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Education Software Linux

Give an Internet Freedom Disk 342

Posted by kdawson
from the real-holiday-cheer dept.
An anonymous reader, perhaps the blogger himself, writes to tell us about a new blog aimed at getting non-techies excited over the idea of running from a Live CD. The blogger doesn't call it that, preferring instead "Internet Freedom Disk"; Linux is never mentioned. The submitter adds: "This is just a great gift to drop on your non-geek friends and potentially wake up a sleeping giant." Cheap, last-minute, and you can make them yourself. The blogger isn't selling anything; he provides links to Ubuntu and Knoppix Live CDs. Or pick your favorite.
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Give an Internet Freedom Disk

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  • by LordEd (840443) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:47PM (#17280976)
    If we don't support freedom, the terrorists have already won!
    • Give Bibles (Score:2, Insightful)

      .. and get them excited about religion.

      You'd probably get pissed if someone tried to force their ideology down your throat so why should you force yours on others?

      • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday December 17, 2006 @09:00PM (#17281882) Homepage Journal
        Meh. I have relatives that have done this to me. Specifically, they show me the part of the bible that they think is relevant to some recent woe in my life that I shared with them. When it is relevant I thank them for sharing their wisdom with me. When it isn't, I have a nice conversation with them about how they thought it was relevant and how it wasn't. Of course, what I never mention to them is that I'd love to read the bible more often, but it is just such poor writing that my brain won't tolerate it. It would be great if Neal Stephenson or Peter F. Hamilton or some equally great modern writer could rewrite the bible so it isn't so boring, tedious, cryptic, and, well, preachy. Then I could read about the coolest jew who ever lived without having to remember the difference between "shall" and "shant".
        • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by mr_mischief (456295)
          I'm not saying the writing is any different, or that you'll like it any more, but there are Bibles in plainer English than the King James translation. Many of them are better translations, too. If you really want to read the Bible in plain English -- whether for your own beliefs, for literary purposes, in order to refute it, or any reason at all, you can go to your local religious bookstore and ask about the New International Version, a student edition Bible, or the Good News Bible.
          • by QuantumG (50515) *
            Plain english is a start but, as I understand it, these are all translations right? They're not rewrites by people with actual literary skill, are they?
            • by nacturation (646836) <nacturation AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday December 17, 2006 @09:52PM (#17282230) Journal

              Plain english is a start but, as I understand it, these are all translations right? They're not rewrites by people with actual literary skill, are they?
              I suppose in a way it's like making Shakespeare more accessible by having it rewritten in modern language.

              "I think this chick bitches too much."

                    --Macbeth, Act III, Scene II

               
            • by billstewart (78916) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @10:23PM (#17282414) Journal
              Different groups who've translated the Bible into English have had different priorities and skill sets, written for different subsets of the English language, and done so at different times and therefore their dialects have different levels of readability today. (Sorry to pick on English here; I know a little about the Latin Vulgate, Luther's German translation and the Frency Douay translation, but basically nothing about post-1610 translations except into English :-)


              Most modern translations are trying to strike some balance between readability, preservation of the nuances in the original languages, continuity with familiar readings from earlier well-known translations, introduction of better copies of original texts that weren't available to previous translators, better availability of other original-language material that helps us understand the way the language was used at the time the original documents were written, and of course there's the problem of dealing with poetry.


              The King James translation was fairly conservative for its time (finished 1611), trying to retain much of the familiarity of the popular Geneva translation (which was politically awkward, because that had a lot of Puritan notes and commentary printed with it, and the King wanted stuff that was politically Anglican), and the Geneva translation retained a lot of continuity with Tyndale's and other translations, so even though the English language had been changing radically during the 1500s, and almost all of the "thee" and "thou" and "ye" and "hast" had gone out of popular usage by 1600, a lot of late-1400s grammar was in the translation. On the other hand, the KJV is still very accessible today, partly because it gradually became influential, partly because Shakespeare remains influential, and partly because the translators, while they were trying for broad readability, were a bunch of Southerners (that's London, Oxford, Cambridge, not Alabama :-), so you don't have the diversity of UK dialects such as Scots or Geordie or Cornwall English or Welsh-Border, so the last 400 years of linguistic evolution haven't hit it as hard as if he'd hired a bunch of his fellow Scots to translate it.

        • and when the relatives tell you about their spam woes, you can pull out the CD .....

          It's sweet to turn the tables!

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Da_Weasel (458921)
          shant? isn't that the past participle of shat?
      • One word : (Score:3, Funny)

        by DrYak (748999)
        so why should you force yours on others?


        RETALIATION.

      • Re:Give Bibles (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @10:12PM (#17282356)
        Offering someone a Bible isn't forcing anything down their throat, and neither is giving them a LiveCD. Do you seriously feel oppressed when a Jehovah's Witness/Mormon/PETA member tries to hand you a pamphlet?
        • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Monday December 18, 2006 @02:39AM (#17283592) Homepage
          Of course not, and even if someone does feel that way that doesn't mean they are being oppressed.

          But many who post to websites like this (Digg, /., and others) have been fed a steady diet of business-first thinking -- the notion that we should view every issue chiefly in terms of business interests. The posters are usually young, they haven't read much, but they aren't stupid, merely ignorant of the long struggle many people make to ensure freedoms for themselves and others. They've also been taught to not give any mind to the condition of others, so speaking and thinking in narrow economic ways is de rigeur. For them, business-first thinking is never seen as pushing something down someone's throat, that ideology has the privilege of being viewed as the norm. So when someone talks in terms of freedom (or, perhaps, ethics and social solidarity), that talk must immediately be reframed as inappropriate. One easy way to do this is to mock them for being "religious" which gives others readers a cue that such talk isn't tolerated. After all, businesses greatest achievement is convincing people to divorce their work from ethical examination; we musn't have people asking questions like what kind of society they want to live in.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Duds (100634) *
        My Linux CD includes the bible in PDF!
  • You lost me at (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:50PM (#17280994)
    getting non-techies excited over the idea of running from a Live CD

    Normal people dont get excited about operating systems. PC's are either tools or toys to them. Getting another operating systems is about as exciting as changing the wash cycle in their dishwasher for most people.
    • by Who235 (959706) <secretagentx9 AT cia DOT com> on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:08PM (#17281148)
      I like to use the "pots and pans" cycle even when there are no pots or pans in the load. I think it's more secure aginst streaks, spots, and other malcleaning. It also protects against the trojan spaghetti sauce that tends to stick after a "normal" cycle.

      I know the detergent makers usually only support "normal" wash, but I've found that to be typical Cascade FUD - most of the time I can use exactly the same detergent, or in a pinch I can make my own.

      I've tried and tried to get my aunts and uncles to switch over to "pots and pans" so they'll stop calling me when food remains stuck to their dishes, but they always forget and just set the dial to "normal" as soon as I leave. I never should have let on that I know anything about dishwashers.

      Oh well.

       
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Antony-Kyre (807195)
        Doesn't the pots and pans cycle use up more energy/water? Doesn't it end up costing you more money each year?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jrockway (229604)
          Well, it would probably be cheaper to just eat off of dirty dishes, right, so why bother with the dishwasher at all?

          (Same thing with heating / cooling your house. It's just going to get hot after your turn off your air conditioning, so why bother using it all?)
          • Efficiency is the key. Not using/paying for more than what is needed. I guess it depends on whether someone minds eating off of 90% clean dishes. As for heating and cooling houses, the same thing holds true concerning efficiency.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Dunbal (464142)
            it would probably be cheaper to just eat off of dirty dishes, right, so why bother with the dishwasher at all?

                  Isn't that what the dog is for? Here boy...
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by AmberBlackCat (829689)
        I just want to know if it's going to be compatible with my cups.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BlowChunx (168122)
      Tell this to my neighbor who put out a Pentium 2.4 machine on the curb because it gave her a BSOD.

      Show her a live CD, and it's all kittens after that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by gEvil (beta) (945888)
        You should disconnect the fuel line on her car. Just be sure to be around when she discovers it. : D
    • by couchslug (175151)
      "PC's are either tools or toys to them."
      Exactly. That's why I demonstrate live CDs and THEN give them away.
      A machine at work refused to finish booting, and we are down to an airman who only knows to format and reload. (Users aren't Administrators on their boxes much anymore, which would be good if we hadn't got rid of most of our skilled workgroup managers...)
      I unplugged the machine from the network, booted Knoppix, burned the needed files to external DVD, and played some of the music I found while I was at
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by supremebob (574732)
      Not only that, but most "normal" people aren't really interested in changing their operating system. I got sick of hearing my Dad complain about how much Windows XP sucked, so I gave him a Red Hat Linux distribution for Christmas along with the other gifts that he asked for a few years ago. Even though I offered to help him with the installation, I doubt that he even cracked open the jewel case on those CD's. Some people are just more comfortable with the devil they know, I guess.
  • hmm great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:50PM (#17281004)
    Retake your Internet! Once again browse any page! Click any item! Surf with impunity!

    1 - I've failed to "take my internet" so far, how will I retake it?
    2 - I can already browse any page
    3 - I can already click any item
    4 - Does this mean I can download kiddie porn without fearing the police?

    Seriously though, as soon as I read that first line, I stopped perusing this blog. It sounds very silly and useless...
    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      Does this mean I can download kiddie porn without fearing the police?
      So long as you're using an open wireless access point, sure.

      It is a live CD.
  • Brill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rexz (724700) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:53PM (#17281032)
    A blogger linked to Ubuntu? Great story guys. Very worthy of the front page.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:56PM (#17281056)
    There are a few different IFD's out there. The geeks call them Live-CD's. They don't look to alive to me, but the geeks have a habit of choosing bad names for things, sad but true. You will have to know what an .iso file is and how to burn it. If that just scared you then just buy a large pizza with extra cheese and a six-pack of beer. Then invite your geek friend over to do it for you. This way is much easier and more fun.

    So basically, once non-tech folks are excited about live-CDs and have downloaded the iso, they're freed and... need to con a geek into coming to their home to do the job because n00bs can't figure it out. Great, I'm sure countless people needed that advice.
    • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:01PM (#17281082) Homepage Journal
      But it means free food for almost no work.. Sounds good to me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by flyingfsck (986395)
      You won't believe how many geeks(!) I had to help to burn an ISO file on their Windoze PC. Most Windoze CD burning programs make that simple process very difficult/impossible.
      • You have something to back that up or are you basing this off of one invalid case? Nero and Roxio, the two most popular burners, both support ISO naively and easily. You just tell it to make a CD from an image, show it the image, it does the rest. In the event the computer doesn't have one of those two you can grab DVD Decrypter which isn't really made for burning, but ISO burning is one of it's features (and it works well).

        So I'm going to call BS here, especially given your use of "Windoze". My guess is th
        • I have tried and failed to burn an .iso image with the reduced version of Roxio that is distributed with Dell PCs in Germany. Only looking it up in google made me achieve this goal. Before that, my sister's boyfriend had tried to burn an .iso on the same computer and finally ended up setting up a network, pulling the .iso over to his PC, and burning it there. We are both computer-savvy. It just so happened that the program's documentation was unusable, and the .iso burning function was buried in the most u
      • by NiteShaed (315799)
        1. Download and install the ISO Recorder Power Toy.
        2. Right click on the .iso file, select "Copy Image to CD"

        Didn't seem all that difficult to me.....

      • by QuantumG (50515) *
        I use isoburn. It does that one job, that's all it does.. and it makes a little singing noise at the end.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by RobertLTux (260313)
      yick im going to waive my mod points to post this little gem ftp://terabyteunlimited.com/burncdcc.zip [terabyteunlimited.com]
      1 its freeware
      2 all it does is burn isos
      3 if you can't figure it out sell your computer
      4 if you manage to make a coaster your drive is defective (or your box is "compromised")
  • Security? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by delirium of disorder (701392) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:59PM (#17281064) Homepage Journal
    It looks like the purpose of this CD is to protect users from Trojans, spyware, and other malware. The author of this page encourages users to click on anything they want on the web and not worry about the source of the executables that they are running. Encouraging users to continue to be ignorant and reckless sounds like a horrible idea. Sure, right now there doesn't happen to be much malware for Linux, but if more dumb people start running Linux, it will be produced. Even though Linux is more resistant than Windoze to being broken into by traditional exploits, if the user deliberately runs some malicious program, the system cannot protect itself. No system that allows the user to administer their own machine can protect from these kinds of attacks. We need to educate users AND give them Linux. Doing either one without the other will leave the our public Internet in worse shape and our fellow users just as bewildered and dangerous.
    • I have been running Linux since 1996. I open any email attachments and click any links with wild abandon. Ten years and no problems due to that...
    • by MustardMan (52102)
      Uh, that's the whole point of it being a LIVE CD... your computer gets fucked up, you're a reboot away from a complete restoration. Of course, you still risk having your saved files and whatnot deleted, but that's not the point of the "freedom disk" idea.
    • by robogun (466062)
      We need to educate users

      Look, they don't want to be 1337 like us. Personally I revel in being a geek, but for many, turning into a geek would be more scary than being pwned. They just want their myspace and pr0n, they don't have the time or brains or the interest to learn the computer workings. Me, I just want them to stop calling when they get browser jacked. Therefore it would behoove us & the intire Internet to see to it that they surf safely.
  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hikerhat (678157) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:00PM (#17281076)
    Why would my non-technical friend want to transform his computer from a fully function system, with all his documents, programs, music, etc into a semi functional linux system running off a cdrom? Removing the word 'linux' from the name of the cd doesn't make it more appealing. And what does 'internet freedom' mean to my non-technical friend? Will he be able to get to more web sites? No. Maybe less given that linux web browsers can only render a subset of the pages windows browsers can. Can he save new files or music to his live cd? No. All your work goes away when you shut the computer down.

    Exactly what freedoms are available to you when you run a linux live system off a cdrom that are unavailable to you on your fully functional windows system?

    • And after having his Freedom Disc installed, he'll still not know what to do with those programs, because Linux doesn't yet seem to have a large, friendly "TUTORIAL" button on its default desktop. Asking him to go to IRC with any problems, or read a textbook to learn about this Linux thing, creates a substantial hurdle before this new user can do anything with the new system. If he's told, "What's so hard? There's your Internet browser; there's your word processor," then he's as badly off as if he'd stuck w
      • Are you a time traveller from 1998 who hasn't bothered checking to make sure the world hasn't changed in 8 years or something?

        Most computer users use their computer by looking at the screen and clicking on stuff that looks like it will do what they want. The fact that Ubuntu has an "Applications" menu rather than a "Start" menu shouldn't slow that down. The big old Firefox icon, and the "OpenOffice.org Word Processor" item under the "Office" menu shouldn't be that hard either.

        The fact of the matter is, as

    • by QuantumG (50515) *
      I can name four.
    • Exactly what freedoms are available to you when you run a linux live system off a cdrom that are unavailable to you on your fully functional windows system?

      Freedom from proprietary software and forced, expensive upgrades. Freedom from ignorance. Freedom from the same cookie-cutter applications and nagware with annoying splash screens from hell.

      Freedom to know what the heck all this Ubuntu buzz is their reading on Digg and Slashdot all the time (and I could go on).
      • by NiteShaed (315799)

        Freedom from proprietary software and forced, expensive upgrades.

        The average home user generally couldn't care less. Most of the home-users I run into want to browse the web, and not a whole lot more. They check their email on yahoo, msn, or (shudder) AOL. They use Internet Explorer because it's there, and that's about it.

        Freedom from ignorance.

        Yeah, there's a selling point.....
        You: "Use this, or else I'll think you're ignorant".
        User: "Bugger off nerd".
        They don't care. They don't consider this k

  • by Simon Garlick (104721) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:02PM (#17281094)
    Repeat after me.

    Non-techies don't care about this shit.
    Non-techies don't care about this shit.
    Non-techies don't care about this shit.
  • I think this is a much better attempt than the horrible BadVista site from yesterday. While the tone of this one may not appeal to everybody, there is absolutely no single approach to anything what will work for everyone under the sun =)

    Perhaps sites like this would be most effective after somebody has been experiencing problems with their PC. Try to talk somebody with a perfectly working computer about it and the whole "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality takes over.

  • And the best is... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:08PM (#17281140)
    I have tested a number of "Internet Freedom Disks" (Live CDs), if I may call them that and have found that the best "Internet Freedom Disk" is Freespire version 1.0.13.This disk comes with everything needed to be productive on the internet nowadays.

    It is the only disk that enables me watch CNN video, Yahoo! video, and videos on http://www.youtube.com/ [youtube.com] and http://www.video.google.com/ [google.com] and http://http//www.grouper.com [http] with no tweaking whatsoever.

    This disk also enabled me play Yahoo! games which means Java was [properly] installed. Sound and video worked great and the fonts for the first time, looked better, though more work was still needed on this front.

    One thing I did not like was the CnR warehouse for it complained about my email address being invalid and complained again that the same email address had already been used!

    The other complaint I have with Freespire is the fact that I could not customize my KDE to my liking. But overall, this Freespire distro is the best I have seen for the desktop in the Linux world.

  • by MrNonchalant (767683) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:09PM (#17281162)
    "Woohoo! Yay! Uncle Bobby got me an Internet Freedom Disk!"

    I can just the happy children smiling now.
  • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:10PM (#17281174) Journal
    Please, cut it with the fads. Just call it by its normal name -- an Internet French Disk.
  • by emjoi_gently (812227) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:11PM (#17281176)
    Sorry, but this reminds of of Scientologists offering "A Free Personality Test".
    Omitting to mention, oh by the way, we're a Weird Religious Cult.

  • by thib_gc (730259) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:30PM (#17281312)
    It's called an Internet *French* Disk, you insensitive clod... oh wait... never mind, it is an Internet Freedom Disk.

  • Despite the health crisis facing the US where the number of obese people is steadily rising, nothing changes. Why? Bad habits. An over-reliance on Windows is no less a bad habit than ordering a super-sized meal for the fifth time in one week.

    But it doesn't matter- the super-sized meal, even though, over the long term, is degrading my health, it works for me NOW...this second. The failure here is the inability or lack of motivation when it comes to looking past the immediately obvious. Moving beyond this wil
  • Geeks need not beer. Give them a high energy drink instead.
    • Heresy!
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      Geeks need not beer. Give them a high energy drink instead.

            What, are you 12 or something? :P
      • I'm in my 20s, but then again, I don't drink alcohol. I never tried it neither, so maybe I'm missing something.

        This would make an interesting slashdot poll. "What kind of drinks do geeks out there consume when doing their stuff?"
        • by Dunbal (464142)
          I never tried it neither, so maybe I'm missing something.

                Somebody get this guy a Duff beer! (Waits for typical "Barney" style transformation)
  • by SaidinUnleashed (797936) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:42PM (#17281404)
    Live CD is to "Internet Freedom Disk" as shovel is to "hand-held low-pollution manual excavation utility"
  • by Aphrika (756248) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:45PM (#17281418)
    Friends I have that don't use Linux can't seem to comprehend the idea of a free OS. If I dropped copy of Ubuntu on their lap at Christmas, they'd immediately be suspicious of it. On booting, they'd complain that it wasn't Windows and that'd be that.

    Reminds me of giving out mince pies in front of church on Saturday - most people couldn't understand why we would possibly give away mince pies. It was just a nice idea for shoppers walking past. Same with OSes - people expect to be charged, if they're not, they instantly assume that it's of low quality and crap, or there's some kind of benefit in it for you. Linux has more chance of being taken up if it was a $500 OS. Then it'd be a status symbol and everyone under the Sun would want it, or aspire to own it.
    • by Joey7F (307495)
      They are right to think that. Churches that are giving pies away are trying to get their attendance up. Restaurants that give away free samples are hoping you come spend some money there. Linux advocates are usually hoping people will use it and thus increase the OS' influence.

      --Joey
  • Anyone know how long this thing takes to boot up? I'd imagine it would take a lot longer than what most people are accustomed to, but that's just my guess...
  • Uh... (Score:3, Funny)

    by rindeee (530084) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @08:36PM (#17281718)
    wait, what? Is it just me, or is this really stupid? I get the idea and all, but I can just picture this guy and his 'friends' sitting in mom's basement donned in their Che Guevara t-shirts and giggling with glee as they talk about how this is going to bring down the capitalists that have taken over 'their' Internet. Of course, none of them know who the hell Che Guevara is nor do they understand the fundamental precepts of capitalism, but 'man this is gonna be cool'! Thank goodness Slashdot's helping get the word out. Viva la revolution! Who ate my Spaghetti-O's!
  • by morboIV (1040044) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @08:36PM (#17281720)
    I think this is the most pathetic thing I've ever seen on Slashdot.

    Why would anyone want to routinely run from a LiveCD. Ubuntu from a LiveCD runs like shit, and what about downloading stuff? The moron suggests you just put it flash drive. Yeah, and then I'm going to take out the LiveCD and run the file I just downloaded on my normal OS. So I'm still going to need virus protection, and I'm still going to need to be sane about where I get files from on the internet, but I'll just add ages of fucking around with a LiveCD. And how about bookmarks? You going to explain to people how that's going to work? Or how about in the time it takes to download a LiveCD, tweak it to your liking, and burn it, you just install a free anti-virus program, a free firewall and firefox?

    A LiveCD will be about as useful as a coaster as it will be as an 'IFD'. If some moron gave me one of these things I would have absolutely no choice but to beat some sense into them.
  • vmware player (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pikine (771084) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @08:37PM (#17281736) Journal
    One advantage of running off a live CD is that it doesn't, under normal circumstances, touch your hard drive. This is why the author claims that you don't have to worry about trojan, viruses, spyware, etc. It's not that you don't get infected, but these malware programs are erased from main memory everytime you turn off the computer. However, the author assumes that a malware doesn't scan your computer and mount existing physical hard drives to infect. This could conceivably happen.

    There is a better way. Get VMware player and an Ubuntu virtual machine appliance, and run Firefox off it. That also protects your host computer, and you can always revert your disk image to a pristine stage if you were infected. At least with great likelihood, malware from a guest OS does not penetrate virtual machine.
  • I tried it. (Score:5, Informative)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @09:22PM (#17282014) Homepage

    I tried giving away The Open CD [theopencd.org] (or something similar) to my students. This was a class of biology majors at a community college, so the geek quotient was higher than the general population, but a lot lower than slashdot. I got zero response. Zero interest. Not a single student ever even tried it. I think OpenOffice is a particularly lackluster thing to try to get ordinary people excited about, because they already have word. If they have a good income, they have a legal copy of Word; if they're starving students, they have a pirated copy. They already have tons of Word files on their computer, and no motivation to mess around seeing if OpenOffice will mangle the formatting or not. This is one of the realities we have to deal with: OSS is not an option for most people, for most tasks, because they're locked into proprietary formats.

    OSS games also don't seem to impress people, for several possible reasons: (1) they're crude compared to commercial games, (2) in many cases, they don't work well with the video card, so you get poor performance, and (3) people are used to being able to play flash games for free. I hate to say it, but clubpenguin.com is a lot slicker than most Linux games. Similarly, people are used to getting all those Google AJAX apps for free, and they don't lie up at night worrying about whether Gmail is open-source.

    Here [libertytextbooks.org] is a similar project I've been working on to do a promotional CD of free textbooks. I haven't had much time to work on it since the semester started, however. (Yes, I know the link to theassayer.org is down -- DNS troubles, which should be fixed soon.)

    • by Burz (138833)
      People hate being offered items that are "free". To most, that word usually translates as "promotional item" or "stuffed full of ads and marketing surveys".

      I think offering them a "Safety Disc" or "Security Disc" will sound a lot more practical / no-nonsense. Use it as a failsafe when system trouble strikes, or to scan for rootkits and other malware, or keep yourself protected from Internet criminals.
  • Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goldcd (587052) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @09:35PM (#17282142) Homepage
    What a great idea. Give your parents a CD to shove in their working computer.
    I can feel the love already coming from my Mum: Why does it take an age to start? Why does it say it can't install my wifi driver? Now I've managed to install a Linux Wifi driver, what's my Hex key? Where's IE? Where've all my bookmarks gone? What exactly have I gained by this gift?
  • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:50AM (#17283412) Homepage
    I learned recently (it took me a while to really learn this lesson) to stop recommending computer systems to friends and family.

    I used to go as far as helping them pick out peripherals, specs, and even order it with them on the web. Now I say "Go to dell.com and get at least a gig of RAM." The conversation stops there.

    Why? Because the more I help influence their decision, the more they expect me to support that decision afterward. They're not being mean, they're just naturally extending the help I initally offered them.

    Why would I want to give a non-geek a Linux disk? They're going to come back to me with all sorts of questions about software compatibility, drivers, printing, etc. No one else they know will support them, even paid companies like their OEM or their ISP. And if they're running a business off this computer, then now I'm liable for what may happen to it.

    When will the geek world realize that Linux is not the answer to everything?
  • by PixieDust (971386) on Monday December 18, 2006 @04:33AM (#17284012)
    I enjoy Windows. Sure it gets boring for me, but overall I enjoy Windows quite a bit. Now here's the thing. I don't use Linux very often, it's just too much of a pain to get going, and I often find the dumbest reasons to ditch it. The last time, the ONLY reason I ditched it, was because I couldn't get a frikken flash player to work. I'm addicted to flash cartoons. Damn you Adobe/Macromedia!

    That said, I think this is a wonderful idea. Someone mentioned that people don't get excited over Operating Systems. Well, not when you put it like that. Just show off some of the things about it, and people WILL get excited about it. Wobbly windows are awesome. The first time I saw that, I wanted to install Linux JUST for that, to play with them. I think that is kind of the point here. It's just getting people to USE the thing, hoping the features will sell themselves.

    Personally, I think it's genius. It also has the potential to help the USER to switch to Linux. Granted there is a pretty big difference in just running a LiveCD, and actually installing the thing, but many installers these days are becoming simpler for those new to the show. There's a part of me that wishes this would get more publicity, just because it has the potential to create some really good happenings for the Users.

    In short, people would see how Linux stacks up against Windows (the good, bad and the ugly), and some will undoubtedly make the switch. As Linux captures more of the OS market share, along with MacOS-X, Microsoft will scramble to keep pace. This could create very REAL, and VIABLE competition for Microsoft, which I think would be beneficial to EVERYONE. The ONLY reason that MS is still on top, is because people find it too hard, or too inconvenient to make the switch to Linux (for various reasons). This has the potential to go a long ways towards overcoming that hurdle.

    All in all, (and this coming from an MS Fangirl), well done. Very well done. The real question is, will this make it to enough people, and will it actually accomplish what I'm thinking it could.

  • by Glasswire (302197) <glasswireNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 18, 2006 @08:46AM (#17285104) Homepage
    Given that many full installable distros like Ubuntu require a long and complicated edits to configure connection to a WPA PSK AP, it seems a little optimisitc to assume these live CDs can be handed out with strong confidence that newbies, esp with wireless laptops will be able to boot and connect. I've used about 8 of them (from DSL to Knoppix) and while they're pretty good at detecting wired connections (although some recent wired LAN chipsets still don't get supported right away), I've rarely found wireles, esp with encryption to work without a lot of manual configuration - which is really self-defeating if a RO live CD makes you do it everytime. Much as I wish it were'nt true, Windows (Vista -for example) does an excellent job of finding wireless hdw, spotting an access point and correctly guessing the kind of encryption key the AP is looking for - which is ironic, since there's no such thing as a Windows live CD (except for PE which is really an installer boot environment). I don't believe Microsoft can see a licening model for live CD that works as long as CD/DVDs can be copied. (Maybe live CDs that HAVE to be connected to clock a charge-per-minute of run time :-))

    So, when DSL can accurately detect and quickly configure wireless (and still run totally out of 128MB or more of RAM) I'll give out tons of these to newbies.

Innovation is hard to schedule. -- Dan Fylstra

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