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Comment Re:freedom: control versus convenience (Score 1) 573

The difference is that you are in a child-like hypothetical that lacks any of the real issues involved in free software.
On the contrary, I was asking about what type of software provides most freedom: software that I can control completely, but which does not exactly do what I want it to do (yet) or software that I cannot control completely but which I can reasonably assume performs the task that I want it to perform quickly and cheaply.

You also make a bunch of assumptions that show you don't know anything about free software, why it even exists, much less, what makes it free.
I program Free Software for a living and I use mostly Free Software and have done so for more than ten years.

For example, you suppose that people who use Free Software don't have any software to choose from, and that they will have to write it yourself.
I do not assume this. I do assume that often it is necessary to adapt the Free Software to make it work according to my wishes. If there really is this glut of software and no need to write any more then all computer programmers would be out of a job. Yet, there is still demand for more and better software, both free and un-free.

In a market for closed software, a developer can anticipate a demand, write software for it and distribute the development costs across many customers. In FOSS, this is very hard. One customer can not achieve some useful improvement to an application for the price that is normally paid for an un-free application. One can group funds and then order software from a developer, but this will yield a very different quality of software and it will create it only after a delay. In the un-free market, an entrepreneur has anticipated my demand, loaned money to implement it and tries to make a profit by selling the software after creating it.

Comment Re:Freedom vs. Convenience (Score 1) 573

In a comment on this topic I asked a similar question.

An argument that RMS will likely use, is that if you use proprietary software, you are helping to keep the majority of software proprietary, while if you use and advocate Free Software, you will help in improving it, which leads to a better medium-term situation.

The same argument can be used for situations where a vendor benefits from the network effect to keep people locked into their service. These arguments can be made for using the metric system in the USA or for resisting the Mafia in Sicily; in many cases it is hard to get everyone to behave in a way that leads to optimal situation.

Comment Re:Capitalism and You (Score 1) 573

I use a proxy that I wrote myself to surf the web. Its purpose is similar to the Firefox add-on RequestPolicy: to selectively block requests to website B that originate from a visit to website A. An example is the loading of content from google-analytics or scorecardresearch.com.

This proxy is written in Javascript and runs on Node.JS. I have not put it online and not plan to share it soon. Nevertheless, a similar script could be used to cache your web site visits and index their content.

Comment freedom: control versus convenience (Score 1) 573

Here is a slightly philosophical question.

When using Free Software, a lot of time is spent in trying to find the right software or in writing it. The software store model, where controlled devices offer cheap software, allows the market place for software to work efficiently. Programmers have an incentive to write good software because there is a lot of competition. With a market like that, when you choose to use closed software, you often get functionality faster.

A simple definition of freedom might be: being able to do what you want to do. If I need to write software to do what I want to do, that could be considered to be less free than when I have the ability to use a closed product that does what I want instantly.

Talking about freedom in this way, is quite different from the way the Free Software movement looks at it. In Free Software, freedom is linked to more control. In closed software the emphasis is on more convenience and more spare time. Do see the balance between control and convenience as black and white?

Comment Re:Capitalism and You (Score 1) 573

He explains it right there. We live in an abundance of webpages. I think this workflow might actually work fine once you have a good archive of reference materials local and properly indexed.

The web is not just a source of information, it's also a source of distraction. By building in a latency, one can be more productive. Stallman is not the only one that does this.

In addition, by limiting himself to fewer types of communication channel instead of a complex mix of twitter, facebook, irc, mail, telephone, web, voip, text and more, he needs less brain cycles to deal with the different formats.

Comment Re:...and where they got your number (Score 3, Insightful) 451

Then let them enter the company address or the account number before speaking to a human. If they cannot provide this data, they are connected to an operator that does no technical support whatsoever and only tries to resolve the contract status of the caller.

How do you currently know if a caller has a support contract?

Comment Semantic Web (Score 1) 319

Tim Berners-Lee promotes the idea of linked data everywhere. Wikipedia is on board with wikidata. The Nokia N9 features a triple store, the same one that is used in Gnome. KDE implements Nepomuk. The UK is linking all legislature with RDF.

Ubuntu could make a large contribution by making the data graph of the user and of the distribution visible and searchable. Do you see a future for the semantic web and will you participate in it?

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 840

Is dressing childeren in a particular clothing that is offensive to some immoral? Is it immoral to teach them religion or a specific (minority) first language? Should children be given boys or girls toys or no toys at all? Must you learn a child to play the piano when it is five? Or is reading and writing more important? Is it immortal to make you child immortal? May you kill to feed your child? And if so, only plants or also animals and perhaps other humans?

Parents in modern society have responsibility for the welbeing of their childeren. The welbeing is defined very broadly. Malnourishment and violence is not allowed, but smoking while pregnant or refusing vaccination is permitted. Children are designed or at least formed by their environment. The genetic makeup (genotype) is just one aspect of the outcome (fenotype). Today parent have the ability to steer the genotype more than ever and many will use this ability, be it to steer the sex, the skin color or simply to avoid hereditary diseases.

This is a very interesting development and I'm eagerly awaiting the spectacle. We have plenty of humans and a large portion will eagerly make use of the new possibilities. The companies that provide these services will need to improve their marketing though.

Comment Page switching speed (Score 2) 61

e-paper is nice way of reading. The only reason why i do not own an e-reader is that the time to go from page to page is too long. With these improved speeds (12 fps or 80ms) this last drawback is being solved. That is very good news. Playing video well on these screens will take longer, but already the speed improvement will really help selling e-readers.

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