30 Aug

Why do I Use Open Source?

I decided to respond to Michael Hall’s post, “Why do you contribute to open source?“, but first I will explain why I use open source and in the next post, I will explain why I contribute to it.  I don’t only use it because it’s almost free to use but for the intuitive sense of things that I see in all of the programs that I use.  This intuitive sense matches up with the way that I think and how I do things.

I have three examples why I use Open Source:

Example One: Evernote Ink Notes vs. Xournal- A Shift in My Workflow

This example is a recent thing that happened to me.  On Monday, August, 25, 2014 (first day of my last school year of my undergrad years), I was able to restore my Nexus 7 2013 back to Android from Ubuntu Touch since Ubuntu Touch wasn’t worth while to use (for now) as a working tablet.  For those who want to know, you need at least 2 GB of RAM to use the ./flash-all.sh command.  I only restored my tablet- meaning that I didn’t brother to install a custom ROM on it (don’t ask me why).  After I restored, I installed the Evernote app and signed in to it.  The hour before I restored my tablet, I was in my eight A.M. class and I took hand-written notes on my netbook, Evernote Ink Notes, and my Wacom Intous 4 pen and tablet.  When I opened the notes on my tablet and they looked horrible!  Not because I have chicken scratch for my handwriting (it does get bad at times) but because it was zoomed in and I had to finger scroll.  I had no way to zoom out.  And the UX of the app is just not fun to use.

After that first use of the Evernote, I decided to go back and use my favorite handwritten note-taking program, Xournal, but with some tweaks.  One of them being all of my notes for one class is be one file, when possible, which is for my eight A.M. class.  The other one is be convert the presentation slides for my second and also last class (I have two this term) into PDF and annotate that PDF.

The only problem with this workflow is that Xournal is X based not Qt based.  That means when Mir and Unity 8 comes out, I won’t be able to use my favorite program!  But maybe I could work with some developers and get some of the features of Xournal into the Reminders app.

Example Two: Open Source has More Intuitive Minds

I have noticed that many of the programs that I use have features that are latter used in non-open source programs.  Who had tabs first in Internet browsers?  Firefox.  Conversion from a word/spreadsheet/presentation to PDF?  OpenOffice.  This goes to show that who are more daring to be more intuitive.

When Unity first introduced back in Ubuntu 11.04, it was hard for me to get used to it at first.  I think it took me maybe two months to tell myself to that is the change can be good.  After I installed 11.04, I saw that Unity increased my productivity.  I found that searching in the Dash of Unity was faster than scrolling and clicking through folders on the menu.  Unity is quiet intuitive to my mind and it was here before Windows 8.  Another example of open source having more intuitive minds.

Example three will be in my next post when I will talk about why I contribute to Open Source.  Most likely, I will have a series of posts about why I’m in the FOSS community and other subjects such as why I blog.


8 thoughts on “Why do I Use Open Source?

  1. > The only problem with this workflow is that Xournal is X based not Qt based. That means when Mir and Unity 8 comes out, I won’t be able to use my favorite program!

    Of course you’ll still be able to use your favorite program with Mir: this is the goal of XMir project 🙂
    (same thing with Wayland and its XWayland project)

    Note that Xournal is using GTK+ 2 toolkit. When Xournal will be ported to GTK+ 3, I guess it will natively support Wayland and Mir!

    • Oh, I see. I haven’t done any homework (read: research) on Mir. But that does sound neat.

      The problem is that the program isn’t actively developed any more and I’m not sure if the developer is still around.

      Nice avatar by the way, is it Crash?

      • Most of the time, devs try to not break everything 🙂
        We’re still able to launch very old apps (e.g. ddd), we can still browse websites created during the last century and containing plenty of animated GIFs, etc.

        Even if an app is not actively developed, I’m sure that we will still be able to launch it for years (if we can recompile it, maybe we will have to do very very small modifications). If not, some enterprises will not be happy and wouldn’t support GNU/Linux 🙂
        (Note that Xournal is still actively developed 😉 http://sourceforge.net/p/xournal/code/ci/master/log/ )

        Nice avatar by the way, is it Crash?

        Thank you! No, it’s from the Wormux game: it’s the former avatar of Firefox.

    • Adam Stiles, with his browser SimulBrowse (later NetCaptor), would no doubt disagree with you regarding who first implemented tabbed browsing.

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