How much GNU/Linux is there in Ubuntu MATE?

The introduction of the Welcome application mentions the term GNU/Linux. It would be great to have a few sentences added about what the GNU Project is about and how it is related to the many distributions (how much GNU is there in Ubuntu MATE?) and the Linux kernel.

Perhaps a chart could be added with proprietary operating systems such as Windows and MacOS on one side and GNU/Linux distributions such as Parabola, Trisquel, and gNewSense on the other side. Ubuntu MATE probably occupies a middle ground between them, providing only as much freedom as convenient. It seems to me that Ubuntu MATE subscribes to a freedom of choice model which is perhaps closer to technical freedom ("I can install any software I wish no matter whether it is based on a closed or open source development model") than to ethical freedom ("I only use free software even though it creates inconveniences for me").

Hallo maro

Just a thought… If this kind of information was put “front and centre”, might it be “too much, too soon” for windoze and fruit converts, and scare them. Once they get their system up and running and find it easy to use they might be inclinded to look at such information. In my experience, the average computer user simply doen’t care how or why it works - they just want it to work.

I agree that the FOSS message is very important. I’m just not sure how much you can put in front of converts right at the begining, I imaginee that that will be a highly individual thing. We care, but we must remember that others do not necessarily share our passion - yet. :slight_smile: :penguin:

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I made a few changes to what I wrote originally, perhaps it is clearer now what I meant? I think a chart would actually be very beneficial to visualize the differences between operating systems and their underlying principles. I very much welcome the fact that GNU/Linux is mentioned in the introduction but it is confusing to introduce a new term without defining or explaining it.

It could have just read “Linux” like a marketing term, but “GNU/Linux” is tribute to the GNU project who fight for our freedom.

I agree with @alpinejohn that distinguishing the"freedom" and “open source” differences too soon may be too much.

It’s a good topic to address. How about adding “pop overs” that appear when hovered/clicked for certain words/topics? That way, those interested can briefly learn the details but doesn’t get in the way to those who want to quickly get the idea without reading what may feel like a manual.


More popups to remove :frowning2:

I’ve been a dual-booter for eight years. I still don’t care about GNU’s involvement in Linux.

Then again, I also think a whole lot like other people, save for the fact I look ahead and understand that Linux systems make for an ideal alternative when Windows is no longer functional on my machine.

I don’t think it will necessarily scare new users. I am one of these new users. @alpinejohn
By primarily mentioning open source in the introduction you are already advocating a certain position, namely technical freedom. @lah7 I think it would be fairer to tell a potential Ubuntu MATE user that there are different positions and which position Ubuntu MATE is closer to. If you build a house and make it your home, don’t you want to know your neighbourhood? :relaxed::telescope:

The comparison of different operating systems in the very beginning actually invites such a discussion. When already mentioning proprietary solutions why not also briefly mention those on the other side of the spectrum? Additionally, this puts Ubuntu MATE in a very advantageous position: bridging the divide and bringing to the user “the best of two worlds”. A few more sentences don’t hurt any new user. We have to be careful that new users are not paternalized.

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May I reinforce how little new users may care, especially when Linux systems are introduced by somebody who previously used Windows, and looks at it from the “Does it work?” perspective.

I keep on beating this drum, and I will continue to keep on beating this drum because it is something which must be assessed; Does it work? Most Windows users who were already comfortable with Windows will want a solution that works for their Windows-using habits. Refer to this thread to prove my point; The OP’s workplace stopped supplying Ubuntu MATE because it didn’t look like Windows from the start.

What you say here is very important. One of the reasons I am using Ubuntu MATE is because it works well, at least most of the time. I share with you - I believe - the idea that any operating system designed for end users must be measured against how easy and efficiently it is to get things done. But I am also suggesting that there is more than a reductionist “Does it work?” perspective and that I see Ubuntu MATE in a unique position to bridge the divide between more technical-pragmatist approaches (“Good is what works for me”) and more ethical-idealist approaches (“Good is what respects my freedom”).

I commented on this thread as well and agree with most of the points made in the original post. I am not trying to downplay the pragmatic aspects of using an operating system. In fact, it is just as important to me than the respect for user freedom and privacy. An operating system (or generally any kind of software for that matter) is good not only because it “just works” but also because of “how it works and why”, that is, in what sense it reflects values that I care about and how it influences those who use it.

My previous deleted post was waxing lyrical about stuff not terribly relevant to anyone else but me, so here’s a less selfish reply;

Like most people, I am a very nuts-and-bolts oriented person. You’re a rare breed to care about software freedom, because most people who are coming from Microsoft Windows have already submitted to a lack of freedom, and it would not make any lick of difference what a man with a white beard tells them about the important of software freedom, so long the software used works.

Not to discount everything you said, that is not my intent. I intend with my commentary to prioritize practicality and functionality. Considering that most people who come from Windows are use to either paying for the system or pirating it, either use case would welcome a free choice, but they don’t use it because of ideological reasons, they use it because of financial reasons. Certainly, it’s a lot easier for basic tasks to just have a Linux system on a stick than it is to pirate Windows, and it’s way easier to install a modern Linux system (especially the Ubuntus) too; two merits that already make Linux systems look better.

Think about it this way; Everybody cares if a screwdriver can turn a fastener into place. Not many care who made the fastener, or the screwdriver so long they both function in unison to perform the task of securing a thing to something else.

I think the discussion is moot. I don’t mean this in a bad way, just that you probably haven’t considered the following angle to the issue, @maro:

A user that is aware and cares for the differences between Open Source and Free Software won’t need to be told which is which. Probably won’t even appreciate the extra information cluttering the screen. They know they shouldn’t trust it, and that they need to look for it themselves.

And a user that isn’t aware of the differences, won’t care about them either way. So the extra information is mostly noise to him, with a certain potential to confuse him.