[nSLUG] Proprietary Software for Linux

Sheldon Tower sheldontower at gmail.com
Sun Aug 15 11:29:25 ADT 2010


       A few weeks ago, a developer on an IRC support channel asked me if it
was possible to sync and update his iPod Touch in Linux. I was working on
the same issue, so I told him the few options I was tying:

    1. Try syncing using Rythmbox or Amarok.
    2. Try running iTunes for Windows under Wine.
    3. Run Windows Vista or XP using a virtual machine.

    Most forums we consulted said it was possible to sync an iPod using
Rythmbox or Amarok, but you couldn't update the firmware. Regardless, we
were unable to even connect for syncing using either program. We were able
to install and run older versions of iTunes under Wine, but we required the
latest version, which gave us errors. Windows it's self installed nicely
using a virtual machine under VirtualBox, but again, the latest version of
iTunes gave us trouble. I know that jailbreaking is an option, but I've read
that it drastically shows down the performance of the iPod Touch. Finally, I
decided to contact Apple support.

    I asked Apple if there were any plans to develop a version of iTunes for
Linux. After all, MacOS X is Unix based, so I think it should be pretty easy
to port iTunes to Linux. Of course, the Apple support representative didn't
know if there were any plans to develop iTunes for Linux, but encouraged me
to send an email to Apple feedback. This made me think about Linux and
proprietary software in general. Maybe that's just what the Linux community
needs: more proprietary developers developing Linux versions of the most
popular proprietary software. A lot of Linux users take advantage of the
proprietary drivers for NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards. I know that a lot of
free software users discourage the use of any proprietary software, but if a
iTunes for Linux, or Adobe Illustrator for Linux is what it takes to convert
average users from Windows or MacOS X to Linux, wouldn't it be worth it? If
DirectX for Linux would encourage developers to create and sell native games
for Linux, wouldn't it be worth it?

    I think it's up to us to create a demand for these programs, not for
free software users, but for the average user. Whether we like it or not,
proprietary software is here to stay, and the average user will continue to
rely on it. I think it would make sense to attract the average user closer
to some free, open source software using some proprietary software, rather
than loose most average users all together.

Sheldon
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