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User Journal

Journal Journal: The winner

A problem with the capitalist culture is that it focuses the attention of people on winners; it tries to look for winners in each field of endeavour, and it succeeds: most of the times, the winner is not considerably better than the lossers; It is maybe even worse than the lossers; but finding the right winner is not the goal: the goal is to have a winner, or a small set of winners, on which the attention of people can be focused.

That means that we have a group of people which will beneffit from the attention of the rest of us (money, fame, power ...); this group of people, although big in absolute numbers, is percentually small. Which means that we have a very small percent of people using up most of the resources that our society provides. This happens of course because people contribute to this climate with their attitude; but their attitude is partly influenced by market forces which are under control of an even more reduced group of people, which push this winner ideology as far as they can.

Up to now they have succeeded quite a lot. Do we like what the outcome of this culture has been? How long will we keep on trying - and not succeeding - on being the winners? When will we decide to stop fighting each other, and instead work together for the common good? Does really people preffer being second-class citizens and having some idols, or would we like to have our richenesses better distributed?

Time will tell ...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Microsoft loves cooperation

We all think that Microsoft (and other privately held companies, for that matter), hate open communities: they continualy attack the open source developmente method, they characterize GPL as being a cancer ...

But what it is really interesting, is that MS is the one receiving the most beneffit from open cooperation: how have they been able to improve their programs? Thanks to the huge amount of beta testers that get to use their SW. These testers do not contribute code (as some of them do in open source projects), but they contribute test reports, customer requests ... With the automatic reports being sent to MS each time a windows application crashes, the amount of data available to MS and being generated by the end user has dramatically increased.

The model is the following:

- MS develops a product
- MS releases it
- people contribute time and effort to test it (use it)
- people send test results to MS
- MS uses this information to improve a propietary product

That looks like a good deal. They proffit from the work of others and they do not give anything back. Well, that's not true, they give the product to the customers. But the customers already pay for it, so that their "testing efforts" remain basically unpayed.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why big companies are so bad

Let's split the world into four kind of companies:

1 - small companies trying to be big companies
2 - small companies not trying to be big companies
3 - big companies trying to strengthen their position
4 - big companies not trying to strengthen their position

By "big company" I understand a company with monopolistic power.

Type 1 and 2 are just family companies which do not affect policy making. They are not a threat to the common good (they do not own a market and can not push for secretiveness since they need to cooperate). Type 2 is a potencial danger, though.

Type 4 will disappear sooner or later.

Type 3 is evil. They are there and will stay there for time to come. They do anything they can to strengthen their position, including fucking up customers, limiting freedom, striving for closed processes.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Whe the world is fucked up

I just thought about this while taking a shower this morning. What is the fundamental problem in our capitalistic society? I think it is a problem of scale; companies and individuals have different thinking time-frames: a company can see much further in the future than an individual does. An individual is not able to foresee the consequences of certain decission, because too many factors are involved; instead, it focuses on immediate beneffits. This limitation is used by a company to push an agenda: the individual can not stop policies which he does not understand.

Any third party organisation devoted to an agenda conflicting the interests of big companies, will be ignored by the people. Why? The companies discredit the efforts of the organistion by clearly pointing to the immediate beneffits the products of the company are delivering. Since this is the only thing an individual can understand, they will believe the company and see the organisation as having a suspicious agenda which they do not fully grasp.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Decission making

I assume I am just following the path a lot of Free Software developpers have followed long before me: I do not like what I am seeing, and I feel the need to do something to change the way things are evolving: yesterday MS announced format lock-up for Office, together with DRM features. Last week the target was Instant Messaging. If we go on like this, the Internet will be owned by companies very soon. I do not like this prospect, so I will do what I can to stop it. I think I have the skills and the motivation to do it. Let's see if it works out ...

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