Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Macroquantum
2012
unknownj
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/02/06/torvalds_gpl_analysis/

I can't help but laugh at the idea that these people use Linux out of some perceived moral superiority.. That's a whole other level of caring about computers that I just can't identify with..

"But if Linux isn't about ethics, then what is its purpose?" complains the journalist. When last I checked, Linux was an operating system rather than a philosophy - as such, presumably its purpose is to run your computer. Even crazier talk was yet to come..

"Freedom is not about what works well. It's about what defends freedom when it can be given an intellectually rigorous and internally rigorous conception."

This ignores the basic fact of economics that everything is a commodity. Freedom is a commodity too, and idealists need to understand that. I'm sure that for many people, freedom doesn't carry a price tag - however, for many people I'm sure freedom is something they would be willing to pay for.

Linux is a product sold to consumers. The GPL is a product sold to programmers. I use this concept of selling to mean the way in which a product or concept can be conferred, taking into account the cause and effect. Let me explain..

If I give TMA a free pad of paper, I have made a financial loss. However, my market share has increased, his brand awareness has increased, and theoretically customer advocacy may come into play if he's happy with the service. I have sold him this pad of paper, even though I didn't get any money for it. He has bought it, even though he paid me no money, he now has this pad that he must either use, store or dispose of. By using it, he is endorsing the product, and storing or disposing of it will cost him resources and potential space. Alternatively, I have bought his custom with the pad of paper. Buying and selling is really the same thing in a voluntary transaction, because each customer believes they are better off than before.

In any case, the GPL is sold to programmers. By licensing their software under it, they make themselves more attractive to 'freedom fighters' and geeks, but there are costs associated with its profitability as part of a software package, etc. It's a trade off, in exchange for a loss here, they make a gain there, just like any transaction.

"Freedom is not about what works well."

I think it is, up to a point. Freedom in software is just another feature, and one that will have a market-assigned price. To me, Linux as a package includes that freedom, but it also has many many drawbacks in terms of software availability, and the effort it would take to actually get it to work how I want it to. I've always felt 'you get what you pay for', which means a free product will also leave me with less confidence in its integrity.

Borrowing from evolutionary biology, the phenotypic Free Software has a genotypic makeup. Regardless of how viable its "Free" gene makes it, if the genome as a whole is not viable then Free Software dies, and where's freedom then?

The best individual feature in the world won't exist for long if it can't be put into a complete package that satisfies demand. If freedom doesn't work well, then freedom dies, so in order to be viable freedom must work.

Of course, you can then argue that provided freedom works, it doesn't have to be used, it just has to be able to exist in the future. I haven't paid for an operating system my whole life, as such I have not affected the market in any way. Given that, from a purely quantum point of view, my operating system exists in superposition - it is both Linux and Windows XP, until such time as the choice between the two has a material impact on the observable world. As such, its exact state is inconsequential!

To put that into real terms, no matter how 'free' Linux (or other GPL products) might be, until my freedom is infringed by the software I currently use, there exists no observable difference between the two options from a strictly freedom-based point of view. As such, at least for me, Linux only need exist once my freedoms are infringed, and even then, only once my freedoms are infringed to the point where Linux is the better proposition.

So, for the time being at least, freedom is nice, but I don't need it.

  • 1
...But Anthony is keeping me on the phone so I can't text you. I went to the Post Office and am now in the posession of 2 boxes Lucky Charms :D

Re: Totally unrelated...

Bah, make that "2 boxes of"...I can't type when I'm on the phone :oP

Re: Totally unrelated...

Awesome.. just make sure there's some left when I get home ;o)

Re: Totally unrelated...

Pssh, what a mean thing to say! You know that I eat way too slowly to be able to do a thing like that :oP

hey i was board and i just wanted to tell u i think ur really cute

You scored 9 out of a possible 17 for grammar. I've pissed more eloquent sentences in the snow.

The sad thing is, I know someone who flaunts his inexplicable love for Linux like it's anything more than a freeware OS with hundreds of shit games and a couple out-of-date browsers. And yet it's so much better than Windows simply because it isn't Windows? What the fuck?

Not only are the paths and directories almost impossible to navigate in Linux (and believe me, I know, I've tried), but half the shit on there is shit you'll never use anyway, and when someone says "But it's just like (insert program)" and you ask "Then why isn't it (insert program)" they rely on "Because it's free" as their answer. Um. Thanks guys. But I want the actual program. Even if it means paying for or cracking the program, I want the REAL FUCKING THING. Not some cheap imitation.

I have Windows on my computer. Why? Because I want my programs to WORK. And half of the shit I have on this thing, Linux doesn't even support. Think Linux can run UnrealEditor or the Elder Scrolls Construction Set? No. There's no support. What about Adobe Audition or ProTools or SoundForge? Again, lack of support. PhotoShop? PSP? HA! Nope.

x_x

I use Linux. Couldn't give a shit if it's "free" or not, I just find it much easier and much more stable. A lot of the software is better, too.

As an example, if I want to download a program in Windows I'd have to:
  1. open a browser
  2. go to google
  3. find the site I want
  4. go to it
  5. find the specific download link
  6. download it
  7. find the downloaded executable
  8. run it
  9. answer a bunch of questions about where I want to save it to and other things
  10. possibly restart
All before I can actually run the fucking thing.

in Ubuntu the process is as follows:
  1. Open Package manager
  2. Enter root password
  3. Search for program
  4. click on it
All the downloading and stuff is done for me, programs are stored in a standard way so there's no need for interaction there either. It just works.

Gnome has specific interface guidelines for programs, so all major applications behave in the same predictable way. I don't have to spend ages looking for what button does a certain thing. I don't have to worry about viruses or spyware or blue screens. My computer just works.

I don't use it in a show of nerd vanity, or because it's on the moral high ground. I use it because I'm hugely lazy and don't want to spend time doing something that the computer should be doing for me.

I think you're agreeing with me then.. Or at least, agreeing with the point I was meaning to make, if not the point I made..

That being that software being 'free' does not automatically make it better than alternatives. And that whole "freedom isn't about what works" nonsense the guy said.. Obviously if Linux works for you, then it's only right that that's what you use - anything else would be lunacy..

I just don't get people who think they're making a political statement through their choice of OS..

PS, I keep looking out for you in Cardiff, just in case.. No sign yet, but it can't be long now, I know you live down one of the Northcote thingies, it can surely be just a matter of time before I catch you in the Spar..

  • 1
?

Log in

No account? Create an account