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Comment The Real Issue (Score 4, Insightful) 330

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

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.

Comment obvious (Score 1) 742

Many open source projects fail to succeed because everyone working on them is a developer. They design the software to meet their own personal needs. Thus we get projects like the Gimp which does not meet the needs of any artist I have ever known.

However, when it comes to making development tools, who better to know the needs of the end user than other developers? When it comes to software that is used by developers, open source will always be king. Look where the real successes in open source are right now. Most of it is in libraries and frameworks like django, rails, and jquery. These are things made by developers to make developing easier.

Open source will always own that market.
User Journal

Journal Journal: GeekNights Podcast

My roommate and I have started a podcast called "GeekNights with Rym + Scott". He's Rym and I'm Scott. It's sort of a late night talk show for geeks. We cover all sorts of topics including, but not exclusively: anime, video games, technology, gaming, science and just about anything else geeks like us are interested in.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Help find USB Switch 2

I think the title of this says it all. I'm having trouble finding a USB switch that satisfies my needs. I basically need to switch two USB2.0 devices (keyboard and mouse) between 3 or more computers. The solution has to be os independent, none of that windows software for the switching. Normally I would need a KVM, but my monitors handle the V quite nicely on their own. However, I wouldn't be opposed to a reasonably priced KVM solution if it did the USB switching properly and the price was ri

User Journal

Journal Journal: Super blogging!

I realize I haven't put anything here in a long time. I've pretty much completed my transition from /journal to real blog long ago. However, since I've been keeping track of referrers I've realized that a lot of hits to my site come from people clicking on my /. signature and such. So I figured that since I just made a large blog update, 3 posts!, that I'd make a few pointers over there.

User Journal

Journal Journal: New Domain

I got a domain, yay. Now despite all my constant moving that will happen after college you will still be able to find me. the domain is apreche.net. So don't bother visiting protoman.rh.rit.edu, even though that will still work until I move out.

Update all your links to apreche.net so http://apreche.net/blog is my blog, etc.

I will setup e-mail later.


Journal Journal: Gaim Log URL Extractor Syndication

I made a new piece of software today. It's a rather small ruby script. It goes through my gaim logs and parses out any URLs for the current day. Then it creates an rss feed from those URLs. I use cron to upload this rss feed to my webserver every half-hour or so. It's very helpful for myself because if someone sends me a link it ends up in my live bookmarks. It can also be helpful to others who want to see what everybody's talking about.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Parents on Linux

I switched my parents to Linux. And all is well. Could it be that the best way to switch people to Linux is to force it upon them? I envision it like windows users have a disease and Linux is the best medicine. But it tastes bad and they don't want to take it. But once you force it down their throats they are no longer ill and they'll thank you for it later.

Read full blog post here.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.