GNOME and the Free Desktop

Churning through unread bits of the week’s mail (“chewing”, as Michael Meeks so charmingly puts it), I finally this morning got to Luis’ answers to questions of GNOME board candidates. He said a bunch of stuff I would echo, especially this:

Q: What do you see as current threats to the future of a complete Free Software desktop? And what would you like the GNOME Foundation to be doing to address these issues?

A: Data, data, data. If all the good data is in some format we can’t read in a Free operating system (IE-specific Javascript, DVDs,1337-new-Office ‘features’, stored on unreadable or otherwise unusable devices) then we’re going to lose. Period….

Past this, the Free Software war is won, IMHO- we have a Free kernel and we have a high quality and now pretty usable Free userspace. As long as we can continue to run said kernel on new hardware, and open data that we get from others so that we can benefit from (or at least not be savaged by) network effects, the rest is details. Big details, butdetails that we are sure to win.

Yo, Luis! This is one of the main reasons that part of what little free software time I have right now is spent on libxml, which I see as a key piece of infrastructure enabling free data exchange.