Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Apr 2013 21:06 UTC
In the News "Kay says that some gadgets with superficial Dynabook-like qualities, such as the iPad, have not only failed to realize the Dynabook dream, but have in some senses betrayed it. That's one of the points he makes in this interview, conducted by computer historian David Greelish, proprietor of the Classic Computing Blog and organizer of this month's Vintage Computer Festival Southeast in Atlanta (the Festival will feature a pop-up Apple museum featuring Xerox's groundbreaking Alto workstation, which Kay worked on, as well as devices which deeply reflected his influence, including the Lisa, the original Macintosh and the Newton). Kay and Greelish also discuss Kay's experiences at some of the big outfits where he's worked, including Xerox's fabled PARC labs, Apple, Disney and HP. Today, Kay continues his research about children and technology at his own organization, the Viewpoints Research Institute." A great interview with this legendary man.
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Fully agree!
by moondevil on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 06:33 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

The idea around Dynabook was to have a tablet you could also program in a Smalltalk like environment and do everything a personal computer should offer his owner.

As they are now, they are mostly an expensive toy to read email, browse the web, read ebooks and play games.

The TV of the 21st century.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Fully agree!
by Lobotomik on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 08:03 UTC in reply to "Fully agree!"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

I disagree about the "expensive" part. I think a Nexus 7 is not expensive at all, and you can go cheaper with lesser brands.

But it is true that it is difficult to "produce" with tablets. So far they only work well for consumption and communication. Maybe less so with Apple: iMovie and Garage Band are quite nice; I wish there was something comparable for Android.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Fully agree!
by moondevil on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 08:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Fully agree!"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

I disagree about the "expensive" part. I think a Nexus 7 is not expensive at all, and you can go cheaper with lesser brands.


Taken into account that it costs around the same value as the minimum wage in many countries and that full blown computers can be bought by the same price, it is expensive.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Fully agree!
by MacTO on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 12:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Fully agree!"
MacTO Member since:
2006-09-21

It depends upon what you're using as a baseline. Compared to other products that are on the market, desktop and laptop computers are a better value in terms of capability and performance. Compared to the price of computers even a decade ago, tablets are dirt cheap.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Fully agree!
by moondevil on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 13:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Fully agree!"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

We live in 2013 not 2003.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Fully agree!
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 18:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Fully agree!"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

"Full blown computers" typically aren't touch screen enabled portable devices. The Nexus 7 certainly is open enough to allow the full use of its hardware. So I'm not sure what you're point is.

The whole Squeek Etoy concept is pretty interesting, I'll take a look at that in my spare time. Its an interesting concept.

I'd say the hardware and software building blocks are mature enough at this point for someone with Alan Kay's view point on technology could make it happen.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Fully agree!
by darknexus on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 12:40 UTC in reply to "Fully agree!"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

As they are now, they are mostly an expensive toy to read email, browse the web, read ebooks and play games.


You obviously haven't done any audio recording or production on iPads lately. They're a damn fine center of a portable studio. They're also excellent wordprocessing platforms for school with the addition of a bluetooth keyboard, with battery life no laptop has yet matched. No, you can't program on them but I'm continually amazed at what they are capable of now. As I'm not much of a programmer (though I can code some basic stuff in a pinch if I have to) I don't judge the worth of a device based on whether I can code on it but whether I can do what I need to get done. Two years ago I laughed at the iPad. It was nothing but a blown up iPod Touch then, with no real content creation apps to speak of. Now I have one for on-the-go work, and wouldn't be without it. It can't replace my desktop and never will, but it makes a better laptop for my purposes than a traditional laptop ever has.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Fully agree!
by moondevil on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 13:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Fully agree!"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

The moment you add an external input device you have already lost.

It is no better than using a more convenient laptop.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Fully agree!
by henderson101 on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 14:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Fully agree!"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Sure it is. I have a bluetooth keyboard that works with both my iPad/iPhone and Nexus 7. I use it rarely. I program and type documents all the time on my iPad. I use the keyboard only in extremes, but it's handy to have at a desk when I'm not on the move. I'd never carry it about with me though, I don't feel the need to.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Fully agree!
by hhas on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 17:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Fully agree!"
hhas Member since:
2006-11-28

The moment you add an external input device you have already lost.

It is no better than using a more convenient laptop.


Nonsense; you can add a keyboard to a tablet on those occasions you do need one much easier than you can remove the keyboard from a laptop on all the occasions you don't.

Whining about the things a tablet isn't good for is to utterly miss the point: it was never intended to be a jack of all trades like the PC, but a task-oriented device optimized for common consumer activities. For the majority of consumers it is quite sufficient to their needs, especially when they can add an external keyboard or printer when performing the subset of tasks where additional hardware devices are helpful. And for all the other tasks that don't require the extra hardware, users aren't forced to lug it around like so much deadweight. It's a clear win for them.

As to the minority of consumers who genuinely do need greater computing power, they can go buy a general-purpose PC as an alternative (or compliment) to a consumer-oriented tablet. Less of a win for them, but still nice to have the option to swap between devices as and when they like. e.g. I certainly preferred using my tablet as a casual living room device (much better form factor, battery life, and just all-round convenient) while still having the PC in the study for doing serious work.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Fully agree!
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 19:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Fully agree!"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Exactly! In much the same way that a motorcycle is no better than a poopless horse.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Fully agree!
by hhas on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 21:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Fully agree!"
hhas Member since:
2006-11-28

Exactly! In much the same way that a motorcycle is no better than a poopless horse.


Hey, at least horse poop is good for putting on your roses. If only the 99% of poop posted on the interwebs was 1% as useful.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Fully agree!
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 5th Apr 2013 15:02 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Fully agree!"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

which is why you should always wash your roses *before* handing them to a woman. Somethings in this life, I've had to learn the hard way.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Fully agree!
by henderson101 on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 13:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Fully agree!"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

No, you can't program on them...


Sure you can.

http://twolivesleft.com/Codea/
http://omz-software.com/pythonista/

With Codea, you can even create actual iPad apps (okay, you need to compile the app on a real computer to release it, but 100% of the development can be done on an iPad.) This was 100% written on an iPad:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPWWDOjtO9s

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Fully agree!
by MOS6510 on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 20:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Fully agree!"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

There are a number of programming languages available to play around with. I have C, Cobol, Java, Python and Perl on my iPhone and there are a number more.

It's more of a mix between an emulator and a toy, but it does allow you to explore these languages and run them right on your iOS device.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Fully agree!
by henderson101 on Fri 5th Apr 2013 08:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Fully agree!"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Lua is a scripting language, and is obviously interpreted, but if you look at Cargobot running on iOS it's extremely hard to see where that fact actually affects performance.

Codea is a very mature product and pretty fun to play about with. The 3D and physics they have recently added are getting pretty impressive now.

Reply Score: 2

History
by kwan_e on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 07:18 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

If history has taught us anything, it doesn't really matter if it doesn't live up to the inventor's vision.

The World Wide Web is no Memex, but it evolves and enables so much more.

Reply Score: 3

RE: History
by Savior on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 08:37 UTC in reply to "History"
Savior Member since:
2006-09-02

The World Wide Web is no Memex, but it evolves and enables so much more.


I think the emphasis is on the word more. As I understand, his main problem is that today's gadgets provide less, compared to what he envisioned.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: History
by darknexus on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 12:45 UTC in reply to "RE: History"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I think the emphasis is on the word more. As I understand, his main problem is that today's gadgets provide less, compared to what he envisioned.

Well then, there's nothing stopping him from attempting one of his own that lives up to what he wants, if he feels that strongly about it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: History
by Alfman on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 13:57 UTC in reply to "RE: History"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Savior,

"I think the emphasis is on the word more. As I understand, his main problem is that today's gadgets provide less, compared to what he envisioned."

Insightful!

Unfortunately it's not that the state of technology isn't catching up to what he envisioned, it's much worse than that. These gadgets aim to provide less *by design*. Mobile computing technology is becoming rife with artificial policy restrictions that empower corporations to exert their control over end users and developers.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: History
by kwan_e on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 15:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: History"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

So was the World Wide Web not the Memex when it first started out. And then it evolved and became better than probably what Vannevar Bush had imagined.

Or are we really arguing that today's technology is at it's peak and will never ever ever get better?

As much as I don't personally care for tablets, it's obvious that today's state of affairs is not forever.

Furthermore, if you read the article, the lament is about the policy limitations of the devices, NOT the technical capability.

His dream was about symmetric production and consumption of all forms of media. The roadblock is not the technology.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: History
by Alfman on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 16:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: History"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"Or are we really arguing that today's technology is at it's peak and will never ever ever get better?"

"Furthermore, if you read the article, the lament is about the policy limitations of the devices, NOT the technical capability."

Is this directed at me? I don't understand what you read into my post, aren't we saying the same thing? The technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, the shortcoming of these modern platforms is when they try to impose DRM which tells owners what they can and cannot do with the devices they buy.


"His dream was about symmetric production and consumption of all forms of media. The roadblock is not the technology."

I'm not sure why you thought I'd disagree, but no matter. I had never heard of Alan Kay, it's interesting that we share so many common thoughts. I think his answers were right on.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: History
by hhas on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: History"
hhas Member since:
2006-11-28

Mobile computing technology is becoming rife with artificial policy restrictions that empower corporations to exert their control over end users and developers.


And PC technology is rife with contrived complexity and utterly unsafe by design. Mobile tech may be a double-edged sword but don't pretend PC tech isn't. Self-serving Apple/Google/MS machinations aside, mobile platforms are far closer to being true consumer OSes than traditional desktop systems. Don't kid yourselves that ordinary users are somehow throwing away freedom for captivity when all they're actually doing is swapping one prison for another.

If geeks and FOSS types honestly cared about ordinary users, they'd be building them a genuine consumer OS unencumbered by either corporate or geek self-interest. But I think the ugly truth is that too many geeks like having the old status-quo, a preening elite sitting atop a vast contrived mountain of techno-crap smugly looking down on all the hapless lusers below them with their malware-riddled PCs and neverending struggles with baroque, arcane desktop applications, casual data loss, and all the other long-established brain-dead faults of that half-baked platform.

To be blunt, I cannot help wondering just how much of the concern is over users trading some abstract 'freedom' for concrete safety and productivity, and how much is just butt-hurt spite that common users are no longer willing to play the game by the geeks' own rigged rules? Because once all the common users abandon the PC platform for something that actually fits their needs and doesn't punish them for every innocent error, who then will the geeks have left to look down on?


Personally I hope for a future where the vast majority of ordinary users have their day-to-day computing activities met by a safe, curated platform optimized to their particular needs, and the only folk left using PCs are those that genuinely need them. Not only will it mean less malware and usability problems for the non-geeks, but also for the geeks: a far smaller, more skilled PC market will be a less desirable target for scammers and can focus all its attention on meeting power users' needs.

As to any slimy, manipulative corporate activities such as platform lock-in and loss of privacy, welcome to the real world. That sort of behavior inevitably goes hand in hand with any large, highly competitive for-profit exercise. And it's something the geeks and FOSS types rightly should be directing their attention at and building better alternatives to, instead of endlessly, pointlessly whining about the Evil Evilness of Change.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: History
by Alfman on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 21:00 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: History"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

hhas,

"And PC technology is rife with contrived complexity and utterly unsafe by design."

That sounds like an overgeneralization, the linux + repository model has been used successfully on desktops long before the model was used in mobile. But, linux, unlike say an ipad, gives the user the option to install from sources outside of the repository. It's a great hybrid model incorporating the best of both worlds.


"If geeks and FOSS types honestly cared about ordinary users, they'd be building them a genuine consumer OS unencumbered by either corporate or geek self-interest"

Say, have you heard of linux? The biggest obstacle by far is overcoming the defacto monopoly held by microsoft.


"But I think the ugly truth is that too many geeks like having the old status-quo, a preening elite sitting atop a vast contrived mountain of techno-crap smugly looking down on all the hapless lusers below them with their malware-riddled PCs and neverending struggles with baroque, arcane desktop applications, casual data loss, and all the other long-established brain-dead faults of that half-baked platform."

I assume your talking about windows. I'm honestly not a big fan of windows, but if we're being honest the malware situation is improving there too. I haven't been affected by windows malware in recent years, not anywhere like it used to be. It used to be that windows could get infected just by leaving it on.


"To be blunt, I cannot help wondering just how much of the concern is over users trading some abstract 'freedom' for concrete safety and productivity, and how much is just butt-hurt spite that common users are no longer willing to play the game by the geeks' own rigged rules?"

It is genuinely a concern for freedom, both ours and normal users. My opinion may not be worth much to you, but it's not a lie.




"Personally I hope for a future where the vast majority of ordinary users have their day-to-day computing activities met by a safe, curated platform optimized to their particular needs, and the only folk left using PCs are those that genuinely need them."

This tells me that you don't have experience with linux, because that's exactly how the linux app repo's work on the desktop. You choose what you want installed from the repo's, and the system installs everything automatically and safely.


Edit: Haha, it looks like I'm trying to sell you on linux, but actually I only mention it over and over again because it's a perfect counter example to each of your claims.

Edited 2013-04-03 21:02 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: History
by hhas on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 22:57 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: History"
hhas Member since:
2006-11-28

"And PC technology is rife with contrived complexity and utterly unsafe by design."

That sounds like an overgeneralization, the linux + repository model has been used successfully on desktops long before the model was used in mobile. But, linux, unlike say an ipad, gives the user the option to install from sources outside of the repository. It's a great hybrid model incorporating the best of both worlds.


And what is the consumer-friendly security model that Linux provides out of the box to ensure even the least technical user is safe from malware, online fraudsters, etc?

(I won't even comment about Linux+complexity as it applies to ordinary end-users as I cannot keep a straight face doing so.)


"But I think the ugly truth is that too many geeks like having the old status-quo, a preening elite sitting atop a vast contrived mountain of techno-crap smugly looking down on all the hapless lusers below them with their malware-riddled PCs and neverending struggles with baroque, arcane desktop applications, casual data loss, and all the other long-established brain-dead faults of that half-baked platform."

I assume your talking about windows.


No, it's a cross-platform problem. Non-technical users will struggle on any desktop OS. Regarding security (malware, scammers, etc), the biggest risk comes from social engineering: what does any OS do to tackle that? e.g. Modern web browsers can just about tell you if a web URL looks legit, though offers no guarantees as to the safety of its content. And email doesn't even do that: you've no idea if a given message is actually from the party it claims to be from. Trust and privacy are the two most priceless commodities to modern computer users; what are the platforms actually doing to deliver that? Precious little from what I can see. Heck, even a basic necessity like ensuring every desktop process is properly sandboxed is only arriving now, 20 years late, and is still greeted overwhelmingly with "how do we get rid of this" rather than "how do we ensure it works right". The desktop of every internet-connected PC is an untrusted environment and must be treated accordingly; geeks still sticking their heads in the sand saying "it can never happen to me" are part of the problem.

(And again, I won't even get onto the other usability disasters like poor HCI and rotten data safety or we'll be here all night.)


"To be blunt, I cannot help wondering just how much of the concern is over users trading some abstract 'freedom' for concrete safety and productivity, and how much is just butt-hurt spite that common users are no longer willing to play the game by the geeks' own rigged rules?"

It is genuinely a concern for freedom, both ours and normal users. My opinion may not be worth much to you, but it's not a lie.


"Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one." Or, results matter, opinions don't.

Users who are unable to control their own machines because those machines are far too complicated and unsafe for them to handle are not free. They are just as much victims as users who have vast corporate entities crawling into every aspect of their personal lives. You honestly care about the latter problem? Fix the former.

So what are you doing to create a true consumer computing platform that both meets the needs of non-technical users and preserves their personal freedom? My guess is: not a lot when you don't even comprehend why your beloved PC is such a tyrannical horror to those users in the first place. Older users are afraid to explore and experiment for fear of breaking or losing things; younger users probably will. You think you're giving them freedom, but all you're really doing is feeding them rope to hang themselves with.


"Personally I hope for a future where the vast majority of ordinary users have their day-to-day computing activities met by a safe, curated platform optimized to their particular needs, and the only folk left using PCs are those that genuinely need them."

This tells me that you don't have experience with linux, because that's exactly how the linux app repo's work on the desktop. You choose what you want installed from the repo's, and the system installs everything automatically and safely.


You mean the Linux (Ubuntu Desktop) I run on my netbook? Or the Linux (Ubuntu Server) I run on my server? Or the Linux (CentOS) VMs I used in my last job? Or the Linux I installed last week on an old laptop for a mate so he could use it for light web browsing and letter writing? (I also run Mac and Windows desktops, currently use a Win8 phone and have had an iPad in the past.) I may not live and breathe Linux to the extent that the hardcore geeks here do; OTOH, I probably bring more experience in other fields (art and design, desktop automation, book writing and editing, end-user programming, various sorts of application development, etc) and have a couple decades' experience of life as end-user, developer and even ersatz educator, so while I may not beat you on depth of experience I can likely outdo you on breadth. And alternative perspectives are something the Linux/FOSS world is painfully short on.

The notion that Linux repos or their contents are in any way inherently trustworthy is exactly the sort of dangerous naivety and ignorance of the real world that I'm talking about. The only 'safety' you get from using Linux repos is the same security-by-obscurity safety that Macs used to provide: not enough users to make them a worthwhile target to malware vendors. (Though expect that to change pretty damn quickly if the current plans to make desktop Linux the standard in China takes off.) And it still doesn't touch on the broader 'trust' concerns that, frankly, all the desktop and mobile platforms have yet to resolve.


Look, I appreciate Linux for what it is, but I also appreciate what it's not, which includes things like being non-nerd friendly. (Again, do not measure it against Mac or Windows, as those are relatively poor too.) Even the supposedly user-friendly distros like Ubuntu don't require much surface scratching before they drop you right in the soup. And even when the Linux OS itself is ticking along smoothly, the state of its desktop applications (i.e. the only reason to run a desktop OS) is really very sorry when compared to Windows, Mac, iOS or Android. And as for Linux in the mobile userland? Please don't make me laugh. I wish the likes of Canonical well on that front, but I'm not holding my breath when 90% of modern personal computing is all about delivering the larger ecosystem, not the 10% that's the OS (the only bit that Linux-heads invariably fixate on).

Linux/FOSS fans like yourself desperately need to step down from your self-congratulatory ivory tower and spend some quality time interacting with ordinary people and understanding how they live and work, and what their desires and motivations are. And then, if you successfully fuse all that practical experience with your traditional technical strengths and really work long and hard putting all that newfound wisdom to focused use, you might someday produce something that is actually directly useful to them. Otherwise you're just blowing a lot of empty smoke.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: History
by Alfman on Thu 4th Apr 2013 00:17 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: History"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

hhas,

"And what is the consumer-friendly security model that Linux provides out of the box to ensure even the least technical user is safe from malware, online fraudsters, etc?"

It offers users a software repo, which is the exact same software distribution model your talking about. Dispite your attempts to do so, you cannot criticize linux software repositories without criticizing the ipad store repositories since they are the same technical distribution model.


"'Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.' Or, results matter, opinions don't."


I'm going to restrain myself from responding in kind, but please be more mature, ok?

You were asking if my concern over closed computing was genuinely about our freedoms, and it was.



"So what are you doing to create a true consumer computing platform that both meets the needs of non-technical users and preserves their personal freedom?"

Stop overlooking the platforms that already do this. Users who don't want to side load don't have to turn it on, those who do can do so. It's win-win. It's all so obvious I have to question your motives for painting it as an impossibility today and in the future.


"You mean the Linux (Ubuntu Desktop) I run on my netbook?"

Sure. It was illogical to claim what you said in the face of the counter examples, including Ubuntu.



"The notion that Linux repos or their contents are in any way inherently trustworthy is exactly the sort of dangerous naivety and ignorance of the real world that I'm talking about. The only 'safety' you get from using Linux repos is the same security-by-obscurity safety that Macs used to provide: not enough users to make them a worthwhile target to malware vendors."

It's the same distribution model used by IOS. You can criticize the maintainers if you want to, but the model isn't a security problem. Also, apple deserves it's own share of criticism for failing to adequately screen apps with security vulnerabilities.

http://www.osnews.com/thread?557286

If anything, linux distros like redhat probably take their repository security even more seriously than apple does since they are used for running enterprise grade systems. And because it's open source, other distributions will benefit from the fixes as well.



"And even when the Linux OS itself is ticking along smoothly, the state of its desktop applications (i.e. the only reason to run a desktop OS) is really very sorry when compared to Windows, Mac, iOS or Android."


This is a biproduct of the microsoft monopoly. Unfortunately the problem is greater than Microsoft's own software, it's all of the niche proprietary commercial software that gets built for windows and is missing for linux. For example, the tax software for all tax services in my state are built for windows. Most games are only built for windows. Services like netflix are for windows and not linux. We really do need more commercial developers to produce applications on linux and stop making commercial software windows-centric.



"Linux/FOSS fans like yourself desperately need to step down from your self-congratulatory ivory tower and spend some quality time interacting with ordinary people and understanding how they live and work, and what their desires and motivations are."

You clearly don't know me very well, I'm taking a pro-linux stance here to counteract your bias. You may perceive this as bias but I'm certainly not among those in the self-congratulatory ivory towers and I've criticized linux many times here and elsewhere. I've installed linux for non-tech people and while they didn't have much trouble doing common activities like browsing the web, checking email, or word processing, they did have problems they need to take work home, or install commercial software or games, etc. This IS a problem, and it's difficult to fix. However it's important to recognize that this problem is fundamentally caused by being a very small unsupported OS rather than technical shortcomings with the OS itself. It's why monopolies are so dangerous, they tend to self-perpetuate because they are monopolies.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: History
by hhas on Thu 4th Apr 2013 13:28 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: History"
hhas Member since:
2006-11-28

"And what is the consumer-friendly security model that Linux provides out of the box to ensure even the least technical user is safe from malware, online fraudsters, etc?"

It offers users a software repo, which is the exact same software distribution model your talking about. Dispite your attempts to do so, you cannot criticize linux software repositories without criticizing the ipad store repositories since they are the same technical distribution model.


No they're not. There is one iPad software repo, and it can be trusted roughly to the extent that Apple can be trusted. There are a myriad Linux repos, both core and third-party, and it's entirely for the user to determine the trustworthiness of each. The only reason you can point apt or yum at a Linux repo with a reasonable assumption that you won't pick up any nasties is that the Linux world isn't a sufficiently tasty target for malware authors to currently bother with. (But, as I say, if it does take off in China then that will change.)

"'Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.' Or, results matter, opinions don't."

I'm going to restrain myself from responding in kind, but please be more mature, ok?


Oh please refrain with the delicate flower act. Once again, your opinions do not matter, only what you are actually doing to promote the freedoms you care about. (Hint: talking about it on the internet does not count.) e.g. Making Linux a genuinely palatable alternative for all those poor gullible iPad-loving sheeples that you claim to be concerned about might be a good start. And if you don't care about the iPad sheeples, then why are you posting in this thread? As I've pointed out elsewhere, if you don't like the closed Apple/Google/MS platforms yourself, don't buy into them. If you genuinely want unencumbered mobile/tablet hardware, stop sitting on your asses waiting for the big guys to produce something you can then glom onto for free, and build your own instead.

"So what are you doing to create a true consumer computing platform that both meets the needs of non-technical users and preserves their personal freedom?"

Stop overlooking the platforms that already do this. Users who don't want to side load don't have to turn it on, those who do can do so. It's win-win. It's all so obvious I have to question your motives for painting it as an impossibility today and in the future.


See: the Golden Rule, i.e. He who owns the Gold makes the Rules. IOW, Apple could not give a stinky crap for your sense of self-entitlement. They owe you nothing. OTOH, you owe them nothing either. If you dislike certain aspects of their business model, create your own competing model that provides all of the same benefits without those disadvantages. Stop telling them how to run their own business though: they do not take orders from you, so all you're really doing is puffing your ego to feel like you're doing something useful when all you're really doing is wasting your own (and others') time.

"And even when the Linux OS itself is ticking along smoothly, the state of its desktop applications (i.e. the only reason to run a desktop OS) is really very sorry when compared to Windows, Mac, iOS or Android."

This is a biproduct of the microsoft monopoly.


Utter crap, and as long as Linuxites like yourself continue to make such excuses it is never, ever going to get any better.

Unfortunately the problem is greater than Microsoft's own software, it's all of the niche proprietary commercial software that gets built for windows and is missing for linux.


Once again, your sense of entitlement is showing through. Application vendors have absolutely zero obligation to make their products run on your platform. It is a simple cost-vs-benefit decision for them: will the expense of porting be sufficiently offset by total increased sales?

And let's not forget the first greeting that commercial vendors receive when they do release closed source products on Linux: endless tantrums and whining from the FOSS True Religionites who aren't even the target audience for those products because closed-source is the work of the Great Satan wharrgarble and they should open it up and all essentially work for free. As if saying 'make it open source' will magically result in a viable business model for every possible type of product. (For stuff like development or hosting tools where long-term support contracts are a major part of income, sure; for shrink-wrapped consumer apps, much less likely.) The FOSS business model works well for products created by and for FOSSers themselves, because the people who make the investment are the ones who use the resulting products.

For example, the tax software for all tax services in my state are built for windows. Most games are only built for windows. Services like netflix are for windows and not linux. We really do need more commercial developers to produce applications on linux and stop making commercial software windows-centric.


Once again, what is in it for these vendors? What are you going to do to make it worth their time and expense? e.g. Pay a premium price; make Linux accessible to a far larger - i.e. non-geek - market; what? Or are you just going to keep blowing smoke at me?

"Linux/FOSS fans like yourself desperately need to step down from your self-congratulatory ivory tower and spend some quality time interacting with ordinary people and understanding how they live and work, and what their desires and motivations are."

You clearly don't know me very well, I'm taking a pro-linux stance here to counteract your bias.


Yeah, and you don't understand me at all. I have this bias: it's called "seeing harsh reality as it is (and trying to figure smart or sneaky-ass ways around it)".

For instance, I've ranted in the past about the fundamentally brain-damaged design model followed by so many desktop environment and application projects, slavishly recycling the clapped out metaphors of Xerox Star and vast inflexible monolithic architectures of MS Office. You sit on your asses waiting for someone else to figure out a solution that works for them, then you try to copy it. The result? Third-rate copies of the original, crippled by incredibly expensive development and maintenance processes.

It's like nobody in Linuxland has heard of Unix Philosophy, never mind understand what it is or find ways of putting it into effect. Apple/Google/MS can afford to play billion-dollar stakes games where they can burn a million just to light their cigars; FOSS/Linux cannot, so why do you keep trying to pretend you can?

Stop copying their designs, stop copying their construction processes. Develop relationships with creative and logical thinkers in other disciplines - artists, writers, HCI gurus, functional programmers, etc. - and brainstorm some really good original ideas. Stop building vast insanely manpower-expensive monolithic apps, and start building lots of small, simple, pluggable component systems. Stop forking endless me-too projects, steal or merge the best ideas to create fewer, stronger distros, and cull the rest to improve the health of the herd as a whole.

There's a lot FOSS/Linux could do, if only it has the brains and balls to break out of its arrogant, indolent, self-serving state.

However it's important to recognize that this problem is fundamentally caused by being a very small unsupported OS rather than technical shortcomings with the OS itself. It's why monopolies are so dangerous, they tend to self-perpetuate because they are monopolies.


Sure; and if it was Linux that was the Monopoly, you wouldn't be sitting here saying that. Once again, you are making excuses instead of asking yourself: "What can the Linux community do to make itself stronger?" and coming up with useful answers to that.

Reply Score: 2

Get Asus TF700, root, install BotBrew Basil
by tidux on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 13:59 UTC
tidux
Member since:
2011-08-13

Your tablet is now also a laptop with lots of Debian packages available, including gcc I believe. Throw in gcc-objc, gst, and Vim Touch and you have something programmable in Smalltalk.

Reply Score: 2

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Normal people don't root devices.

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Normal people wouldn't have used Dynabook in the way Alan Kay imagined either. They'd probably use it the same way as they do an iPad.

Most people don't use PCs (or Macs) to become artists and authors and other kinds of creative activity that the machine is capable of.

Reply Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"Normal people wouldn't have used Dynabook in the way Alan Kay imagined either. They'd probably use it the same way as they do an iPad."

Nobody anywhere produces as much as they consume, some would still produce very little by choice, and that's ok. The problem with respect to the ipad is that apple has taken form of a dictator. That's a nasty turn in computing, and that's what Alan is criticizing.

Edited 2013-04-03 16:34 UTC

Reply Score: 3

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

kwan_e,

"Normal people wouldn't have used Dynabook in the way Alan Kay imagined either. They'd probably use it the same way as they do an iPad."

Nobody anywhere produces as much as they consume, some would still produce very little by choice, and that's ok. The problem with respect to the ipad is that apple has taken form of a dictator. That's a nasty turn in computing, and that's what Alan is criticizing.


That's hardly "worse" than what Alan imagined. What Alan imagined, however glorious, was a pipe dream, and the whole symmetric production and consumption of media IS what he envisioned - which is a point you said you agreed with. Like it or not, someone needed to get the tablet thing started, for greater penetration of powerful mobile computing.

What we have now is better than what Alan's time had, or 10 years ago. I'm not a fan of Apple or its select worshippers on this site, but let's get some reality check. Alan's criticisms are moot because it's obvious that Dynabook isn't going to come about in one big step. However, it is obvious that we're heading there. The technology is already beyond what we need. The policy limitations are the hurdles here.

You can't criticize the [class of] device for being under the control of its designer[s].

Reply Score: 3

tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

You goddamn well can. They should be under the control of the USER, not the fucking designer. I don't care what some penis in a turtleneck thinks I should do with my computer, I'm root and I'll act like it.

Reply Score: 3

hhas Member since:
2006-11-28

Hey, it's your computer and if you're willing and able to accept the broad range of liabilities in exchange for the narrow set of benefits that being root provides, that's your choice. For the vast majority of computer users, however, being root provides them with zero benefits while still exposing them to all the liabilities. (In fact, it's even more dangerous for them than you, since they don't have your knowledge or experience to identify those dangers and know how to avoid them.)

So why are you whining about a platform that is manifestly designed for them and not you? Are you jealous because they're getting the shiny new toys, or upset that once they all abandon the PC platform you won't have anyone left to feel superior to?

A home user of a vendor-curated internet-connected tablet is fundamentally no different to a work user of an IT-curated intranet-connected company PC. Both systems are de facto locked down to prevent their users from screwing up either themselves or their systems. Would you argue that IT should unlock everything and let users do as they like? Or should they lock everything down as standard, and only ever open up individual services where a valid business case can be made? Heck, even sensible geeks won't run with admin rights (never mind root) as standard, because they appreciate that 'freedom' is a double-edged sword, and a lot less freeing once you accidentally lop your arms and legs off.

You want a nerd-oriented tablet platform to compliment your PCs? That's fine; just build yourselves one. Then everyone - nerds and non-nerds alike - can use what works best for them, and everyone's happy and nobody has to spend endless hours ranting on the interwebs all because the universe doesn't rotate sufficiently around them.

Reply Score: 2

tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

The problem is that in the tablet space the nerds are such a minority, and the prisons so locked down, that it's nigh impossible to get nerd-compatible hardware. That in and of itself is a problem.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"That's hardly 'worse' than what Alan imagined."

How so? He had a vision of what these devices could do way back before anyone else was working on them. Now that the technology has become feasible, it's a real shame that many implementations are programmed with device restriction policies that make indy creations subordinate to the company. That's the problem, the ideal software platforms would have everyone equal footing and let the market compete openly rather than under the control and taxation of corporate overseers.


"What Alan imagined, however glorious, was a pipe dream, and the whole symmetric production and consumption of media IS what he envisioned - which is a point you said you agreed with."

Everything's a pipe dream before it's time. Once it's arrived, it's no longer a pipe dream. Just as he said, many of his ideas have been spinoff into mirads of commercial products, and even those that haven't just need time and investment.

"The technology is already beyond what we need. The policy limitations are the hurdles here."

Why are you telling me this? I know, and it's clear that Alan does too.


"You can't criticize the [class of] device for being under the control of its designer[s]."

I can, and I will continue to. I shudder to think where we'd be if desktop PC platforms had been shipped with ipad-like restrictions against indy developers and users. If you take openness for granted, or keep apologizing for those who take it away, then pretty soon we'll all loose it.

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"You can't criticize the [class of] device for being under the control of its designer[s]."

I can, and I will continue to. I shudder to think where we'd be if desktop PC platforms had been shipped with ipad-like restrictions against indy developers and users. If you take openness for granted, or keep apologizing for those who take it away, then pretty soon we'll all loose it.


Then your criticisms are irrelevant, because I can pretty well argue we already have had Dynabooks in the form of PCs and laptops. They have the power and the openness. That leaves your criticism only applicable to a certain form factor and thus largely superficial.

Really then, I was right before that we've already surpassed Alan Kay's vision because general purpose computers do more than a Dynabook does.

Reply Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"Then your criticisms are irrelevant, because I can pretty well argue we already have had Dynabooks in the form of PCs and laptops. They have the power and the openness. That leaves your criticism only applicable to a certain form factor and thus largely superficial."

This logic doesn't make any sense at all. Just because desktop computers are able to run almost anything we want, it doesn't follow that tablets should not.

Reply Score: 1