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

"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 Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: History
by hhas on Thu 4th Apr 2013 13:38 in reply to "RE[7]: History"
hhas Member since:


Stop making endless bloody excuses for all your problems, and start searching for concrete solutions for a change.

And the first step in that is taking a cold, hard look at both yourselves as individuals and the Linux community as a whole, clearly identifying your particular strengths and openly admitting your embarrassing weaknesses. Then ask yourselves: "How can we more efficiently and effectively apply the former, and what do we need to do to remedy/compensate/work around the latter?"

Like I say, culling and consolidating your myriad product lines and returning your architectural approaches to your original Unix roots would be good moves on the former front. And as to the latter, learn to detach your egos, and start speaking to and working with 'outsiders' on their (not your) terms: artists, writers, HCI wonks, brand image consultants, lateral thinkers, girls, etc. You never know what you might gain from the experience until you try!

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: History
by Alfman on Thu 4th Apr 2013 14:32 in reply to "RE[7]: History"
Alfman Member since:


You've gone way off the deep end with your anti-linux tirade, which has nothing to do with me. You can take that flame bait up with someone else if you want to.

My only response is to the original topic of the platform security. I've taken the liberty of fixing your paragraph for you:

"Yes the repo model is the same. 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....and they can be trusted roughly to the extent that their respective distros can be trusted."

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: History
by hhas on Fri 5th Apr 2013 15:11 in reply to "RE[8]: History"
hhas Member since:

I do not 'hate Linux' (at least no more than I hate any other modern technology, since they all suck in some ways). I am, however, enormously frustrated by a painfully narrow, insular FOSS/Linux community that claims to preserve and extend User Freedom while actually being utterly ineffectual - worse than useless even - at preserving and extending it outside of its own tiny self-serving clique.

FOSS/Linuxites talk a helluva lot but you hardly listen at all, at least not to anyone who doesn't already think and speak exactly the same as you. Now, I do not care if you don't listen to me personally as I seriously require a copy editor at the best of times. However, if you genuinely do care about about the millions of ordinary users out there, then you should be paying particular heed to the sound of thundering footsteps as they take to true[ish] consumer-oriented platforms like iOS and (to a lesser extent) Android. Because those people are not abandoning Freedom for Prison, but merely exchanging one Prison for another.

All the 'features' of the PC platform that the geek elite most loves - openness, flexibility, hackability, etc. - are not benefits but liabilities for the ordinary user: an endless tangle of impenetrable complexity and lethal booby-traps which are utterly beyond their resources to understand or control. And laughing at their mishaps or telling them to 'educate' themselves, which are the standard elitist response, are not only useless to them but also serves to drive them further towards exactly the sorts of corporate-controlled platforms you have such an issue with. Because for common users, unlike the geek elite, the platform itself is not their objective but merely an inconvenient stepping stone on the way to achieving their actual goals. They need and want a curated, turn-key platform that is safe and unobtrusive to use; that gets right out their way and enables them to get on with all the things they are actually interested in.

And as long as the Big Bads like Apple and Google understand this principle while FOSS/Linux misses it entirely, and as long as they deliver on just enough of the promise to keep those users satisfied while FOSS/Linux sits around with thumbs up asses whining about how the world is so evil and unfair[1], they will continue to call the shots on greater, more abstract concerns such as privacy and freedom as well.

IOW, any fule can criticize others, but it takes a degree of courage and humility, not to mention painfully rigorous honesty, to usefully criticize oneself[2]. But if the FOSS/Linux community genuinely do care about anyone other than themselves, then that is where they need to start. Because this is not a technology problem, it's a people problem. Fix yourselves, and the rest will follow. And who knows - maybe someday it'll be FOSS/Linux which births a million new Kays, and Paperts, and Engelbarts, and Bushes, and so on...:)


[1] Which, given the frequency of self-declared 'libertarian' types round such parts, always strikes me as very ironic, not to mention a tad hypocritical.

[2] And yes, I do try to eat my own dogfood here too. So if you think I'm being harsh on your work, you should see how I treat my own.:p

Reply Parent Score: 2