New idea: A table on Wikipedia of software and the rights you give up by using it, compared to Free software and the rights you retain.
IMO, an obscure table on Wikipedia is not going to make anyone stop using software. EULAs were designed to make people "click through," and even if they DID read them, they generally wouldn't care if the software did what they needed it to do. I propose instead that whoever is interested in making Free software that they make quality software that people want to use. Apache, Firefox, and FileZilla are good examples of this (ok FileZilla may be stretching it, but see below). GIMP and OpenOffice are not.
Personally, I will jump through some hoops to get stuff working, but if it seems like it's going to be a time-sink just to edit a photo, open a .docx file or some other trivial task, I'm going to download and use whatever gets me there faster. I might get downvoted for saying this, but I'm just not going to waste my time configuring half-baked software when there are quality commercial alternatives available (and same goes in reverse, in the case of Apache, for example).
Its templates suck hard.
Seriously. Open a recent version of Microsoft Office or Apple iWork and just start writing some letter or presentation. Chances are, it will look quite pleasant, if a bit generic.
Do the same thing in OpenOffice/LibreOffice and it will look like a document in Word Perfect ca. 1995.
This is not to say that OpenOffice is not capable of producing nice-looking documents. Technologically, it is perfectly fine. But the templates are awful and sadly, that is what most people will notice when you give them a document written in OpenOffice.
Also, the GUI could use a bit work. LibreOffice is a step in the right direction, but it still looks a bit boring and clunky compared to its proprietary brothers. Case in point, my mother 'got' iWork Pages and MS Word after a short introduction. She might not know about all features, but she could find them and use them once we pointed out there existence to her. But over the course of about six months, we were unable to get her to use OpenOffice proficiently.
Example: I have a "Heading 1" style at 20pt, bold, italic. Start a new line at the end of a document, choose "Heading 1", OOo decides to make it 20pt, bold, but not italic. No idea why. Style setting is correct. Only fix is manually adding italic markup to the text.
Basically its software for people who want free software or for people who don't want to pay for software, won't/can't pirate it, and either don't mind tiny inconveniences or have pretty basic needs.
Office is a software package that for many people, represents a big part of their computer literacy. Being a little different can be the same as making them a little dumber.
That said, its perfectly fine. IF MS fell off a bridge tomorrow most people would use it without much issues.
As far as the file formats go, I like it to remind me to convert back to .odt when I'm done using a file in .doc because it uses less of my Dropbox. However, I've given LibreOffice to both of my parents now and they can barely tell the difference- once I set their initial preferences it stopped prompting them about file formats.
Do you like the ribbon toolbar? I was under the impression that pretty much everyone hated it. Honest question.
Sure, setting is a possible "solution" but that implies there is a problem. Most people will do fine with it but most people probably also just wish their son would just install pirated Office for them like their neighbors.
That means it's DOA for a lot of users.
The dogmatism on these issues is sufficient deterrent and frequently I would rather avoid stating the truth than face the wrath of the FSF enthusiasts.
We're all adults here, right? The fact that a for-profit company is a for-profit company is neither shocking nor novel.
Not to say that all FSF people write MSFT as M$FT -- it would only be a small subset. But getting angry, offended, annoyed by people that do this and then voting them down is childish.
A few days ago, I called out someone for making a pair of spelling mistakes in one name (spelling "Jimmy Hendricks" instead of "Jimi Hendrix"). I was downvoted because what I had to bring didn't add anything relevant to the conversation. And you know what? That's fine. I should have been downvoted. It was a totally pointless and irrelevant and smart ass thing for me to say, motivated by pedantry and affection for one of the best musicians to come from my home town.
Replacing the letter S with a dollar sign is the same sort of thing. At best, it's neutral and adds nothing, at worst, it's a distraction that will serve to discredit any valid point you're trying to make. It it ever had any novelty or cleverness, it wore off long, long ago.
If I starting my reply with "Look lhnz, you moron, ..." would you not downvote me or defend me if others did so?
I downvote people for things like M$ because I think that name-calling and inflammatory remarks aren't conducive to a worthwhile discussion.
One tactic for this situation is to post your truth then never look at the thread again. It might be rude to people who want to engage in honest discussion on your point, but if your post was a good one it will still benefit the hn community more than not posting at all, and you won't have to stress about troll replies.
Just be respectful. Assume the people reading your post are as smart as you and your post won't get hammered.
I think part of the problem is you get penalized pretty quickly w/ the shading differences, and people are happy to knock you down. Believe it or not, the post you are responding to go at least one downvote before the upvotes boosted it back to normal text color.
As for your tactic for "post[ing] your truth" this doesn't work so much if it does get downvoted, since it fairly quickly becomes near invisible.
For word processing however I've found OOo Writer a better alternative since it was renamed from Star Office.
(Ever tried sharing >25 page .doc with more than one person over a few weeks?)
As an aside, I really admire RMS for sticking to his guns, especially after reading his biography. I don't appreciate the approach of "the Free way or the highway" (hah, no pun intended) because it's so uncompromising and shuns people like you and me from the "club". However, not a lot of people in this world can say they never compromised their ideology in the name of practicality, and I definitely admire that.
(Btw, personally, I'd prefer a .com informational website in the vein of www.riaaradar.com instead of a table on wikipedia.)
Personally, I'd rather click "Ok" on a absurd (and unread) EULA than to not have access to the product at all.
If you apply the same caveat to the EULA-bound Apple products, the net effect is the same: "no access to the product".
So no irony here, not even Alanis's flavor.
With that out of the way, would it be possible to represent EULAs in a simpler manner while still satisfying a company's legal department?
It takes a lot of effort, and they're only going to do it if required by law.
I'm locked-in and I have to perpetually "agree" to whatever Apple comes up with.
If it bothers you, get out before you are locked in further. Stop buying new content via Apple's store, don't buy any more Apple (or Apple licensed) products and buy yourself something else to replace the functions the device has for you.
If the people who don't like being locked in but just accept it anyway and keep paying, Apple will never change as they won't need to. People like me who refuse to even join the game obviously don't seem to be a concern for them.
God knows what I agreed to when I installed XP.