One of the best things that ever happened to the world of computing was the advent of Free and Open Source software, whose fundamental objective was and is to give people the freedom that proprietary software never offers. This a very noble cause that has to be given all the necessary support it deserves.
However, there does not seem, at least from where I stand, to be any proper definition of who FOSS defines as its target audience. I arrived at this observation after reading lots of articles about how some big shots in the FOSS movement are fuming with rage about the supposed “pollution” of Open Source by some elements of proprietary inputs. If I understand correctly – and please correct me if I am wrong- those who are being accused of this ” treason” do so for a reason that I totally agree with.
Chief among the culprits in this “crime” is Canonical’s Ubuntu for containing the controversial Mono. It is my understanding that the proprietary inputs are used to help make interoperability across the various platforms easy. There are people who, for one reason or the other cannot totally migrate to Linux or Open Source, and must live in both worlds. Making things easy for such people to be able to use FOSS in some part of their lives is a worthwhile effort.
Besides, these so called proprietary pollutants, have gone a long way to move Free and Open Source software to the masses and brought it to the lime light. In as much as I believe in the preservation of the pristine values of FOSS, I also think more must be taken into consideration rather than sticking too much with ideological dogma that in the long run will only be inimical to the growth of FOSS.
If the target user group of FOSS is those who are currently using proprietary software, who mostly just don’t care about any ideological or dogmatic beliefs and just want systems that work and help them accomplish their goals, then if including some elements of proprietary software in the various source codes of Open Source will help in accommodating the needs of such people, so be it.
Frankly, I think this dogmatic belief system is being taken too far, neglecting the reality on the ground, that people have different needs and those needs cannot not be satisfied by blind insistence on some dogma. Yes Open Source must preserve its fundamental principles, but not at the expense of the alienation of the very people it claims to have been founded to liberate.