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Comment The disruptive potential of free software (Score 2) 359

Mr. Stallman, first I must thank you for The GNU Project, the gift the world doesn't yet appreciate. In a fifty years there will be a statue commemorating your achievement of preventing computers thirty years ago from becoming like iPhones are today. If there isn't I'll have to commission it myself. Thank you for buying us all this time to prevent 1984.

What I'd like to ask is whether you are concerned about how popular and business media conflate Silicon Valley start-ups and Apps with technology and software as a whole. As we all know, the internet has existed since long before MySpace and terms like "bloggers", "new media", "social networking", "big data", etc.

The cover of this week's Economist has a map, shaped like a brain, of various corporate entities which are dominating and strangling the web, entitled "Empire of the Geeks". Corporatization of web is killing communities as users become commodities to be sold to advertisers, or mined for valuable personal information. Users are thus taken for granted. For instance, Reddit is the only web-forum I've used that has a "Board of Directors" and a CEO, and I can't fathom how anybody can keep a straight face while contemplating such an absurdity.

The article in the Economist promises the tech-ignorant readership that, unlike 2000, there will be no web-bubble because start-ups are typically not purchased without demonstrating a potential to generate profit.

What all these suits seem to be missing is that Free Software exists, as a giant exit door, that could evacuate a large fraction, if not majority, from the surveilled, corporate web in a matter of months into a reactionary darknet built on, perhaps, webs of trust. The ephemeral and limitless nature of software, the virility of memes, the availability of encryption, and the well-established short-lifespan of internet communities all suggest that the current Facebook/Twitter empire is founded on sand.

Which is the likelier possibility: Tech-dumb investors are being fleeced by Silicon Valley which is well aware the clock is ticking on the current hegemony of monied websites? Or that the days of the free internet itself themselves numbered, and soon users will be shepherded into a locked-down, Compuservesque network which preempts the possibility of communicating online without using approved channels?

In either possibility, why is this not talked about more? All Free Software needs, at this point, is a Steve Jobs to bring our superior software ecosystem to the masses, and sell users on the benefits of direct, peer to peer communication omitting corporate in-betweeners. I am sure that day is coming, what clues have you seen in your long-time involvement in the software world which might affirm or relieve my concerns? Because either way, the information economy is in for a shock I don't think it is prepared for, and the results could be devastating.

Submission + - SF Says AdWare Bundled with Gimp Is Intentional-> 5

tresf writes: In response to a Google+ post from the Gimp project claiming that "[Sourceforge] is now distributing an ads-enabled installer of GIMP", Sourceforge had this response:

In cases where a project is no longer actively being maintained, SourceForge has in some cases established a mirror of releases that are hosted elsewhere. This was done for GIMP-Win.

Editor's note: Gimp is actively being maintained and the definition of "mirror" is quite misleading here as a modified binary is no longer a verbatim copy. Download statistics for Gimp on Windows show SourceForge as offering over 1,000 downloads per day of the Gimp software. In an official response to this incident, the official Gimp project team reminds users to use official download methods. Slashdotters may remember the last time news like this surfaced (2013) when the Gimp team decided to move downloads from SourceForge to their own FTP service.

Therefore, we remind you again that GIMP only provides builds for Windows via its official Downloads page.

Note: SourceForge and Slashdot share a corporate parent.
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Another major project hijacked by lunatics (Score 3, Interesting) 64

KDE5 isn't even out yet. We are at a transition place since they broke the project up into it's constituent parts. But KDE Plasma 5, the desktop, is great. I'm using it right now, posting from a seven year old piece of shit Dell office computer and it's snappy, responsive, and well laid out. Way better than KDE 4, I don't know how you could think otherwise. Just switch to the classic KDE menu + dynamic search box, get a new theme from KHotNewStuff, and enjoy.

I like the default settings, but judging KDE on it's defaults, like what seems to be happening a lot, is pointless. KDE is like Foobar2000, power-users like enjoy that there is some assembly required.

Comment Re:Calm down about the screenshot in TFA (Score 3, Informative) 64

"Flat and ugly" only by default! Unlike Windows, or Mac OS, it is highly reconfigurable and themable. If you don't like it, you can change it.

I can't believe the fussing in this thread about aesthetics, KDE Plasma 5 is amazingly function, it's the best yet. Yeah, I dislike the new menu too. But with a right-click you can switch to the greatest-ever rendition of the classic KDE Menu which now finally features a dynamic search box. Not only that, it includes the option to collapse all sub-menu hierarchies to a single sub-menu beyond the main one. No more pointless "Science" or "Mathematics" sub-menus in the "Education" menu, which probably only has 5 things in it anyway.

KDE Plasma 5 is so much better than 4. In the later 5.x series I think we will finally reach quality-parity with KDE 3.5.

Comment Kirk wears blue suede shoes (Score 2) 71

I've loved, and have been following Star Trek fan films since the second episode of New Voyages, over a decade ago. Yes, of course the acting is amateur. If you can't handle them, don't watch them. Subbie didn't even mention Hidden Frontier, which ran for 7 seasons! Also left out Of Gods and Men! I watched part one of a Star Trek: Aurora two-parter last week -- it was great, but a Harry Mudd episode so it was rather silly.

But it's so interesting how this one franchise, out of them all, has so many simultaneous fan productions. It's like, in the 60s, when all the traditional ideologies and authorities were being torn down there was a vacuum introduced into the Western psyche. And then some random TV show with an idealistic premise was sucked in to fill the void. Now, like schismatic sects of a religion, each fan film does Star Trek the "right" way, in it's creators own interpretation. Lots of gay characters in many fan films, for instance, something real Star Trek almost never touched.

If you would only ever watch one episode, watch Fairest of Them All, the "part two" to Mirror, Mirror.

Comment Hope for the Future (Score 1) 109

Star Trek Continues is a fantastic fan series. I've been watching Star Trek fan films since the first episode of Star Trek New Voyages, Come What May, was released. It has been amazing to witness the subculture grow with the technology that enables its existence.

And consider what this says about Star Trek as a cultural force. It was an optimistic message during pessimistic times. In the 60s people needed hope for the future. Star Trek filled that need so well that now, in very different (but still uncertain) times, we end up with Star Trek spontaneously manifesting itself into existence all over the place. It's like a program embedded into the cultural psyche: Need hope? Go to Star Trek. No Star Trek? Make Star Trek. Humans are crazy.

I'm not sure if new episodes of my favorite 60s television show will really offer hype to today's post-modern outlook. I would love to see a Star Trek allegory on contemporary identity politics and the formalization and modeling of all of reality into the data-mined, consultant-approved Matrix we all inhabit today. It would probably have to be DS9esque in outlook, though. On that note, I thought Caprica was going to be the crown-jewel of socially-relevant contemporary science-fiction television but it got shit-canned after two seasons. Imagine if that happened to Babylon 5, what we would have missed out on? Now we have Doctor Who, whose offered fantasy is "leave the whole fucking planet behind". Huh.

Star Trek New Voyages just released their 9th official episode and a new one is out soon this month. Starship Exeter finally released the last act of their second episode last year, after a nearly 10 year wait. Check them out!

Comment Own loud is great! (Score 3, Interesting) 30

I have some cheap hosting I wasn't using so I sprung for a static I and SSL cert and now all my devices are synced. I keep my KeePass wallet up to date on my Android phone and all computers. The sync settings are very fine grain. And yeah, accessing other online storage seamlessly through OwnCloud is a killer feature. Free storage upgrade anytime.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel

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