Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 19:12 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source Late last year, president Obama signed a law that makes it possible to indefinitely detain terrorist suspects without any form of trial or due process. Peaceful protesters in Occupy movements all over the world have been labelled as terrorists by the authorities. Initiatives like SOPA promote diligent monitoring of communication channels. Thirty years ago, when Richard Stallman launched the GNU project, and during the three decades that followed, his sometimes extreme views and peculiar antics were ridiculed and disregarded as paranoia - but here we are, 2012, and his once paranoid what-ifs have become reality.
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porcel
Member since:
2006-01-28

It takes a big man to admit that he has been wrong in the past about someone or something.

To reflect critically on one´s closely held beliefs and past actions is what truly separate average from great men.

This reflection should guide the choices we all make going forward (the products we recommend and support).

People who trust our judgment see what we use as a guide for what to use and, therefore, we should be mindful of the important consequences that our choice of technology has on the world around us.

For the same reasons that you mention in the article, I have long championed free and open source software.

I too believe that there would come a time when so much of our social, economic and cultural interactions would be tied to a computer, be it in the form of a phone, laptop, tablet or any other device.

Being the sovereign owner of that computer by knowing what it does or relying in a community of peers for that service is the only way to guarantee your freedom and by extension, and because of the network effect of the choices we make, that of your friends and family.

Celebrate and participate in free software. Choose it where you can. Free software has never been more powerful or easier to use and it keeps getting better year after year.

Happy New Year everyone.

Ps: Of course, there will be many who dismiss the principled position taken by this article for a number of reasons: it might conflict with their previous choices, they may have a vested political or economic interest in promoting other types of software or simply because they have created a personal identity around a product or brand, something fairly common in our consumer societies.

We should be both respectful but firm in our disagreement, because I believe in this case, we do hold the higher moral ground.

Feel free to reuse, forward and share my comments if you find the arguments useful.

Edited 2012-01-02 19:45 UTC

Reply Score: 20

OSNevvs Member since:
2009-08-20

The big problem is how to revert this downward trend...Many suggestions, none of them work and I can only see our fate going straight to the wall ;)

Reply Score: 6

fithisux Member since:
2006-01-22

The big problem is how to revert this downward trend...Many suggestions, none of them work and I can only see our fate going straight to the wall ;)


Stallman's suggestions work, but humans are notorious for repeatedly making bad choices for bad reasons.

Edited 2012-01-02 19:48 UTC

Reply Score: 10

Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Basically, he came up with his own version of freedom (aka 'The 4 Freedoms'), decided that was good enough for everybody, and then claims moral superiority over anyone who would dare to disagree.

You have built a big straw-man(please tell me how the 4 freedoms are bad). Only Stallman thinks this way but his free software concept does not. A lot of software has to be proprietary because it couldn't be made otherwise. But it is really important that the building blocks of a computer are free software. I think that the government should demand only free software solutions for their needs.

Edited 2012-01-02 20:32 UTC

Reply Score: 5

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

You have built a big straw-man(please tell me how the 4 freedoms are bad).


The 4 freedoms are not bad per se, but when strictly enforced, they can not exist in a world that gives users the freedom to use software who's license does not specifically adhere to these concepts. Hence, not real freedom.

I think that the government should demand only free software solutions for their needs.



Why should the software itself be free (as in speech), so long as it is able to output non-proprietary formats? For example, would it be considered 'immoral' to use a proprietary word processor that could save documents in ODF format?

I also find it interesting that my original post has already been modded down. Hence, this comment system is little more than a way to censor comments from those you don't agree with, seemingly the exact opposite message that this article was preaching about.

Reply Score: 5

Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

they can not exist in a world that gives users the freedom to use software who's license does not specifically adhere to these concepts. Hence, not real freedom.

You can have both free software and proprietary software in the same world.

Why should the software itself be free (as in speech), so long as it is able to output non-proprietary formats?

0 You aren't free to run it as you want
1 You don't know what it is doing
2 The people paid for it so they should benefit from it to the max
3 We all want a better government so give programmers a chance to help for free

I also find it interesting that my original post has already been modded down. Hence, this comment system is little more than a way to censor comments from those you don't agree with, seemingly the exact opposite message that this article was preaching about.

Sadly that's how all comment systems work. A button for interesting or not interesting might work better. I don't agree that this article was preaching about the freedom to disagree. This article was about putting the power of software to your benefit instead of the benefit of huge organizations.

Reply Score: 5

mtzmtulivu Member since:
2006-11-14


The 4 freedoms are not bad per se, but when strictly enforced, they can not exist in a world that gives users the freedom to use software who's license does not specifically adhere to these concepts. Hence, not real freedom.

The GPL is completely moot when a user uses a GPL based work. It comes into effect ONLY when the work is about to be distributed and hence you are no longer talking of users but of distributors when discussing GPL restrictions. users != distributors, this is an important distinction to make.

Think of it this way, i can not give you the right to live and give others the right to kill you for whatever reason simultaneously. If i give to one, i have to take from the other. GPL takes power from distributors and give it to users. Again, if you are complaining of GPL restrictions, then you are a distributor, not a user.


Why should the software itself be free (as in speech), so long as it is able to output non-proprietary formats? For example, would it be considered 'immoral' to use a proprietary word processor that could save documents in ODF format?

You are talking about usage of software here, not distribution and hence should not be complaining of GPL restrictions since they are moot.

you are free do as you wish on your computer and i am free to do as i wish on mine. If we have to collaborate, i should not care what tool you use as long as we can collaborate seamlessly and this only happen when we collaborate over open standards.

Reply Score: 14

tanishaj Member since:
2010-12-22


The GPL is completely moot when a user uses a GPL based work. It comes into effect ONLY when the work is about to be distributed and hence you are no longer talking of users but of distributors when discussing GPL restrictions. users != distributors, this is an important distinction to make.


You and I seem to have a completely different understanding of the Open Source and Free Software movements. I think a huge part of it is about giving all users the power to be distributors. I would expect Richard Stallman to agree with me on that point.

From the FSF website:

"Free software is software that gives you the USER the freedom to SHARE, study and modify it. We call this free software because the user is free." (emphasis mine)

Perhaps more importantly, your assertion that the GPL does not impact users is quite false. If you cannot distribute software to me then I cannot use it. As a "user", I do not see software like Lego pieces; I may not want to or be able to combine software from different sources myself.

Just like a proprietary license, the GPL restricts how software from different sources can be combined. You are correct that as a "user" I can combine them on my own machine for my own use. Of course, to realistically do that I have to be a developer. If I am a developer, I am probably a "distributor" of software and not just a "user".

Another class of "user" is somebody that is using software as part of their business. The business does not have to be software-oriented to still want to "distribute" software.

For example, I wrote an employee benefits management package a few years ago for an insurance broker that used some GPL software in a few places. Some of this system was available to his clients via a website. Some clients wanted to be able to run the software off a CD locally to support remote staff (Alaska) or workers in the field (away from the office). This was not possible because he would have become a "distributor".

From my client's point of view, the software that I had provided restricted the use of that software in his business quite significantly. Also, the clients could not "use" the software the way they wanted because he could not "distribute" it to them in this way. The software generated PDF documents and populated a database that took the place of hand-written forms and faxed documents. The business was not charging any money for the software. The clients had no need for the software other than as a component of the non-technology service (insurance and benefits management) that he provided to them.

It could well be that the GPL is the best model. I am not arguing for or against it. I have two points:

- The license terms certainly do impact users. Whether or not that impact is worth it or not is a different debate.

- A string distinction between "users" and "distributors" seems contrary to the goals of the Free Software movement. The GPL creates this distinction more than many Open Source licenses

Reply Score: 1

mtzmtulivu Member since:
2006-11-14


You and I seem to have a completely different understanding of the Open Source and Free Software movements. I think a huge part of it is about giving all users the power to be distributors. I would expect Richard Stallman to agree with me on that point.

Isnt that what i said? The GPL deals with distribution of modified or unmodified version of the GPLed work.The restrictions of the GPL will affect only distributors, not users of the work. I think we have the same understanding, maybe i do not express myself clearly or you are failing my understand me clearly.

Or what do you mean by "all users"?


"Free software is software that gives you the USER the freedom to SHARE, study and modify it. We call this free software because the user is free." (emphasis mine)

Yap, completely agree with that.
How does it do so? My answer, by putting restriction on all who are btw the user and the creator of the work and all who are in the middle are known as "distributors", whats your answer?

Perhaps more importantly, your assertion that the GPL does not impact users is quite false.

It does impact users, vlc was pulled from apple store because apple(a distributor) could not satisfy restrictions of the GPL and vlc users on idevices were negatively impacted.

The negative impact on users comes from distributors failing or unwillingness to abide by the term of the license.

I fail to see how you came up with this line of reasoning from my writing but i agree with it. I talked walking about restrictions of distributors and you came up with impacts on users.The two may be related but they seem distant enough to me.

If you cannot distribute software to me then I cannot use it.

True, but why can i not distribute software to you? If the license of the program says i can not do so, then i can not do so, if the license of the program puts restrictions on me on what i have to do to give it to you, then i have to satisfy all those restrictions before i give it to you. The negative impact on users comes from distributors inability to satisfy terms of license.


For example, I wrote an employee benefits management package a few years ago for an insurance broker that used some GPL software in a few places.

Your writing suggests you were one entity and you created a piece of work with GPLed code in it for another entity. You therefore were a distributor and hence what you did was a license violation.


From my client's point of view, the software that I had provided restricted the use of that software in his business quite significantly.

The error was on your part for failing to understand what they wanted to do with the work you gave them. The problem is not the GPL but of you failing to give them licensed code that agreed with their use case.


- The license terms certainly do impact users. Whether or not that impact is worth it or not is a different debate.

They do but the impact solely lies on distributor's feet. As in your case, you use licensed code that worked against your customer use case and they suffer from your bad decision. The blame should not be on GPL but on your decisions.

Reply Score: 3

Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24


The 4 freedoms are not bad per se, but when strictly enforced, they can not exist in a world that gives users the freedom to use software who's license does not specifically adhere to these concepts. Hence, not real freedom.

Enough with the bullshit, real freedom, what is that? And while I've always thought the use of 'freedom' in GPL to be propaganda nonsense since it's about end-user rights and nothing else, people engaging in the 'licence X is more FREE' are just focusing on that naming aspect because they don't have arguments with which to attack the actual rights which the so called 'four freedoms' grant.

GPL protects end user rights, such as the availability of source code, unrestricted duplication (which is what got GPL banned from AppStore) etc. Those who dislike these rights (usually those who wants to use open source code in proprietary projects) wants to argue that they make things 'less free' because surely if you are not free to deny these rights to end users then you are indeed less free, right? And so pointless semantic discussions on the wording of freedom continues, leading nowhere...

So let's leave the term 'freedom' aside, should a licence NOT be allowed to require that the source be made available together with the binary? Is there some fundamental principle which you 'Worknman' feel should disallow this, which doesn't have to do with the semantics concerning the word 'freedom'?

As it stands, GPL is the most popular open source licence. Personally I don't think this is due to the philosophical/ethical stance against proprietary code in general. I think the majority of programmers like GPL for it's practical purposes, which is that they as end-users will be subject to the same rights they've granted should someone else enhance their code and distribute it. That does not change the fact that no matter if they choose GPL purely for practical reasons it still ends up protecting against those control issues which FSF and Thom's article warns about.

I also find it interesting that my original post has already been modded down. Hence, this comment system is little more than a way to censor comments from those you don't agree with, seemingly the exact opposite message that this article was preaching about.

I saw that of your comment votes, 52% had been issued to vote a comment down...

Reply Score: 15

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

GPL protects end user rights, such as the availability of source code, unrestricted duplication (which is what got GPL banned from AppStore) etc. Those who dislike these rights (usually those who wants to use open source code in proprietary projects) wants to argue that they make things 'less free' because surely if you are not free to deny these rights to end users then you are indeed less free, right?


Who said anything about using open source code in proprietary projects? I am talking about the freedom to WRITE and USE proprietary software, not to distribute GPL code in proprietary projects. I do not believe the use of GPL and the 4 freedoms make people less free; I believe that the attempt to ENFORCE GPL-compatible licenses on developers who don't wish to use it makes people less free. If I were a developer distributing software (I only write small utils for my own use), I feel like I should have the right to distribute MY OWN program either with or without the source code, and users are either free to use it or not.

So let's leave the term 'freedom' aside, should a licence NOT be allowed to require that the source be made available together with the binary? Is there some fundamental principle which you 'Worknman' feel should disallow this, which doesn't have to do with the semantics concerning the word 'freedom'?


Honestly, I don't have a problem with licenses that require the source code to be made available together with the binary, as long as *I* am not force to adhere to such a license if I am the author of a particular program, in the name of 'freedom'. If I download somebody else's code and want to modify and distribute it, I have no problems adhering to the terms of their license. But if I write something and distribute it, don't try and tell me that I HAVE to distribute the source code, and then claim the moral high ground.

Reply Score: 2

Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

I believe that the attempt to ENFORCE GPL-compatible licenses on developers who don't wish to use it makes people less free. If I were a developer distributing software (I only write small utils for my own use), I feel like I should have the right to distribute MY OWN program either with or without the source code, and users are either free to use it or not.

And what makes you think you are not in your right to distribute your program under any licence (or none at all) you wish?

In what way does the existance of GPL hinder you in that venture?

GPL will only affect you if you licence your code as GPL or use someone else's code which is licenced under GPL. What you do with your code is entirely up to you.

That Stallman finds proprietary code immoral is of no consequence, just like that Ballmer thinks GPL is a cancer has no concequence on your right to create proprietary or GPL licenced code.

Honestly, I don't have a problem with licenses that require the source code to be made available together with the binary, as long as *I* am not force to adhere to such a license if I am the author of a particular program, in the name of 'freedom'.

Again how would you be forced to do so?

Reply Score: 6

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

And what makes you think you are not in your right to distribute your program under any licence (or none at all) you wish?

In what way does the existance of GPL hinder you in that venture?


It doesn't, although I get the impression that Stallman and his open source-loving followers want to force mandatory GPL licenses upon the rest of us. If that isn't the case, then I have no issues with them. And I do not think open source should be forced on to governments, but if they are producing documents that citizens want/need to read, I DO think they should be forced to output in formats that are standardized/free to implement/free of patent litigation.

And yes, I am equally apprehensive of those who might wish to kill GPL altogether in favor of proprietary software. On my PC, I have a mix of both open and closed source software, and would be quite pissed if anybody tried to take any of it away.

Basically, what I am saying is I think the world is just fine with a mix of open source/proprietary software. I do think that many of the patents should be done away with, but like I said... that is a different problem, different topic.

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I believe that the attempt to ENFORCE GPL-compatible licenses on developers who don't wish to use it makes people less free. If I were a developer distributing software (I only write small utils for my own use), I feel like I should have the right to distribute MY OWN program either with or without the source code [...]
Honestly, I don't have a problem with licenses that require the source code to be made available together with the binary, as long as *I* am not force to adhere to such a license if I am the author of a particular program, in the name of 'freedom'. If I download somebody else's code and want to modify and distribute it, I have no problems adhering to the terms of their license. But if I write something and distribute it, don't try and tell me that I HAVE to distribute the source code, and then claim the moral high ground.

If you choose to use GPL code in "YOUR OWN" program, it's not entirely yours, and you're choosing to abide by the consequences of that.
If you choose to don't use GPL code... then GPL supposedly "forcing" you to do something with your code doesn't happen, your bitching about it is irrelevant.

Reply Score: 2

trev Member since:
2006-11-22

The 4 freedoms are not bad per se, but when strictly enforced, they can not exist in a world that gives users the freedom to use software who's license does not specifically adhere to these concepts. Hence, not real freedom.


It's the "when strictly enforced" part there that's the problem. The four freedoms are the FSF and Stallman's test for IF software is free. Where do you get the impression that FSF says you have to or even should user ONLY free software? RMS makes this requirement FOR HIMSELF but can you link to an FSF page that says you should ONLY use free software?

I think that the government should demand only free software solutions for their needs.



Why should the software itself be free (as in speech), so long as it is able to output non-proprietary formats? For example, would it be considered 'immoral' to use a proprietary word processor that could save documents in ODF format? [/q]

I would not say immoral but I would agree that MOST (almost all?) government software should be FLOSS. I can think of several reasons for this:

1. Security - being sure that government held confidential data stays where it should (no phone home code or spyware/malware in the programs). Exceedingly important when thinking about voting software. medical, financial, etc records. The goal should be that ANY program that touches this data should be trusted hence open to review.

2. Cost (for large governments anyway) - the licensing cost of developing most common software (office, tax, etc) for an entity the size of the U.S. most likely would pay for all the work that would go into it. You would also be able to ensure that all your citizens would freely have access to your data should you want to provide it (since you could provide the software to them freely). Donating and cooperating with existing FLOSS projects reduces the cost even more making this simply smart.

3. Expandability - as the producer (or contributor) of the software you will have the ability to add needed or important features.

4. Reduced Corruption - the more the government BUYS the greater tendency for corruption. If you don't buy it there's no company to lobby you to buy more of it. I think Haliburton, Microsoft, the plethora of defense contractor and now the security contractors (full body scans, anyone?) make my case rather clear on this one.

5. Accountability - providing the source code to your citizenry is proof of what you have used the funds for. If the budget for software creation is large and little is produced there should be questions as to why there was so little productivity. Additionally, citizen watchdog groups can inspect the code to ensure that government is processing and protecting the data properly (no rounding errors in taxes, no funny code in voting machines, etc).

These are just a few reasons off the top of my head.

Reply Score: 4

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I've already commented a couple of times on the 'enforced' part.

As for the government and free software, you make some good points, so I could see why that makes sense ;)

Reply Score: 2

HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

Agree with you completely about your comment. That is something that really bothers me about this kind of comment system.

Your comment did not meet any of the valid reasons for negative moderation. It was obviously modded down so that it would be removed from view.

Reply Score: 2

r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Hence, this comment system is little more than a way to censor comments from those you don't agree with

I don't see how this comment system sensors anything. I've read the comment, so it isn't sensored.

That a few people opt to have others decide what they are able to see and what not is unfortunate, but that is selfinflicted short sightedness. The comment system itself offers ample opportunity to view the comments in all its gory glory, which is the way I prefer it.

I don't give a hoot for other peoples +1's (or -1's) when it comes to value in a comment. Even if a comment is downmodded past minus ten, I'll still opt to judge it on its merit. That I'm able to do that, proves that there is no cencorship on OS News.

Reply Score: 6

tanishaj Member since:
2010-12-22

"Basically, he came up with his own version of freedom (aka 'The 4 Freedoms'), decided that was good enough for everybody, and then claims moral superiority over anyone who would dare to disagree.

You have built a big straw-man(please tell me how the 4 freedoms are bad).
"

How is this a straw-man?

He did not say the 4 freedoms are bad. He said that they do not encompass 100% of the definition of "freedom" and that therefore fighting everything that does not match the definitions of the "4 freedoms" means that you are, at least partially, fighting against "freedom".

Stallman definitely does this. He has done a lot for the world for which we should be thankful. He also champions a very limited form of freedom of which we should be very leary.

There is "freedom to" and "freedom from". "Freedom to" do things is true freedom. People selling "freedom from" corrupt the idea of freedom. This is what the "War on Terror" is all about (freedom from terror in exchange for some of your freedom). It is also what the Free Software Foundation is all about (freedom from proprietary software in exchange for some of your freedom).

Not everyone agrees that living with proprietary software in the world is worse than giving up the freedoms that Stallman would like to restrict.

Reply Score: 4

wazoox Member since:
2005-07-14


I don't see how so. When it comes to Stallman, he does not care at all about freedom; he only cares about forcing people to use software that has a certain license attached to it.


This is plainly and simply false. I hope you're simply wrong and not truly dishonest. The FSF officially endorses X or Apache licensed projects. Now that the situation is really turning bleak, more than ever it's time to buckle up and stop propagating such inanities. You're free to prefer other licenses than the GPL, but it's more than enough with this sort of FSF bashing.

Reply Score: 16

trev Member since:
2006-11-22

Your arguments seem to be based off unproven or mistaken assumptions. I point out several below.

When it comes to Stallman, he does not care at all about freedom; he only cares about forcing people to use software that has a certain license attached to it. Basically, he came up with his own version of freedom (aka 'The 4 Freedoms'), decided that was good enough for everybody, and then claims moral superiority over anyone who would dare to disagree.


And just how does he FORCE people to do this? The only thing I see the GPL forcing anything on is redistribution or propagation (GPLv3). Can you point out one clause that forces THE USER to do something? Furthermore, FLOSS ALLOWS distributors and propagators to copy, change and distribute the software if they agree to offer the complete source code with it.

The 4 freedoms were something HE chose as a guide to determine if something is free. Again, can't see how any of this is forcing users to do anything. If you want to redistribute or propagate the software and don't like the terms just write your own code. Much like if you don't like the terms of proprietary software just don't use it.

As for him feeling morally superior to people who don't value this freedom as much is that so different than most people with such strong convictions that champion a cause? I suspect you'd find much the same attitude from rebels, the U.S. founding fathers, slavery abolitionists, etc. I think to some extent it comes with the job (you have to be passionate about it). Even though he may look down on you for not valuing this freedom as much as he does it does not mean he's FORCING you to do something.

Software patents are a result of proprietary software advocates doing the same thing that FLOSS advocates are trying to do; using the system in order to try and force people into a certain paradigm.


This is just wrong. Patents are a method of using the legal system to FORCE EVERYONE into accepting an artificial monopoly. I can think of ZERO cases where FLOSS has done this but would be happy to hear you provide some examples. FLOSS does not FORCE a paradigm it OFFERS a new one. If you don't like it you can write your own code. If you don't like a patent you can not rewrite the code you are FORCED to NOT DO THAT THING.

I'm pretty sure if it were up to free software pundits, there would probably be laws passed that prohibit the use of proprietary software.


This is an interesting bit of speculation. If this were the case wouldn't FLOSS software writers be filing lots of software patents to exert offensively against proprietary companies? Wouldn't FLOSS software specifically work against interoperating with proprietary formats (not the same as not supporting them)? Can you give ONE example where they have done this? Proprietary software is often ripe with undocumented locked in formats and protocols (itunes sync, quickbooks, word, excel, powerpoint) that change only to BREAK interoperability. I have yet to see this happen in FLOSS so I suspect your speculation to be wildly off the mark.

In regard to privacy, this is much like the PIRACY debate currently going on. Entities like the content industry are frantically trying to get laws passed in order to curb piracy... basically, trying to find a technological solution to prevent people from copying things that can be copied an infinite amount of times for $0, in which there simply is no technological solution for this, unless you want to break the entire infrastructure of the internet. And privacy is really the same way. For example, even when I'm using a pure AOSP build of Android like Cyanogenmod, it is still possible to sync all of my contacts in the cloud, which means if I have your phone number and addres sin my contacts, and that information is synced in the cloud, it is now stored in Google's databases, and probably several times over, as other Android users do the same.


Again, this is IMO a bad analogy. "The Piracy Issue" has as much to do with "The Privacy Issue" as it has to do with real piracy. Piracy as you call it is really more analogous to patents here. They both use the law to FORCE users and distributors to behave how the companies want. They are one of the major reasons we're having our freedoms curtailed these days.

Privacy on the other hand is a choice about sharing information. Unfortunately most corporations are so untrustworthy and/or incompetent that groups feel they need to legislate basic rules on how to interact with them. IMO, this is not needed for anything except companies that use commons resources (right of way, company allocated wireless spectrum, government agencies) but then again I limit interaction with untrustworthy entities as much as possible.

So, how can you force privacy into a system where anything and everything is inter-connected, and users want the ability to share this information between devices?


In the FLOSS model you don't. You CHOOSE to keep your data private or not. FLOSS gives you an OPTION to do so. I run android and sync my contacts, calendar and email all through my own servers not google's (funambol, IMAP and a caldav server) since I value that privacy. Most users value the ease and free as in beer cost of having google do it for them (the real cost being of course that google gets to use your data as they see fit). Again FLOSS gives the choice here.

I should mention that IOS and Windows mobile allow syncing with your own servers as well. The only issue is since you don't know the code you're trusting them instead of google. With FLOSS I can see the code AND host the servers if I choose to giving me the maximum privacy of all the options.


I hope this shows the mistaken premises and assumptions you based your arguments on. As far as I can tell FLOSS doesn't force users to do anything and really does give the users the freedom to choose. I run it all the time and do it in conjunction with proprietary software now and then (though I avoid proprietary software most of the time since I do value the freedom and convenience of FLOSS).

OFFERING freedom is not the same as FORCING it even if the people offering it look at you strange for not taking it.

Reply Score: 9

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I have yet to see this happen in FLOSS so I suspect your speculation to be wildly off the mark.


You may be right. But I suspect that if FLOSS advocates had enough money to buy laws like large corporations do, we would see some legislation that either outlaws or greatly limits the use of any software that isn't GPL-friendly. But again, this is only speculation on my part; I could be wrong.

In the FLOSS model you don't. You CHOOSE to keep your data private or not. FLOSS gives you an OPTION to do so. I run android and sync my contacts, calendar and email all through my own servers not google's (funambol, IMAP and a caldav server) since I value that privacy. Most users value the ease and free as in beer cost of having google do it for them (the real cost being of course that google gets to use your data as they see fit). Again FLOSS gives the choice here.


Except, let's say you and I are friends and I have your name and address stored on my Android phone. Since I am someone who chooses to sync with Google's servers, that means Google now has the information that you tried to prevent them from having. And this goes for anyone else who has your contact info and syncs with Google's servers. Furthermore, since I use Google Voice, any text messages that are sent between you and I also passes through Google's servers, and is probably archived by them. And since you're using Android as well, it's probably quite trivial for them to link this info up with your phone.

Hence, the reason why I say that privacy is no longer a choice. Even if you try to keep your info private, somebody like me is always going to screw it up ;) That's also why I say it is a lot like piracy; you can try to pass laws that prevent people from sharing information with each other (whether that be copyrighted content or somebody's phone number), but how are you going to prevent this from happening when copying is so easy, and sharing is an integral part of the 'connected' reality in which we live?

Am I saying that this is a good thing? No, I'm not saying it's good or bad, as not everyone who wants or needs your information will desire to do anything 'evil' with it. I'm just saying that it is what it is. You can deny it all you want and try and prevent it like the content industry does, in which case... hope you enjoy pissing into the wind. You may be in favor of sharing only certain things, but the technology that allows for it does not give you the freedom to decide what is sharable and what isn't, unless you never share it with ANYONE.

Edited 2012-01-03 02:26 UTC

Reply Score: 0

trev Member since:
2006-11-22

Except, let's say you and I are friends and I have your name and address stored on my Android phone. Since I am someone who chooses to sync with Google's servers, that means Google now has the information that you tried to prevent them from having. And this goes for anyone else who has your contact info and syncs with Google's servers. Furthermore, since I use Google Voice, any text messages that are sent between you and I also passes through Google's servers, and is probably archived by them. And since you're using Android as well, it's probably quite trivial for them to link this info up with your phone.


I agree that if you use google to store my contact info you are exposing all of that to google. I also agree that anything sent in the clear over the cell net or internet is also that way (whether using google voice or not) BUT I choose what information to share out with what people. So for example my company might have an internal calendar, email and contact system. This means our entire client list and meeting schedules can not be easily harvested (assuming people abide by the policy).

Hence, the reason why I say that privacy is no longer a choice. Even if you try to keep your info private, somebody like me is always going to screw it up ;)


Agreed but for someone that works in the computer security field -I- will have policies in place that are AT LEAST as strict as any clients. This is necessary to ensure I am not the one that leaks the information weakening their security by doing so. If the client has decent policies and systems in place then they won't leak it either. If I went about like many others and pushed everything up to google or some other service then -I- expose my clients information and that simply is not acceptable.

You may be in favor of sharing only certain things, but the technology that allows for it does not give you the freedom to decide what is sharable and what isn't, unless you never share it with ANYONE.


Agreed, that is why you should be careful and set and communicate policies to protect the information you have. I do that both in personal and profession realms. This doesn't have to be hard it can be just a few simple rules such as: never publish home address on social networking sites, have a personal and professional email, etc. I'm not saying it is a perfect situation but categorizing and protecting data is something we all should be cognizant of. After all we don't want to be sending passwords in unencrypted emails, now do we? ;)

Reply Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Agreed, that is why you should be careful and set and communicate policies to protect the information you have. I do that both in personal and profession realms. This doesn't have to be hard it can be just a few simple rules such as: never publish home address on social networking sites, have a personal and professional email, etc.


Even the part about not storing personal info on social networking sites is an impossibility. For example, the mobile version of Facebook has an option where you can sync contacts on the phone. So when somebody with my phone number and email/snail mail address in their contacts installs Facebook on their phone and uses this feature, guess what? Facebook now has personal information that I never gave them. You could just not give your address and phone number to any of your friends, or demand that they never sync contacts with ANYTHING, but really... how practical is that?

Of course, you can try and pass laws to dictate that Facebook and other companies cannot store this information, but not only is this impractical from a technological standpoint (eg - impossible to enforce), it also impedes with the usability of the app. Meaning, people sync contact info because they WANT it in Facebook.

I'm not saying it is a perfect situation but categorizing and protecting data is something we all should be cognizant of.


My version of 'protecting' information is this - if I don't want it to be public knowledge, I don't share with ANYONE without encryption. Even if it's encrypted, if it's stored on somebody's server and I have to enter a master password to access it, I then assume they have access to read it. In regard to a credit card number, well... the best I can hope for is that companies will make a half-hearted attempt to keep that safe. Other than that, I assume whatever I type or store online could be in tomorrow morning's headlines. It's simple, really... privacy no longer exists.

Reply Score: 2

trev Member since:
2006-11-22

"Agreed, that is why you should be careful and set and communicate policies to protect the information you have. I do that both in personal and profession realms. This doesn't have to be hard it can be just a few simple rules such as: never publish home address on social networking sites, have a personal and professional email, etc.


Even the part about not storing personal info on social networking sites is an impossibility. For example, the mobile version of Facebook has an option where you can sync contacts on the phone. So when somebody with my phone number and email/snail mail address in their contacts installs Facebook on their phone and uses this feature, guess what? Facebook now has personal information that I never gave them. You could just not give your address and phone number to any of your friends, or demand that they never sync contacts with ANYTHING, but really... how practical is that?
"

I probably wasn't clear enough with my comment there. The rules were a few quick examples of how to allow access to the appropriate groups. I was not keeping the mailing address from facebook but from users of facebook to stop people from knowing where I live AND that I'm going on vacation for 2 weeks. Having a professional and personal email on the other hand is about not providing all your business contacts to any entity in a nice easy list format (as you do when you host it on google). It's not perfect since most people if determined enough can link much of the information that is out there. Then again locks can be picked but you still install one on your door, don't you?

It's simple, really... privacy no longer exists.


I think you are confusing the lack of perfect security with the complete lack of privacy. No, you will not be able to completely 100% protect any piece of information but that doesn't mean you don't take reasonable measures to secure information at appropriate levels. As I stated above sharing a list of all your friends with google might be acceptable but sharing a complete list of customers might not be. It's not that google might not get their email and phone number anyway but they won't get it as a complete list of YOUR customers. Privacy is much harder today but that doesn't mean you just throw up your hands and offer up all the information you have freely.

Reply Score: 2

r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

But I suspect that if FLOSS advocates had enough money to buy laws like large corporations do, we would see some legislation that either outlaws or greatly limits the use of any software that isn't GPL-friendly.

Define GPL unfriendly software. If FLOSS types had big reserves of cash, you bet they would lobby against software patents, against proprietary protocols and file formats, against DRM. I for one don't believe they would try to legislate the EULA out of existence.

They probably would try to get the various software procurement tenders on a more level field. They probably would try to get exclusive preloading deals abolished. I strongly doubt they would try to make your use of MS Office illegal.

Reply Score: 6

Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06


Ps: Of course, there will be many who dismiss the principled position taken by this article for a number of reasons: it might conflict with their previous choices, they may have a vested political or economic interest in promoting other types of software or simply because they have created a personal identity around a product or brand, something fairly common in our consumer societies.

We should be both respectful but firm in our disagreement, because I believe in this case, we do hold the higher moral ground.




You mean they might have a philosophy different from yours which is of course a lower moral ground.

Reply Score: 2

Where there is a will, there is a way
by porcel on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 19:53 UTC
porcel
Member since:
2006-01-28

I have a very simple one. Get your hardware from local providers.

I live in a small city and there are literally tens of stores willing to set you up with a laptop or pc with completely fully functional floss software.

This is a simple choice to make and in doing so you support the local economy and send a crystal clear message to the pocketbook of proprietary software houses.

Get your friends onboard if you need to. Doesn´t anyone remember good all Linux User Groups (LUGs)? Although I do prefer Linux´s license and funcationality, I am using Linux as an example, any free software OS is cool with me (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD) if it gets the job done for you.

It´s never been easier to organize and find and support each other. Create small groups of free-software loving people in your street or neighborhood. It all adds up over time.

How do you think free software got to where it is? (The companies, with the exception of a few visionaries, only came when they saw great potential, but we needed to get there in the first place).

Of course, now many of them contribute if not out of the goodness of their heart, because the license makes them and the floss ecosystem and what it allows is too huge to ignore. Well, we should welcome those contributions too as eventually some will look for business models more atuned with the floss ethos.

Want to go further? Imagine if a small portion of the people who comment on this site voted on and decided to support financially the development of an application each month? It need not be a huge amount ($5), but it would make a difference in the life of many free software developers.

Edited 2012-01-02 19:58 UTC

Reply Score: 3

reez Member since:
2006-06-28

I have a very simple one. Get your hardware from local providers.

I live in a small city and there are literally tens of stores willing to set you up with a laptop or pc with completely fully functional floss software.

The problem with hardware is that in most cases you need to reverse engineer, have closed source firmware, etc.

Reply Score: 4

ephracis Member since:
2007-09-23

Want to go further? Imagine if a small portion of the people who comment on this site voted on and decided to support financially the development of an application each month? It need not be a huge amount ($5), but it would make a difference in the life of many free software developers.

I would sign up to receive some of those donations.

But honestly, donations are hard work. You really need to promote that donation button and try to push your users to give you those five dollars. You're lucky if a small fraction of a percent actually does donate. Then, me being very much against begging for money and using ads doesn't make it any easier. Too bad the costs doesn't care about your ethics.

More people should donate to their favorite projects. Let that be your New Year's resolution: donate more money to your favorite free/open project (maybe Stoffi *caugh*).

Maybe Flattr is the way to go? Making it really easy to donate money. Anyone have any experience with that?

Reply Score: 5

skeezix Member since:
2006-02-06

Heck, I'd be down with that, if enough people were interested. I think I'd be most inclined to put my money towards GIMP, because it has such potential but needs a lot of love to do some of the work that they want to do -- 16 bits per channel, adjustment layers, etc.

Reply Score: 1

Put your work where your mouth is.
by emilsedgh on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 21:13 UTC
emilsedgh
Member since:
2007-06-21

"This is why you should support Linux, even if you use Windows. This is why you should support Apache, even if you run IIS."

If you want to truly support the Free Software Movement, the least you could do is actually using it.

'I support free software but iphone applications are more fun' or 'I like Linux but Windows works-for-me' means nothing.

Im not saying we all should be as extreme as rms. Noone could be as extreme as him.We sometimes need to get some job done. But least we could do is giving up on some features of propertiary softwares.

Reply Score: 10

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

There are others way to support Free and open software, other than using it (which sometimes isn't an option). This "use it or sod off" attitude really isn't helping Free/open source software.

What helps is educating people about the pros and cons, and then let them decide for themselves. Don't force them. Don't feel morally superior or insult them. It's not their fault they're using the software they like or are accustumed with, so don't act like it is.

The best future is one where Free/open source software and proprietary software push each other to excel, for the benefit of all. We don't need an all-FOSS world; we simply need a world where FOSS is competitive and seen as a real competitor in as many fields as possible - forcing proprietary vendors to be on edge.

Reply Score: 10

grayskull Member since:
2008-02-08

"Could people please not use this list to announce information of no particular interest to the people on the list? Hundreds of thousands of babies are born every day. While the whole phenomenon is menacing, one of them by itself is not newsworthy. Nor is it a difficult achievement—even some fish can do it. (Now, if you were a seahorse, it would be more interesting, since it would be the male that gave birth.)"
RMS

http://edward.oconnor.cx/2005/04/rms

Free Software = Good
Open Source = Good
RMS = Bad

Reply Score: 1

M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

There are others way to support Free and open software, other than using it (which sometimes isn't an option). This "use it or sod off" attitude really isn't helping Free/open source software.

What helps is educating people about the pros and cons, and then let them decide for themselves. Don't force them. Don't feel morally superior or insult them. It's not their fault they're using the software they like or are accustumed with, so don't act like it is.

The best future is one where Free/open source software and proprietary software push each other to excel, for the benefit of all. We don't need an all-FOSS world; we simply need a world where FOSS is competitive and seen as a real competitor in as many fields as possible - forcing proprietary vendors to be on edge.


This is appears to be a more nuanced view than that expressed in the article itself. I would recommend appending something of the sort to the article for clarity.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

This is appears to be a more nuanced view than that expressed in the article itself. I would recommend appending something of the sort to the article for clarity.


Actually, it isn't.

"This is why you should support Android (not Google, but Android), even if you prefer the iPhone. This is why you should support Linux, even if you use Windows. This is why you should support Apache, even if you run IIS."

Pretty much the same thing.

Reply Score: 1

M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

I don't quite see that, but OK. In either case that's an interesting piece you wrote. I wonder if it would be an idea to link to that video directly as there are a lot of extremely interesting points made.

Reply Score: 1

r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

If you want to truly support the Free Software Movement, the least you could do is actually using it.

I agree, but putting money where your mouth is, seems so incredibly hard to do, since convenience is king and features gained fall under the largest possible umbrella of entitlement.

In a few years we will see who are the haves and who are the have-nots.

Edit: added quote.

Edited 2012-01-03 14:11 UTC

Reply Score: 3

I'm sorry to say...
by thavith_osn on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 21:21 UTC
thavith_osn
Member since:
2005-07-11

...but supporting Android will not give you "freedom" from anything.

Android connects to the... (wait for it)...internet...
Android connects to the...(drum roll please)...phone networks...
If you have Android, iOS etc. then you are connected and "could" be being tracked.

Not only that, but Android comes with crapware from the carrier you bought it from. If anything, iOS could be considered safer (again, a big "could" here) :-)

Having said that, none of them are safe, you'd be silly to think otherwise.

But here's the thing. We can go around being "paranoid" and looking over our shoulders about all of this, or we can just live life. If the "authorities" in question are trying to take away our freedoms, then they will find a way. Sadly, there isn't a lot we can do. I have watched our freedoms being taken away for many years. 911 took away a few thousand peoples freedoms in a matter of hours. The governments (Australian included) have since used "the fight against terror" to take away millions of peoples freedoms (bit by bit) under the umbrella of keeping us safe.

I love what Bob Dylan said in a song "...instead of learning to live, they are learning to die". That really summed it up for me.

Reply Score: 5

v RE: I'm sorry to say...
by bonchbonch on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 21:47 UTC in reply to "I'm sorry to say..."
RE: I'm sorry to say...
by stabbyjones on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 22:29 UTC in reply to "I'm sorry to say..."
stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

http://download.cyanogenmod.com

http://replicant.us/

http://www.craslab.org/bricophone/?page=FAQen

The difference between IOS and android is that android can be altered in a significant way. While IOS is basically the poster child for doing what you're told.

Reply Score: 10

RE[2]: I'm sorry to say...
by decision_theorist on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 01:16 UTC in reply to "RE: I'm sorry to say..."
decision_theorist Member since:
2012-01-03

How is cyanogenmod going to help you reach websites shut down by SOPA or not get arrested as a 'terrorist suspect' under NDAA?

This whole article is a non-sequitur.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I'm sorry to say...
by stabbyjones on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 01:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I'm sorry to say..."
stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15
RE[4]: I'm sorry to say...
by decision_theorist on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 01:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I'm sorry to say..."
decision_theorist Member since:
2012-01-03

I saw that post, but I don't see how anything in it is relevant to open vs. closed source. We can do proxying, tor routing, encrypted communications, and all the rest of it just as well on a closed source machine as an open sourced one.

So, again, I ask how free software has anything to do with SOPA or NDAA.

Reply Score: 1

RE: I'm sorry to say...
by PAPPP on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 22:51 UTC in reply to "I'm sorry to say..."
PAPPP Member since:
2006-07-26

The hackers know. They're working on it.
From the client side ( https://guardianproject.info/ )
, protocol stack ( https://www.torproject.org/ )
, and network ( http://www.youtube.com/user/28c3#p/u/8/iuwkzNjaPwc sorry for the video link, talk from last week at 28C3).

I agree that connecting to the existing cellular networks inherently provides an avenue to snoop on you, but there is a remarkable amount that can be done to mitigate that... and who says you have to connect your mobile device to the cellular network?

Reply Score: 5

rms
by fran on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 21:24 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

Richard Stallman is my shephurd.

And obviously Richard Stallman is right. He never segfaults.

Edited 2012-01-02 21:31 UTC

Reply Score: 12

RE: rms
by Valhalla on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 23:05 UTC in reply to "rms"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24


And obviously Richard Stallman is right. He never segfaults.

And like any of us real programmers he doesn't shower, he just types make clean ;)

Reply Score: 8

v Stallman
by bonchbonch on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 21:41 UTC
RE: Stallman
by shaunehunter on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 23:05 UTC in reply to "Stallman"
shaunehunter Member since:
2007-02-12

"Necrophilia would be my second choice for what should be done with my corpse, the first being scientific or medical use."

ROTFL

Reply Score: 1

RE: Stallman
by Gullible Jones on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 23:06 UTC in reply to "Stallman"
Gullible Jones Member since:
2006-05-23

Thanks for posting that, I wasn't aware of it.

I don't know a lot about Stallman and have never been a fan. But it sounds to me like he's both quite ignorant and exceedingly confident in his rightness... IOW exactly the kind of winning combination you find in religious zealots.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Stallman
by Carewolf on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 23:34 UTC in reply to "Stallman"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

I can't see any problems with any of that. I really hate pedophiles, and doesn't mind them having their sick pleasures illegalized, but the war on child pornography has brought us nothing good. We can not even justify by saying it has saved any assaults on kids, the photos were already taken. It only serves as answer to "We have to do something." "This is something." "Let's do it."

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Stallman
by BeamishBoy on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 05:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Stallman"
BeamishBoy Member since:
2010-10-27

the war on child pornography has brought us nothing good. We can not even justify by saying it has saved any assaults on kids


What a horribly fucking ignorant thing to say.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Stallman
by M.Onty on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 10:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Stallman"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

... the war on child pornography has brought us nothing good. We can not even justify by saying it has saved any assaults on kids, the photos were already taken.


Err ...

What do you think happens when they track down who uploaded the photos? Do you think the photographer is left in a position to take more pictures, or is gaoled?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Stallman
by Carewolf on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 15:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Stallman"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Why couldn't they do this before?

You don't need to criminalize the possession of evidence to use it as evidence, especially in an investigation. In fact criminalizing the evidence just makes it harder for the investigators to find, and stop the criminals.

Reply Score: 4

v Comment by stanbr
by stanbr on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 21:43 UTC
v Bullshit
by felipec on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 21:57 UTC
RE: Bullshit
by lidstah on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 03:03 UTC in reply to "Bullshit"
lidstah Member since:
2008-09-20

SOPA and most of the stuff mentioned in the article are purely an U.S. phenomenon, and have been foreseen by a lot of people, not only Richard Stallman, and as a result of corporations having too much power.


Oh, noes, this is not a "US phenomenon". In France, we have laws like Hadopi and Loppsi which are almost the same as SOPA, and all around in europe, they're making laws like this - note that they also try to minimize the "three powers": justice power, executive power, legislative power which, ideally, shall be separated - Nowadays, Hadopi for example can take sanctions upon people *without* any judge notice or supervision, on an *automatic* basis. And you should have a look to ACTA too. You're not presumed innocent, you're presumed culprit. This is one of a hell of a hit on democracy, and an awfull hit to justice.

But I agree with you when you say "as a result of corporations having too much power".

Software has almost nothing to do with it.


I can't disagree more. Software is *everywhere* : in your car, phone, TV, computer (of course), network (of course, bis repetita), tramway, train station, airplane and airports, weapons, bank, healthcare, police, military institutions, education, science, all our world is managed by softwares, even Wall Street. 1984's paranoïa? I don't think so, just have a look at what Blue Coat did in Syria, or Amesys/Bull in Lybia, for example: lives were taken, people were tortured *because* a software scanning what happened on the network "denounced" them. Is that the future you want for your children? Because it's on its way to become reality, sooner than you expect, and for real, in our so-called "free world".

Reply Score: 3

Duh!
by Mystilleef on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 22:33 UTC
Mystilleef
Member since:
2005-06-29

Fortunately, I got enlightened 10 years earlier almost immediately after spending a couple of hours studying the Free Software Manifesto. When you ask yourself what your human rights are regarding software, you'd have to be a vegetable not to be impressed by the immense wisdom behind Free Software.

I didn't need Obama signing questionable legislation into law either to reach this epiphany. Microsoft, Apple and friends did it for me. Linux "may be" rough around the edges, but my software freedom is something I'm unwilling to sacrifice as a geek, software engineer and computer user.

Reply Score: 14

Reality check
by ViktorRabe on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 23:03 UTC
ViktorRabe
Member since:
2011-12-30

As a person living in a society -- even Richard Stallman does -- you need to have a minimum amount of implicit trust into everything that's around you. Trains, buses, planes, computer devices like ATMs or ticket machines, clocks, traffic lights.

You expect them to function correctly like the day before, every day. And since deviations from that are the exception and not the norm, it's justified to build up that trust.

If you can't do that -- trust your (computerized) environment to such a degree that makes routine possible, that is -- you will be unable to function in society.

It is unrealistic to imagine a scenario where a large amount or even the majority of people would indeed care about the code. If there'd be a widespread feeling of mistrust with regards to code, and in consequence with regards to everything computerized around you, you'd be unable to live normal lives. In other words: society would have collapsed.

I don't think that's an realistic option.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Reality check
by tidux on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 02:25 UTC in reply to "Reality check"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

We don't need "large portions of the population" to be eyes on the code - we just need a few paranoid hackers acting as whistleblowers, who can point to where in the source code the malice happens. If we don't have the freedom to run, inspect, modify, and redistribute that software, that can't happen. The "trust the big institutions" mindset is what got the world into this plutocratic nightmare.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Reality check
by lucas_maximus on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 09:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Reality check"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

And that us why this http://lists.debian.org/debian-security-announce/2008/msg00152.html was spotted so quickly? ... oh wait it was there for years

Reply Score: 1

Good one!
by korpenkraxar on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 23:16 UTC
korpenkraxar
Member since:
2005-09-10

This is a topic and development I think many of us have thought about and/or debated over the years and I agree it is quickly getting less theoretical.

However, compared to most people I talk to about this, I seem to be more optimistic. I actually think some new cultural and technological developments are on our side.

As people get used to sharing on social networks, the concepts of sharing, reciprocal transparency and privacy will get increasingly important and that people start demanding more open governments and companies. The next step for social networks are local neighborhood networks that may renew and foster participation in local politics. Normalizing sharing may deeply change both culture and politics. Facebook kills RIAA :-)

I think we can expect a singular event in the 3D printing/maker scene in the next ten years following a technological breakthrough coupled with community development. Local (and eventually, home) manufacturing will be profoundly empowering. What we need is the Stallman and Torvalds of the next phase in individual liberation and we need to move faster than the law makers... :-)

Reply Score: 3

Cory Doctorow also made a speach recently
by Lennie on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 23:17 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

"The coming war on general computation"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUEvRyemKSg

General tip:
Keep control of your own devices or other will !

Reply Score: 2

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Silly me, it was on the page that was linked from the article ;-)

Reply Score: 2

stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

RMS and the free software movement are the most important things to happen to technology.

Proprietary and free is easier for some people to handle because they don't understand why free software matters. Free software should be used first where at all possible, it's that simple. It doesn't matter if It costs more than proprietary software. Free should be the first priority.

After 4 years of pressure from me, my wife still owns an iphone. She complains about it all the time and comes across the most ridiculous bugs. Yesterday her facebook app was upside down and her text messages disappeared every time she sent one and returned when she received a text back.

She can't file a bug or change the software on her phone unless mandated on high from a corporation. Where as Cyanogenmod for example will fix bugs constantly and i don't have to wait for new releases, I can download nighty's each day or when I see the bug is fixed in the changelog. But she just doesn't care and I know that the majority of people don't either.

Proprietary protocols and applications are becoming more prevalent as companies work out that by owning the data and the process is more valuable than the client that connects to them. The reason RMS is still the leader of the free software movement is that there are still not enough people willing to part with phones or operating systems with locked in standards.

The number one complaint I hear about why people don't use free software like Linux et al, is that it's too hard to use. BUT THAT'S THE POINT.

You need to understand to at least some degree about how programs work, why your computer has to do things a certain way or how software of all types can work independently of other pieces. When you start to understand the foundations of computing you have just learn't why free software is so important.

To give up proprietary software you need to be willing to make the jump. It really isn't hard to do once you start, the hardest part is actually starting. You may have to make a sacrifice or two, (foobar2000! ;) ) but that's okay because supporting free software is more important than having itunes on Linux.

Microsoft Windows -> Debian
Microsoft Office -> Libre Office (export to pdf for your resume)
Games -> Support games that support your choice to use free software.

I still live and work with proprietary software every day and I am always conscious of these choices. Right now to live in a truly free software environment you have to live a few years behind the latest trends. That's not an option for some and goes to show that there's a long way to go before free software has reached the tipping point.

Any point you can make that OSX, Windows, IOS, etc is 'better' doesn't actually matter. Whether something is truly free is more important than the quality of the jail you're using.

Reply Score: 4

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

"The number one complaint I hear about why people don't use free software like Linux et al, is that it's too hard to use. BUT THAT'S THE POINT."

If that's the point, then your cause is doomed.

Reply Score: 0

stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

Knowledge is power and when you give it up don't be surprised when they take your shiny gadgets away too.

Reply Score: 5

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Easy to use doesn't mean lack of knowledge, nor does hard to use particularly mean you possess knowledge.

Reply Score: 4

stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

You are exactly right.

BUT, the issue is that over time the knowledge will be lost and thus the war over who owns your data/software.

I'm not saying using Linux/android is inherently harder than windows/IOS because it isn't. What I'm saying is that people aren't bothering to learn about what and why they use software because it's not required anymore.

There are going to be a lot of kids who will be growing up right now with tablets and phones who will possibly never even use a computer at school or at home. I work for a few private schools who's goal is to replace the current student laptop program with personal devices by 2014.

With highly specialised and highly compartmentalised devices, there is no incentive to learn anything other than how to open and consume your favourite things.

That's the crux of the whole issue here, by hiding restriction and control behind ease of use we are forgetting about maintaining the same levels of freedom along the way.

Skills and knowledge are lost on the general population as they become more specialised, it's been happening forever. But as computers become a bigger part of our lives each year, this isn't a skill that should be left to specialists.

Reply Score: 6

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

stabbyjones,

"I work for a few private schools who's goal is to replace the current student laptop program with personal devices by 2014."

I've always been wary of the proliferation of closed devices, but I've never really thought about this angle before. If kids get pushed away from open computers in favor of closed and much less powerful tablets at school (whatever the actual motivation), then we may be discouraging them from joining the open software community and benefiting from it.

Reply Score: 3

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

"I'm not saying using Linux/android is inherently harder than windows/IOS because it isn't."

This was the one thought I agreed with: Linux is harder.

"With highly specialised and highly compartmentalised devices, there is no incentive to learn anything other than how to open and consume your favourite things."

Disagree. This is an overly pessimistic view that open advocates cling to. Difficulty doesn't inspire my curiosity. Nor does being exposed to the guts; sometimes a closed box is more inspiring than an open one. Inspiration and curiosity are innate to humanity.

This is also a putdown: it's not that easy or closed just enables consumption. Easy and closed can foster creativity in any number of ways, including promoting programming.

Reply Score: 1

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

jared_wilkes,

"sometimes a closed box is more inspiring than an open one. Inspiration and curiosity are innate to humanity."

"This is also a putdown: it's not that easy or closed just enables consumption. Easy and closed can foster creativity in any number of ways, including promoting programming."

There are a number of ways closed software is promoted, but this is a new one by me. Closed boxes inspire humanity? Closed fosters creativity and promotes programming? Wow...Talk about being a contrarian.

Reply Score: 2

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Sure. I would say it is far more the norm that I am inspired and curious about something that I can use or take part in first but don't understand rather than the cases where I actually need to learn about it and understand it before I can make use of it.

Do you actually think there is no way a kid can be inspired to program for iOS after using an iPad because it is not open source?

Edited 2012-01-03 05:13 UTC

Reply Score: 1

leos Member since:
2005-09-21

After 4 years of pressure from me, my wife still owns an iphone. She complains about it all the time and comes across the most ridiculous bugs. Yesterday her facebook app was upside down and her text messages disappeared every time she sent one and returned when she received a text back.


So your wife bought the original iPhone, running an OS two major versions out of date, and apparently she still likes it better than a current phone? Ok.... And your evidence of it's lack of quality is a bug in a third party application that Apple has nothing to do with? Wow, the fandroid hate is strong in you.

She can't file a bug or change the software on her phone unless mandated on high from a corporation. Where as Cyanogenmod for example will fix bugs constantly and i don't have to wait for new releases, I can download nighty's each day or when I see the bug is fixed in the changelog. But she just doesn't care and I know that the majority of people don't either.


So on both platforms you have bugs, but on one you get to spend hours trying different nightlies on the off-chance the bug might be fixed. I remember that from my Linux days. Sometimes it was fixed, sometimes it wasn't, and almost always something else broke. Irregardless of the result, it took a lot of time that I no longer want to spend. My phone is a productivity tool. When it takes more work to maintain than it saves me, I might as well throw it away.

Reply Score: 2

stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

No, she has owned every iphone released and currently own a 4S.

How is the IOS text messaging app 3rd party?

The update process for cyanogenmod is download the update and open the file. The update runs and reboots the phone for me. Two steps isn't that hard.

There has been nothing major broken on my phone running cyanogenmod since i bought it. Compared to an iphone that is a month old and already has weird UI and software issues i think that's doing pretty well.

Again, the issue is that if it's not free and open then it doesn't matter how shiny it is, it should be avoided.

Edited 2012-01-03 00:00 UTC

Reply Score: 2

leos Member since:
2005-09-21

No, she has owned every iphone released and currently own a 4S.


So when you say "she always complains about it", you really meant, "she loves it so much she bought every single iPhone". I like my iPhone, but I'm still on my first one...

How is the IOS text messaging app 3rd party?


Sorry, I thought you meant Facebook text messaging.

There has been nothing major broken on my phone running cyanogenmod since i bought it. Compared to an iphone that is a month old and already has weird UI and software issues i think that's doing pretty well.


You were just talking about how you're running nightlies in order to check if bugs are fixed. So you are encountering bugs. Just like on every other platform. Not like a UI glitch and a bug in a third party app qualify as something "major broken".

Again, the issue is that if it's not free and open then it doesn't matter how shiny it is, it should be avoided.


I had that bug for a while too. Eventually you realize that it doesn't make a difference what you use, so you might as well use what makes you most productive. For me that's mostly not open source software anymore, after being exclusively open source for a long time.

Edited 2012-01-03 05:42 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I disagree with the opinion that free software should be difficult to use in essence.

In my view, free software is about giving end users the right to learn about how their software works, with the explicit restriction that they must use this knowledge for the general advancement of humanity (i.e. redistribute any modified source). But this should always remain a right, not a duty.

See Mozilla Firefox : they manage to be at the same time one of the most user-friendly web browsers out there and one that gives its users the most power (through about:config and extensions). This is, in my opinion, what good free software should aim at.

Reply Score: 2

Way missed the mark
by leos on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 23:28 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

The problem is not software being open or closed, the problem is a political one. Who cares if you're using iOS or Android to access the internet if SOPA leads to a censored web? Who cares if you run linux when you are detained for attending an occupy protest?

The connection here makes no sense. You can build your own cell phone from scratch, write every single line of code yourself, and as soon as you connect to the cell network you can be tracked, and your information can be filtered.

This is nonsense. Whether you use OSX or Windows or Linux makes no difference whatsoever. Don't like what's being done by the government? Organize against them and vote them out. Your software choice has exactly zero impact.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Way missed the mark
by decision_theorist on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 00:57 UTC in reply to "Way missed the mark"
decision_theorist Member since:
2012-01-03

Right. Exactly.

I have no idea what the connection is between SOPA/NDAA and open vs. closed software. I don't know how using Android is going to help you not get tracked. This all makes zero sense.

Ultimately you have to trust somebody. If you want to trust the open-source development community you can do that. If you want to trust Apple or Google you can do that to.

Trusting Apple at least has the advantage that you know who they are and can be held accountable.

I don't see any valid argument here that Stallman's views have been justified at all.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Way missed the mark
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 08:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Way missed the mark"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I have no idea what the connection is between SOPA/NDAA and open vs. closed software. I don't know how using Android is going to help you not get tracked. This all makes zero sense.


If something's open source, you can at least check if you're being tracked. You can't do that with iOS or Windows Phone 7.

THAT is the gist. Open source allows you to circumvent arbitrary bullshit restrictions. Closed source does not. It's pretty elementary.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Way missed the mark
by lucas_maximus on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 11:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Way missed the mark"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

And what does this have to do with the NDAA? Exactly.

The only reason Stallman wrote the GPL license is because he hated commercial programmers.

http://penguinday.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/the-most-effective-terro...

http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage.ft?news_id=fto0418200613064247...

FT: Is open source going to be disruptive to Oracle?

LE: No. If an open source product gets good enough, we'll simply take it. Take [the web server software] Apache: once Apache got better than our own web server, we threw it away and took Apache. So the great thing about open source is nobody owns it – a company like Oracle is free to take it for nothing, include it in our products and charge for support, and that's what we'll do. So it is not disruptive at all – you have to find places to add value. Once open source gets good enough, competing with it would be insane. Keep in mind it's not that good in most places yet. We're a big supporter of Linux. At some point we may embed Linux in all of our products and provide support.


Edited 2012-01-03 11:37 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Way missed the mark
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 11:53 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Way missed the mark"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

And what does this have to do with the NDAA? Exactly.


*sigh*

I'm not even going to explain how all this ties together to you anymore, because it's pretty obvious that if you don't want to get it now, you'll never get it. You're probably better off for it.

If you don't see how dangerous the current goings on are, and how free and open access to the code that runs on your devices is an important weapon in counteracting these goings on, then I don't think any explanation is going to do it for you.

Considering your posting history, your inability to understand all this is probably dictated by you brain coping with cognitive dissonance, meaning nobody is going to be able to explain it to you.

At least the Grubers, Sieglers, and Arments of this world have the decency to deal with their cognitive dissonances the healthy way: just ignore it and hope it goes away.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Way missed the mark
by lucas_maximus on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 13:35 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Way missed the mark"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

No I just don't think that opensource is some magic fairy dust that suddenly fixes everything.

As someone else pointed out that whether the system is open or closed means that it will still have to connect to network that can likely monitor them.

Unless they make something like a mesh network like they did when the Egypt rioted.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/02/01/egypt-protests-hac...

http://www.openmeshproject.org/

The software enabling people to do this was not necessarily running on open source software. I think it ran on quite a range of devices.

I see no mention of this in your article. I do see a lot of hysteria about two completely unrelated bills.

Also Open source software due to it nature does not make innovative products.

http://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Not-Gadget-Manifesto/dp/0307269647 from the Q&A

Web 2.0 adherents might respond to these objections by claiming that I have confused individual expression with intellectual achievement. This is where we find our greatest point of disagreement. I am amazed by the power of the collective to enthrall people to the point of blindness. Collectivists adore a computer operating system called LINUX, for instance, but it is really only one example of a descendant of a 1970s technology called UNIX. If it weren’t produced by a collective, there would be nothing remarkable about it at all.

Meanwhile, the truly remarkable designs that couldn’t have existed 30 years ago, like the iPhone, all come out of "closed" shops where individuals create something and polish it before it is released to the public. Collectivists confuse ideology with achievement.


You speak to the collectivists, I am not one of them. You have a "Post Comment" section on the site but become upset when people question your logic ... maybe you shouldn't allow them?

Edited 2012-01-03 13:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Way missed the mark
by r_a_trip on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 15:18 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Way missed the mark"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Meanwhile, the truly remarkable designs that couldn’t have existed 30 years ago, like the iPhone, all come out of "closed" shops where individuals create something and polish it before it is released to the public.

Yet that same iPhone is powered by a toned down OS X, which was created with and only possible due to the availability of the collectivised Mach and FreeBSD, which both lead directly back to that same old 1970s technology called UNIX.

It's funny how the naysayers can always claim straightfaced that Linux is just a copy of Unix and ignore 20 years of developments and then turn around and point to Apple's OS as the pinnacle of innovation and completely ignore the same OS heritage.

Reply Score: 6

RE[7]: Way missed the mark
by lucas_maximus on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 15:50 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Way missed the mark"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

You missed the point.

Linux distros are a copy of Unix as much as it matters and community is good at doing that.

However the iPhone is a product, it could have Windows Embedded or be running on magic unicorn blood under all the polish and you may never know the difference.

Much like Android could have been built on top of FreeBSD and you wouldn't know.

Edited 2012-01-03 15:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2

v RE[5]: Way missed the mark
by decision_theorist on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 16:01 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Way missed the mark"
RE[6]: Way missed the mark
by lucas_maximus on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 18:52 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Way missed the mark"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I can't explain something, therefore you are wrong and have something wrong with you

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Way missed the mark
by leos on Wed 4th Jan 2012 04:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Way missed the mark"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

If something's open source, you can at least check if you're being tracked. You can't do that with iOS or Windows Phone 7.


Uhh.. I'll make this really easy for you. If you're connecting to the cell network, you're being tracked. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Way missed the mark
by Flanders on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 20:12 UTC in reply to "Way missed the mark"
Flanders Member since:
2012-01-03

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Reply Score: 1

Stupid defective keyboard :p
by Flanders on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 20:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Way missed the mark"
Flanders Member since:
2012-01-03

I'll try again. Prev. message was incomplete, due to my stu pid defective keyboard. Here I'll try again:

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I was scrolling down the thread and wondering why noone seem ed to notice the obvious flaw in this article - that there is NO connection between the bad  laws and anything rms ever predicted!

It never does mention excactly what rms said 30 years ago t hat was an accurate prediction of the future.

Neither does it explain what these laws have to do with fre e software and I start to suspect that the author of the a rticle does not have enough technical knowledge to know that all these bad laws would be perfectly possible in a world with only free software.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Way missed the mark
by melkor on Wed 4th Jan 2012 04:27 UTC in reply to "Way missed the mark"
melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

Agreed. This thread is a bit silly imho. I like RMS, I like his ideals. But using open source software will make jack squat difference to the government in question arresting you for whatever reason it deems fit, and detaining you indefinitely, without a fair trial, for whatever reason it deems fit.

Oh, and I'm pretty confident that Linux has a nice backdoor in it just like OS X and Windows do. The only O/S that I'd trust to not have such a backdoor is GNU Hurd. Linux long ago lost my respect when Linus rudely thumbed RMS by refusing to move to GPL 3 with BS reasons.

Linux is powerful, configurable, but user friendly it is not. And anyone telling you that is full of shyte. It still requires knowledge of computer systems and how they work, and security diligence that your ordinary computer user severely lacks.

Dave

Reply Score: 1

Android free?
by Normm on Mon 2nd Jan 2012 23:48 UTC
Normm
Member since:
2011-11-09

Android may be free in the sense that it makes a good iPhone-like touch UI available to the masses at low cost (though patent royalties may end up being significant). But I don't see that Android gives you significantly more freedom than iOS.

In both cases the lowest level firmware is locked down for the carriers, and you have no access to software at that level. If you root your Android device you can tweak whatever you like at the OS level, but I'm not sure that's the essential freedom Stallman was after. You still don't have source code for most of the useful applications than run on the device (Google or third party), and so you can't modify or extend them. In fact, you can probably find more free source code published for iOS apps than for Android ones.

Or is the essential difference that it costs $99 to register as a developer and be able to put whatever software you want on your own iOS devices (bypassing the App store), whereas this is free on Android?

Reply Score: 3

Regulating operators
by Fred72 on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 00:01 UTC
Fred72
Member since:
2012-01-02

Most of the DNS infrastructure uses open source software. SOPA is about regulating DNS within the US. The fact that the operators are using open source software doesn't mean they can't be regulated.

China's great firewall is most likely using some, if not mostly, open source software. Many of the governments in the middle east use open source software in their deep packet inspections to track and censor their citizens.

Open and closed software is used to get around these government systems (until RIM started caving to local governments their software was frequently used by dissidents to avoid snooping. Systems don't come more closed than RIM.)

It isn't the open or closed nature of the software or Apple, or Microsoft that are the problem, the problem is the politicians. Do something about them and your need to avoid tracking and snooping and censorship goes away. Using open or closed sourced software won't fix it no matter what. You're just in an arms race.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Regulating operators
by Gullible Jones on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 00:06 UTC in reply to "Regulating operators"
Gullible Jones Member since:
2006-05-23

I daresay the above is one of the most sensible posts I've seen on OSNews thus far.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Regulating operators
by decision_theorist on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 01:13 UTC in reply to "Regulating operators"
decision_theorist Member since:
2012-01-03

Yes!

Excellent point about DNS and open source software.

Open/closed source is irrelevant to the problems in the original article.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Regulating operators
by ngaio on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 01:24 UTC in reply to "Regulating operators"
ngaio Member since:
2005-10-06

You are correct to note that free software can be used in nefarious ways. But you then go on to construct an argument which simply doesn't accord with reality. In the real world, the free software movement has always been against government tyranny. In the real world, some corporations have supported government tyranny by supplying technologies of repression when they've been able to get away with it, knowing the technology will be used to abuse the rights of innocent people.

Ironically, your argument is a perfect illustration of why thinking of software in a purely technical way is misguided. The free software movement has never made this mistake. Like it or not, decisions about software can never be purely technical. In the real world, such absolutes do not exist.

Edited 2012-01-03 01:25 UTC

Reply Score: 6

Gullible Jones
Member since:
2006-05-23

Come on guys... What's with the modding down of all the perfectly relevant comments that fail to make FOSS and its supporters look like the best thing ever?

I've been using GNU/Linux for a while now. I expect to continue using it, possibly until the concept of an operating system becomes obsolete. I don't see why that entails believing that it is the best collection of software ever, or that it has the best community ever. Most especially the latter.

Reply Score: 1

ngaio Member since:
2005-10-06

Unfortunately it cuts both ways. Someone making an argument in favor of free software in a context where most of the comments are being made by proprietary software supporters will more often than not get modded down, including here.

Reply Score: 2

Very well written
by unavowed on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 01:15 UTC
unavowed
Member since:
2006-03-23

I have to say, if this article is representative of the overall quality of Thom's writing then he has come a long way since the poorly thought out rants I used to remember reading here. Very good article!

Reply Score: 3

jonforthewin
Member since:
2012-01-03

> I choose it whenever functional
> equivalence with proprietary solutions is reached,

This is unacceptable behavior. Please stop contributing to this serious social problem.

Reply Score: 5

Good up until the last paragraph
by gan17 on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 01:43 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

Although I don't quite agree with everything written in the article, RMS did correctly predict a lot of things that are going wrong with tech today (locked bootloaders, anyone?). I still think he's a nutjob, but a likeable one (at least more likeable than Jobs or Ballmer).

Was a decently written article... up until your last paragraph where you somehow degenerated everything into hollow Fandroidism.

Reply Score: 1

testman Member since:
2007-10-15

Although I don't quite agree with everything written in the article, RMS did correctly predict a lot of things that are going wrong with tech today (locked bootloaders, anyone?). I still think he's a nutjob, but a likeable one (at least more likeable than Jobs or Ballmer).

Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day.

Was a decently written article... up until your last paragraph where you somehow degenerated everything into hollow Fandroidism.

Judging by your down-moderation, I don't think the Fandroids liked that one bit. :-)

Reply Score: 1

...
by Hiev on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 01:52 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

Dude, "V" for Vendetta also predicted it, big deal.

Reply Score: 0

Excellent article
by anarchisttomato on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 02:43 UTC
anarchisttomato
Member since:
2010-05-17

Goodness, I couldn't agree more. What have we become? In a bid for increasing convenience, we're increasingly giving away our freedoms (for instance, we all know how our mobiles can be used for tracking us, but we do so anyway - and I needn't mention Facebook!). Stallman aside, these patterns were shown to us in works like 1984, and we've just accepted each part of the puzzle with gradualism until we've just about arrived at these Orwellian nightmares.

Reply Score: 5

v Probabilities..
by Brendan on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 04:36 UTC
can't see no peaceful way out
by freeaks on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 05:00 UTC
freeaks
Member since:
2010-10-28

@Thom
one glance over human history (any period any location),
tells me that 90% of ppl like collars and leashes.
and the rest, 10%, like to use them ppl as disposable objects. tools.

either side it's disgusting.

censure and manipuation of the information all over the world.
(e.g: fukushima, here in france, a pro-nuclear country, there's almost *zero* news coverage about the catastrophe, is that normal ? we're all concerned. japan lying to it's own citizen is already quite something, but other country with independant press as well knowingly relaying the false information?!) when ppl will start developping cancers, they will hide the information that connects the cause to the nuclear industry (mafia). they're already doing this in japan. they've already did this in france in 1986 with tchernobyl. and now again.
so if that goes for japan and france i suspect we aren't alone doing this. other countries are probably following more or less.

worldwide, we see news laws being voted without the consent of the population these are law to control, spy and force ppl to behave,
even if the citizens realize and try to rebel, they get shoot by police. even for small public protest they send us armed, armored cops.

work hard and be quiet. that's the message. heck they even succeed at pushing ppl against ppl. divide to reign.
you can see it at all level of society, but for example with proprietary software so i do not go too much off-topic ;)
if you have a copy of say photoshop, you are not allowed by law to lend it to me so i can perform a task with it. and everybody finds it's normal ?! but lending me your car or a tool for doing some tasks like a hammer or a screwdriver is still ok ? why is that ?

they suck the life and the freedom out of us all. in the very name of liberty and welfare of everyone ..the irony.
i don't believe in politicians. they're all corrupted.
and we can't do nothing about it all beside turning into barbarians and cut off the bad heads.
how sad.

Reply Score: 3

ParadoxUncreated Member since:
2009-12-05

There is a peaceful way out. But then the discussion has to go into a religious sphere. Although all of this can be backed with with logic stronger than the coherence of the disbeliever.

Yes, we live in a society that poisons it`s own population. But what is the root cause?

The root cause of this is disbelief in morality, belief in physicalism, disbelief in duality. Etc. These are the base concepts.

Disbeliers live in a culture where they are purely physical, have no soul, have no eternal life, have only limited ability, have no purpose to their life, have no one force beind everything, and therefore idolize whatever person or object they believe to be responsible for what they like. They are told a random source, of physical nature, equal to white noise has created to universe. And often uphold this all with utmost arrogance.

Ofcourse if this causes depression, anxiety, or other illnesses, due to lack of belief in God, they are given pills by the same people who claim they have no soul, and are physical alone, that these pills alter your physicality, so your problem is fixed.

Without an allknowing God, there is no absolute morality. No sane man tries to extract morals from a mindless whitenoise creator. Still they claim this is how it is.

It is a battle of belief vs disbelief. Because without belief, there is no right or wrong. There are no moral limits. Theoretically if one gains enough understading of the physical nature of man, one can alted it, and create monsters. And it would purely be seen as darwinian evolution. Which ofcourse is an absurd theory that also bases itsel on mindless whitenoise/randomness, aka NOT intelligent design.

So where do you go for morals? Where do you go for decency? In a time of pornopop, and disbelieving culture, where do you go for a decent non-cheating wife. Where do you go for non-pub culture, non-drunkeness, non-violence. Where do you go for sanity?

Faith ofcourse.

And the logic of it is much more coherent that a randomphysical source that for some reason an atheist has no need to explain.

The believers logic is this:

All limited phenomena must be from an unlimited phenomena.

The unlimited phenomena can be described as eternal, almighty, transcendent. And it can only be one, that posesses all might.
And an unlimited chain of events cannot exists, as it lack a beginning, and therefore a chain of events.
Therefore the chain of events that our universe is a part of, must have a transcendent cause.
And consciousness is not an aspect of the limited, A machine does not posess emotions, intellect, senses. Therefore consciousness must be the unlimited.
And this unlimited is experienced as The Word, by gnostics. And with The Word, is the meaning.
In other words, God must exist, and it must be consciousness, the life in humans, trees, plants and all life, and it is the only eternity, and the meaning.
And we can know that God is good, because it is our own nature.

Think about it, and understand the fundamentals of monotheism, dualism and also the conservative politics that comes with not going against oneself.

And if everyone realises the truth of it, there will be world peace, and life according to ones own universal soul.

And these values can be carried into anything that is done.
Computers, Linux, Freesoftware.
And ofcourse used against, anything that subjects man to inferior ideals/idols/commercial machines. And so forth.

We are not here to be slaves to a system. The system is here to be slaves to us.

Peace.

Reply Score: 3

Gullible Jones Member since:
2006-05-23

I think the evidence for your statements is lacking. The majority of the US population is religious, often devoutly.

Unless you meant to imply that your religion is the One True Way, and everyone who doesn't believe in it must be at least amoral. In which case I won't argue with you, because such an argument would not be productive.

Reply Score: 3

ParadoxUncreated Member since:
2009-12-05

GOD is the first being, and all souls. (are derived of him/are of his nature).

Away with fundamental association such as atheisms "random" physical measurable creator, and those deviant and ill, that directly or indirectly attribute meaning to randomness. Away with darwinism, and "random" mutation, that would have left a pile of carcasses from mismutation large than any number of "successful" fossils. Away with physicalism that is polytheistic and satanic in that one is two-brainhalves, rather than one non-physical divine soul.

Reply Score: 1

Gullible Jones Member since:
2006-05-23

Evolution is not random. You have different selective pressures for different roles and environments; a bad mutation for one could be great for another. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptive_radiation

BTW, you do realize that attitudes like yours are what brought us the Crusades and burning people at the stake, right?

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

GOD is the first being, and all souls. (are derived of him/are of his nature).

Sure, they do have quite a lot of resemblance - because just like souls, gods (what, only yours? It isn't winning BTW http://www.kyon.pl/img/19423,text,Thor,religion,lol,Jesus,christian... ) are imaginary (see, I can use bold, too)

http://www.kyon.pl/img/17811,philosoraptor,religion,god,.html

And since you're probably unable to realize it / it needs to be pointed out: you just said that your god is alike us, hence a monster, hardly any compassion, just devouring us, feeding on us at most (hm, maybe souls taste better when they are "flavoured" in a way preferred by each deity...)

But you wouldn't know it, you cowardly escaped into a fantasy world, effects of which actually hurt people
(heck, you most likely worship the ultimate damager and destroyer, the worst of all sinners... http://groups.google.com/group/net.religion/msg/30925fd2c9a20cbd?

http://groups.google.com/group/net.origins/browse_thread/thread/251... )

Luckily, people like you are dying out together with real civilisational and moral progress.

Oh, yes, another thing you don't realize: the prime examples of (societal / memetic this time) things governed by evolutionary dynamics are... religions.
Heck, vast majority of them died out. Only those which "randomly" had opportune properties, managed to spread and destroy others.

Edited 2012-01-10 00:17 UTC

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

There is a peaceful way out. But then the discussion has to go into a religious sphere. [...]


Rubbish, stop pushing your imaginary antiques at every opportunity - they evolved when we were hunter-gatherers, most of their time was then, in very brutal times, and its better to leave them there, in the past.
Stop spreading everywhere your empty mental masturbations which don't survive confrontation with the simplest demographical statistics.

Just look at the map of the world sometimes.

Religious places are generally, on average, most backward on all levels; OTOH there's definitely a correlation between organic lower religiosity and positive societal factors. The places which are most secular (as in actually secular, not just being called like that by official PR) are generally by far the nicest to live in.

(and before you point out, say, state atheism in the eastern block like most simpletons do - those places actually weren't irreligious, that's known by everybody who lived there ...curiously, there's no phenomena of "unbaptised generation" & virtually all Party members were closet practitioners; also, the ideologies, cult of personality, etc. were really quite religious in nature - the most striking present example is Juche; North Korea is described by some visiting commentators as the most religious country on the planet they've seen)


Coincidentally, I'm from one of most backwards like that places in Europe... and also, by chance, neighbouring some major (this time counting worldwide) secular areas - and not in the sense of "neglect", in the sense that majority there declares they do not believe in any collection of myths...

...startling difference / it's a joy to visit / so much nicer it's not funny. It is funny to point this out to "deeply religious" people who were there on a visit, usually didn't realize the specifics of the place (it's not like the places advertise their irreligion, contrary to what those grabbed in religious dynamics tend to do / jump in your face), and describe their visit very much in superlatives - how the people are nicer, how they feel safer, how surroundings are better maintained ...also religious monuments; but that's it, in many ways those are just cultural artefacts, protected by law, of the past eras)

Edited 2012-01-10 00:19 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Best article ever on OSnews.
by crhylove on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 07:38 UTC
crhylove
Member since:
2010-04-10

Thank you.

Reply Score: 3

Free software is politics
by Neolander on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 11:03 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

I am astonished to see so many comments stating "the issue is not one of software but one of politics". Of course it is about politics ! Why do you think that it is free software, not open source one, that heats up debates so much ?

Free software is political opinion applied to computer software. It is about acknowledging that pure competition has failed as a way to human advancement, losing against the most unhealthy form of cooperation : cartels of huge companies and government entities teaming up to maximize their selfish profits.

Free software is about acknowledging, in the software world, that the only effective form of competition without mercy is war.

By legally enforcing modified source redistribution, one enforces something which neoliberal societies do not train us too but which has been proven as one of the greatest source of progress in human groups : cooperation.

At least that's the way I see it.

Reply Score: 8

RMS, the man and what he says.
by spiderman on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 11:04 UTC
spiderman
Member since:
2008-10-23

RMS may be a dick, he may need a shave, he may be wrong about a lot of stuff he does not understand, I don't care. He is right about free software.
The wise man shows the moon and the fools watch his finger.
Many people criticize him ad hominem but they are fools.
Proprietary software exist, as a matter of fact. It is a necessity. We haven't reached the point where we can eliminate it. There is no question about that. But free is better than proprietary, as a matter of fact. It's like put poverty and hunger. There is no way to eliminate it as of now but there is no question that a world without hunger is better.
Proprietary software is artificial scarcity. Free software is opulence.

Reply Score: 5

US going bad != World going bad
by AcacioMartins on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 13:11 UTC
AcacioMartins
Member since:
2011-04-06

I'm surprised to see this sort of opinion coming from an european(even more so from a Dutch).

Yes, SOPA and NDAA are very bad, but there is nothing surprising about them, freedom in the US has been on a downwards spiral for a very long time. The Netherlands(and most of western Europe) have long been far more liberal than the US.

I agree that some of the bad trends(software patents, 3 strikes programs, etc.) in the US are being adopted elsewhere but to go from that to saying that RMS was right and the whole world is going bad is an exaggeration. What we need to do is stop pretending the US doesn't make part of the roll of repressive regimes. This isn't a new issue either, since 9/11 and the Patriot Act it has been ridiculous to call the US a free country.

I also agree that open source software is a good way to fight repressive governments, and I do promote open source/free software(and make my living from it), but I think we're very far from needing the all out war RMS seems to want to wage.

I don't think the sort of extremism RMS preaches is necessary to avoid 1984 all over the world, or even the best way forward.

Edited 2012-01-03 13:30 UTC

Reply Score: 2

If I was a developer, what should I use?
by adkilla on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 14:21 UTC
adkilla
Member since:
2005-07-07

Now lets look at this from another angle. What language, platform should I use? Would picking between Java or Mono/.Net make a difference?

Reply Score: 2

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Use C++.

Reply Score: 3

adkilla Member since:
2005-07-07

While I like C++, it really needs a good standardized framework. Especially in areas such as threading, network I/O and GUI programming.

I have been using Qt for a while but I find it foreign in some places and could do with better integration with the language. I would for one like them to drop MOC and move to templates. The need for legacy compilers these days are no longer important as most of the framework does not support it anyway.

Reply Score: 2

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Lot's of good stuff is already in C++11 which is catching up in modern compilers.

Edited 2012-01-03 18:53 UTC

Reply Score: 2

martini Member since:
2006-01-23

Now lets look at this from another angle. What language, platform should I use? Would picking between Java or Mono/.Net make a difference?


Let's separate Mono from .Net (C#) and Java from OpenJDK.

Let image that Microsoft start blocking all .Net development software. You will be forced to have only one IDE and pay whatever MS ask you to maintain your software. The same can happen with Oracle and Java.

In theory with Mono and OpenJDK (Open source java) even if Microsoft and Oracle freak out, the projects can continue to have a derivative work. So you will no longer depend on a vendor.

But the other problem is Software Patents.

Today Microsoft want to charge you "Software Patents" licenses for you using Linux and Android? What do you think that can happen for using Mono?

Oracle may do the same, there is no guarantee either. But I feel that with Java there is more IDEs and dev tools available in the market.

Edited 2012-01-03 16:13 UTC

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Mono because you can write code on all the platforms ... the company is healthy and is making money.

Though I dunno how difficult porting Mono to .NET would be since I haven't used Mono in a while.

Edited 2012-01-03 18:57 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Open source software display on Windows
by Rich3800 on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 15:15 UTC
Rich3800
Member since:
2006-09-13

I am introducing my users to open source software by having a Linux virtual machine run on a Windows host. My internet connection comes in courtesy of a tethered Android phone. The tethering software requires Windows. The virtual machine gets internet access through a virtual NAT interface. The host connects to the virtual machine using RDC. Is the machine running Windows? Yes and no. Yes, to the trained eye. One might recognize the Windows theme surrounding the RDC application window. No, to the unitiated, it would be running Linux, running few, if any of the standard Windows applications. The backend is Windows-based but the front-end is Linux-based. In this setup, the Linux apps (and the Windows apps) get to use the internet access provided by Windows. What users see here is Linux.

Edited 2012-01-03 15:33 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Rich3800 Member since:
2006-09-13

And from there, Linux admins can exert control over what Windows and Windows apps reveal about them and their users.

Reply Score: 1

righard Member since:
2007-12-26

What phone do you use? I can use tehtering with all android phones I used under Linux without a problem.

Reply Score: 3

Rich3800 Member since:
2006-09-13

Samsung Aspire.

Edited 2012-01-04 00:19 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Rich3800 Member since:
2006-09-13

Samsung Admire.

Reply Score: 1

XKCD predicted it
by mmu_man on Tue 3rd Jan 2012 17:13 UTC
mmu_man
Member since:
2006-09-30

Someone reminded me of http://xkcd.com/743/
which describes exactly this situation :^)

Reply Score: 3

kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

I never understood why Stallman pretends that "free software" can't have DRM (or website filtering). Just make the software, release it under BSD, and then tivo-ize it to prevent people from removing the DRM by installing a modified version of the BSDed code. In fact, the TiVo deviced itself is a real life example of how a "free" piece of software can have DRM (and it could have website filtering too). See, there are no anti-tivoization clauses in BSD licenses, and the BSD licenses (except one) are considered "free software". Stallman will whine and moan about how such software is not really free software, but definitions are definitions (including the free software definition). And if a piece of software is released under a license that is FSF-approved, it's "free software" even if it contains DRM and makes use of tivoization.

Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.2; el-gr; LG-P990 Build/FRG83G) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1 MMS/LG-Android-MMS-V1.0/1.2

Reply Score: 1

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

DRM is just bad, whether it's free software or not. Forget the syntax sugar. But if you want to extend the definition of "free" as DRM free - I'm OK with it.

Edited 2012-01-03 20:18 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

shrmerl,

"DRM is just bad, whether it's free software or not. Forget the syntax sugar. But if you want to extend the definition of 'free' as DRM free - I'm OK with it."

I agree, "free" is a very vague word to begin with. The english language fails to disambiguate between all the concepts of freedom we'd like to talk about today. While I would not hold it against someone for using a definition of free which is different from mine, to me there is something decidedly unfree about DRM, which serves to control users.

Reply Score: 2

Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

While I would not hold it against someone for using a definition of free which is different from mine, to me there is something decidedly unfree about DRM, which serves to control users.


Content providers should be free to choose to provide DRM protected content if they want to; and users/consumers should be free to choose to pay for that DRM protected content if they want to. Someone who advocates freedom would not attempt to deny other people's freedom to choose (including the freedom to choose DRM).

However, I do think that content providers should be forced (via. appropriate legislation) to make a reasonable effort to ensure that consumers are aware of any/all restrictions (not necessarily just DRM) that have been placed on their content; so that consumers are able to make an informed choice. Burying something in 3 pages of legalese does not constitute a reasonable effort.

-Brendan

Reply Score: 2

spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

Someone who advocates freedom would not attempt to deny other people's freedom to choose

freedom is relative to a subject. It makes no sense in your sentence. When used as an empty word like in your sentence, it is just a propaganda tool that rings a bell in some weak people minds.
Some people want to be free to preach their religion. Some other people want to be free from religious propaganda.
Abortionists want the freedom to kill their fetus. Anti abortionist want their fetus to have the freedom to live.
They both want freedom but there is no absolute freedom. Their freedom is relative to the way they live. What they actually want is having it their way but instead of saying I want that, they say I want the freedom to do that as you have been raised to think that freedom is sacred. It's just a propaganda trick.

So in your sentence, some people want the freedom to use DRM. Some other people want the freedom to use their media without DRM. You can't have it both ways. Either you have DRM or you don't. But using the word freedom is misleading.
Let's just put it this way:
* The Media corporations want to include DRM.
* Consumers don't want DRM.
Now check what is your best interest. Are you a media corporation or a consumer? If you are a media corporation then you will side with the corporations and fight for DRM. If you are a consumer, then you will side against the corporations.

If you, as a consumer, side with the media corporation, it's because the corporation has won this fight before fighting, using propaganda. And that is quite logical for a media corporation to use propaganda, they are a well oiled propaganda machine. They knew that talking about freedom would affect your judgement.

Reply Score: 4

Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

"Someone who advocates freedom would not attempt to deny other people's freedom to choose

freedom is relative to a subject. It makes no sense in your sentence. When used as an empty word like in your sentence, it is just a propaganda tool that rings a bell in some weak people minds.
Some people want to be free to preach their religion. Some other people want to be free from religious propaganda.
Abortionists want the freedom to kill their fetus. Anti abortionist want their fetus to have the freedom to live.
"

Don't be silly - the freedom to choose to buy something with DRM (with full knowledge of the restrictions) vs. the freedom to prevent other people from making informed choices?

I don't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Does that give me the right to prevent anyone else from making, buying, eating or enjoying peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Definitely not - there's no harm in allowing people to make their own choice (and living with the consequences of their choice).

Microsoft probably doesn't like open source software. Does that give Microsoft the right to prevent anyone else from making, buying, using or enjoying open source software? Definitely not - there's no harm in allowing people to make their own choice (and living with the consequences of their choice).

Richard Stallman doesn't like DRM. Does that give Richard Stallman the right to prevent anyone else from making, buying, using or enjoying content with DRM? Definitely not - there's no harm in allowing people to make their own choice (and living with the consequences of their choice).

Your entire argument is "I don't want anybody to be able to do something just because I don't want to do it myself".

If a large company creates a movie and lets people buy the movie for $40 with no DRM, but also allows people to buy the movie for $20 with DRM; is the company evil or good? Would the company be less evil if they didn't give people a choice and forced everyone that wanted the movie to pay $40?

Now, how about the opposite: Should you be able to protect yourself from identity theft by using DRM to prevent strangers from opening your resume without your permission? Should you be able to use DRM to prevent other people (except your current Doctor) from accessing your medical records? If you take a photo of yourself naked and give it to your spouse, should you be able to make sure that the photo can't be uploaded to Facebook? It's your resume, your medical records and your photo - surely you have the right to do whatever you want with them.

- Brendan

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Brendan,

I think I understand your argument that someone who believes in freedom shouldn't restrict others from using DRM. However I think there are some practical limits as well. There are other perspectives which aren't all-together unreasonable. Should I respect the freedom of others to restrict my own freedoms? This is after all what DRM does.


DRM is factually being used today in the US (and maybe elsewhere) to prohibit consumers from excersizing their explicit fair use rights, should content distributors be free to do that in the name of freedom?

DRM is often imposed in monopoly form where there are no other legal alternatives and no choices.

All the recent laws around copyright have been drafted and passed behind closed doors without so much as consulting public interests. Should the public tolerate such undemocratic processes in the name of freedom?

Obviously the question at hand is who's freedom should be respected? That's really the heart of the problem.


Ultimately, my own belief is that governments (should) exist to serve the public alone. Under a genuine democracy, such anti-consumer laws would probably never have come to be. Corporations should have absolutely zero sway in government, and their shareholders should have the same voting privileges as everyone else and nothing more. What we have now is one of the most corrupted democracies in the world(*).

* Not intended to be a factual statement ;)
http://100gf.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/republican-jon-kyl-abortion-s...

Edited 2012-01-05 04:05 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

I think I understand your argument that someone who believes in freedom shouldn't restrict others from using DRM. However I think there are some practical limits as well. There are other perspectives which aren't all-together unreasonable. Should I respect the freedom of others to restrict my own freedoms? This is after all what DRM does.


Well no, it isn't what DRM does.

If someone owns some media, you have no inherent rights (except "fair use") to that media whatsoever. If someone who owns the media decides to grant you permission to use that media (for a fee or for free, with or without certain restrictions), then you're receiving rights that you otherwise wouldn't have. The only thing DRM does is make it hard for you to take rights that you were never granted.

Unfortunately some people don't understand the difference between paying for the rights to use something, and paying for ownership of something. For example, if you buy the latest Justin Bieber CD, you're only buying the right to play that CD. You do not own the music on the CD (and you can't do things that an owner can, like redistribute it, change the copyright to "public domain", etc).

DRM is factually being used today in the US (and maybe elsewhere) to prohibit consumers from excersizing their explicit fair use rights, should content distributors be free to do that in the name of freedom?


Just because you have a "fair use" right to use something, does not mean that the owner has to give you that thing in a usable form. Try phoning the local newspaper and telling them you're writing a parody of tomorrow's main story, and that therefore they should email you a copy of tomorrows main story. Yes you have a fair use right, but the newspaper can happily hang up on you while laughing their asses off because they are under no obligation to provide you with their content at all, in any form, despite your legitimate "fair use" right.

Obviously the question at hand is who's freedom should be respected? That's really the heart of the problem.


I'm creating a parody of your private photo album (pictures of your family on holiday, etc). Please upload your private photos to imgur.com. Thanks you for respecting my freedom to take things that are yours without your permission.

Obviously the owner of the content should be able to do whatever they like with their content, in the same way that you should be able to refuse to upload your private photos to imgur.com.

Ultimately, my own belief is that governments (should) exist to serve the public alone.


I agree (governments should exist to serve the public alone). However, the public are people who want jobs, that are hoping their superannuation is going to be enough for their retirement (which depends a lot on the share market). The public aren't just greedy little snots that think the world owes them everything, who throw a little tantrum on their birthday because daddy didn't buy them a new sports car, and whine about not being given permission to give their friends a copy the latest Justin Bieber songs that they "bought" for their iPhone.

- Brendan

Reply Score: 2

spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

Brendan,

I understand where you coming from but I believe you are in the wrong. DRM is not bad when looked at from the angle you look at it. The error you make is believing that the media corporations deserve freedom, just as any other human being. Using DRM is not bad for personal data. The fact is that media corporations are not human. The media corporations have a social responsibility. They only exist in order to serve us. You have every right to demand that the corporations be forced to act in your interest or be killed.

If you allow corporations to use DRM, then you give them the power to lock down a huge part of human culture forever. Even after the copyright has expired, the corporation will still retain the lock.

Reply Score: 3

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

No. One simple example in which DRM is not a valid choice for anyone, and can't be justified. Content providers for example might want you to play the media file only through means they want (like in specific player, on specific hardware etc.). But if you paid for it - you should be free to play it the way you want. However DRM will try to force DMCA like laws, trying to ban such activity as "illegal". This is not justified, and DRM is defective by design.

Reply Score: 3

Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

No. One simple example in which DRM is not a valid choice for anyone, and can't be justified. Content providers for example might want you to play the media file only through means they want (like in specific player, on specific hardware etc.). But if you paid for it - you should be free to play it the way you want. However DRM will try to force DMCA like laws, trying to ban such activity as "illegal". This is not justified, and DRM is defective by design.


If you pay a fee to hire a car for 3 days; does that give you the right to drive the car for 2 weeks? Does it give you the right to sell the car? Can you paint it a different colour? You could've chosen not to hire the car at all, or chosen to pay full price and buy a different car of your own (and get the rights to do anything you like with your car); but you didn't, so you only have the right to drive the car for 3 days. If you don't like your own choice then make a different choice.

If you pay a fee to play a media file on one specific device, does that give you the right to play the media file on a different device? Does it give you the right to make copies? Sell the media file to a friend? You could've chosen not to pay the fee (and not to play the file) at all, or chosen to pay full price and buy a media file of your own (and get the rights to do anything you like with your media file); but you didn't, so you only have the right to play the media file on one specific device. If you don't like your own choice then make a different choice.

- Brendan

Edited 2012-01-05 02:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Defective by design means defective. The flaw of DRM is application of physical concepts to ideas and information. That will always fail.

Reply Score: 3

Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

Defective by design means defective. The flaw of DRM is application of physical concepts to ideas and information. That will always fail.


I'm sorry, but I'm not convinced you're thinking for yourself - I get the impression that you're just repeating something someone told you.

If a company sold media with terms and conditions that said "We only grant you permission to play this media on our media player", would that be perfectly acceptable to you if DRM wasn't used to enforce the terms and conditions that their customers agree to and are legally bound to comply with?

Are you sure you have a problem with DRM (technology intended to enforce legally binding copyright restrictions), and don't have a problem with the copyright restrictions themselves?

- Brendan

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

If you pay a fee to play a media file on one specific device, does that give you the right to play the media file on a different device? Does it give you the right to make copies? Sell the media file to a friend? You could've chosen not to pay the fee (and not to play the file) at all, or chosen to pay full price and buy a media file of your own (and get the rights to do anything you like with your media file); but you didn't, so you only have the right to play the media file on one specific device. If you don't like your own choice then make a different choice.

Most of that stuff is friggin' legal in many places.

In my place (and in many others) it is perfectly legal to do a backup copy, copy used by family, or copy for the purpose of using in different format (say, CD->mp3 - but of course also DVD/Bluray -> drive-less laptop or portable player ...oh, yes, I can just ignore & crack DRM which prevents me from exercising what is my legal right)
..you were saying?

And in fact, I can do however many copies / installs of some software I bought as I like - as long as only one is used at a time.
(whoops, there's that pesky DRM again; NVM how it can block public domain, if it worked)

Don't friggin' project your abnormal situation on the rest of the world (oh, and don't force that aberration on us), don't spew your rubbish of media industry PR all over the thread.
Don't pretend, if you & your place are to weak to have made better choices, that others didn't.

Reply Score: 2

eazel7
Member since:
2007-09-09

while having publicly audited sofware code running our basic infrastructure, like internet is now, is important, it is not software what we must control
we (people) need to take back control over our governments, which are corrupted by corporations, that is what we need to address, it's the source of this evil

Reply Score: 2

There's a much simpler solution
by JoshuaS on Wed 4th Jan 2012 00:28 UTC
JoshuaS
Member since:
2011-09-15

You know, maybe we need to ask ourselves why SOPA exists in the first place.

It exists because we are selfish.

It exists because musicians and filmmakers only care about profit for themselves. It only exists because software companies only think about realising insanely large profits for their shareholders.

If we would all only care about making just enough money to pay the rent, the bus and dinner and for the rest had as our top priority helping our neighbor maybe SOPA and other tumors like it wouldn't exist because there would be no monsterprofits to protect. The first amendment would still be as glorious as it used be and social and environmental issues could be tackled with very high efficiency.

It's sad that in the west co-operation is seen as a roadblock to freedom, while in these dire times it has become crystal clear that it is the ONLY viable road to real and durable freedom.

And THIS is what rms has been saying all these years. I'd love to live in a country with him as president, maybe his stance on pedophilia is a little disturbing, but at least he still cares about the freedom of the little guy.

Whenever you see the chance, HELP somebody, whatever it may be with what, and don't just try to help people by voting. Let us become the change we want to see and let us destroy SOPA from the inside out in this way.

~ A Windows using guy, musician, economy student and NOT a communist agitator

Reply Score: 1

TheIdiotThatIsMe Member since:
2006-06-17

Before I start, I would just like to say up front that I respectively disagree.

You know, maybe we need to ask ourselves why SOPA exists in the first place.

It exists because we are selfish.

It exists because musicians and filmmakers only care about profit for themselves. It only exists because software companies only think about realising insanely large profits for their shareholders.

If we would all only care about making just enough money to pay the rent, the bus and dinner and for the rest had as our top priority helping our neighbor maybe SOPA and other tumors like it wouldn't exist because there would be no monsterprofits to protect.


I'm aware that its popular to demonize the idea of profits, and claim that anyone who would actually like to earn a profit is selfish. But since you said you're a student of the economy (I'm guessing an Economics major?), you surely must realize the importance of profits as incentive.

Profits ensure entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs start firms that produce consumable goods and services. Goods and services used every day, often taken for granted.

Profits allow for grocery stores, so we don't all have to grow our own food. Profits allow for automobiles and planes, so we can travel farther and quicker. Profits allow for books for education (and entertainment), games, movies, concerts, computers, and much more. Profits allow for loans to build houses, factories, and businesses.

Profits are incentives, which help to advance society.

I'm not belittling advancements done in science for the sake of science. Without Thomas Edison, there wouldn't be a light bulb. But remember, while Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, a company put them in every home. A company that wouldn't have existed without incentive to produce them.

Even linux companies exist to make profit. Why is there a Red Hat? Because if there weren't, there would just be another company in its place. In any (even partially) competitive market, firms will always continue to enter the market until the potential economic profit reaches zero. Conversely, if the profit is negative, firms will continue to exit the industry until potential profit reaches zero. If there was no profit, there would be no Red Hat.

If you TRULY believe that profits are a problem, I dare you to give up every item you own that wasn't manufactured for a sole purpose of earning a profit.

As for the reason why something like SOPA even exists, it exists for the same reason as DRM. While I don't agree with the measures taken by SOPA, it can't be disputed that piracy is a real issue.

Piracy exists for the same reason as any criminal activity: because there is an opportunity for someone to gain more additional utility than the additional cost it takes (or, as pounded in to the head of every student in their first Econ course, an individual or firm will continue to act until their marginal utility is equal to their marginal cost; for a firm, marginal utility usually equals marginal revenue).

For many people, the cost of their time to pirate a game, crack it, and install it, is less than the utility gained from the entertainment of the game. Some may view piracy as immoral, and would receive less pleasure from the game, reducing their marginal utility while increasing their marginal cost. For others it may be the fear of getting caught. Sometimes these are enough to reduce the ratio to deter the piracy altogether, but alas its different for each person how much it influences their decisions, and since for many their additional utility is greater than the cost, they will continue to do so, until action is taken to considerably increase the additional cost of piracy to the point where it's simply worth more to the person to buy it. That's where legislation and wonderful fun things like DRM (please note the sarcasm, I do not like DRM) come from.

And THIS is what rms has been saying all these years. I'd love to live in a country with him as president, maybe his stance on pedophilia is a little disturbing, but at least he still cares about the freedom of the little guy.


I don't disagree that RMS is intelligent, but he in no way has the capacity to try and lead a country. Freedoms are important, and I understand that. But putting him in any kind of political leadership would be akin to asking for anarchy. After all, no structured society, anywhere in the world, exists without restrictions. These are known as laws, and are in place for a reason. There is no country I know of where it is legal to quite literally do anything you could imagine.

"If you think you're free, try walking in to a deli, and urinating on the cheese".

Reply Score: 1

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I think this guy is not against the core idea of profit as incentive. Economics can make anything look like profit by twisting it sufficiently to make it look like a number. He just advocates other form of profits than purely material and selfish ones.

Work psychologists have long shown that while the traditional "carrot and stick" incentive works for purely physical tasks, it fails for anything more intellectual. Creativity (as measured by the candle in the box experiment at least) is apparently stimulated by other incentives, such as freedom, cooperation with others, and the feeling that a work is benefiting something beyond just yourself.

Hard truth is, people who do the best work out there do not work for the money, but for other forms of profit. They only want enough money to earn a living, and it does not even have to come from their work. Give your employees a day a week to do whatever they want, as long as they show it to coworkers in the end, and you'll actually observe increased productivity in the end with no extra money out of your pocket. To the contrary, big salaries have been shown to reduce intellectual performance and sense of morals as compared to smaller ones.

I think there was a nice presentation on TED by Barry Schwarz or Dan Ariety about this, but I sadly can't find it back with this little information at hand. Been a year or so since I saw it, and I don't remember enough keywords.

Edited 2012-01-04 09:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

JoshuaS Member since:
2011-09-15

I'm sorry that I gave the idea that I dislike profit, which I really don't ( hence the "NOT a communist agitator" thingy ). Profit is at its heart completely ethical and disallowing people to make profit on their really hard work is just plainly cruel. But my point is that entrepreneurs should FIRST think about minimalising their effects on the environment, their workers, socially less prosperous individuals and on politics BEFORE thinking about maximizing their profits. If the entrepreneurs of the entertainment and software industries would seek ways of getting profit that does not relay for its continuity on the filtering of the Internet ( thus, an ethical way of generating profit, because they would not be taking away rights of citizens for only their well-being ), SOPA would simply implode, because there would be no unethical profit to protect. And in fact, if all corporations would think this way, so would all of our governments.

And Neolander does have a point: passion in the end matters more than money. Just think of all those hobbyist artists out there that spend hours painting, they don't get a penny but they're awesome, and that's all just because they love what they do. But you do have a point, they also have to pay their rent.

Edited 2012-01-04 10:47 UTC

Reply Score: 1

TheIdiotThatIsMe Member since:
2006-06-17

I'm sorry that I gave the idea that I dislike profit, which I really don't ( hence the "NOT a communist agitator" thingy ). Profit is at its heart completely ethical and disallowing people to make profit on their really hard work is just plainly cruel. But my point is that entrepreneurs should FIRST think about minimalising their effects on the environment, their workers, socially less prosperous individuals and on politics BEFORE thinking about maximizing their profits. If the entrepreneurs of the entertainment and software industries would seek ways of getting profit that does not relay for its continuity on the filtering of the Internet ( thus, an ethical way of generating profit, because they would not be taking away rights of citizens for only their well-being ), SOPA would simply implode, because there would be no unethical profit to protect. And in fact, if all corporations would think this way, so would all of our governments.

And Neolander does have a point: passion in the end matters more than money. Just think of all those hobbyist artists out there that spend hours painting, they don't get a penny but they're awesome, and that's all just because they love what they do. But you do have a point, they also have to pay their rent.


I agree that it seems many of the best innovations do come from a garage or a lab where someone wants to just tinker! That's why I had mentioned Edison before, as I meant that innovation requires a backing force to produce it, market it, and distribute it. After all, Apple didn't always remain in the garage!

I think the problem isn't even so much entrepreneurs themselves, as much as I think it's the structure of a corporation. I have more respect for an entrepreneur than a shareholder; an entrepreneur will often stick through a declining profit period without sweating too much, as long as they're still in business and at least making a sufficient profit to pay the bills. Shareholders always seem to have a violent knee jerk reaction to even the slightest dip, and can cause rotating CEO's.

As odd as it may sound, I would never want to be a CEO for the same reason I would never want to be President of the United States (or really, any elected politician). Once you're in that position, you're never going to win. You can't be perfect, you're always going to have tons of people analyzing and tearing apart you're every move, and eventually you're kicked out anyways.

On top of all that, you're under pressure because you know not only do you have regular shareholders, but those who's retirement investments are partly locked up in your company's performance. Many companies offer stock options to their employees as a benefit for their retirement, and of course you have investment firms that buy in to your company with other people's retirement money. It's messy, and a lot of pressure.

I'd love to own a business someday, but the day I know longer controlled majority is the day I'd leave the company.

BTW, I apologize full heartedly if I appeared cross in my previous post: being online til almost 3am can do that!

Reply Score: 1

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

JashuaS,

"Profit is at its heart completely ethical and disallowing people to make profit on their really hard work is just plainly cruel. But my point is that entrepreneurs should FIRST think about minimalising their effects on the environment, their workers, socially less prosperous individuals and on politics BEFORE thinking about maximizing their profits"

All things in moderation... the problem is when the corporate world circles around the twisted principal that profit is good at absolutely any expense, then humanity becomes consumed by it. We end up creating a world that shamelessly justifies the excesses of the few at the expense of the overall human condition.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Neolander,

"To the contrary, big salaries have been shown to reduce intellectual performance and sense of morals as compared to smaller ones."

Interesting, however I wonder if that's a mere correlation or if there's causation involved?

One the one hand it's possible that the creative types spend more energy being creative and less energy trying to get promoted and controlling others, and so are less likely to earn a big salary.

One the other hand, it's possible individuals, as they earn larger salaries, feel a less compelling drive than their poorer selves had.

Edited 2012-01-04 15:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

For big and small salaries, the experiment I heard about was based on a classical psychology test called the candle problem (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Candle_Problem). Basically, they take a large group of persons and give each some amount of money to solve that problem. The intellectual performance is evaluated using criteria such as mean total time spent to solve the problem, and then statisticians look for correlation between salary and problem solving performance.

Now, as for interpretations, I'm sure that each school of modern psychology has its own ;) But it does seem to be a controlled enough experiment to offer valuable results as far as the intrinsic value of an incentive goes.

Edited 2012-01-04 15:54 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Neolander,

Thanks for the links, I originally interpreted "salary" in your description to mean real world job salary, but I see that it means reward for completing a task within the experiment (it would be interesting to check for correlations with real world salaries also).

Unfortunately it's hard to tell (from the basic experiment given) whether the reward actually makes people perform worse, or whether the reward is merely distracting them. It may be that the experiment has more to prove about how humans perform under stress than how they perform with rewards. I'd like to see a few other variants:

1. Tell the subjects that after the test, they'll get to roll a dice to collect $ afterwards regardless of their performance on the test. This may indicate whether the subjects are preoccupied about the money such that it affects their performance, even though the performance has no bearing on the money.

2. Tell the subjects that they'll get paid regardless of the outcome. Who knows if this might affect performance as well?

3. Tell the subjects that they'll be electrocuted (or some other negative consequence) after the experiment if they don't perform well enough.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

For completeness, I'd do #1 in reverse order too, such that we see how subjects perform when they're mentally reflecting on the reward they got (or not) rolling the dice.

Reply Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

More details on this experiment here : http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html

(I'm the first one tickled by his curious use of the "operating system" word ;) )

Edited 2012-01-04 16:11 UTC

Reply Score: 1

shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Anarchy is a long subject. I do agree that Stallman can be characterized as anarchist in general, and I see it a as positive thing.

Edited 2012-01-04 19:52 UTC

Reply Score: 4

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Before I start, I would just like to say up front that I respectively disagree.

You know, such (also, say, "with all due respect" most notably) is inevitably followed by something disrespectful...

you surely must realize the importance of profits as incentive.
Profits ensure entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs start firms that produce consumable goods and services. Goods and services used every day, often taken for granted.
Profits allow for grocery stores, so we don't all have to grow our own food. Profits allow for automobiles and planes, so we can travel farther and quicker. Profits allow for books for education (and entertainment), games, movies, concerts, computers, and much more. Profits allow for loans to build houses, factories, and businesses.
Profits are incentives, which help to advance society.

Only on the surface / hardly / not really. Ultimately, what really drives our civilisation: it is built on plentiful cheap energy which doesn't really need to be accounted within "costs" (hence also not impacting profits), its externalities mostly ignored.

Using the few examples you mentioned - fossil fuels are what allows, what drives our agriculture (totally dependant on them). Or cheap travel. Mass manufacture of virtually anything (also educational "essentials")
The "surplus" resources on this graph http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Human_welfare_and_ecological_foot... come from them, from past productive hectares (well, and partly from the future, in the form of spoiling the future productivity, effectively "stealing" from it)

Once they'll become more scarce... well, don't expect too much to not have some major war in the coming century or two. We freeride on smth without the real cost of it factored in, without real work (heck, IIRC we burn over a million years worth of actual oil production, which doesn't equal extraction, annually right now)

I'm not belittling advancements done in science for the sake of science. Without Thomas Edison, there wouldn't be a light bulb. But remember, while Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, a company put them in every home. A company that wouldn't have existed without incentive to produce them.

Actually there would be, Edison wasn't the first nor the only working on light bulbs. BTW, he wasn't really that great of a scientist, for one he had very poor mathematical background (which lead to major errors - prevented him from, say, fully grasping AC and realizing its advantages)

And again, that company wouldn't have existed without ability to ignore large part of the costs involved.

Even linux companies exist to make profit. Why is there a Red Hat? Because if there weren't, there would just be another company in its place. In any (even partially) competitive market, firms will always continue to enter the market until the potential economic profit reaches zero. Conversely, if the profit is negative, firms will continue to exit the industry until potential profit reaches zero. If there was no profit, there would be no Red Hat.

That's curious... because here, you essentially yourself agree that the holy profit isn't strictly the goal in itself, more a mechanism by which we regulate our activities. Something I would much quicker agree with (not like I'm strictly disagreeing with the overall premise, just pointing out some holes in it)

Piracy exists for the same reason as any criminal activity: because there is an opportunity for someone to gain more additional utility than the additional cost it takes

"Piracy" (in the meaning of personal copyright infringement) is hardly a criminal activity... (well, at east in some more sane jurisdictions I'm intimately familiar with)

But, hilariously here - you defined our industries, what drives our civilisation as... criminal activity ;) (since they were, again, built on ignoring real costs; and we still largely do that)

For many people, the cost of their time to pirate a game, crack it, and install it, is less than the utility gained from the entertainment of the game. Some may view piracy as immoral, and would receive less pleasure from the game, reducing their marginal utility while increasing their marginal cost.

That's not so simple ...from what I see, most pirates treat downloaded titles as very much throwaway, barely more than 'advanced' kind of demo. There really is an effect of how buying something influences our perceptions, commitment, pleasure derived. Also, I know few people who really do buy games they think are worth supporting, after they played through on pirated copies.

(then we might also wonder how much 'utility' there really is in games...)

they will continue to do so, until action is taken to considerably increase the additional cost of piracy to the point where it's simply worth more to the person to buy it. That's where legislation and wonderful fun things like DRM (please note the sarcasm, I do not like DRM) come from

Here you forget about "profit"? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement_of_software#Cla...

May I also point out that your assessment of the root causes of piracy problem differs quite a lot from that given by, say, Gabe Newell http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/story_type/site_trail_story/interview-gabe... (not the only such voice in the industry)
Hm, I'd be faster to believe him TBH.


I don't disagree that RMS is intelligent, but he in no way has the capacity to try and lead a country. Freedoms are important, and I understand that. But putting him in any kind of political leadership would be akin to asking for anarchy. After all, no structured society, anywhere in the world, exists without restrictions. These are known as laws, and are in place for a reason. There is no country I know of where it is legal to quite literally do anything you could imagine.

You might look some time into how FSF operates, how RMS set it up... doesn't look like anarchy at all (not saying that he would be great as a leader of a country ...but, anyway, this is going into the area of straw man points - ~politicians are generally "bred" to their role most of their lives, and that's obviously not the direction in which RMS went)

Reply Score: 2

Fantastic Article
by kateline on Wed 4th Jan 2012 00:53 UTC
kateline
Member since:
2011-05-19

This is a fantastic, thought-provoking article that deftly summarizes the key points of RMS's thinking and how it applies to a computer-saturated world of interconnected devices. Nice job.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Thu 5th Jan 2012 12:59 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

Guys, i never said DRM is good (it's bad). What i am saying is that "free software" can get infected with DRM by tivo-ization, so Stallman pretending "free software" can't have DRM is a bit dumb. "Free software" can get infected by DRM just as proprietary can. The last thing we need is companies "whitewashing" their DRM mechanisms by open sourcing them (tivo-ized open source obviously) and claim that "it's free software it can't have DRM/be bad for you". IMO, the anti-DRM and "free software" are two seperate campaigns.

Anti-DRM campain: Stop violating my fair use rights like ability to make parodies, backups etc (reasonable demand).

"Free software" campaign: "Free" your software or else i will bad mouth you whenever given the chance (unreasonable demand)

This is why i hate the FSF , because it lumps together reasonable demands (anti-DRM) with unreasonable ones (all software should be "free")

PS: It's not the authors that decide what you can do when you purchase a copy of their works, it's the laws. And the laws grant you a right to make short parodies, make personal backups and do format shifting. So the main argument of the DRM supporters that "the author doesn't want you to do that" is moot.

Edited 2012-01-05 13:16 UTC

Reply Score: 0

Here's the proof
by Meaningoflights on Thu 5th Jan 2012 22:21 UTC
Meaningoflights
Member since:
2012-01-05

wikileaks.org/The-Spyfiles

Reply Score: 1

Your analogies are all wrong
by tomcat on Fri 6th Jan 2012 02:24 UTC
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

Indefinite detention is related to what form of software? SOPA takes hardware offline. Having free software in both cases doesn't do squat.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by rykel98
by rykel98 on Sat 7th Jan 2012 07:10 UTC
rykel98
Member since:
2010-09-25

Thank you. You have just reminded me of WHY I started using GNU/Linux, Firefox and OpenOffice.org in the first place. For the love of Free Software!

Reply Score: 1

raymond_3000
Member since:
2012-01-07

However, using free software doesn't change much for a couple reasons.
First of all, it still doesn't work on how the admin can simply change the source codes to allow filtering of certain protocols, like BitTorrent, or Tor. And we can't change it back, because we need to be upgraded to admin to change it back, and to apply it.
The second reason is that it wouldn't stop SOPA, or DCMA from being worked. People can still do, and will be forced to adjust it, even if the source code be free.
The last, and most important point is that when we connect to other computers, networks, servers, etc. we would have to trust the other person to keep it private and not show to the other people. And more often than not, when the government ask for these things, the person owning the servers would simply give the data to them.
That's why free software isn't the "magic bullet" to solve these problems.

Reply Score: 1

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

There are partly (largely?) technological solutions to those problems, strongly anonymous darknets and such. And here the best part: you can trust software which implements them ...pretty much only when it's open.

So saying "...free software doesn't change anything" isn't warranted.

Reply Score: 2