Beware of Freetard Ideology in Ubuntu

The recent release of Ubuntu has had some good coverage in many media publications (online, print, radio and even TV) but it’s always interesting to read the comments people leave on the blogs.

While reading the comments in New Ubuntu Linux release is easy, sexy (at, I came across this remark:

I hate MS as much as the next guy. But Linux is not really a viable option for the vast, vast, vast majority of computer users. People who can’t see that are simply blinded by freetard ideology.

Freetard ideology ?

I now realize I have been a greentard too.

All jokes aside, I think it’s important as Ubuntu users, developers, advocates and enterprise decision makers, we ask ourselves « what would make the people that don’t like Ubuntu actually try it and end up using it full time for all their computing needs ?« . I mean, other than being the proud parents of someone working for Canonical 🙂

Let’s pause for a moment and think real hard about that.


13 réflexions sur « Beware of Freetard Ideology in Ubuntu »

  1. I read an article recently that addressed just this (can’t remember where) and it mentioned how, very broadly, Apple glosses over a lot of the techie details we tend to dwell on (OSX was advertised as being enhanced by the mystical « Power of UNIX », for instance).

    It’s sort of like Firefox – its usage is increasing mostly because it’s easy-to-use, familiar, customisable and secure. Most Linux distros address this, but don’t always fair well with the whole easy-to-use thing. There’s also the whole terminal ‘paranoia’ because most computer users haven’t even *seen* a CLI since the early- to mid-’90s.

    We have the foundations of something that people could readily switch to, but there’s a lack of polish in many areas and, to be honest, it’s gotten to the point where I find it easier to break GNOME than Internet Explorer.

    Just my constantly wandering off-topic three cents plus tip.

  2. This is a joke based on the term coined by « Fake Steve Jobs », the parody blogger. I actually find it hilarious, despite being a freetard myself 😉 There are a lot of amusing uses of the term on that site, especially in reference to the XO, some things about Darwin, Open Step, etc.

  3. If I could know that I can purchase any game, no matter how new, pop it into my computer and that wine, or native API’s, or something that doesn’t yet exist, were going to be able to install and run said game perfectly. I would delete my windows partion that very instant. I love Ubuntu (well Kubuntu in my case) and use it about 80% of the time, but there is that around 20% of gaming that wine can just not handle. And on top of that, a game that works under this version of Wine may not work properly under the next version. So I can’t even feel safe with titles that are currently working properly. The statement that linux has its own games or that Doom has a linux binary just will not be enough for serious gamers. I seriously believe that if games were more reliable on Linux, Microsoft would lose a large marketshare. It is the only reason I can’t get my friends to try Linux, and why I won’t stop dual booting.

  4. Wow? So we’re freetards now?

    I was writing on the Ubuntu forums just yesterday about wishing for a commercial platform to appear on top of Linux, and how I’m buying all the games (that I like) that support Linux.

    If I am a freetard, then I’d rather be that than a DRMtard. 🙂

  5. It’s sad but the quote does raise an important issue. In my opinion it just needs clarification; WITHOUT SUPPORT, Linux is not really suitable for the vast majority of computer users.

    One of the big supermarket chains here in the UK, Tesco, have started selling PCs preloaded with Ubuntu (yay!). However, what happens when they give this PC to little Jimmy for Christmas, he puts in his The Sims/ Halo 2/ whatever CD-ROM, and nothing happens?

    Not really understanding Linux, the parents are going to take the PC back to the store and not really understanding it either, the minimum-wage shop assistant is going to take the easy route and just give them a refund.

    At no point in the process – preferably BEFORE the sale – is there anyone who will certainly know what Linux is, and explain the details to the customer so they know what to expect. This, I think, may prove to be a major problem.

  6. Beware of people like the one who made that remark, and don’t listen to them. GNU/Linux is not about « hating Microsoft », it’s about loving freedom.

    And about the question « what would make the people that don’t like Ubuntu actually try it and end up using it full time for all their computing needs ? », my answer is that most of these people would like Ubuntu if it worked exactly the same as Windows, because they can’t be bothered to change their habits. They would do better with ReactOS than any GNU/Linux distribution.

    We’re not there to copy, but to innovate. Making things better, easier to use, more intuitive, is a very nice goal, but in my opinion, it’s not about cloning Windows.

  7. There is problem with big « anti-MS » myth, which says that most people have started to use Linux/BSD/OpenSolaris/opensource/freesoftware just because they wholeheartly have hated Microsoft.

    I have to say – what a bull… When I was introduced to Linux, I was in *love* with Microsoft. Honestly, I liked that everything is in place and stuff is integrated to work nicely (before that I had not tasted stingy brokeness of Microsoft stuff yet). However, Linux (it was RedHat 6, if precise) welcomed with nice command line, tools, stuff which nicely explained man pages (contrary to still cryptic DOS/Windows, and really customable stuff.

    Let’s say – Linux openess won me over easily. I was hooked because of that, not because I wanted to plaster Bill Gates with bazuka all over the place.

    I guess most active people have come to open source/free software world to seek peace, freedom. Not drugs for their hatred.

  8. Here’s one possible reason people have the idea Linux isn’t ready for the masses.

    Recently I realized that one of the things that put me off in the early days of thinking about moving to Linux was the way people in the Linux community give instructions on how to do things. They most often give a series of command line commands with no explanation of what the command is intended to do. I’ve since realized this is a very good shorthand way of doing things that will work with most flavors of the distro being used, but it also fuels the notion that Linux depends on the command line.

    It’s somewhat disconcerting to someone who isn’t familiar with the commands being used.
    If you think about it, when you tell someone how to do something via a graphical interface, you describe how to go down a menu path and check a box or choose some option, so if that doesn’t work for some reason, they can easily follow the same path and put things back the way they were (or the option wasn’t there in the first place, or greyed out or something so you know it wasn’t right). With the command line, you have to bravely set sail into the unknown with no way to get back. I often wondered what happens if this command I’m executing doesn’t work, what is it doing, how to I put things back the way they were and start over? All very disconcerting stuff to a lot of people coming from the Windows world.

    I understand there are good reasons for documenting a series of commands to do something (works with all flavors of k,x,e,*buntu) but all the different flavors of the interface is something that Windows and Mac users don’t have to deal with (as much).

    Not that I think this is going to change, but it may be one of the things that’s holding Linux back from wider adoption.

  9. Hmm. Let me make sure I’ve got the question right. How do we make people try something that they have already made their minds up they don’t like, even without trying it?

    You may as well ask « how do I put my head through this cinder block wall without hurting myself? »

    Firstly, you can’t « make » anybody do anything. You can try to persuade them, but the fact that you used the word « make » shows the frame of mind in which you’re approaching these people: adversarial. When you take an adversarial approach to winning people over, you’ve already lost.

    So let’s assume that I’m just inferring an attitude that isn’t there, and that it was a poor choice of words. The second insurmountable hurdle is that if these people are willing to have (or, rather, insistent upon having) an opinion about something they haven’t tried, then no amount of persuasion will get them to try it. They don’t need to try it, because they already know they’ll hate it. That’s lost battle #2.

    Lastly, the comment that sparked this thought in your mind was about us being « blinded by freetard ideology ». Not only are these people’s minds close, they are also *hostile*. They are hurling insults at an entire class of people they know nothing about. No amount of persuasion in the world will make them want to be anything like us. We are blind. We are freetards. If we like something, it must be bad.

    Don’t waste your time and energy trying to appeal to these people. Save it for the open minded. Ask better questions, like « how can we expose children to Ubuntu, and encourage them to use it? » or « how can we encourage the use of Ubuntu on college campuses? »

  10. dont think about new users…..

    think about existing users

    educate them

    learn them bugfix code translate etc

    make ubuntu better

    that is important for now

    we only need new users if they fit in ubuntu as it is

  11. I agree with the comment poster in your post to an extent.. To me a « freetard » or « greentard » is some who won’t use anything proprietary or bad for the environment no matter how much it hurts them.

    For instance using my definition a freetard wouldn’t take a job at any place the required the use of Windows because windows isn’t « free as in beer »

    Whether I believe in free as in beer software or not, I still got put food on my table.

    A « greentard » will ride his bicycle to work in the middle of snow storm.

    No thanks, I’ll stay in my nice warm car, or train, or bus, you can fall all over yourself out there in the snow storm and catch pneumonia while you’re at it! :p

  12. Big Dan:

    I think you are pretty much correct – Freetard is just a bit of a funnier, more insulting version of « technology bigot ».

    Someone who regards Free/Open Source software as the best solution to some or even many or most needs, wouldn’t be categorized as a Freetard.

    Someone who thinks that Free/Open Source is the solution to all problems, regardless of the facts, is a freetard.

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