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Comment: Re:I know I'll get flamed... (Score 1) 165

by causality (#49351323) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

Rather than call it pure coincidence, which I deliberately and knowingly stopped short of saying, I was implying that it is not. I simply didn't care to get into the minutia of precisely how that happened and what the exact sequence of events were, since my point did not depend on the details, only on the truth that things happened in this manner.

Comment: Re:I know I'll get flamed... (Score 1) 165

by causality (#49329269) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

I urge you to consider that Occam's Razor does not apply in the social realm, where motives are often hidden. This makes "paranoia" difficult to distinguish from "foresight".

In my personal unqualified opinion, it's like using alcohol. If there is no sign that it harms your well-being or reduces the quality of your life, then you do not have a problem. If there are such signs, then you do. In the absence of such signs, I would call it "caution".

Comment: Re:Need a standards based Facebook replacement (Score 1) 165

by causality (#49323715) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

And who is going to pay to set this up and fund the day-to-day running of this operation?

I assume it will be the same sort of people who paid (i.e. their time and expertise) to create and make freely available other software like BitTorrent, the Linux kernel, the Apache server, etc.

There is ample reason to believe this is possible. There are numerous extant examples, far too many to enumerate here, in the form of just about every GPL'd project ever created. Perhaps you missed the part where I said it would need to be decentralized and peer-to-peer, so much like BitTorrent, the users themselves would bear the cost of the bandwidth and CPU cycles.

The question of how to host content that many users will want to share without ever-increasing costs of a centralized system to bear the load was, after all, the chief problem that BitTorrent was created to solve.

Comment: Re:I know I'll get flamed... (Score 1) 165

by causality (#49323675) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

The world could have collaborated and built the modern Internet just fine on BSD licensed software, which is itself a variation of public domain. What Stallman deserves credit for is inventing the Copyleft license as a way to compel source code sharing. He's stayed relevant beyond that as source for paranoia about software being used against people, a stance that looks more prescient each year.

The BSD license very well could have worked, in the sense that I know of no law of physics or any other hard barrier making it impossible, yes. But generally to get something like what we've seen from the GPL Open Source movement, you need some kind of hedge against total selfishness. This is particularly true when dealing with corporations. That's the one thing the BSD license does not provide.

Perhaps in a more ideal world that does not still have such a pronounced scarcity mentality, the BSD license would have been sufficient. But in the world we know today, it's clear to me why one was more successful than the other (in terms of participation) long after a time when both were available.

I'll add, "paranoia" is one of those words that gets thrown around. Properly understood, it means an unreasonable fear of what is either impossible, or so astronomically unlikely as to be completely impractical. It doesn't take much study of history to see the repeating pattern that, again and again, any form of power or authority that can be abused, has been abused. Knowledge and technology are forms of power. It is inevitable that those who can wield them will abuse them. It's a scenario that is not only inevitable, but one that should be expected and prepared for.

To do otherwise is simply foolish and naive, an act of investing tremendous trust in institutions that have repeatedly proven themselves untrustworthy. I wonder sometimes if it's merely a problem of scale. If an individual lies, deceives, manipulates, or otherwise acts dishonestly towards another individual, confidence is quickly broken and trust withdrawn, often permanently. If a government or other large institution repeatedly acts dishonestly, you often see this faith-based (certainly not fact-based) defense that it meant well, will do better next time, and deserves our continued trust. This is usually never explicitly stated, but can be readily observed in the decisions many people make.

Comment: Re:You must use software I like (Score 1) 165

by causality (#49323325) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

... and never use software I don't like! My opinions are objective truths of the universe and can never be wrong.

Perhaps this is a generational difference. In school, I was taught not to write "I think this is so" or "I believe this is true" in anything even slightly resembling formal composition. I was taught that, perhaps barring a rigorous scientific publication, anytime you read any written work of any sort in which the author takes a position, what you are reading is exactly that: one person's position. It should be understood as something like an opinion, something that may change at a later date, something with which others may have good reasons for disagreement. This is one part of thinking for yourself, by the way.

The more modern trend is to assume that anytime anyone speaks, they automatically presume to speak for everyone else in the most absolute terms possible unless this is otherwise disclaimed. Therefore much time is wasted bickering about things like "but I'm an exception!" and "that's just your opinion!" and many false judgments against someone's character are made, such as yours. While condemning someone for such a flimsy reason may be a reassuring outlet for the type of insecure people who contribute nothing but love to throw stones, if you are honest, you may have noticed it's not making any progress.

Comment: Re:A few problems with that (Score 1) 165

by causality (#49323279) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

I don't view Stallman as having a "communistic" mind-set at all. I view him as having a post-scarcity mind-set. In terms of the modern Information Age and its ability to make virtually infinite perfect copies of bits at nearly zero cost, he is correct. That you and others who share your viewpoint would read his works and falsely liken it to a doctrine arising in the mid-1800s (i.e. Marxism/Communism) simply tells me that the man is ahead of his time.

The point about a hammer stands, because much software is used as tools for making other things. No manufacturer of hammers would last a moment in court if they tried to implement an EULA, yet in the quest to make "intellectual property" more like physical property, copyright law allows this sort of thing to be done with software. Obviously this means it goes too far. The desire for software freedom is simply a desire to achieve a more reasonable balance.

The thing I have great difficulty understanding is this need so many have to worry about the guy personally. Did you know that no one is going to try to force you to agree with him 100%? Did you realize that you can take his ideas that resonate with you and ignore the rest? For example, you can run a mostly Open Source Linux system, but then use some proprietary software such as the nVidia drivers? Yes, you can, with your own systems, achieve whatever balance *you* find reasonable, no matter what Stallman says (of course, you have this option at all because of him).

If Stallman were threatening to send storm troopers to your home to force you at gunpoint to live the way he wants, then I would understand all this vitriol against someone you never had to listen to. I've never heard of him doing that and I don't consider it likely. Meanwhile, of course the man is going to advocate what he believes. Did you expect him to advocate a philosophy he doesn't believe in? So what's the actual problem, here? That he has an audience, that when he speaks it makes headlines, and when you speak it doesn't? Is that the root of the problem? If so, that's known as simple jealousy.

Comment: Re:How would Stallman know what Facebook is? (Score 1) 165

by causality (#49323191) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

Modpoints or I'd post in my own name ...

Highly tempted to mod you up but I am terminally unable to decide whether to mod you as "insightful" or "funny"

Definitely "Funny", since it's an AC. If it were a logged-in user, I'd use "Insightful" to contribute in some small way to their karma score.

Comment: Re:Need a standards based Facebook replacement (Score 1) 165

by causality (#49323169) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

Finding people is what directories are for. Pictures, Location, affiliations... whatever people want to put out there. And what is to prevent a standard protocol for people to share their friends lists with their friends?

If you want to get rid of Facebook (have it go the way of MySpace -- remember them?) without replacing it with the next centralized panopticon, what you need is a completely standardized, completely open, secure, encrypted, cross-platform, peer-to-peer method of implementing the same features. Nothing less will do. Until then, when Facebook finally diminishes it will simply be replaced by the next Facebook-wannabe.

Comment: Re:I know I'll get flamed... (Score 3, Insightful) 165

by causality (#49323133) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

Stalman has done a lot, but sometimes his ideas get in the way of actual software. Hurd? after decades still not shipped. gcc? Got out of hand until it got taken over by egcs.

That makes no sense. His idea was to have a 100% free unix. They started working on the hurd. Then Linux came along and it was under an acceptable license, so RMS declared that the problem was solved, GNU had the kernel it wanted and so developing one was no longer a priority.

Likewise ECGS (Experimental GNU Compiler System) was a fork of GCC it proved substantially better, so the FSF abandoned the mainline and adopted the superior fork.

In other words, I think both examples you've given of RMS getting in the way are actually examples of exactly the opposite.

It does take a certain humility to abandon what may very well have been a project dear to one's heart, in order to advance a larger goal that will benefit more people. What's more typical is to see Not Invented Here and other forms of pride get in the way of what should be a technical decision. The very idealism that draws so much (mostly useless) criticism to this guy (from people who haven't contributed a fraction of his works) is his best feature.

Comment: Re:RMS Should Try Google+! (Score 1) 165

by causality (#49323123) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

All working to plan. Troublemakers will become lonely in accordance with the system. Thought leaders will be promoted.

The term with which I'm more familiar is "opinion leaders". But to expand on your idea, "the system" isn't the communications medium so much as the prevailing social norms and expectations. Being "different" in terms of which soda to drink, which football team to root for, or which major party to vote for will be celebrated and encouraged. Any serious questioning of anything more fundamental than that would make one a deviant, viewed (at best) as odd or eccentric and likely faced with the "loneliness" you mention in the form of marginalization.

Comment: Re:I know I'll get flamed... (Score 3, Insightful) 165

by causality (#49322381) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

godfather of the free software movement

But I disagree with the having Stalman as the locus of free software. There was free software before him (BSD, etc) and will be free software after him. Maybe capitalize it right. Yeah, he created the Free Software Foundation. Just call it that.. godfather of the FSF.

Stalman has done a lot, but sometimes his ideas get in the way of actual software. Hurd? after decades still not shipped. gcc? Got out of hand until it got taken over by egcs. Was also the "Cathedral" in "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" as the example of what NOT to do. emacs? Witness the hassle with xemacs and emacs.

I believe Stallman is credited for this because the average user never heard of Open Source or Free Software until the arrival of the GPL and its enabling of systems built with the Linux kernel and GNU userland. Now that those have arrived and taken off, the corporate investment in open source software has increased tremendously and most people have at least heard of Linux even if they don't personally use it. Lots more people at least use some kind of open source software even if they are not programmers and don't appreciate what this means, e.g. Firefox, much of Android and its apps, many servers run Linux, etc. These things are all based around the GPL.

One could speculate that what the movement really needed was more ubiquitous Internet access, of course, but for whatever reason, FOSS and similar ideas were completely unknown to average users until the GPL took off. That's why Stallman receives this kind of credit. You also have to admire a guy when most criticisms against him boil down to "you are too much of a purist" which can be restated as "you are too consistent [for my liking/convenience] with your stated principles". He contributed not just a license that really facilitated worldwide collaboration, but also a consistent, well-articulated set of principles based on his best understanding of freedom; and he actually got many people to listen to them. That's an accomplishment all by itself.

Comment: Re:RMS Should Try Google+! (Score 1) 165

by causality (#49322307) Attached to: RMS Talks Net Neutrality, Patents, and More

It's like an anti-social network! If you had some data you wanted to make sure no one would ever see, you could post it to Google+!

I saw some (i'm assuming) teenager post some angsty thing on a social page the other day and it occurred to me that we built this huge network that lets you reach out and speak to basically any other human being on the planet and people seem lonelier than ever. Odd, how that works...

Getting a message out that can reach many, applies to few, and will be enjoyed by fewer is not the same thing as being truly understood and appreciated by someone who is willing to invest in a meaningful relationship. It's been framed into your standard quantity vs. quality affair.

Comment: Re:meanwhile (Score 0) 342

by causality (#49284467) Attached to: UK Chancellor Confirms Introduction of 'Google Tax'

Yeah. Libertarians are generally against using the government to bully people and steal their money. This includes local governments making corrupt deals with Comcast to keep competitors out of the broadband market.

Actually a central tenet of libertarianism is the notion that we should have some approximation of a free market. Governments using force/threat of force to arrange any form of collusion is a step away from an approximation of a free market.

Government in general represents force, as government is the only entity legally allowed to use force (up to and including deadly force) and threat thereof to achieve its goals. The whole idea of libertarian thought is that people should be free to live their lives and conduct their affairs without being coerced by force and fraud. Governments using force (that is, using the one tool they truly have) to screw with markets is nothing like this.

See my earlier post in this discussion for my take on why it's so trendy for those who don't understand even the basics of libertarian thought to feel free to issue their opinions on it anyway. For the small-minded, no, "no true Scotsman" doesn't work here, because this isn't some fringe belief, this is a central tenet of libertarian thought, one of its core components. Someone rejecting this tenet is advocating something other than libertarian thought, it's really that simple.

Don't be irreplaceable, if you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

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