Warning: rant ahead.
Yesterday the government of Argentina announced that they are giving way 3 million netbooks to students. They also announced that they are giving them the option of Ubuntu or Windows 7.
There was, of course, the typical reaction from the FLOSS side: why are they giving Windows to the students when Linux is better? It's unfair that the government pays for Windows!
I am here to tell you to grow up and stop being a baby. I am here to tell you to stop treating others like babies.
I think I can do this because I am immune to criticism from the FLOSS crowd: I am a member of that crowd. I have an awesome FLOSS pedigree, I have used nothing but Linux for over 15 years. And I have a thick skin and I don't care much what other people say, in principle, unless they give me good reasons to care. And I am telling you to stop complaining.
I am telling you that if the only reason to use a specific piece of software is because it's cheaper, you are accepting that piece of software sucks.
I want people not to just use Linux, I want them to want to use Linux. I want them to wait anxiously for the next release of Ubuntu or Firefox or whatever.
And the first step towards excellence is wanting to be excellent. If having to pay nothing for Windows or Ubuntu there is a certainty that Windows will win, then Ubuntu freaking sucks and needs to improve. People are not adopting it even if it's free? Then something is wrong, and figuring out what is important.
But even more important than finding the missing piece is knowing a piece is missing. Open source has grown complacent. It's grown self righteous. It's become adolescent, sure of its awesomeness and immortality.
I don't believe in many things, but I do believe in free will. I believe that people are not morons, I believe that if they prefer Windows, it's because it does something better, and I believe that whatever that is (and I don't really know what it may be), it can be found, and can be improved, and can be replaced, and other things can be added, and people will want to use the better product.
And if they don't... well, at least we fought an honest fight, and we did our best, and we (hopefully) had fun in the process, and pushed the envelope, and created nice things, and the users are better off in the end even if our babies are not the chosen ones, because we raised the level of everything.
For example, before Linux, Windows sucked much, much more than it does now, and I think many of those improvements were because of Linux, and I am happy that today Windows users have a OS that doesn't stink.
I want free and open source software to be used because it's awesome, not because it's cheap. Awesome and cheap I can live with. Just cheap? That sucks.
And the constant "they use windows because they don't know better"? That's patronizing and condescending, and very, very annoying. And if it annoys me, who is not the target of the lame condescension, trust me, it annoys the crap out of Windows users.
Grow a spine, get your asses into gear, start making awesome stuff, kick ass with quality. That's why we are here. Not to be the cheapest date in town.