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Comment: Because there is no positive dictatorship on Linux (Score 1) 1264

by ngdbsdmn (#39848369) Attached to: Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken Off
Linux distros excel at many aspects of an OS that can, and probably should, be decided in a meritocracy style voting / debate process. These distros even have small lords that take it upon themselves to strongly influence some technical evolutions, going as far as blocking what they don't see fit and pushing for what they feel should occur.

However, all the areas where Linux has these strongholds are [very] technical. Especially in the wake of this "consumerization of IT" phenomenon that rides on a big wave of money, it has become of paramount importance to have an OS excelling in ease of use, fantastic user interfaces and overall smooth interaction with the average human being. Linux and free software in general has always been utter shit in these aspects. Everybody keeps asking why and I think everybody actually knows the root of the problem.

I'll illustrate it using an analogy with a work of art, something like a painting, a song, a poem or even some kind of complex and yet elegant mechanism. When true artists present such creations to the world, the world has no saying like "I don't like the 3rd verse, change it!" or "Maybe you should've used some yellow here! Redo it!". This is not how true works of art exist. The author assumes a certain position, creates something as a whole and then the world judges it as being overall good, great, crap, etc.

I think the same principle applies to human interaction layers in software. Great user interfaces are works of art. Their creators need to conceive something that is at the same time useful and yet it enchants your senses every time you use it. It must feel cohesive and yet it must handle all sorts of tasks that are not strongly related to each other. Worst of all, a great user interface for an OS needs to be tightly integrated with the code doing the heavy duty lifting in the background. Their creators need to assume a position on how various things are done and their creation should be judged as a whole.

Why are state of the art user interfaces missing from Linux? Because most creators of great works of art live their lives in the shadow of powerful sponsors that often profit greatly from financing the creator through their "wonder" years. There are no such sponsors in the Linux world. Every single developer of Linux software creates his own user interface as well as he can. The end result is like a giant wall of hand paintings made by 5 year olds. Cute, but clearly nowhere near work of art status.

This situation will not change until the open source / free software movements will figure out a way to finance artists and strongly integrate them with developers. It seems to me like an impossible task that can only occur in a classical style software company like Microsoft, Apple, etc. So I think Linux is doomed for a long time to run in the background, doing the heavy lifting on space stations, labs, devices and servers. Occasionally it will spawn a child that apparently is not retarded, like Android, but take a second look and you'll spot the root problems in no time.

Comment: This is a political problem, not a technical one. (Score 1) 901

by ngdbsdmn (#28454733) Attached to: NASA Sticking To Imperial Units For Shuttle Replacement

I think converting US to the metric system can be done in a very simple manner and the reason why it doesn't happen is primarily a political problem.

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Imagine that the .gov passes a law saying: In 5 years everyone must use the metric system exclusively.

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The law includes the following action plan:

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1. For the first year this law is made public through advertising on all kinds of media channels (tv spots (prime time not required), magazine ads, Internet ads, a prominent header with this decision and a countdown timer on ALL .gov website, etc.). Also, all .gov institutions where interaction with the citizens takes place must have on display at a prominent location special written explanations and physical reference measurement units.

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2. At the city boundary points of all major highways a special kilometer will be drawn using a standard method so that all the cities have the same thing. For example a big, specially decorated pole can be erected with the sign "START of ONE kilometer" and then another pole can be erected at the other end with the sign "END of ONE kilometer". Ideally, you should see the ending pole from the position of the start pole. Since America is all about crawling with the car for 3h each day, everyone will be able to get a feeling of a kilometer at various speeds.

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3. In all city centers a specially decorated 10m marker will be drawn with all the appropriate divisions. This will remind everyone that this thing is happening and it will also serve as a memorial in the years to come. "- Hey grandpa what's that? - Well sonny, your grandpa was alive and kicking in the great times when we switched to this meter thing! - Whoa, you're a real American hero grandpa! - Yes sirree."

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4. At all gas station pumps a special bottle holding a 1 liter sample will be displayed. Also, a recipient with 1 tonne of water will be displayed somewhere near the gas station paying counter.

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5. After the first year, all the citizens who have a social security number will receive a package from the US .gov in the mail. The package will contain a "metric conversion kit", a letter and a certificate of the type "Congratulations citizen #### for living in this great time when we'll switch to the metric system, a very big change for our great American country ... red white and blue ...".

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The kit will also consist of the following items:
- A specially decorated 1m ruler made out of wood and containing all the divisions.
- A specially decorated glass bottle with all the divisions of a liter embossed in the glass.
- A set of weights from grams to 1 Kg.
- etc. (other measurement references)

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That's the first version of the plan.

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The key of this plan is that .gov must make a special event out of this conversion and all the items involved must be special in that they must be of a high quality, nice design and have "collector value". They can license small shops where ma and pa can build these things by hand - which could be great in these times. Creating them this way will also convey the message that these things are American, made by Americans, in America so they are a good thing. Pushing for the feeling that this change is a "good thing" and it's "owned by us" will have a chain effect in all the smaller things of life and it will immediately start to cast a light of old and stupid on the previous units. Everyone wants a cool new thing.

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And here is the problem. The US .gov is not interested primarily to operate for the greater good of all its people. Instead, it operates to keep them dumb, fat and entertained so that they are easy to control and rally behind great American success stories like Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, ? [to be continued].

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Too bad.

Comment: Re:What's a European? (Score 2, Interesting) 120

by ngdbsdmn (#28318795) Attached to: Lucky Thirteen On the ISS

I'm also an European and I don't mind being called that.

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I'm from Romania so a strong argument can be made that I like to be called an European in order to wash out some of the sin behind the dirt and corruption staining the name of my home country. Be that as it may, I'm a strong believer that a united Europe is the only way to proceed through the following decades from an economical point of view. I also believe that the countries in Eastern Europe will bring a lot to the table for all the other Europeans in the same time frame. Economical unity does not interfere much with cultural/national identity. Besides, I think on this front the US media machines did a lot more harm. So even though I may enjoy a Swiss landscape, French wine, German cars, English music, Italian spaghetti sauce or Greek oranges you can still bet your ass I will always hail the Romanian football team (idiots!), Romanian theater and Romanian sense of humor.

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6 days ago I voted in the election of my representatives in the European Parliament. After living in communism and bowing my head to Russia for decades, I know all too well why a united Europe is a good thing. So go ahead, call me European and see if I like it.

Put your Nose to the Grindstone! -- Amalgamated Plastic Surgeons and Toolmakers, Ltd.

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