If we start including proprietary software into the distribution, we might as well use Adobe Reader instead of Evince, UltraEdit instead of Gedit, Picasa instead of Shotwell, Fluendo DVD Player instead of Totem, Opera instead of Firefox, and WinNT instead of Linux. They all have better features or better compatibility with industry standards. Why use Linux at all? It's just a cheap clone of Windows 2000 anyway.
I can only assume the 'Windows 2000' bit was tongue in cheek...
Originally Posted by Remco
I run Linux because I have very little to worry about maintenance wise. I don't run antivirus, don't have to check snopes every time I receive an email about a new devastating worm and I don't have to worry about running defrag to help maintain my system performance. No, it's not perfect, but I find myself being able to sit down and get done what I want to get done without wasting time maintaining my system.
Whether an app has better features or compatibility is all dependent on what your needs are. Running a slew of 3rd party closed source apps on one machine doesn't seem to affect the dominate desktop OS from, well, dominating...
I have had friends that I recommend Ubuntu too, and have on numerous occasions had them have issues with YouTube. If I remember correctly YouTube recognizes the OS/browser and was interfering with the Firefox plugin to detect needed plugins, so it would not automatically load. No, it wasn't hard to tell them how to install it via command line or through Synaptic, but to them it was evidence that maybe Linux/Ubuntu wasn't for them. The fact the plugin even recommends Flash indicates the need for it as Gnash doesn't cut it. I don't recall having to choose Evince over Reader. It's just there and works awesome. When Gnash is just there and works awesome no one will even recognize Flash not being there.
Whether you believe Linux has <1% market share or up to 10%, the bottom line is there is a TON of room to grow. The only way to do this is by attracting average users, and yes, average users are not computer savvy. Follow the advice of a much wiser man than I and 'Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.'
Ubuntu has always been about proving that Free Software can work for human beings (non-technical folks).
Installing non-free software by default would mean giving up on that dream.
We already have Mint for a group who supports this decision, let's keep Ubuntu's goals the same as how they started.
Instead of asking Ubuntu to include non-free software (by default) how about we just encourage new Linux users to try Linux Mint instead?
It is interesting to see the responses in this thread. Some people seem to think it would be an absolute disaster if non-free apps were not installed by default, whereas others seem to think it would be an absolute disaster if they were.
I think that there will be no great disaster either way, especially considering that the difference is just checking or unchecking a checkbox. And there are plenty of other distributions to go to if you really find the default setting too upsetting. From a technical point of view, having the checkbox is a great idea, and the default setting is a non-issue.
Behind the simple checkbox, however, are deep philosophical and strategic issues. As some people have already hinted at, many people will tend to see the default value as the officially endorsed or recommended value. Seen in that light, the question becomes: Does the Ubuntu project want to give people the idea that a pure free software setup is standard, and having non-free software is the exception? Or does the project want to give people the impression that having non-free software is normal and having only free software is the exception? For many people, one of these will feel right, whereas for other people, the other will feel right. This is a deep philosophical issue, hence the heated feelings on both sides.
The choice is also strategically important, because if free software is considered the norm, then it can be expected that work will be done to make the pure free software experience is as great as possible. If this requires the addition or improvement of free software alternatives for proprietary software, that is where the focus will be. On the other hand, if the inclusion of non-free software is the default, the improvement of free software will not seem as important. In that case, focus will be on making the partially non-free experience as great as possible.
Personally, I feel that the Board has made the right choice. This is partially because I like Ubuntu to be a showcase of what a 100% free software system can be like, but also because I think there are practical benefits. Free software isn't just a nice to have thing for users, but it also makes the distributors job easier: by definition, they are allowed to modify and redistribute the software, so they can do everything that is necessary to make sure it fits in and plays nicely with the rest of their system. This is something that Ubuntu excels at, and it is what has allowed Ubuntu to go from nowhere to the top Linux distribution in terms of popularity. It is their core advantage, and free software has made it possible. Non-free software tends to get in the way.
i believe you are wrong.
Originally Posted by superppl
As i "remember", ms core fonts only install (optionally) when you install WINE.
i could be wrong however and they might have changed this so that "restricted-extras" do in fact install these. So would be nice to have someone confirm this.
good argument, maybe you should also leave this comment in the bug report
Originally Posted by Temar
Well said! The system is still very functional without the non-free and it's really not hard to install.
Originally Posted by Remco
Wtf? Now clicking on checkbox is found to be soo difficult? You don't have to be a pro user to do that, and how many this dumb users actually install Linux? Someone ever met anyone? Cmmon, even dumbest windows user know to drive a mouse and click on checkbox, they can even read what this checkbox is about... This is really silly, if someone can't handle those should be playing with marbles, not with installing OS.
If end-users aren't smart enough to read a short blurb of text telling them what a checkbox might do, and then realize "oh, I want those things!", then I don't want those end-users in the Ubuntu community. Anyone not intelligent enough to understand that checkbox has no business touching a computer.
Seriously, they should have operator's licenses where you have to take a basic intelligence test before you are allowed to touch a digital device. Things like: "Is this shape a circle or a square?" "What's 12 + 7?" "Which is closer to Earth: the Sun, or the Moon?" I get a strong indication that anyone not able to check this box would fail this intelligence test, and for all I care those people can go home and die.