[Assist] Personal advice [was Re: General advice beyond Org]

edgar at openmail.cc edgar at openmail.cc
Sat May 19 18:04:32 BST 2018


Good people from the webs,

I warmly appreciate everyone's comments (some are difficult to digest, 
but still useful). I want to take the chance to praise yet another side 
of free software: it seems to create a community. Thanks!

I don't know if everyone wants an answer, but I think that it's the 
least thing that I can offer. I certainly know that I have taken enough 
time from each of you (no reply necessary). I will try to be concise. I 
am missing two or three respondents, and will answer shortly. I will 
keep answering as I see the topic on the digest and time allows.

Here it goes:

On 2018-05-18 16:00, help-gnu-emacs-request at gnu.org wrote:
> 
> Today's Topics:
> 
>    1. Re: General advice beyond Org (Kevin Buchs)
>    3. Re: General advice beyond Org (tomas at tuxteam.de)
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 08:50:32 -0500
> From: Kevin Buchs <kevin.buchs at gmail.com>
> To: edgar at openmail.cc
> Cc: emacs-orgmode at gnu.org, help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org
> Subject: Re: General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID:
> 	<CAKT9s6DHrq4Jy+w8THEAEvaCG7HL2NPZa+9cVUQzW4DC-bzWVQ at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> 
> As a student, you simply need to go along with your supervisor's
> recommendations. You are not in a position to dictate the terms. Using 
> the
> proprietary tools will not hurt you, unless you need to buy your own. 
> If it
> were the case that you needed to buy your own, then I would ask your
> supervisor for another solution.
> 
> Even as a Junior faculty member, you may be in close collaboration with
> other faculty and should follow the consensus.
Dear Kevin,

This is a moral issue to me, and I want to know how it is in other 
places to make an informed decision.

> That is how you work with
> other people effectively.

I believe that being effective is just one more side of free software. 
There must be a reason for which many countries and companies prefer it.

> You don't keep asserting that your solution is
> better.

Although I am convinced that it is, I don't.

> When you are calling the shots, you can use the tools you wish.

I hope that in academia, one will always have to collaborate with 
others. I don't believe in "calling the shots".

> So, you need to adjust your attitude.

I am asking these questions precisely because I may.

> It may be that you are presenting the
> issue of principles - I prefer free, you prefer proprietary, but that 
> is
> not really the true issue.

It is to me.

> Maybe you don't know the proprietary tools and
> don't want to learn them or feel you can't learn them.

I know how to use her word processor better than her. I learnt how to 
use her other documenting software better than her in 2 days. After 
several years of not having to touch her numerical processing software, 
I was able to program in it better than her after 2 hours.

> Choice of tools you
> use is no reason to switch graduate programs.

Freedom is a matter of choice, indeed, which goes farther than a 
graduate program.

> This is entirely a matter of getting along with other people, not being
> selfish, etc.

I am glad that you also see a moral side to this.

> These are life skills we are talking about.

I want to learn those which let me be. Collaboration is one of them. 
With that queue: thank you very much. I know that you put time to write 
this and thought about it to help me. I can assure you that I am just 
trying to hear what others have to say to make an informed decision.

> 
> Kevin Buchs
> 


> ------------------------------
> 
> Message: 3
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 17:31:57 +0200
> From: <tomas at tuxteam.de>
> To: help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org
> Subject: Re: General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID: <20180518153157.GA18154 at tuxteam.de>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; x-action=pgp-signed
> 
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
> 
> On Fri, May 18, 2018 at 08:50:32AM -0500, Kevin Buchs wrote:
>> As a student, you simply need to go along with your supervisor's
>> recommendations. You are not in a position to dictate the terms.
> 
> Nobody talks about dictating anything. Some supervisors are more
> enlightened than other, so trying to talk to them doesn't seem
> wrong.
> 
Dear Tomas,

Thank you for your support. Indeed, I am not even trying to convince her 
to use anything.

>>                                                            Using the
>> proprietary tools will not hurt you, unless you need to buy your own.
> 
> With that I disagree strongly: free is not primarily about price
> (more so in the OP's case, as he stated clearly). Reducing "free"
> to price totally misses the point, IMO.
> 
> [...]
> 

IMHO too. Thanks!

>> So, you need to adjust your attitude. It may be that you are 
>> presenting the
>> issue of principles - I prefer free, you prefer proprietary, but that 
>> is
>> not really the true issue. Maybe you don't know the proprietary tools 
>> and
>> don't want to learn them or feel you can't learn them. Choice of tools 
>> you
>> use is no reason to switch graduate programs.
> 
> This whole paragraph comes across as somewhat... condescending.
> 
>> This is entirely a matter of getting along with other people, not 
>> being
>> selfish, etc. These are life skills we are talking about.
> 
> Definitely. And part of this getting along is trying to negotiate
> what matters to oneself and to others. I do agree that an intransigent
> attitude isn't helpful, but Edgar didn't show something like that.
> 
> Fostering free software is exactly about "not being selfish".

Yes, by all means!

> 
> Cheers
> - -- tom?s

Thank you, tom :) .


On 2018-05-18 16:00, emacs-orgmode-request at gnu.org wrote:

> Today's Topics:
> 
>    8. Re: General advice beyond Org (Peter Neilson)
>   10. Re: General advice beyond Org (edgar at openmail.cc)
>   15. Re: General advice beyond Org (Diego Zamboni)
>   17. Re: General advice beyond Org (hymie!)
>   18. Re: General advice beyond Org (Aaron Ecay)
> ------------------------------
> 
> Message: 8
> Date: Thu, 17 May 2018 21:52:29 -0400
> From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson at windstream.net>
> To: emacs-orgmode at gnu.org, help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org, edgar at openmail.cc
> Subject: Re: [O] General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID: <op.zi6str12rns8nc at odin>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed; delsp=yes
> 
> On Thu, 17 May 2018 20:28:22 -0400, <edgar at openmail.cc> wrote:
> 
> What is your field? In some areas of research the foremost software 
> tools
> have been developed on a MS platform and there is no escape unless you 
> go
> and develop your own tools.

Dear Peter,

The software is a word processor from that company, and other online 
tools for sharing documents (spreadsheets, slides; nothing too fancy). 
Ironically, the software for the bulk of my research is free :) .

> Allow me to illustrate from a non-software perspective, in two 
> different
> directions.

[...]
> These words are rather far afield from your actual question, but I 
> think
> you do need to reflect carefully on where your interests actually lie.

Yes, it is very difficult to decide. I would not be bothering a bunch of 
busy people with my concerns otherwise :S Thanks!

> 
> So back to free software itself. Read, if you have not already done so,
> this article by rms:
> https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.en.html .

I will.

> Then
> ponder whether you want your career to follow his delightfully weird
> footsteps, or whether your field requires a totally different approach.
> I'm sure that rms would disagree with me--he has every time I've spoken
> with him--but his is not the only philosophy available.

...and that is why I want to know what I should be expecting :) .

Thanks.

> ------------------------------
> 
> Message: 15
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 13:44:20 +0200
> From: Diego Zamboni <diego at zzamboni.org>
> To: edgar at openmail.cc
> Cc: Diego Zamboni <diego at zzamboni.org>,	"S. Champailler"
> 	<schampaillerspam at skynet.be>,	emacs-orgmode <emacs-orgmode at gnu.org>
> Subject: Re: [O] General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID: <CEEC890F-BCDB-491D-B404-FD03A8A18B08 at zzamboni.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> 
> Hi Edgar,
> 
> As in many other contexts, it?s important to keep the big picture in
> mind. As a grad student, is your goal to learn about your field, to do
> interesting work/research, and to eventually graduate? Or is it to
> defend your ideals and use the software you like?

Dear Diego,

Thank you very much for your e-mail. You are asking very good questions 
in a sensible and kind way, and I hope that I can answer them (for my 
own good).

> If it?s the second, ... Only you can answer those questions.

I want to openly express my gratitude to her. She is a nice person, and 
I appreciate her both professionally and personally.

> You can always compromise ... communication and collaboration with 
> others.

Yes, that is part of my question. I want to know if it's always going to 
be like this.

> From what you say, the tools your advisor uses are the
> recognized/accepted ones for doing the work.

It is mostly document typing software, nothing especial.

> You could try to
> challenge this status quo, given enough time and energy. But again,
> think about what your goals are. You have to choose your battles.

I guess that I get your point. On the other hand, I think that 
challenging it would only lead to resistance, which would not 
necessarily bring what I expect.

> In
> any case, after you graduate, you can go on an be much more selective
> about (or even, define yourself) the tools with which you work.

Again, that is one of my considerations: is it's always going to be like 
this? will I always have to yield my rights to a higher power? is there 
a place where I can just be?

> 
> As a former grad student myself, I can give you two pieces of wisdom I
> received over the years, one from my Ph.D. advisor, and one from one
> of my colleagues. Both express the same feeling:
> 
> ?You may think now that getting your Ph.D. is the goal, but it?s only
> the beginning. The Ph.D. only opens the door for whatever you want to
> do next?
> ?The goal of a Ph.D. is to finish it?

Indeed.

> 
> All the best,
> 
> ?Diego

Most appreciated, Diego.

> ------------------------------
> 
> Message: 17
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 13:50:36 +0000 (UTC)
> From: hymie! <hymie at lactose.homelinux.net>
> To: emacs-orgmode at gnu.org
> Cc: help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org
> Subject: Re: [O] General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID: <slrnpftmlg.b51.hymie at lactose.homelinux.net>
> 
> In our last episode, the evil Dr. Lacto had captured our hero,
>   edgar at openmail.cc <edgar at openmail.cc>, who said:
> 

Dear Hymie,

I like your headline!

>> I am in graduate school, and I keep having issues with my
>> advisor for my strong inclination to use free software. [...]
>> 
>> Is anyone here aware of a place where they do computational human
>> biomechanics, mechanics, materials or finite elements where I could
>> interact with free software?
> 
> First question -- it sounds like you are doing very specific research
> with very specific tools, software, equations, and things like that.
> Are you sure that free software exists that will do what you want?

The very specific piece of software is to type documents :P !

> 
> For example, good luck finding free software that will do your taxes.

The following is off topic: Have you tried Tryton or iDempere (used to 
be free)? Kmymoney? Give it a shot! :D . They help with accounting, 
possibly not tax declaration, but I thought of recommending it :) . By 
the way, I'm not missing the point: there are many free solutions which 
haven't been developed for specific tasks.

> Second question -- you keep using that word "free".  Are you really 
> "free"
> in this situation?  You said you are getting tuition covered and a
> stipend.  The way employment typically works is that, in return for
> salary and/or compensation, you give your full devotion to your 
> employer's
> wants and needs instead of your own.  Using your employer's software is
> not a huge jump.

This sounds a lot as slavery O.O ,

> 
> I don't mean this as a personal attack.

Oh, no, don't worry. The general tone of your e-mail seems quite 
appealed.

> That's how it works.  I am
> "free" to wear a t-shirt that says "F**K THE POLICE" on it, but the
> person who pays my salary would prefer if, for 40 hours each week, I
> wear a different shirt.  I am "free" to ignore his request.  He is 
> "free"
> to stop paying my salary.

Yes, that is why I mentioned it. It's not a white and black situation.

> 
> So I'm afraid that's my answer.  Suck it up and do what the nice person
> who is giving you lots of money wants you to do, they way he/she wants
> you to do it.
> 
> --hymie!     http://lactose.homelinux.net/~hymie    
> hymie at lactose.homelinux.net
> 

Thanks, I will definitely consider it. I like the honesty. I know that 
this is not the same situation, but I don't want to go through life 
excusing myself with a "it's my job; that's why they pay me" (I hope 
that you can see the ramifications to that).

> ------------------------------
> 
> Message: 18
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 15:21:59 +0100
> From: Aaron Ecay <aaronecay at gmail.com>
> To: edgar at openmail.cc, Org-mode <emacs-orgmode at gnu.org>
> Subject: Re: [O] General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID: <87fu2p59iw.fsf at gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
> 
> Hi Edgar,
> 
> 2018ko maiatzak 18an, -ek idatzi zuen:
> 
> It sounds like the issue you are having is about collaboration 
> workflow,
> and not about the usage of free software per se.

Dear Aaron,

Worflow is definitely a big chunk! It is easy for her to use her tools. 
I would prefer to use free software.

> Reading between the
> lines, it sounds like your biggest difficulty is with Microsoft Word.
> It?s very unlikely that you will be able to convince your advisor to
> switch to another program when writing with you.

Yes, I know that would be hard. In a way, I am not trying to do that. I 
could export a plain text file to DOCX somehow (Org-mode) or just 
copy-paste the text onto a DOCX in LibreOffice, but it is well known 
that for cumbersome formatting (due to the soft or hard locks from 
Micro$oft) this is not always possible.

> As Diego said, it is
> ultimately up to you whether you can live with this.  But there are
> certainly compromises you could entertain that might make it easier.
> 
> There are important benefits, to a field and to individual researchers,
> of open analyses.  On the other hand, what maters about a scientific
> publication is principally the words themselves and where they are
> published ? not the workflow that was used to create them, which mostly
> passes into irrelevance once they become part of the scientific record.
> So you might find pragmatic benefits to focusing on free software
> analysis tools and programming languages, and on the importance of
> publicly releasing analysis materials (whether based on free software 
> or
> not) at an appropriate stage of the research, rather than on document
> authorship workflow where your advisor seems to have a particularly
> entrenched position.

> 
> Another suggestion to reach out to other graduate students, who have 
> the
> surplus of time* and lack of pre-established workflow habits conducive 
> to
> learning new techniques.  This won?t directly solve your issues with
> your advisor, but if you are contributing to the success of free
> software in other areas you might feel like your sacrifices with her 
> are
> being balanced out.

You are a wise person!

> It?s also true that free software has network effects.  Once someone is
> using R or Python, they are introduced to things like Jupyter or knitr
> (which are literate programming systems) ? or even org mode.  They also
> get exposed to VCS (like git), free text editors (like emacs, or 
> RStudio),
> and other tools that do not directly replace Word but contribute to an
> alternate ecosystem.  They might eventually be induced to switch their
> writing software of choice because of the features of such 
> environments.
> So by evangelizing the pieces of free software that are most appetizing
> to others in your field, you are laying the groundwork for subsequent
> improvements that might initially be a harder sell.

You give me hope!

> Finally, a very pragmatic suggestion.  You might suggest to your 
> advisor
> that you and her collaborate via Google Docs rather than MS Word.

You broke my heart on this one, but you know that already :) .

> This
> is something I have found helpful with colleagues of mine who are not
> otherwise prepared to change their writing habits.  The Google Docs
> interface is very similar to Word (but actually avoids some of the
> radical UI changes that MS has made recently, which might make it even
> more appetizing to certain users).  While Gdocs is not free software 
> (as
> it?s important to point out), it enables me to use less proprietary
> software, on average.  I?ve never been able to get Libreoffice to work
> satisfactorily for iterative edits to a Word doc; I find that it too
> often loses formatting, included images, or otherwise doesn?t
> interoperate with Word well enough.  So in the absence of Google Docs I
> would have to maintain a Windows system on which to use Word.  With
> Gdocs I have one browser tab that runs unfree JS, but the rest of my
> system is GNU/Linux.  (There are also benefits to the online-first
> nature of Google Docs, which avoids the emailing back and forth of
> dueling versions of a Word document that I have sometimes encountered 
> in
> groups that primarily use Word ? but these are orthogonal to the
> free/nonfree distinction.)
> 
> I hope that some of this comes as useful advice.

I don't really want to change her ways. I don't believe in pushing 
freedom onto others ;) . I don't feel well recommending non-free 
software either. It would be great if she would be aware that one can 
work with ODT mostly anywhere, that there is RTF and other alternatives 
in the way. However, as you already realised, the issue is mostly how 
attached each of us are to our software.


On 2018-05-18 20:01, Adonay Felipe Nogueira wrote:
> I'm undergraduating (seeking a bachelor's degree in organization
> management). :D

Dear Adonay,

Congratulations!

> At first glance I would recommend you to keep using free/libre software
> only, and advocating for it where you live, work and study. But please
> read on...
> 
> ... Now this is a tricky challenge. Not that difficult, but as far as I
> can see these are the options:
> 
> a) worst: make the compromise and use these non-free tools in your
>    computer (the same applies when using a virtual machine or a
>    container), because all-in-alll, it's still your personal
>    computer. Besides, the virtual machine or container can misbehave 
> and
>    impact your real system or personal files.
> 
>    You will still have to deal with side-effects caused by loss of
>    control over your own computing, let alone the need to learn
>    how to use that non-free tool;

Oh, no! not that! :D .

> 
> b) somewhat better, although slow: use another computer (or get one 
> from
>    a rent) to do the work, and only do the work with that machine.
> 
>    The same case described in the second paragraph of (a) applies here;


> 
> c) better: do it with only free/libre software, and perhaps even teach
>    or show the people involved how to make use of tools that support
>    your workflow. For example Software Carpentry has awesome
>    collaborative material on the basics of VCS using Git and of
>    statistics wih R.
> 
>    If you don't have time to teach, make use of a tool that eases 
> *them*
>    participating in their terms.

I have offered some introduction to Linux courses, and people are 
reluctant to attend. Then, when they need the tools I showcased, they 
see the benefit.

>    As an example, I'm writing my final course work using Org-mode, 
> LaTeX
>    and TikZ/PGF (this last one is for graphics), and whenever I want to
>    send a snapshot for review to my advisor I do so through making a
>    .pdf, but there is even more...
> 
>    The .pdf files don't actually track changes, so I must go into the
>    extra step of doing the following:

Have you considered diffpdf? or do you mean as a VCS?

> 
>    --8<---------------cut here---------------start------------->8--- #
>    # Convert old .pdf work snapshot to text. Makes a .txt file of the 
> same
>    # name, minus ".pdf". Caution here because if you don't specify a 
> name or
>    # path to place the .txt file, `pdftotext' will put it in the same
>    # directory where the original is, contrary to what most commands do 
> in
>    # GNU+Linux. In Trisquel 8.0 Flidas, `pdftotext' comes from the
>    # "poppler-utils" package.
> 
>    pdftotext "Documents/Work_---_2018-05-01.pdf"
> 
>    # Same for current .pdf which will be sent.
> 
>    pdftotext "Work.pdf"
> 
>    # Use GNU `diff' to produce Unified diff for text-only content.  For 
> us
>    # who use GNU+Linux or GNU-with-Linux computers (GC) the diff files
>    # commonly have .diff or .patch extensions, but we use .txt here so 
> that
>    # users of Windows computers (WC) can open those with ease in their
>    # default plain text editor.
> 
>    diff -u "Work_---_2018-05-01.txt" "Work.txt" > "Work_diff.txt"
> 
>    # Among other unknown reasons, WCs make use of "\r\n" (carriage 
> return
>    # followed by line feed, commonly known as "CRLF" or "CR+LF") in the 
> end
>    # of each line to distinguish these plain text files from binary 
> files.
>    # WCs' default notepad will open a non-CRLF file but with all lines
>    # joined, so we correct that using the `sed' line below. The 
> side-effect
>    # for us GC users is that some editing software might present two 
> line
>    # breaks.
> 
>    sed -i '/\r$/! { s/\($\)/\r\1/g }' "Work_diff.txt"
>    --8<---------------cut here---------------end--------------->8---
> 
>    Then send them both the .pdf and the diff file (the one which has
>    .txt extension of course). And explain to them that the .txt is 
> plain
>    text that can be opened in plain text editor (usually called
>    "Notepad" in Windows), and mention that it essentially shows the
>    difference between old and new versions, and that:
> 
>    - Lines that begin with "+ " is new content;
> 
>    - ... "- " old content being removed;
> 
>    - ... "@@ -old_start,count_old +new_start,count_new @@" a line jump 
> to
>      given "old_start" line in the old file.
> 
>    With all that said, the advantages of .pdf files is that the 
> advisors
>    can highlight and annote/comment on these, save the changes and send
>    it back to you (they can't change the structure or content of the
>    document itself, but can at least give you hints).

I will certainly try with other colleagues, and will wait for the right 
moment with her (I don't think that she will be very receptive right 
now). Bear in mind that some of the tools would require cygwin (or 
similar) for people with other operating systems.

> With all the options I presented ... (what exactly is not
> compliant?! And how?!).
> 
> Particularly I would make use of (b) or (c), but not (a).
> 
> I hope this has shed some light.
> 
> 
> Respectfully, Adonay.
> 
Thank you, Adonay

On 2018-05-19 00:47, Megver83 wrote:
> El 17/05/18 a las 20:41, edgar at openmail.cc escribió:
> 
> When I was at school, I also had that problem. Now I'm having
> home-school, so bye bye mandatory proprietary software :)
> 
> (I know that not everyone might be a self-taught person like me, but
> it's a viable option)
> 
> Right, so it seems you definitively want to get rid of non-free stuff,
> which is a good initiative that few people have. At school, I
> recommended some of my teachers to use the same free software tools
> which I used at GNU/Linux, but in their case on Windows/Mac (this tools
> are multiplatform), like LibreOffice.
> 
> Now, it seems that your problem is much more complex than the one I 
> had,
> but you can do an effort to look for good free software replacements of
> the programs you're told to use.
> 
> Note that, however, sometimes it may happen that there's no free
> replacement (or not a useful one at least), and that's the worst
> situation. In such case, unless you reverse-engineer those programs or
> create a replacement yourself, you've no other option than running 
> those
> under an emulator/VM/container.

Thank you very much, Megver83. The tools that I am kindly requested to 
use are proprietary word processors! (really complicated stuff ;) :D ). 
A plain text file is out of the question, together with any of 
Mercurial, CVS, subversion, Git, etc. I won't take more of your time for 
this :) .


On 2018-05-18 19:09, help-gnu-emacs-request at gnu.org wrote:
> 
> Today's Topics:
> 
>    1. Re: General advice beyond Org (Alan E. Davis)
>    2. Re: General advice beyond Org (Alan E. Davis)
>    3. Re: General advice beyond Org (Jason Yamada-Hanff)
>    4. Re: General advice beyond Org (Devin Prater)
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 09:19:52 -0700
> From: "Alan E. Davis" <lngndvs at gmail.com>
> To: tomas at tuxteam.de
> Cc: "help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org" <help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org>
> Subject: Re: General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID:
> 	<CAF-1L2QfwTNpRG5yNJanzGcRe2Dx9APY9x6od0zadatW_JibJA at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> 
> I worked as a teacher in a school in a third world context, where the
> district was severely underfunded.  I held out as much as I could.  I 
> had
> to use proprietary systems, eventually, to report attendance and 
> grades, so
> I installed Virtual Box.  It was a long and hard battle: printer 
> drivers
> were not up to snuff; networking was difficult compared to the M$
> approach.  Back in the day---I started using GNU/Linux in the pre-1.0
> kernel days---many things did not work smoothly, but the Linux
> Documentation Project was a breath of fresh air, and a beam of light
> enlightened the scene.  (As an aside, I note with misgivings that the 
> LDP
> is not well maintained---but I am partially responsible for this, 
> because I
> didn't work on documentation as perhaps I ought to have.  Then again, 
> the
> state of the "Linux Desktop" is such that other supports are available 
> and
> many of the hands on configuration and administration tasks are either
> automatic or much simpler and more intuitive.).

Dear Alan,

Respect! You are a pioneer!

> I would suggest, in your context, that you do not have to abandon free
> software, nor, I sense, are you advised to refuse to use the 
> infrastructure
> that has been given.  I use emacs for much, I really like org-mode a 
> lot
> and even thought I am not able to take advantage of many of the more
> sophisticated tools of org-mode.  You may find, like many before you, 
> that
> the tools of free and open source software many streamline your 
> workflow,
> and give you an edge, even while you are using the ordained tools for 
> your
> specific disciplinary work.  When people see that the free and open 
> tools
> work for you, gradually you may make inroads, and not at the expense of
> your career.

Certainly, it makes my work much easier and enjoyable. Some pay 
attention, and express a sense of admiration. I always offer my help for 
those who want to learn.

> I believe this approach has been behind much of the achieved success of
> Free and Open Source software and operating systems.

For me, it was a moral discussion that I had with a teacher. Little 
stuff may go far.

> I am rooting for you.
> 
> Alan Davis
> 
Sincerely appreciate it!


> ------------------------------
> 
> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 09:22:44 -0700
> From: "Alan E. Davis" <lngndvs at gmail.com>
> To: tomas at tuxteam.de
> Cc: "help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org" <help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org>
> Subject: Re: General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID:
> 	<CAF-1L2R9qLCANfO6DC0DrAWPUyGFXdMrThnTrhv-M_5qCXC3qA at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> 
> I failed to mention in my previous message that the powers that be in 
> the
> underfunded district where I worked were fully on board with the
> proprietary tools that they had been given in colleges and high 
> schools.
> After a few years, I held a workshop and several teachers were able to
> install Ubuntu, some of whom may be working with GNU/Linux today.
> 
> Alan

Yep! That is the way to go. Thank you not only for your answer, but for 
your accumulated time and effort in favour of free software.


> ------------------------------
> 
> Message: 3
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 09:32:21 -0700
> From: Jason Yamada-Hanff <jyamada1 at gmail.com>
> To: "Alan E. Davis" <lngndvs at gmail.com>
> Cc: tomas at tuxteam.de, "help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org"
> 	<help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org>
> Subject: Re: General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID:
> 	<CAOtHJYhL7JciBcMTaTnW=JTbCbicRks7zqXWFongw43LKiJL=Q at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> 
> Don't die on this hill.

Dear Jason,

Well expressed!

> Collaborating with others, especially superiors,
> means sometimes adjusting. I split the difference in grad school and 
> used
> emacs and other free software where I could and MS where it made
> collaboration possible. My first piece of writing was handed to my 
> advisor
> as LaTeX. He asked me to convert it to Word, and I did. I wrote my 
> thesis
> in LaTeX. When we turned a chapter into a paper, I converted it to Word
> before we started collaborating on it. When I handed him my lab 
> notebook as
> a series of org-mode files he could search instantly by text, he liked
> that. Sometimes you win.

A glimmer of hope! Thanks!

> Your professors arguments are good. Her tools work well for her. Why 
> should
> she switch to new ones? Your moral principles aren't going to have a 
> lot of
> away.

Precisely :) !

> Further, git and other version control does not provide the full
> features of Track Changes in Word.

I fail to understand what I can do in a plain text file (namely Org + 
Git) which I could not do with the track changes. For me, it's a 
terrible thing to use that "feature", because it makes reading very, 
very difficult and noisy. But I think that this is a side point of our 
conversation.

> ------------------------------
> 
> Message: 4
> Date: Fri, 18 May 2018 14:09:42 -0500
> From: Devin Prater <r.d.t.prater at gmail.com>
> To: help-gnu-emacs at gnu.org
> Subject: Re: General advice beyond Org
> Message-ID: <m2d0xsbx1l.fsf at gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
> 
> I agree with this. As a blind user of Emacs, with Emacspeak, I know 
> that
> sometimes people must use non-free software, like Voxin TTS on Linux, 
> or
> MacinTalk on macOS, to get speech synthesis that is enjoyable to use.
> But I do use as much free software as I can to get work done, which is
> mainly just sticking to Emacs because somehow I can remember all the 
> key
> commands and my reading comprehension is amazing there, relative to
> using screen reading, content-unaware systems for the blind. Most blind
> people, though, use Windows, Microsoft Word, and a screen reader that
> costs $1099+ and yet could never measure up to Emacspeak, well besides
> web content but I?m sure that if EWW gained Javascript and HTML5
> support, I?d never need to leave Emacs, ever. So, my point is, I have 
> to
> interact with these other blind people, and people in Assistive Tech
> organizations, and I do that well with converting .org files to .docx
> with Pandoc, using Twittering-mode in Emacs while other blind Mac users
> pay $20 for Twitterific, and Gnus for email, which is used very often 
> by
> the blind for list-serves because Email is very accessible for us.
> I don?t use Latex, yet, and may never have to because Org is so
> powerful, but you could just use Pandoc for that as well. That?s one of
> the great things about Free things, they try to work with everything,
> while proprietary software tries to lock users in because their way is
> supposedly best. Aside: Why am I using a Mac? Accessibility, and great
> Text-to-speech built-in.
> 

Dear Devin,

This is a heart-warming account. Thank you very much for sharing. I tend 
to believe that many times, people don't use free software because they 
don't know about it or realise the great advantages from it. I think 
that you have a strong stand to help others with this. I hope that free 
software evolves to the point where you can finally put Ma¢ on a shelf 
and never touch it again. I will try to reach out to you in the 
future--if you don't mind--in the case when I have to develop software 
to have your opinion on accessibility. Thank you for your words!

> End of help-gnu-emacs Digest, Vol 186, Issue 28
> ***********************************************

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