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Elementary OS Freya Beta 2 (elementaryos.org)
52 points by bndr on Feb 14, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 43 comments

Side-note: please don't publish checksums over unencrypted channels, and please don't use MD5 for image checksums.

Technically, it's no problem if the intended use-case is not to verify against tampering but against transmission errors. However, it's a fine line that people easily cross by accident.

It helps with global education if we condition people to never accept checksums from unencrypted sources, and to be wary of MD5.

After that blog post of theirs where they called everyone who took advantage of the free option they provide "cheaters", why would I want to use or recommend a Linux distro that provides nothing but a shoddy OSX GUI ripoff?

I think that was a poorly transmitted message and an overblown story.

Probably it should be read as "taking advantage of the system". Look run an Open Source project is costly, as much as making any other kind of software. Or you throw money developing it or time (which can be translated to money).

They release the source code of everything, plus is GPL so it's free* software as stated by the FSF (but they have privative software as well, for example drivers, as many other Linux distros do).

You still can download the iso for free. Plus they have a community ready to help you, and developers trying yo fix every bug they can.

You don't want to pay. Fine don't pay. You don't want to pay them. Fine don't pay them.

But try to think this, in every situation if you use free software that don't require to you to pay consider to help the project. If you have the possibility, then do a donation you are making a little big help to the project. Any help is welcomed (bug reporting, documentation, programming, recommending to your friends, and other things)

If you don't care, it's fine. But when good open source project dies, God help us. And this is true for every single open source projects not only for them (Ubuntu, Debian, Arch, FreeBSD, vlc player, Kodi).

(free* as freedom). (free* as free beer).

The elementary devs are idiots for not thinking about what they wanted to get out of this project in the first place.

Let's take a look at other open source monetizers:

* Red Hat - Provide enterprise support.

* Canonical - Provide dumb cloud services and enterprise support

* Docker - Provide enterprise support.

Where does Elementary fit into any of these models? Oh it doesn't? Then what in god's name were you thinking? And then they go on to insult 99%+ of their userbase for using their software without paying? But that was never implied as part of the deal! When I first heard of Elementary I thought of it as something much like Linux Mint... A Ubuntu install with a non-gnome DE as default. Actually, I still very much see it as that... That's all it fucking is.

So when Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Linux Mint, and Ubuntu all exist entirely for free, and this similar product (but more hipster) comes along, why were the "cheaters", expected to know that this one intended to charge them?

I'm toying with the idea right now of registering geteos.com and linking to images of Elementary without an option to pay just as a "Fuck You" to these guys.

Sorry I don't follow you for the first part.

>So when Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Linux Mint, and Ubuntu all exist entirely for free, and this similar product (but more hipster) comes along, why were the "cheaters", expected to know that this one intended to charge them?

Look I don't like the "cheater" part more than you do yet I consider a bad way to express what they intended to say and not a mere insult.

Now what Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Linux Mint, and Ubuntu do as their "marketing" (to say a word) policy is up to them. But if you read my comment what I try to say is the same for them. Using an open source project without helping them if you can is take advantage of the system.

>I'm toying with the idea right now of registering geteos.com and linking to images of Elementary without an option to pay just as a "Fuck You" to these guys.

You consider them as idiots/jerks and want to do that, and possibly running against the risk to be sued for trademark infringement or whatever... man you have balls.

After reading what said tree_of_item, I think tree_of_item is right.

>I'm toying with the idea right now of registering geteos.com and linking to images of Elementary without an option to pay just as a "Fuck You" to these guys.

That does not do any favor to anyone. Please put the bar of the discussion a little higher. You have right to be upset by their wording use.

You don't like it expose your arguments. If you are going to "fuck" every open project for their mistakes... gosh. Today many people are complaining that the open source community is getting toxic of haters, people threatening, trolls and other people doing bad stuff.

HN is full of smart people, at least if you want to discus acts like that do it elsewhere.

> So when Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Linux Mint, and Ubuntu all exist entirely for free

it's funny that you mentioned distributions that all require funding from Canonical (or other companies) in order to survive. You would've been better off using Arch, Gentoo, Debian, etc.

There is no pure distribution that is free from any funding besides maybe Debian+Hurd.

I made a point to pick distributions that are merely a base Ubuntu install strapped with different default desktop environments because that's all that ElementaryOS is.

Please take a minute to realize that you're part of the problem.

You mean this post [1] ? I find their reasoning quite logical.

[1] http://blog.elementaryos.org/post/110645528530/payments

So they wrote all this code themselves right? No, of course they didn't. The large majority of what they are selling was written by others (kernel, Debian, etc). Are they passing any revenue to their upstream providers? They have every right to try and charge people, but it's very disengineous to run git clone on a FOSS repo,make a few changes then write a big blog post about charging for the output.

>So they wrote all this code themselves right?No, of course they didn't. The large majority of what they are selling was written by others (kernel, Debian, etc).

That's is misleading at most.

It's true that they use other free software, so they don't write all the software themselves. That's a fact, but every other open source project is based in work by other.

The development of Linux kernel is based in work made by individuals at their own expense, but also contributions made by companies (as IBM, Canonical, Red Hat) and donations. Linux have paid software developers (it does not cost you but it cost to somebody).

As far I know, the developers of Elementary OS, are collaborating with the community and they have fixed problems in other open source projects they use themselves as Gtk.

>Are they passing any revenue to their upstream providers?

They have posted bounties (cash) to fix bugs in other software the "upstream providers" in bountysource, so that's public information.

>hey have every right to try and charge people,

That's true!.

> but it's very disengineous to run git clone on a FOSS repo,make a few changes then write a big blog post about charging for the output.

They write their own file-manager (pantheon-files), their own window manager (gala, over mutter), their own configuration system (switchboard). Their calendar application, their calculator, their music player, their movie player... etc.

So that's not easy, and your own phrase is "very disengineous" at least, certainly inaccurate and I hope not bad intentioned.


If that's your argument, then why do we allow thousands of companies to base their proprietary web applications on the FOSS stack? How many of these companies would even exist today without Linux or Ruby or MySQL/Postgres? How much do companies contribute back to these projects? Why is it so bad if elementary OS is based on Debian, but it's completely fine when some startup runs on Debian servers?

Not everyone goes around calling people who download free software for free as cheaters. All this backlash is because of the attitude they are showing towards non paying customers.

exactly. you don't see redhat calling everyone that uses centos cheaters -- hell, centos is part of redhat (even though it's independent).

Sorry Red Hat killed Red Hat for end users (in favor of maintaining Red Hat for enterprise users)... And only in recent years admitted it was an error.

So you did chose bad your example. Cent OS was an answer to that, providing a Red Hat binary distribution without any support, for free.

What they said is that they want to sell elementary OS. But going completely in that direction is pointless because someone will just fork the project and offer it for free. So what they did is make you enter $0, so when you do get it for free, it feels like you've cheated the system.

What's wrong with that?

Let's say everyone starts donating and they receive tons of money. Canonical, Debian and everyone else notices this and starts bitching about how eOS guys cheated the system by earning money off their work but din't pay anything back. Would this still seem right?

Unless I'm mistaken, they didn't call people who download free software for free cheaters.

This is absurd. Thousands of companies sell proprietary software based on BSD/MIT/Apache libraries every day and contribute absolutely nothing to those projects and no one bats an eye. But another FOSS project takes them and wants to charge money? What a ripoff!

By putting cheaters in quotes, you're putting words into their mouths. I didn't find the word cheaters on that page. They are making a solid point about the cost of open source software and about how free software isn't free.

The another blog post originally[1] had the phrase:

"We want users to understand that they’re pretty much cheating the system when they choose not to pay for software."

And like, they have this on their home page:

"100% Free elementary OS is completely free, both in terms of pricing and licensing."

So it's weird to mention cheating or talk about making it harder to download for $0 while talking up the free pricing in their ad copy.

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20150211113458/http://blog.eleme...

The statement on that page that I find most bothersome:

If we want to see the world of open source software grow, we should encourage users to pay for its development; otherwise it’ll be underfunded or developers will have to resort to backdoor deals and advertising. And nobody wants that future.

There really are distros that have a business model which isn't shady. It's a lot of work to do something like have a free version and an enterprise version, you have to do boring things like sell and market and support, but those sorts of things don't represent some kind of Open Source apocalypse.

There are even distros that have a business model of asking for donations without being all passive-aggressive about it...

You didn't find the word on that page because it originally appeared on this one: http://blog.elementaryos.org/post/110645528530/payments

They turned off user comments and edited their post when they started getting pushback from people asking how much of their revenue is going to upstream developers (which is where the vast majority of the work on this operating system is being done).

I think a lot of people have taken a single statement out of context without actually trying to understand the message they wanted to convey.

It's hard to deny that an open source project with more funding has more chances of surviving and developing good software, and I think it's true that users need to be made aware of that.

A well-funded, sustanaible open source ecosystem is in the interest of all of us. Having an alternative to proprietary software is very important if we want to mantain at least the freedom of choice.

That's not what it is. It's obvious if you follow these guys that they are Apple fans who wanted to customize their OS, couldn't, so created their own. They used OSX as a starting point, that's for sure, but that was years ago, now it's going in its own direction. I personally wouldn't use Elementary because it's overly opinionated for my taste, but I recognize their hard work and originality, they are not ripping anything off and haven't for a long time.

I am an elementary OS user and I'm a cheater. Well, kind of..I installed Freya when it started being developed and am following it's development. To those people who say that it's just a "skin" on top of Ubuntu, and that they shouldn't take let people pay for the work of others I say: then Ubuntu shouldn't take donations for the work of Debian. Then Debian shouldn't take donations for the work of the kernel developers. Then no-one should take money from anyone, unless he's developing a single library that's not dependent on anything. Also, if eOS is only a skin for Ubuntu, then Ubuntu is just a skin for Debian, with its fancy Unity and other visual stuff..right? Nah. If you cared to try, you would have seen why people like it. Because it's polished. Because it's lightweight. Because there's care in the details. Basically, everything that's missing from other DEs.

The wording in the post sure is wrong, but hey, they're not PR people and it's easy to upset people on the internet. I don't feel like a cheater, but I feel a bit guilty to not have donated to a project I use and like (even though I submit bugs and stuff), and I think that is the feeling they wanted to give users that don't donate. People should be aware that if you don't have some guy with a load of money that pays for development, or some other kind of business that sustains your product, you're dependent on donations to keep the project growing. Also, if you're not helping in any way (bugs, patches, desing,..), a donation rewards someone else's work on important stuff (also upstream projects!)

Plus a new Beta site: http://beta.elementaryos.org/

Selling free software is perfectly legal as long as you provide the source code. That's what Stallman itself said countless number of times. The "free" in free software stands for "freedom", not "free beer".

I definitely accept this way of bringing money in the project. Software development is time-intensive labour and time is money. You all know that, do you?

Some mentioned "Let the business-people pay" (better known as "Open Core"-model). This is only working if businesses are interested. Elementary OS doesn't target business usage or has business-relevant elements, so that will go nowhere.

Elementary OS. What's their deal (approach, unique selling point)?

A mix of technology, design, and community. The elementary community are actually writing apps designed for their desktop which is sadly rare in other distros. Everything they do is design oriented. Kind of feels Mac-ish but with obvious speed and usability improvements. elementary's approach to multiple desktops is much stronger than OSX's current offering. Their theme is a bit stale now but the awesome elementary community is writing tons of gorgeous themes (worlds better than anything on gnome-look). Unfortunately a lot of them have weird quirks when run on non-elementary distros but they're perfect on elementary

"Free and open" but the only way you can download it without it asking for a credit card number is manually entering $0 in the "custom" field?

There's a clear explanation for that: Quote from their blog post:

"Why We Make You Type “$0” We want users to understand that paying for software is important and not paying for it is an active choice. We didn’t exclude a $0 button to deceive you; we believe our software really is worth something. And it’s not an attempt to get rich quick; currently the only people who have received money for working on elementary OS have been community members through our bounty program.

It’s about asking a fair price to offset the costs of development. It’s about securing the future of elementary OS to ensure we can keep making software that millions of people love and use every day."

While I understand their explanation - and agree with the theory - in practice the same active choice would be achieved by displaying a $0 button that users have to actively click on.

The simple fact is: when I first went to their website I assumed it was a paid package.

Ubuntu does mostly the same, except there's a "download without donation" link at the bottom : http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/contribute/?version=1...

In what way does that make it less free or open

It doesn't. This distro is supposed to be about design and usability, though. If that's their idea of usability, I think I'll go elsewhere.

Their idea of usability is different; they want you to pay. Don't underestimate the power of the default.

waiting for the final version

I find the window management to be pretty terrible. I guess this is trying to bridge the beginner distro gap between Windows and Ubuntu, because I couldn't see anyone seriously using it for very long. Then again I felt the same way about GNOME3, so maybe I'm not in the majority there.

Zorin is a desktop designed to bridge Windows to Gnome 3, and does a better job of it than Pantheon.

And I'd argue KDE has a nearly identical UX to Windows in the first place. You can even get Windows-8-lite with Homerun. So if you want a fluid transition KDE is probably the best choice, as long as you don't overwhelm them with options (start menu, task bar, system tray, min / max / close in top right, have at it champ).

I actually find window management not that bad, it's similar to OS X in that matter.

I can't disagree with you there, but my MBP does mostly sit gathering dust unless I really need OSX for something. Different strokes.

It is pretty impressive how much they've been able to pull together in their desktop environment and custom applications.

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