Linked by David Adams on Tue 13th Dec 2011 03:12 UTC
Editorial I was reading today about how Linux Mint developers altered the Banshee music player source code to redirect affiliate revenue from Amazon music orders to them instead of Banshee. They've reportedly made less than $4, which has caused a kerfluffle among those paying attention to that corner of the world. But it raises a larger point that has been swirling around for a couple of decades: an OS vendor has a lot of power to influence, and even monetize their user base. Where should they draw the line?
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Drawing the line
by WorknMan on Tue 13th Dec 2011 04:34 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

The tricky question with anything is, where do you draw the line? For example, we may say that censorship is a bad thing, but we really don't want people uploading child porn and such, so obviously some amount of censorship is in order. Question is, where do you draw the line?

As for OS vendors, I've said before and I'll say it again... even with a totally open source OS, I think it is important that you have somebody (a benevolent dictator, or a panel of some sort) calling the shots in order to keep it from becoming a fragmented mess like Linux is on the desktop and (to a lesser degree) Android is on phones. And I'm speaking from the perspective as if you were interested in gaining any sort of marketshare. But if you don't care about that, then I guess it doesn't matter.

Some people may think the above paragraph is flame-worthy, like how DARE I try to limit choice; I just don't think it's very good for an ecosystem if people have 900 different variations of a thing to choose from or to install. In other words, we have to strike a delicate balance between making sure the user has enough control to modify the OS to his desires, while at the same time trying not to break compatibility to the point where developers can't write apps and expect them to work on every system, without the user having to go fetch libraries and/or resorting to voodoo and sacrificing live chickens to get the f**king thing to work right.

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