Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (4288 mails)

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Re: [SLE] SuSE to band together with Caldera, Turbolinux, and Con ectiva?
  • From: Brian Durant <durant@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 09:48:53 +0700
  • Message-id: <20020531024139.822B319B89@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Friday 31 May 2002 00:50, Eric wrote:
- Overall I think this combo can be a good thing if some common distro
- standards - come out of it.  Each distro seems to want to put things in
- different - locations, with scripts "tweaked" such that you have to have a
- pretty good - basic understanding of Linux to make sense out of any
- directions.  I'm still - a newbie when it comes to Linux and it is very time
- consuming and frustrating - to try to follow directions in which things
- aren't where the instructions say - they are.

Agreed.

- I'm not sure what to think about your cultural aspect of this.  I do think
- that Linux will offer the flexibility such that anyone who wishes to create
- a - Unicode set for the Pashtutan language can do so and have it run fine. -
- That's not so with proprietary OS's that must appeal to market forces.  It -
- doesn't make sense for a company to spend 100,000 to gain 50,000.

Agreed.

- There is no "right" to any software in a specific language.  I think if
- someone wants to have localized software that is commercially viable then
- someone will need to spend the time to make it.  Then they can either GPL
- it - or sell it.

Even if you GPL the software, it seems to me that in today's world, it still
needs to be economically viable as a distro. There is some way that you need
to support continued development. One way is by trying to make sure that the
distro catches the interest of sectors like the business community.

The other way is to create an artificial demand by requiring by law that
software sold in country X be the officially recognized languages of country
X. While this may be done purely out of concern for the preservation of the
local language, this legislation could be attacked by US companies or the US
government as a technical trade barrier.

- I don't think a language or culture is marketable per say.  Companies don't
- set out to sell a language or a culture.  People are the market not the
- good - being sold.

Linguistic and cultural products are sold everyday, all around the world.
Just ask someone that works in the advertising business.

- What is it to be European?  I see many people who came from the Middle East
- here in Europe who speak German and have lived in Germany for years.
-  Aren't - they European?  What is their identity?  The same can be asked of
- America.

To be European is to accept a set of values that we call "European".
Sometimes this set of values is most easily defined by "what we don't do that
they do". This is normal in many cultures, but can have its negative sides to
it as well. Ethnocentricity is a good word to bounce around in this kind of a
discussion ;-) Some of the ways that this manifests itself is when natives of
a country (for example Germans or Danes) differentiate between themselves
and new immigrants by looking at areas where traditions are different i.e. do
we promote female circumcision, marriage between first cousins, honor
killings of wives and/or daughters because of a perceived loss of honor due
to sexual escapades, etc?

What is the identity of immigrants? They can partially define it themselves,
depending on the extent of marginalization, but it is also most certainly
defined by the host culture. Even with cultures that are relatively similar,
cross cultural misunderstandings happen very easily. While today, no one in
the US would consider stereotyping a Dane that moved to the US, they were
considered to be violent and often involved with crime during the late 1800's
where there was a large influx of Danes to the US. This actually isn't so
strange as it may sound as most of the people that immigrated were victims of
the war between Germany and Denmark, when Denmark lost of third of it's
territory to Germany in 1864. They were exhibiting the same symptoms as
victims of torture and armed conflict exhibit today. It just wasn't
recognized as such back then. Today, many Americans are discriminated (along
with other foreigners) in the Danish work place, in applications to study at
Universities, etc. Why, because Americans are not considered to live up to
the Danish standard of cultural and ethical norms. They are seen as
difficult, arrogant, violent, etc. The media coverage of school shootings,
postal workers gone berserk, etc. hasn't helped. On the other hand, how about
the Danish construction company trying to promote itself in English with the
slogan: "Erections all over the world." ;-)

- I think as free countries' borders become more permeable, the exchange of
- cultures, ideas, products etc will only increase.  People will accept and
- adopt those ideas and practices they like and discard the ones they don't.
  - In a free country nobody is forcing them to accept or to discard.  It's
- just - human and cultural evolution.  Does anyone speak Latin anymore?

Sounds like the official US party line ;-) This can be debated long and hard
and often is. It depends on your point of reference. Will a system of
universal protection of human rights eventually take place? How do we define
those rights? Does an increase in trade lead to an improvement in human
rights? Try asking those working in the Philippines, Indonesia, China, etc.
in sweatshops without proper minimum standards and wages. Some of these
countries are "free" some are "new democracies", while other still suffer
under a one party dictatorship, but labor rights or lack there of are in a
similar state. It seems to me more like people will accept or discard those
ideas that are financially profitable. The American soul has unfortunately
been sold in a Faustian bargain long ago. "No Logo" by Naomi Klein should be
required reading before someone spouts off this kind of rhetoric. Not because
I agree with everything she has to say...

- Your example points to the need for standards.  If everyone in all of those
- countries spoke Cantonese (or any one language) your problem goes away.  
- Hopefully with this combo so will many problems with Linux.

No,no, no. You are willfully misinterpreting me here. I am talking about
using strategic demographics when building viable Linux distros as one way of
making sure that small languages are also supported. Standards are one thing.
Forced homogenizationation is another.

Cheers,

Brian

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