And it strikes me as really disturbing when a machine with all free software is more expensive than the same machine without free software.
On a PC that comes with Windows, the fees that trialware developers pay PC makers to get their non-free trialware preinstalled is believed to exceed the price of a non-free OS license.
Scientology gives people total freedom
I don't see how being forbidden to share scripture with the public counts as "total freedom".
Instead of needing to manufacture a new laptop, simply "refurbish" an existing model and [measure] your target market.
Anonymous Coward made a pun between the word used for "measure" and a word that means "economically exploit":
You meant to type gouge, I'm sure.
I see your joke, but sometimes there's a good reason to put a prototype into limited production for early adopters. See "Test market" on Wikipedia.
An automated install of some free software (they didn't develop) is hardly worth charging 300 dollars for.
The advantage of a preinstall is that drivers are guaranteed to work.
How large would it be unminified, with comments and all?
What matters is whether a site gives the user a chance to download the unminified code at all. A lot of sites don't.
A compiler going to an assembler today is LAME.
How so? A tool should do one thing well. What an assembler does well is generate relocatable object code in a given format. If you're targeting two platforms, one of which uses ELF and the other COFF or whatever, one could use the same compiler to target both along with two different assemblers, one for each object code format.
sometimes I want to reserve a global variable in a fixed register, but that requires all modules be compiled with the same flag.
That isn't "breaking the rules" as much as creating your own ABI. Classic Mac OS on 68K used to do this, where register A5 was typically reserved as a pointer to the program's global variable segment because the Mac OS ABI used position-independent code.
the day that AMD came out with Mantle and started leveraging it's 100% monopoly in the console market
Among consoles that aren't discontinued or battery-powered, I count Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and OUYA. Of these, two have NVIDIA graphics: PlayStation 3 has RSX, and OUYA has the same Tegra 3 that's in the first-generation Nexus 7 tablet. The forthcoming iBuyPower Steam Machine also has NVIDIA graphics.
And how many people that do use an external drive actually unplug it after the fact?
Anyone who uses an external USB flash drive, for one.
The definition of DRM requires that the owner of the data and the attacker be the same entity.
If CryptoLocker has a chance to run, then the attacker has pretty much owned the machine.