Seth: “Stop worrying
about ideas and get back to work” isn’t an accurate paraphrase.
I prefer: if you have an idea, do the work to make it happen. The
realistic path is probably twisty – having a goal in mind does not
imply a straight line to get there. Sometimes the work involves
writing code; sometimes it involves cat-herding or scrounging up
funding or writing a foundation charter or getting that next 1% of
Here is my vision: replace proprietary software for as many users as
possible. Without diving into details, I would argue that GNOME is
doing the right things to achieve this, most of the time. You’re
cooking up elaborate explanations where simple ones will do. Possibly
people are afraid and feel inadequate, or possibly they simply have a
realistic, incremental plan to grow the userbase. Possibly people are
risk-averse, and possibly the risks worth taking aren’t in the areas
you’re thinking of.
I would add one other thing, and that is: open source technology has
an inherent edge; its licensing and development model make it
better. This is Compelling Feature #1 for anything we produce. If it
weren’t, then really there’s no point; we’d just let Apple and
Microsoft have at each other.
The reality is that we have a good chunk of users ready to jump to
desktop Linux tomorrow despite its shortcomings, all we have to
do is fix the few barriers that make it impossible. And once we’ve
done that we’ll have more users, thus more developers, and we’ll be
free to focus 100% on the next step. Which could be anything someone
has the vision to guide us toward.
(This post was originally found at http://log.ometer.com/2003-10.html#30)