Return to Level1Techs.com

DISCUSSION - Libre software, worth moving to?

Hello All,
So a lot of us here that use linux also use it for the privacy and security enhancements it can offer to us, including using completely free software, but is it worth it?
I am looking to spark up a discussion with the community on their thoughts towards this, I have used Parabola in the past to see what exactly the other side looks like, and its certainly different, some things that make life easier, Yaourt for example do not work at all, you cant use firefox, its not even offered in the repos.

Do you personally think you would go full stallmanite? a mixture or no not at all?

Libre is great, I do all my work on its different (flavours?) programs, completely fine to use, and it even has support for exporting in Microsoft and other file formats for ease. If this is something holding you back don't let it, as I personally have had no trouble with the Libre suite.

2 Likes

The thing is a lot of people may have problems adjusting, for example firefox isn't avaliable and sure you can build it some people may struggle with this.
Also what I would consider the most stable libre system, trisquel is rather out dated, at this point even debian is more up to date.

LibreOffice - Yes (It's pretty good stuff, things like reference managment in docs suck though)
LibreOffice Draw and Base somewhat suck compared to proprietary stuff out there.
LibreOffice Math is awesome

GIMP - Yes Cost's nothing can do 95% of Photoshop just differently

DarkTable - Great RAW photo editor for linux

DigiKam - Great Photo gallery manager for your Free desktop, has some features that lightroom and and adobe bridge don't

QGis - specialised tool for Geographic work, often an industry choice.

VLC - not sure where this fits in, its complicated, but beats the pants off anything else really.

Jitsi for video calls / streaming (Skype alternative)

But other than that, use what you need to get your job done, If you have a smartphone already you're anyway screwed, libre can't help you much there. Ubuntu an onwards should be fine for you then at that point.

1 Like

It's called iceweasel.

Nothing to do with free software, on this remark, but you shouldn't be using that anyway, one because its just old and potentially unsafe compared to the hundred others, and two because AUR helpers in general are bad practice.

--

The question you have to ask yourself is are you willing to give up some freedoms for convenience on your personal computing? RMS doesn't so doesn't use things that compromise that.

You only need to look around to see how conditioned people have become to accepting the loss of their freedoms in everything. A large portion of people just don't seem to care anymore and as a consequence more and more are taken from us.

I have to agree with the conditioning, my girlfriend for example wont use anything other than Windows, even though she doesn't do anything outside of a web browser, yet she looks at me in a way because I use Linux, and to an extent libre software, yet she kind of does care about her privacy and the fact someone could be watching her, she simply cannot be bothered to change.

Most of my family use software I could easily replace with something like trisquel and its offerings but of course they have all been using Windows all their computing lifes and they don't want to change.

I do think from my experience I would be willing to move my entire workflow to free systems, mostly if I could get a half decent open source ARM laptop (Always wanted an arm laptop) but the only one I know of currently is C201, and its graphics stack is emulated I believe, and I don't 100% trust Chromebooks BIOS, simply because I havent followed it enough, I know its based on SeaBIOS.

Well i think i have said this a couple of times before.
I have allways used Windows as my base OS.
But in all honnesty if you are not a real gamer, and you dont need to use Windows based specific applications.
Then there trully is no reason to pay money for a commercial operating system anymore in this day and age.
Linux and open source have come a very long way in terms of user friendlyness and software availability.
And next to that its more secure then Windows, if you use a distribution that is decently reliable.
So something that is either based on Debian / Ubuntu, Open Suse or Fedora / Redhat.

3 Likes

I like open source software because I can change it to fit my needs better.
I like Libre software because there is nobody that can tell me how I should be using it, I'm old enough to decide for myself thank you lol...
I don't like proprietary software because I've never really found any piece of proprietary software that would satisfy my needs. If I have to compromise, I'd rather compromise on convenience somewhat, because the compromise of having to invest in open source software to enhance the convenience for me, benefits me personally, not some company that I paid to let me use software that doesn't do what I want it to do...

Definetely worth it. There are very few things that come up in human culture that can be both an ethical leap and actually just work. And the nature of free software can provide both.

On adoption...Well even stallmanites agree that partly free is better than no free at all. Personally i think in current reality it is a struggle. The ideal is to always use only FOSS both in terms of potential practical benefit and user rights or freedom. But it is not always possible. And changing the tools you are using everyday can be a struggle for most. Familiarity can be a bitch. Thus a step by step process helps in many cases. Even a mixture is better than nothing. Just make sure to have the ideal always in mind to work as a mental postit. To search, take the time to research and always take the chance to switch when the moment you see it. And support as much as your ability allows every iniciative that you believe works on the same purspose.

Is it "worth it"? yes.

Is it gonna work? Who knows.

The issue with open software isn't the software itself. The issue usually comes in when you try to make opensource software and proprietary software play in the same sand box.

For instance, if your boss sends you a microsoft word document, libre office might not be able to open it and render it correctly.

Stuff like that starts to become a massive drag.

1 Like

But then would you work as an employee in a company that uses proprietary spyware? Like would you go to a doctor, a lawyer, etc,,, who uses proprietary software? Would you fight in an army that uses proprietary crapware? Would you go to a bank that uses proprietary software?

It's always the same problem: you just can't trust people who don't care enough about other people to use tools that are not violating human rights. If you go to a doctor who uses Windows, you might just as well go to Doctor Mengele, it's the same thing, you don't know whether he's going to kill you or heal you, whether he's going to use you to experiment upon to find a cure, or whether he's going to apply that cure to you. If you go to a lawyer who uses proprietary software, you just know he doesn't care a single bit about attorney-client privilege. Etc...

You just can't trust people who use proprietary software, because you know they don't care enough about others and you know that they might manipulated to the greatest extent imaginable, and you know that they will with 100% certainty spill whatever they know about you and your family to large globalist corporations that are destroying lives and nature worldwide at a tremendous rate for hookers and blow.

Using proprietary software is nothing less than a crime against humanity. People need to know what terrible crime they are an accessory to, and once they have been informed, they should be considered guilty when they don't stop being an accessory. If we compromise on that, where do we stop making compromises? Proprietary software and spyware/malware "services" are one of the greatest evils of our time, it is much worse than the systematic lead poisoning and the radioactive poisoning that has been going on, much worse than the drugs poisoning. It equals systematic knowledge deprivation with intent and evil motive, it equals massive systematic human rights violations, racketeering and theft. It equals massively threatening democracy and self-governance. It should be combated at all cost and with all means.

Going "Full Stallman" is indeed difficult and sometimes a seemingly impossible objective. Before we can even consider office suites, or operating systems, however, we would need to start with a FOSS BIOS. But wait! Let's not forget that there are binary blobs and micro code embedded in the processor, chipset, TPM, GPU, wi-fi card, web cam, sound card, USB controller, hard disk, etc., etc. And then, there are the hardware drivers ...

Even if you are a "glass is half empty" kind of guy, you'll have to agree that some freedom is better than no freedom at all. And, just because this is a difficult goal to accomplish, that does not mean that it is not a worthy one. Likewise, even though it is often difficult to refrain from killing your neighbors and work mates who desperately need it, it is a generally accepted societal goal to refrain from such behavior, even though it is often very difficult to do. But I digress ... ; )

There are many shades of gray between Microsoft's products and policies and a truly free and open computing experience and every time I move one step closer to my goal, I regain just that much more freedom, privacy and dignity and this makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I may not have reached my ultimate goal yet, but this is a great example of a situation where the journey, in and of itself, is the most important aspect of this struggle. Therefore, if I must use Windows, for example, for entirely valid reasons, that doesn't necessarily mean that I can't use Firefox, Libre Office, or a multitude of other alternatives to the black box code that the crap weasels at Microsoft want to sell me.

RMS holds extreme views, which he expresses with extreme language. That's what evangelists do. But, just because he can be annoying, that doesn't make his underlying message any less true, or desirable.

1 Like

Microsoft / Windows? Yes. I fully agree with you.

Adobe, Autodesk, and so on.........no.

There is a huge difference between something being proprietary because the company intends to abuse its customers, and a company that wants to keep control over their software so that they can protect their intellectual property.

If we actually wanted to get really specific, this isn't an issue of free software vs proprietary. This is a US legal issue.

The problem with open software is that according to US law, it is very easy to take the base code, change a few lines, and distribute it yourself as something new. The GPL and MIT license just isn't strong enough for multi million dollar cooperations to rely on it.

Wait, hold on...are you honestly saying adobe doesn't abuse it's customers?
When you use the excuse as "protecting intellectual property" you can excuse almost anything nefarious a company can do...that excuse will just not cut it.

yet billion dollar companies rely on it. What you meant to say is, companies can't rely on it to keep their control schemes working. Kinda hard to do planed obsolescence with open software, and that's a good thing!

I agree, In ways I don't like stallman, nothing personal but it is how he expresses him self, think my way or your wrong, maybe he doesn't mean it like that but its how he comes across to me.
This doesn't mean I don't agree with him, why should we give up our privacy to some company.

Last weekend I watched Snowden, followed closely by Citizen Four, and while I knew the some aspects of the spying, I didn't think it was as bad as mentioned, the stuff exposed is some real dangerous stuff, and I use free software currently, maybe not FSF approved always but still things like Debian without contrib/none free.
But i still cannot shake the fact I should be using maybe Trisquel or Parabola then running GRSec, Tor and other privacy/security measures on top.
Additionally when I used Parabola/Trisquel in the past I have to admit I did feel "Free" but also kind of restricted, access to software like firefox really strained me at first, but now I know icecat is just the same and works with my addons I can tick that out.

Either way though I have to look back at my self say 4/5 years ago when I first joined formally Tek Syndicate and the Linux forums, I was entirely reliant on closed software, jump forward to now I actively look for open source libre stuff where I can, focusing on software that is hosted on github, FSF approved if possible, has it been maintained in the last 6 months, I also watch a lot more talks surrounding freedom and security, to say the least I have completely transformed my flow towards open source and a privacy/security first system.

But the problem with this is people like my girlfriend, her dad, my mum don't have the skills to do this, even with my help its too much work for them, even though in the long run its better, I am slowly moving the house hold to free software, I recently switched my main router to AdvancedTomato, when I find a good privacy respecting VPN service with router support ill be disabling my virgin router and routing all traffic via my R7000, in hopes that in ways privacy is at least protected a bit more for them.

1 Like

Tjj266_Angel does have a point, a licence is not enough for companies to put their entire development process to open source, because money talks.
We are talking about upper business at this point, customers I work for could benefit massively with docker, qemu/kvm and so on, but their reliance on CAD and other things out weighs that.
Additionally software they use for machines is closed source, designed only for Windows, these companies have the same mind set, close our products so people cant see our code and fork it.
Even though massive companies like Facebook, Google and so on use open source and make massive amounts of money off it.

Which ones?

Red hat and suse don't count.

Adobe, autodesk, sony, black magic, and various gaming companies simply can't rely on it.

And again, you can't arbitrarily use "control schemes" as a negative. At the end of the day its their software. Its their choice to opensource it or not.

Its only a negative if the companies are actively abusing their customers or the software environment to protect market share.

Its not just that, but they will also maintain control over development which in turn makes it a lot easier to provide support for the software.

it also makes it easier to change the direction of the software to better meet the markets needs.

I am sorry, but as much as people love the opensource community, you really end up with a situation where you have too many cooks in the kitchen.

Are you kidding? This short sentence completely discredits anything you might say. You essentially saying "I'm right, show me proof otherwise.. but.. but [insert thing] doesn't count as proof because it will prove I'm wrong"

Red Hat (2.4 billion)
SUSE (253 million)
Pixar (couldn't get a number but part of Disney (55.6 billion)
whole swaths of industry rely on open free software to function.

I think an issue is your perception of abusing customers or the concept of intellectual property differs from others in this discussion.

Adobe and Autodesk controlling the formats for 3d works in their retrospective areas is an abuse, and its sole purpose is to control the market and control their customers.

Autodesk just as an example have their proprietary DWG format for CAD programs, you only need to look at its history to see that they explicitly set out to control the market and how people can use CAD software through the DWG format once it became popular.

They've explicitly tried to implement controls over "unauthorized" applications making dwg files, constantly change the format, and the format is unpublished and closed leading to one solution. Want to use dwg files? you must use autocad software, and since your being sent dwg you need to buy it, so now you publish in dwg because autocad only supports autodesks closed formats.

Same issue with Adobe, same issue with Microsoft. They all do it, and they do it with one purpose, to control the people using their software and ensure they cant leave.

2 Likes

I've used Libre office for school, and it's quite good. The only issue I had with it was exporting or importing from MS office would mess the format up a little. They may have fixed it by now though, since they recently released a new version.
It's definitely worth a try, I mean it's free and you don't lose anything besides maybe time.

1 Like