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robertogreco : lenovo   1

Why I’m Saying Goodbye to Apple, Google and Microsoft — Backchannel — Medium
"I’d periodically played with Linux and other alternatives on my PC over the years, but always found the exercise tedious and, in the end, unworkable. But I never stopped paying attention to what brilliant people like Richard Stallman and Cory Doctorow and others were saying, namely that we were leading, and being led, down a dangerous path. In a conversation with Cory one day, I asked him about his use of Linux as his main PC operating system. He said it was important to do what he believed in—and, by the way, it worked fine.

Could I do less, especially given that I’d been public in my worries about the trends?

So about three years ago, I installed the Ubuntu variant — among the most popular and well-supported — on a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop, and began using it as my main system. For a month or so, I was at sea, making keystroke errors and missing a few Mac applications on which I’d come to rely. But I found Linux software that worked at least well enough, and sometimes better than its Mac and Windows counterparts.

And one day I realized that my fingers and brain had fully adjusted to the new system. Now, when I used a Mac, I was a bit confused."



"As mobile computing has become more dominant, I’ve had to rethink everything on that platform, too. I still consider the iPhone the best combination of software and hardware any company has offered, but Apple’s control-freakery made it a nonstarter. I settled on Android, which was much more open and readily modified.

But Google’s power and influence worry me, too, even though I still trust it more than many other tech companies. Google’s own Android is excellent, but the company has made surveillance utterly integral to the use of its software. And app developers take disgusting liberties, collecting data by the petabyte and doing god-knows-what with it. (Security experts I trust say the iPhone is more secure by design than most Android devices.) How could I walk my talk in the mobile age?"



"So I keep looking for ways to further reduce my dependence on the central powers. One of my devices, an older tablet running Cyanogenmod, is a test bed for an even more Google-free existence.

It’s good enough for use at home, and getting better as I find more free software — most of it via the “F-Droid” download library — that handles what I need. I’ve even installed a version of Ubuntu’s new tablet OS, but it’s not ready, as the cliche goes, for prime time. Maybe the Firefox OS will be a player.

But I’ve given up the idea that free software and open hardware will become the norm for consumers anytime soon, if ever—even though free and open-source software is at the heart of the Internet’s back end.

If too few people are willing to try, though, the default will win. And the defaults are Apple, Google and Microsoft.

Our economic system is adapting to community-based solutions, slowly but surely. But let’s face it: we collectively seem to prefer convenience to control, at least for the moment. I’m convinced more and more people are learning about the drawbacks of the bargain we’ve made, wittingly or not, and someday we may collectively call it Faustian.

I keep hoping more hardware vendors will see the benefit of helping their customers free themselves of proprietary control. This is why I was so glad to see Dell, a company once joined at the hip with Microsoft, offer a Linux laptop. If the smaller players in the industry don’t themselves enjoy being pawns of software companies and mobile carriers, they have options, too. They can help us make better choices.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep encouraging as many people as possible to find ways to take control for themselves. Liberty takes some work, but it’s worth the effort. I hope you’ll consider embarking on this journey with me."
apple  google  microsoft  dangilmour  linux  opensource  2015  community  hardware  dell  cyanogenmod  ios  android  windows  mac  osx  f-droid  ubuntu  firefoxos  firefox  os  mozilla  lenovo  richardstallman  corydoctorow  libreoffice 
march 2015 by robertogreco

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