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Comment: The Real Issue (Score 4, Insightful) 330

by Apreche (#28990671) Attached to: Ubuntu's New Firefox Is Watching You

I don't think anyone begrudges Ubuntu taking advantage of a perfectly acceptable revenue model. That's not the problem here.

The problem is that Ubuntu is shipping a modified version of Firefox instead of the default Firefox shipped by Mozilla. Sure, both Ubuntu and Debian ship patched versions of just about every package they include in the repository. But the overwhelming majority of those patches don't noticeably effect the user experience.

Firefox, on the other hand, is pretty much the #1 most important part of the user experience in Ubuntu. It's the application most people are going to use more than anything else. In fact, after Ubuntu is installed, the user will probably spend more time interacting with Firefox than with all the rest of Ubuntu combined. It's not inaccurate to say it's a Firefox machine, as opposed to an Ubuntu or Linux machine.

Since Firefox is the most important part of the user experience, the users don't want Firefox changed in any way. They want the default Firefox as shipped by Mozilla. They don't want the named changed to Shiretoko or IceWeasel. They don't want the icons changed. They don't want weird extensions that change behaviour. They also don't want updates to come from Ubuntu repositories, as they do for every other package. They want the newest version of Firefox from Mozilla at the exact moment that Mozilla ships it.

I understand the reasoning behind Ubuntu and Debians policies, but I think it is obvious that Firefox trumps Ubuntu. They should make a special exception for it. Just ship the raw Firefox as released by Mozilla. Don't modify it in any way whatsoever. The world is just getting more browser centric. The operating system is just the code that talks between the browser and the hardware. You can do anything you want to the OS, but don't touch the browser or you'll lose all the users you worked so hard to gain.

Comment: It's all about the algorithm (Score 1) 463

by Apreche (#28611721) Attached to: The Dilemma of Level vs. Skill In MMOs

Think about Sudoku for a second. Let's say you never played it before. Someone gives you a board and the rules. The first step you have is to figure out how to solve it. Eventually you develop an algorithm that can solve any sudoku. Once you have developed this algorithm, sudoku is no longer an intellectual exercise. It is no longer a matter of solving a problem, but merely executing an algorithm. It becomes manual labor. Likewise, if someone gives you the algorithm, you can bypass the first part entirely.

An MMO is very similar. In the beginning you don't know what to do. You have to learn the game and solve problems. Many of the rules of the game are hidden or secret. Thus, it can take awhile. However, eventually, you learn it. You know exactly what to press in order to do the maximum damage per unit time in any given situation with any given character. You don't even need to learn this, either. Someone can just tell you.

At some point you switch from developing an algorithm to executing an algorithm. You switch from developing a solution to executing a known solution. You switch from skill to knowledge.

This is why there is such an attraction tïo eurogames like Puerto Rico, Agricola, Caylus, Power Grid, Tigris and Euphrates, etc. These games tend to have little to no randomness, so they aren't games of chance. They are complex enough that it is very difficult to solve them, though perhaps not as complex as Go. They also have a significant theme and other elements that make them more "fun" than a game like Go or Chess.

Even so, many eurogames are solvable. We have a shelf full of games, but we only actually play about half of them. For the other half, everyone already knows the algorithm for optimal play. When we play with each other, it becomes a perfect Nash equilibrium. When we play with anyone else who hasn't solved the game, they are completely crushed.

The answer is to never play a game you have solved, and never play games that are easily solvable.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.