Nine Characteristics of Free Software Users

The “9 Characteristics of Free Software Users” (by Bruce Byfield) is an interesting read about his view on the nine characteristics of Free Software Users:

Free software users :

  • expect open licenses and no activation methods
  • expect regular upgrades and patches
  • expect to work the way they choose
  • want control of their own systems
  • explore
  • expect to help themselves
  • don’t fear the command line
  • learn software categories, not programs
  • expect access to developers and other employees

His ConclusionFree Software
How long these characteristics of free software will continue to exist is uncertain. In the last few years, a new category of free operating system users has begun to emerge: those who remain entirely on the desktop. In the rush to become more user-friendly — which usually means more like Windows — the chance exists that the free software user culture will become unrecognizable to long-time users in the next few years.

However, that seems unlikely. For the most part, the purely desktop user’s sensibilities are not sapping the free software culture so much as being accommodated and isolated as a special case. Unless they are content to stay in their normal routines, within a year or two, desktop users will face some problem that they cannot solve without becoming either more adventurous or more in contact with the mainstream culture. When that happens, they will have taken the first steps away from being passive consumers and towards becoming the owners of their own machines.

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