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Comment exactly (Score 3, Insightful) 140

That's the beauty of the open source model. People and businesses contribute things that benefit them directly, but they benefit everyone indirectly. Large companies don't contribute to the Linux kernel to be nice guys, they generally contribute code and patches to benefit their own products and systems. Their contributions benefit everyone, however.

Comment Re:anyone who says blocking ads is stealing... (Score 1) 716

The Internet isn't workplace donuts. If you want to use a food analogy, it's more like a potluck. Everyone agrees to bring their own content at their own expense, and everyone attending gets to pick and choose what they want. It doesn't make me a jerk for taking what I'd like, everyone agreed to provide that stuff for free. What would be being a jerk would be someone saying "Hey, you ate some of my tuna casserole, so give me 5 dollars! That cost a lot of money to make, you know!" or "Hey, you ate some of my tuna casserole, now help me wash the pots and pans I used to make it! It's the least you can do!" Another way to be a jerk at a potluck would be for one person to eat all of someone else's dish, leaving none of it for anyone else to try. This would, of course, be the denial of service attack of the potluck world. Ad blocking is more or less taking a slice of pizza, and picking off the olives before you eat it. This ends the potluck analogy portion of the comment.

The Internet was not created, and does not currently exist, for you to make money off of it. If you are able to make money off of it, that's great, but you don't get to come up with your own rules because the way web sites work (that is, you provide the content and others download for free) doesn't suit your business model. You can't put files up on a public server and then say "Well, you have to download the files on it in this particular order, and if you download file A you must also download file B and file C, or else I won't make any money." If I put up a web site with hot pics of some famous actress, and also put up an extremely boring book review of someone technical manual, and I said "Please don't download the hot pics without also downloading the book review," it would be laughable for me to expect to receive an equal amount of downloads of both. It's equally laughable to expect me to download your ads just because they're linked to the content you're providing.

My point about text browsers was not a justification, it was part of my larger point. Just because a web page presents itself in a certain way when I view it in one web browser, does not mean it looks the same way in another. Using a text browser that won't show ads, or just wgetting the file I want to read without loading any inline content, is no less of a "legitimate" way to view a website than using IE9.

Comment Re:anyone who says blocking ads is stealing... (Score 1) 716

I've been on sites that can tell I'm using ad blocking, and that put up a little banner asking me to whitelist their site. I assume there's some kind of script that can tell if certain elements aren't being loaded. My usual reaction is just to leave the page. I'm no web admin, but if people can do that, I'm sure they could figure out ways to keep the content from loading if the ads aren't being loaded. How would I feel about that? Fine. It's their public web server, they can do whatever they want, I'll go somewhere else.

Comment Re:anyone who says blocking ads is stealing... (Score 1) 716

When you put your server up on the public Internet, I'm free to download any file off of it I like. I don't even have to use a web browser; I could wget any static page from the server. You are paying for your bandwidth, and when you run a web server, you choose what information to make public, password-protected, or not available at all. This is not an inconvenience, this is the essence of the web itself. This is what enabled the web to grow and flourish for years and years before everyone decided to try to make a buck off it. If someone is trying to forcibly access part of your site that you haven't made public, you have a legitimate complaint, but if you've got a file up there that I can request via HTTP with no credentials, I'm free to download it and not obligated to download anything else. If the cost of running your web server is not giving you a good return on your investment because more people are downloading article.html than advertisement.png, that's your business. You're free to charge for subscriptions, to implement limitations on your web server to make it more difficult for people to view pages without also loading the ads, to ask people nicely for donations, or shut down the site. What is silly for you to do is to blame *the way the Internet works* for your web business not working out. There are other sites out there, and other people out there just waiting to start the next site that will take your site's place...

Comment anyone who says blocking ads is stealing... (Score 5, Insightful) 716

...doesn't understand how the Internet works. On a simpler level, there is no reason that just because I load file A (content I want), I also have to load file B (advertising). My downloading article.html does not make me obligated to download advertisement.png just because there's an image link to it. I will not feel guilted into using my bandwidth to download a single byte I'm not interested in downloading. If I'm stealing, am I also stealing when I use a text mode browser like lynx? Are blind people that use text browsers and a screen reader stealing? If I set Firefox to not download images or turn off JavaScript, am I stealing? If you feel passionately enough about a site that you want to support their ad business model, go ahead and whitelist that site. I feel no need to support any site by downloading things I want. If a site goes out of business because no one looked at its ads, well I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm sure I can find the content I want elsewhere.

Comment Re:open source when it's helpful (Score 1) 81

Ah, that's helpful. Perhaps Twitter is not the best example of the point I was trying to make but the overall idea is this: Companies that take a pick-and-choose approach to what code is open and closed are contributing to the open source community for their own benefit, which *generally* benefits others as well. It says a lot of good about the community. It doesn't necessarily make the companies reasoning for doing so good or bad. You could say it's neutral, like eating a sandwich, if you get my somewhat obscure reference.

Comment Re:open source when it's helpful (Score 1) 81

Open source in the corporate world is a not a matter of "giving back" -- in terms of, let's say, a "charitable donation" -- it's all about what's beneficial to the company and what they are REQUIRED to give back due to open source licenses. We shouldn't be thanking Twitter for being a part of the open source community; they've obviously made a business decision that contributing to the community benefits them. If they cared about open source more than other business decisions and (potential) profits, they'd open source everything. That's not to say Twitter is bad, or not contributing in good faith, or that their contribution to open source isn't valuable. What it does show is how open source has proven it can benefit everyone. I don't know the specifics of the licensing of all the open source projects to which they contribute, but I would imagine with many/most of them they are required to publish their changes and patches. It's the open source community and the licenses that make this happen, not the "niceness" of the companies that contribute.

Comment open source when it's helpful (Score 5, Informative) 81

Much like Google, Twitter embraces open source when it benefits them, even as they are in the process of locking down their API and making the service more "closed." It says a lot about open source that tech companies are finding so much benefit in embracing it as PART of their strategy, but the Twitter platform itself will never be completely open source, because Twitter knows it benefits them to keep it closed.

Comment Re:Giant Step Backwards (Score 1) 315

Why can't we have a lighter, faster windowing system that supports network transparency? Network transparency might seem like something only "power users" need, but it can be useful in many real world situations. My girlfriend couldn't tell you what X11 is, but she does know she can check her e-mail on her laptop even though Thunderbird is installed on our desktop computer. She just has to click on an icon that runs a script I wrote that sshes to the desktop computer and runs Thunderbird. Sure, "most people" don't do this, but "most people" would find it useful if they knew how to do it.

Comment Why no X12? (Score 1) 315 Even this page on lists a lot of great reasons why X11 is outdated and needs to replaced, yet I don't know of any serious project to create a new, modern X. All X development is focused around fixing and extending X11. I guess X11 has become so big and so universal that there's no real desire to tear it down and start from scratch.

Comment Re:Galactic Empire (Score 1) 186

Yeah, that was absolutely my favorite. Every once in a while I get nostalgic and find a telnet-able BBS that still has it and play it non-stop for a week or so until I realize I'm completely neglecting the rest of my life and I force myself to stop. I'd get into it again if I found a place to play it that actually had a decent group of people and actual competition. Often times you'll only find one or two other people playing so you end up hunting Cybertrons almost exclusively. I remember playing in the early 1990's and having some crazy five-player battles... the last time I played, the only other guy playing got pissed at me because I blew his ship up so he stopped playing!

Comment The format is irrelevant now (Score 1) 431

I have a collection of about 700 CDs and about 100 vinyl records of different sizes and speeds. I honestly can't tell you the last time I put any of them in a CD player or on a turntable. I, like many, have my entire music collection digitized. If I buy a CD, it gets ripped to my computer and then it sits on a shelf. If I buy vinyl, I go online and find the MP3s and then the vinyl sits on a shelf. I still buy music (instead of just downloading it) because I think it's the right thing to do, and I still buy music on physical formats because I'd rather have an actual physical copy to collect AND audio files on my computer than just audio files on my computer (especially if the audio files I buy are going to be DRMed and won't play on all my devices anyway). So if I'm going to buy a physical copy "just to have it," and I'm not actually going to play it on anything... why not buy vinyl with bigger artwork and better packaging? I think that is the decision that a lot of people are making when they go to (what is left of) record stores.

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