2/23/2004
Graduating by Linux Advocacy, part 2

Here's an early draft for my undergraduate final work outline; please feel free to comment...

In case my friends are wondering, yes I originally wrote this in English; I didn't waste any precious time translating this from Indonesian. And I'm also wondering if I can save some effort by not translating; outline kita bisa nggak sih dimasukkin ke jurusan dalam Bahasa Inggris? Bisa aja sih gue terjemahin tapi kayaknya pegel deh...

Remember that this text is copyrighted by me and licensed under a Creative Commons License:)




Social Marketing for Free Software

an undergraduate final work outline

by Ferdinand F. Zebua
Communications Sciences Department
Regular Undergraduate Program
majoring in Advertising
Faculty of Social and Political Sciences
Universitas Indonesia

1. Introduction
GNU/Linux[FFZ1], and free software in general (more commonly known as open-source software), can be legally had by anyone living in Indonesia, without paying the exhorbitantly high prices of non-free software, which in a lot of cases cost as much as, or even more than, an annual salary for a lot of people in Indonesia. For example current local prices for MS Windows plus MS Office - the bare minimal for a complete, usable operating system - in total is over US$1,000, or approximately Rp 8.500.000. In a nation where average yearly GNP is Rp 4.250.000[FFZ2].

A lot of people say that the rule of law is nonexistant in our nation. At the very least it must be accepted as truth that a lot of crimes go unpunished here. Take for example a common traffic violation such as running a red light. Nor the graft which often take place right after, where the violator pays the arresting officer as much as Rp 100.000, sometimes a lot more, for a 'peaceful settlement.'

One example of these kinds of lawlessness also common throughout the nation is the piracy of copyrighted software.

We must make it so that Indonesian society understands, appreciates, and apply the rule of law in their daily lives and in society. These ideals may have been observed in the past history of our society, but the face of law enforcement and the courts has been so thouroughly smeared during these past years that lawlessnes has more and more become the norm-de-plume of our society. This is not a fault of the current administration nor the one before it. But rather it is the fault of the Soeharto administration which has emphasised crony capitalism, in effect lawlessness. The Indonesian reform simply uncovered it and democratized it insofar as to make everyone know how to get into the crony capitalism system of wealth gain. This in turn has also intensified .

Law obedience must be cultivated; that is it must be made part of Indonesian culture. It must be made so that it is more convenient and more profitable for Indonesia as a society in general - and primarily to the 'under-educated' masses - to live in accordance to the rule of law. One good place to start is the observation of software copyright. It is feasible due to the fact that free software is not just free as in freedom, but that it is also free as in free beer.

Freedom in an information society must be explored and discussed, at least academically if not in public discourse. The speed at which technology develops has made it imperative for us to congregate all the information around us and understand it. It is crucial for society at large to understand the freedoms that are theirs lest they loose it. And it has already begun.

Copyright is not a fundamental human right, it is a social contract[FFZ3]. The concept of copyright was first communicated in the pages of the US constitution. When the founding fathers of the USA agreed to copyright law, they agreed to it under the condition that copyright be a means to stimulate the development of sciences and arts[FFZ4].

The way in which I propose to do this is on the message that it is better to use free software. How am I going to convince people to do that? Firstly I am going to demonstrate how simple Windows programs not requiring DirectX (which include almost all commercial software available in the WindowsX platform except for video games) can mostly run on GNU/Linux systems, and sometimes run faster and more stable. This is achieved throught Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator), a Win32 API layer for Unix-like systems. Hopefully this will get people to run business applications in GNU/Linux systems.

Afterwards I shall go into the legas aspects of free software. Again focusing on the price difference between free and non-free software.

Finally I must go to the philosophical aspects of free software. Because without an understanding of the freedom that free software entails, software in Indonesia might not remain free for long.

The vehicles I would like to employ in the dissemination of these ideas are the computer rentals and Internet kiosks common throughout our nation. Specifically I plan to go to the ones around Margonda.

One point that I must stress is that the Free Software movement is not against copyright; in fact it relies on copyright to enforce their philosophies on freedom of information. The GNU General Public License, the most common - if not the primary - licensing scheme the community uses relies primarily on copyright law to stress that the use and modification of their respective software must be made public and must be developed for the good of society in general.

Another is the unpopularity of desktop GNU/Linux systems. This is mostly due to the fact that the most profitable application of free software is in high-end information systems and web/internet businesses. This has created a situation in which most of the effort put into free software development is put into development of these mission-critical systems and ivory tower ideals. This is also intensified by Linus Trovalds' position that open source software should be promoted primarily on its technical merits [FFZ5]- that it is more secure, more easily developed, faster-executing in real-life implementations. He does not care for the philosophy; at least he does not put much effort in diseminating them. Thus desktop-GNU/Linux is lethargically developed, if you can't say not being developed at all.


2. Objectives
- to promote desktop GNU/Linux for everyday desktop uses
- to cultivate awareness of copyright law and how it applies to software.
- to promote free software in general


3. SWOT analysis
3.1. Strengths
- Free Software is Free as in Freedom
- Free Software is free as in Free Beer
- Free Software is as capable as - if not more capable than - non-free, proprietary software
- Free Software is more adaptable to individual needs.
3.2. Weaknesses
- Free Software has a perceived complexity attached to it
- Free Software is not as commonly used in domestic situations as
3.3. Opportunities
- Computer rentals and internet kiosks are abundant in Indonesia, and they have the power to dictate what software their customers use, so long as they work in concert.
3.4. Threats
- Producers of propietary software see Free Software as a threat to their monopolies, and even to its currently established business model.


4. Significance
4.1. Academic significance
- To explore strategies in grass-roots social promotion
- To explore the intricacies of copyright law, specifically software copyright and the separation of content and tools.
4.2. Practical significance
- To encourage observation of copyright law
- To lessen Indonesia's dependence on transnational companies, specifically monopoly-based software behemoths like Microsoft.


5. Closing
I have chosen this topic as my undergraduate thesis because I fell issues to be discussed in this undertaking is dear to my heart. I have loved personal computers since my first introduction to them in 3rd grade elementary school, when I was introduced to Apple II computers and learned to type on them.

I also feel somewhat peeved by opinions very common among my peers that legal reform is a utopian dream because of the ingrained culture that permeates in our society, a culture which pays little attention to the rule of law, if not to say that we as a society ignores it completely.

I also personally want to demonstrate that you can learn a lot of useful facts from the Internet, if you know where to look.

And lastly I want to demonstrate to my peers that we Indonesians can use personal computers legally and practically, both at the same time.


6. References
- The Free Software Foundation (www.fsf.org)
- The Open Source Initiative (www.opensource.org)
- The Linux Documentation Project (www.tldp.org),
and various documents developed throughh these movements.

[FFZ1]Formerly: Knoppix, or more specifically GNU/Linux
[FFZ2]VERIFY these figures!!!
[FFZ3]QUOTE a source!!!
[FFZ4]Find a quoted source with the same meaning; preferably from US constitutional sources.
[FFZ5]Quote, quote, quote!!! Preferably from Trovalds himself...

Posted at 1:36:11 am by ferdikom98

 

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I don't write intellectually. I write expressively. I don't claim to be accurate, fair or thorough. I don't wanna get stuck on certain topics. Though I sometimes do. But not that often. I'd like to expand. I wanna write more poems. But I'll only upload them if they're good. I only rant about my life's hardships if it will rescue just a little bit of my sanity. I'm saner than I make myself out to be, though.

If I am an OS kernel, and I just had a kernel dump, I'd imagine that the text in this blog is what it would more or less look like.

There. Do you get it?

   

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