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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Explanation of Tivosiation and problems - comments sought

From: Chris Croughton
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Explanation of Tivosiation and problems - comments sought
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 21:43:10 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

On Mon, Dec 18, 2006 at 07:38:09PM +0000, Nic James Ferrier wrote:

> >I see nothing in there which says who got started because of Free
> >Software, 
> Sorry. I didn't say there would be.

My fault, I combined several ideas in one.

> I just did this on the changelog on just the 4.1 release:
>    grep -E '^2' | sort | uniq | wc
> There are 882 different contributors. That's 1 release of 1
> project. There are 1000s of contributors to GCC alone. There are 100s
> of thousands of contributors to open source / free software. Probably
> millions.

Or the same couple of thousand who contribute to a lot of projects (a
lot of the names on the GCC list also appear on the Linux kernel list,
or the Debian list, or the Doxygen list, etc.).

But the number of users of Free Software is a lot more than that.
Certainly most of the GNU/Linux users I know don't contribute, and
aren't interested in learning to program let alone become good enough at
it to feed much back.

> > Hmm, perhaps there is a comparison there.  Cars started off as
> > complicated things which only a few people understood, then became
> > common enough that a lot of ordinary people did their own servicing, and
> > then regulations came in with the mass market and most people not
> > knowing how to use (let alone service) them properly.  Yes, I suspect
> > that we are indeed seeing the end of the mass market general-purpose
> > computer and a rise of more specialised machines, but I also see this as
> > inevitable (and given the time wasted by the millions who don't know
> > anything about their PCs this is not a bad thing in my view).
> Kind of what we're talking about.
> We, the consumer, have let that happen to cars. I would be far happier
> if my local mechanic (who I trust) did not have to take my Range Rover
> to the dealership (who I don't trust) to get computer diagnostics.

Why do you not trust the computer diagnostics of the dealer?  That's
about the only part of car manufacturers' 'approved' dealers I'm at all
confident is OK.

> The issue of trust is important and has been ignored by the
> legislation.

As it has to be, there is no way of legislating trust.

> But like all legislation, if it's bad people will eventually go round
> it.

Or get rid of it.

> > I mean why would anyone want to run Linux on an X-Box, apart from the
> > challenge?  I can buy a much faster PC for the same price.  If I want
> > the challenge there's plenty of other platforms which are more useful
> > (or I could back-port it to a MicroVAX, which would be fun although not
> > very useful).
> So why don't you ask "why use linux at all? the operating system that
> came with the computer is fine for me". Many people will not notice
> what operating system came with the computer. 

My point exactly, they don't care and neither should they care.  The
thing is an appliance, what they care about is whether it works and does
what they need or want.  It's a very small proportion who want to fiddle
with it beyond changing the colour and font.  Do you know (or care) what
operating system your TV uses?  If so, why?

> But it should be no suprise to you to find that most of us on this
> mailing list would advocate a change in that operating system. We
> belive that change should occur to make people free-er. 

Well, I think we'd be better off if it just disappeared up its own
nether regions, it's BAD (Broken As Designed) and each version just adds
more kludges and makes it harder to actually use.  (Assuming you mean
That Other OS and not Linux, that is!)  But I also don't think that
attempts to force it to change are productive, they just cause it to dig
in harder.  What you have is two incompatible philosophies, and each can
claim that they are the 'right' one and the other is 'wrong'.

> If you're new to these ideas you should try www.gnu.org as a starting
> point.

I'm not new to them, I do however disagree with several of the more
radical ideas out of that stable.

> Soon, many of us will not be consuming any electronic devices but
> making our own (are you aware of fab labs?) I don't really want the
> mobile phone that I own. I put up with it. When fab labs are cheap
> enough to be in every high street I will make my own and run my own
> software on it. I think it is likely that this will change the whole
> nature of devices.

Yes, it will make mobile phones as useful as CB radio.  Remember that?
It was fine while it was limited to a few, but once all the oiks got on
it the thing became unusable.  I can just see the potential for
unscrupulous individuals to flood the mobiles with advertising, jam the
phone and data to the point where it is as bad as email is now.

Although I suspect that your 'soon' and mine are not the same, I doubt
that it will be economical to build your own phone in the near future
even with standardised parts.

> Having said all that I don't care about "tivoization". I think if a
> company does that in this day and age we have the tools to simply go
> round the problem.


Chris C

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