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Re: The end of a dream
It was a very hard and very sad decision but what can I do? The Indy
dream required four things been done AT THE SAME TIME. Those
1) Programming (mostly in the installer: anaconda is no longer state of
2) Building software: While having a great installer is nice what
makes a distro really useful is what you have in it.
4) Agitprop: Making Indy known so you can attract both users and
Explaining what we try to do. If we had acquired influence then we
have tried to influence minds: fight those who
don't want Linux being dumbed down (they do considerable harm), give a
image of using an easy distro: "I don't spend my time reading HOWTOs and
and compiling kernels because I have far more important and harder work
(Hint: Since one of my relations is a nuclear physicist and another a
I sometimes joke about the Linux machos (those who despise GUI users and
compiling kernel) as being too dumb for doing really difficult things
maths). The AgitProp part involved acting on the web site contents,
announces about milestones on Linux sites, writing articles, going to
As I said making those four things at the same time is not optional, it
requirement: while you are working on the installer or polishing the
parts of the
web site explaining what Indy tries to do, the software in the distro is
obsolete or there are security holes you have to fix or a new generation
arrives and you are no longer state of the art. That means yu need
having at least
one different) person doing at least minimal work on each of this
Perhaps you remember but snapshot 2 was very late due to "prerelease
blues". This is
something I experiment when I have to do very trivial things because
volunteered. In that case it was producing Indy logos in different
sizes so we can replace
the Redhat ones we cannot use. But this time the "prerelease blues" was
far more serious
since it involved two of the four fundamental activities I had detailed:
nobody had tested
the software I had uploaded and in case I released nobody would take
care of the PR. It was
at this point I found it was useless and decided to throw the towel.
What was what I tried to do with Indy?
First) Reduce the digital divide: We have on one side those who get
Linux and great software for free and on the other side those who
are doomed to use Windows where the usual situation is crashware,
hoaxes (I once saw a shareware who was fifty lines of Visual Basic),
deliciously abusive licenses you cannot read without opening the box
and you are supposed to have read if you open the box (license usually
says vendor has no obligation while you have to sacrify your first born)
and the ever popular "I got a mail virus who deleted all
my files". Contrarily to what some people say (those who want to keep
Linux for an "elite" and think they are elite) I don't consider that
to be specially smart to use Linux. If you are lucky enough to do your
first steps in a University or similar institution then you are in a
protective cocoon who makes things easy (teacher, problems are seen one
by one, there is a sysadmin caring for the box). But "teach yourself"
Linux is hell since you take everything at the same time and sometimes
you break something before knowing how to repair ir (and possibly how to
use the most basic commands): present Linux is not made for self
but if we want to take it to the home then we should think in
The other divide is the one between traditional Unix areas (eg
server, corporation) where you get good answers to your problems and the
problems of areas outside Unix territory (small company, dektop, home)
where you get bad answers. I don't like the
idea of people being sentenced to a life sentence in Windows not because
they made a horrible crime :-) or because they were stupid but because
were unfortunate enough to need home connectivity, educative software,
personal finance software while the vendor only thinks in LANs, web
Second) Indy aimed at being a "people's distribution". Not something
from above but a place where people would have said "Let's. make a
who tries to solve OUR problems not the problems of the Unix server in
500 companies. Let's make a distro where new users never have to go
ordeals we went through". But people expected Indy would help them.
Do you remember Kennedy's "Don't ask yourself what
your country can do for your, ask yourself what you can do for your
It means that the country has no power of its own: it is drawn from what
citizens do for it so if they do nothing to help it then the country is
to help its citizens. And same with Indy. Indy aimed at getting a
where improvements attract more people and those people contribute more
but this does not work until you get critical mass of
you don't reach that critical mass then what you have is a melting
Unfortunately I have made too many mistakes, had too small bandwidth
when I was full
of enthousiasm and I was worn out when I got ADSL. I also lack of many
qualities required: I lack organization
sense, I have also a very, very slow typist and this
is a showstopper in a project of this nature where you shoyld be sending
lots of mail and
write articles if you want to get things moving.
> What can I say.
> I am a bit in shock for your decision; not that I can argue against it.
> I am sure that this decision was not taken lightly and that you put
> a lot of thought in this.
> The question I would like to ask is, could we somehow still keep
> being around by changing our nature? What I mean is since Indy as
> a distribution has not attracted enough people and momentum to
> speed things up maybe it would be a good idea to go back to the
> way Indy used to be in the back which is (I think) an add-on for
> new users to ease their life and entry into Linux.
> It could be that Jean Francois Martinez (and others) could write
> about how things could become easier for the new user including the
> applications you (JFM) have already created/customised etc.
> If this is done then maybe the major distributions would embrace
> our way of thought and share some of their resources (or maybe I
> am dreaming). What I just suggested might be 100% against our
> principles so I am not sure of what we can or will do.
> None the less I would like to apologize for not contributing as
> much as I would like to have.
> At 23:11 12/12/2001 +0100, Jean Francois Martinez wrote:
> >I stop Independence. I noticed that nobody
> >else had tested the software I had put for download and that
> >after release there would be nobody for trying to speak about
> >it and it ideals. I cannot do this while trying to improve
> >Indy. Thus I stop.
> >I still believe something like Indy is needed because for one
> >side we have free distros who don't care for the "unwashed
> >masses" and for another side we hacve commercail distros who
> >in those times of CD burners and ADSL lose lots of money selling
> >boxes and try to recoup with support. But support is bought for
> >mission critical applications (read servers) in companies, not
> >by private individuals. And that means commercial distros will
> >not make a push for the common user in the foreseeable future.
> >That is why I dreamed in a distro made by people willing to take
> >charge and do something for other users. But it was a dream.
> >Jean Francois Martinez
> >Project Independence http://independence.seul.org
> >Because Linux should be for everyone
Jean Francois Martinez
Project Independence http://independence.seul.org
Because Linux should be for everyone