between
themselves and this code that makes things work.
Sometimes it takes quite a lot of encouragement to get folks to even
take a peek at the source code. Fortunately Mailman is well written and
documented and Python is extremely easy to read - even for novices. Most
folks who make that leap of faith and *do* look at the source code come
away happy and empowered.
Of course that might be more a function of the folks who are willing to
to make the leap, than about the code...
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