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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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)

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