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Rare Photos: Gnu Crashing a Windows 8 Launch Event 313

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody-call-attenborough dept.
New submitter Atticus Rex writes "Reporters and security guards at the Windows 8 launch event weren't sure how to react when they were greeted by a real, live gnu. The gnu — which, on closer inspection, was an activist in a gnu suit — had come for some early trick-or-treating. But instead of candy, she had free software for the eager journalists. The gnu and the Free Software Foundation campaigns team handed out dozens of copies of Trisquel, a fully free GNU/Linux distribution, along with press releases and stickers. Once they got over their confusion, the reporters were happy to see us and hear our message — that Windows 8 is a downgrade, not an upgrade, because it steals users' freedom, security and privacy."
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Rare Photos: Gnu Crashing a Windows 8 Launch Event

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  • Sounds like a plan (Score:5, Informative)

    by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Saturday October 27, 2012 @12:43PM (#41790147)

    Way to spread the word!

  • Crashing, huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 27, 2012 @12:43PM (#41790153)
    When I read the headline I was expecting something involving forcing their way into the event. This, however, turns out to be the kind of positive thing we want to present the community with. Also, that is a sweet head!
  • by Joe U (443617) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @12:50PM (#41790191) Homepage Journal

    It was funny in 1995 when the "protesters" were in front of CompUSA on 35th street in Manhattan. It was cute when they were outside PC Expo in 1996. Started to get kinda sad at the Windows 98 launch and went downhill after that.

    Now they're just a sideshow attraction.

    • by fm6 (162816) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:15PM (#41790371) Homepage Journal

      Especially when they're pushing a distro nobody's ever heard of and which does a terrible job of promoting itself. I looked on both Trisquel's home page and its Wikipedia entry, and the only justification I could find for its existence was that it had Gallician support. (Why they didn't just contribute Gallician localization to an existing distro is unclear.) Other than that, it appears to be a simple Ubuntu fork.

      Now that is ironic. Not just a fringe OS, but a fringe version of the OS. How fringe? The very existence of the Gallician language is controversial. It's spoken only in the northwest corner of Spain, which would be part of Portugal if borders were drawn by actual cultural boundaries. (The Portugese language originated there.) But it's unpatriotic to refer to Gallician as a dialect of Portugese, so they have to pretend have their own language, mainly distinguished by the fact that Gallicia refuses to participate in efforts to reform Portugese spelling.

      Do Linux zealots actually work at being marginal?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:33PM (#41790519)

        The reason for promoting Trisquel is that it is one of the few Linux distributions on the FSF's approved list of completely free distributions. It's basically Ubuntu with a free kernel and without the option of installing Flash. Trisquel is one of the few distributions on the FSF's approved list which is quite user friendly. Personally, I'd rather they hand out a distribution with all the Linux firmware and drivers to provide better hardware support, but the FSF isn't about being practical, they are focused on software freedom.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by fm6 (162816)

          but the FSF isn't about being practical, they are focused on software freedom.

          Please don't use "software freedom" without scare quotes. If you leave them out, you imply that FSF actually matters.

          Anyway, I'm glad this is about the Gospel According to Stallman and not about some weird geopolitical agenda. Had me worried.

          • by JabberWokky (19442) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Saturday October 27, 2012 @03:17PM (#41791365) Homepage Journal

            you imply that FSF actually matters.

            With not much enthusiasm, I simply note that two decades ago I couldn't run anywhere near the phenomenal library of free and Free software that I do today. Three decades ago, I was closer to being able to, so there was a very serious period of "you must license your software and only companies can own or alter it". I don't have much enthusiasm because it's a pretty non-notable fact these days. If you're coding something new, you first look for libraries or code that does much of what you need, and then use them for free. That's not surprising to say. Two decades ago, it would be.

            So the FSF pretty much won (as did the many many non-FSF coders who contributed). Maybe not in terms of global dominance, but in real terms of "I can use my system and do what I want because I have rights to the software and can alter it at whim". This state of things was not a certain outcome. Now it is simply part of the IT world we take for granted.

            • by pnot (96038) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @03:46PM (#41791551)

              Amen. I use Ubuntu and am happy (on a pragmatic level) to have a set-up that's maybe 98% free software. I would sooner punch myself in the nuts than switch to Trisquel, but I'm keenly aware that were it not for RMS's single-mindedness, I would probably be using a set-up that's 98% non-free (or, more likely, doing something entirely different because the world of computers wouldn't interest me as much).

        • by TraumaHound (30184) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @03:26PM (#41791429)

          the FSF's approved list of completely free distributions. It's basically Ubuntu with a free kernel and without the option of installing Flash.

          There goes my irony quota for the day.

          • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@Nos ... t-retrograde.com> on Saturday October 27, 2012 @05:04PM (#41792131)

            the FSF's approved list of completely free distributions. It's basically Ubuntu with a free kernel and without the option of installing Flash.

            There goes my irony quota for the day.

            "without the option" wasn't exactly correct. Of course you can install whatever software from whatever repository you want once it's installed, or even compile the sources-- Oh, Flash, well, no source for proprietary stuff like that, but you can still install it. Windows XP comes "without the option" of installing Flash. Last I checked you get Flash from Adobe's website after installing Windows. Some Linux distros make it easy to stay up to date by putting Adobe's Flash in their repository. However, now that Adobe will no longer release updates for Flash on Linux I can't blame some folks for not including the buggy product in their distros...

            I wonder if you'll be able to add 3rd party markets to Windows 8's app store, like on most Android and Linux distributions, or if it'll actually be "without the option" like Apple's app store?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The very existence of the Gallician language is controversial. It's spoken only in the northwest corner of Spain, which would be part of Portugal if borders were drawn by actual cultural boundaries. (The Portugese language originated there.) But it's unpatriotic to refer to Gallician as a dialect of Portugese, so they have to pretend have their own language, mainly distinguished by the fact that Gallicia refuses to participate in efforts to reform Portugese spelling.

        Huh. Portugal has hipsters, too.

        So, when

      • Especially when they're pushing a distro nobody's ever heard of and which does a terrible job of promoting itself. I looked on both Trisquel's home page and its Wikipedia entry, and the only justification I could find for its existence was that it had Gallician support.

        [...]
        Do Linux zealots actually work at being marginal?

        > implying that variety isn't the spice of life.
        Oh, you. ;-)

    • by tgd (2822)

      It was funny in 1995 when the "protesters" were in front of CompUSA on 35th street in Manhattan. It was cute when they were outside PC Expo in 1996. Started to get kinda sad at the Windows 98 launch and went downhill after that.

      Now they're just a sideshow attraction.

      Well, at least it gave a lot of people a funny story to laugh about later that day.

  • by BrownLeopard (876112) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @12:51PM (#41790209)
    ...but someone in a Gnu suit? Kind of misleading, yeah? I do have to agree with the other posters though. It does seem like trolling an event. If Microsoft came into a Gnu event it would be bashed as them crashing a party. Same kind of thing here.
    • by Zocalo (252965) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:29PM (#41790489) Homepage

      If Microsoft came into a Gnu event it would be bashed as them crashing a party.

      Of course it would. Chances are it would also be csh'ed, ksh'ed and zsh'ed (amongst others) as well.

    • If you think the majority of tech "journalists" have the slightest clue about software freedom vs the walled garden, you are sadly mistaken. And the tech consuming public is far worse off. Any effort to educate them is a GOOD thing - especially if its well communicated by professional looking young folks like this, instead of some of the rabid "kings" of open source.
    • ...but someone in a Gnu suit? Kind of misleading, yeah?

      That person was afraid to show face in public, hence the artiodactyl suit. A clear example of an Anonymous Cow Herd!

    • by mewsenews (251487)

      If Microsoft came into a Gnu event it would be bashed as them crashing a party. Same kind of thing here.

      I agree with you but only to a certain extent. This incident was also a protest about user freedom, as much as it was a promotional activity for free software.

      If microsoft protested a free software event they'd be laughed out of the room.

      So I remain divided: showing up to someones launch event so that you can promote their competitor: utterly tasteless. Showing up somewhere to raise awareness of user righ

      • Yes, there is a difference between a for-profit corporation with a history of market suppression and three amateurs promoting a freely created alternative.

    • I was disappointed by the fake gnu. I wonder what it would cost to rent a real gnu. I'll bet a kickstarter project could make this happen for Windows 9.

    • ...but someone in a Gnu suit?

      Suit? It was just an oversized hat.

      (A better gimmick would have been to give away USB flash drives with a rock solid linux distro that boots straight into a bunch of diagnostic and recovery tools. "For use after testing Win8." Hint hint.)

  • by FSWKU (551325) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @12:55PM (#41790235)
    The software may be free. Enough computing power for the software to handle a slashdotting, however, is NOT free...
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:01PM (#41790281) Journal

    John SuGnuGnu said only a Gnu could love a Gnu.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:03PM (#41790299)

    ...that translates roughly to "Doesn't have a real job.'

  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:09PM (#41790325)

    Citation needed.

    Now, it's quite possible that Windows 7 is not secure enough for your needs and 8 doesn't improve upon that significantly, but I'm skeptical that 8 is a step backwards in security.

    • by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:19PM (#41790407)

      Citation needed.

      You must be gnu here...

    • by swillden (191260)

      Citation needed.

      Now, it's quite possible that Windows 7 is not secure enough for your needs and 8 doesn't improve upon that significantly, but I'm skeptical that 8 is a step backwards in security.

      They weren't claiming that Windows 8 is insecure. They said it steals users' security. They're just pointing out (in arguably over-the-top language) that it takes control of users' information away from the users. This probably isn't because of anything specific that it does, it's just because it's closed and therefore unknowable and uncontrollable.

    • Let me explain something: SECURITY MUST BE PROVEN. You can't just claim the product secure, we look back and then determine how secure it has been. Additionally: NEW SOFTWARE HAS NEW BUGS, and these bugs are what makes security exploits possible.

      Considering that Windows8 is not just Windows7 in a different box, that it actually comes with more and newer code than Windows7 or XP, I think it's safe to say that it more likely than not that it contains more bugs than these already released and hammered on

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        If that's your position then the lack of security must also be proven.

        You cannot say "it's Microsoft's responsibility to prove they are insecure, otherwise it is 'safe to say' that it is less secure".

        That's called hypocrisy.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:15PM (#41790367)
    Well trained security guards would have quashed that right away, along with explanations of "You need to buy a vendor permit to distribute pamphlets/software at the show".
    Microsoft Security Fail!
  • only Windows 8? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mschaffer (97223) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:16PM (#41790383)

    Really? Only Windows 8? OSX/iOS steals users' freedom, security and privacy quite a bit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Fishchip (1203964)
      Shh, this is a Windows-bashing article. There'll be an OSX one in a little while.
      • by NIK282000 (737852)
        Well that's not fair at all, you can't bash MS and Apple practices and then leave out Sony. I find this bias in /. to be shocking.
    • by VAElynx (2001046)
      Well... it would be sort of retarded to point out the deficiencies of iOS on a Microsoft event. Kinda like when the soviet and the american argued about their countries.
      American: "But we have freedom of speech!" Soviet: "What is that, even?" American: "For example , if I were to walk into the White House, shout Ronald Reagan is a filthy thieving lying fuck, nobody would do anything to me." Soviet: "Hah! We got it even better. If I were to walk into the Kremel, and shout Ronald Reagan is a filthy thieving
  • Nice beard. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Haxagon (2454432) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:20PM (#41790421)

    "The gnu — which, on closer inspection, was an activist in a gnu suit"
    It's hard to tell the two apart sans suit, sometimes.

    Said as a GNU/Linux enthusiast.

  • Way to go. (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by hey! (33014)

    This will raise the Linux community's credibility with the public.

  • by Rooked_One (591287) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:31PM (#41790501) Journal
    "...Windows 8 is a downgrade, not an upgrade, because it steals users' freedom, security and privacy."

    This may be so, but I think that statement detracts from the fact that windows is starting to make users very ignorant. Windows 7 took away the advanced search. I used to love to be able to search for files largers than 10MB very easily but now I must use third party software to do a very "Windows" function.

    I sometimes mourn for the days that when you installed something, its functions went into its own directory. You could very easily find what you're looking for, and modify if possible. This constantly gets stripped down, at least for a few things.
  • Not a gnu (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:32PM (#41790511)
    Richard Stallman just hasn't shaved in awhile.
  • Why this distro? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:47PM (#41790587) Homepage

    They're fighting the Windows 8 downgrade by offering a fringe GNU-downgraded Linux distro.
    I'm sure all those journalists will be convinced after they have learned to manually install the required hardware drivers.

    Marketing isn't about promoting the things you personally like, it's about promoting the things your potential users like.
    Windows and Apple users don't care about privacy, freedom, security or ownership. Either convince them of the importance of those issues before pushing Linux or promote the Linux features they do care about (i.e. "Linux is free and has the best tools for downloading the latest movies").

    • by swillden (191260)

      What distro would you suggest? Keep in mind that this is the FSF, so it must be one that is completely Free. No binary-only blobs and no licenses that would bar you from modifying, redistributing or both. This excludes Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, etc.

      Because, whether you agree with their message or not, the fact is that giving away a distribution that is only mostly Free would undermine it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sunderland56 (621843)

      And, why do they hate Linus so much? From the Tresquel web page [trisquel.info]:

      "Linus Torvalds did not write a whole operating system, he only wrote the last missing piece, a kernel"

      Yeah, sure, completely gloss over the fact that the kernel is by far the most important piece.

    • by Maow (620678)

      Marketing isn't about promoting the things you personally like, it's about promoting the things your potential users like.
      Windows and Apple users don't care about privacy, freedom, security or ownership. Either convince them of the importance of those issues before pushing Linux or promote the Linux features they do care about (i.e. "Linux is free and has the best tools for downloading the latest movies").

      I look at marketing more as promoting not what you think your potential users like, but simply what you have to offer.

      Now to be successful, there should be significant overlap between those.

      This story makes a great example, as this is a Windows 8 event and MS has the Sisyphean task of marketing TIFKAM (the interface formerly known as Metro) - certainly not what the users want (nor have been asking for).

  • From what little of FSF page I could get to load seems they are reusing standard talking points on the perils of commercial software without making an effort to address windows 8 specifically.

    To me it would have been more useful had they actually enumerate privacy and freedom transgressions committed by Windows 8. From calling home for nn reasons, live account login, RT store lockin... must be tons of legit points which can be made about win8 rather than the same blanket statements proclaiming commercial

  • OS/2 crashing (Score:4, Informative)

    by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:50PM (#41790611)

    Back about 20 years ago, Steve Ballmer went to an IBM booth at an computer show, and tried to crash OS/2 there. So, I guess you reap what you sow.

    Eventually. Kinda sorta.

  • Eh, I'll give Trisquel a download and check it out in Workstation. Pretty much expecting a by the numbers Ubuntu based distro. But hey, why not?

  • by devnullkac (223246) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @02:28PM (#41790965) Homepage

    On closer inspection? More like "The person with an enormous mascot mask - which, on closer inspection, vaguely resembled a gnu."

  • by tbird81 (946205) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @04:26PM (#41791877)

    To a Windows 8 opening?

    Who really cares about getting it first? Who (non-geek) even installs new operating systems? People just use whatever is on their computer.

  • Then RMS wouldn't need to hijack linux for his cause.

    The best thing to happen to Linux was the philosophy of Open Source.

    I'm not unsympathetic to the FSF's goals, but Linux just isn't GNU to me.

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis

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