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Re: Linux is SHIT

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Linux is SHIT
Date: 24 May 2004 18:41:20 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.3.50

"Barak Zalstein" <no_spam@please.not> writes:

> "David Kastrup" <> wrote in message
> x57jv2hrsw.fsf@lola.goethe.zz">news:x57jv2hrsw.fsf@lola.goethe.zz...
> > > 2. Making a computer usable for people who really need the
> > > connectivity and functionality but don't have the skills/resources
> > > to install, administrate, troubleshoot, read, modify and
> > > redistribute a free solution yet (GNU is not always technically
> > > better nor easier).
> >
> > You have no clue.  My 68 year old mother uses a Linux box for word
> > processing and Email and stuff.

> I think I have a little clue.  There's a difference between
> approaching an already set-up standard machine, launching a tutorial
> and following the instructions, and between partitioning, setting up
> dial-up settings, compiling the kernel, and googling for serial
> numbers of your hardware.

Googling for serial numbers.  Compiling a kernel.  You _really_ have
no clue.  Look at the calendar.  We have 2004.  And partitioning also
is just a click-once if you are just running Linux.  For setting up
the dial-up, you call the dialup configuration in the obvious menu,
enter your provider, and am done.  There are almost no Linux systems
except the "hard core" variants of Debian, Gentoo and Slackware where
you need more folderol than that.

Anyway, if you find someone computer-savvy that is willing to risk
going to jail for giving you an illegal copy of Windows, chances are
that you will find someone that is going through the hour of work of
installing Linux instead.

> If this hardware is the only way you connect to the outside world
> (that qualifies as "critical") you will see very little moral
> problems when infringing copyrights of its drivers or specifically
> tailored distros.

Last time I looked, Windows was not hardware.

> > > > > as a criminal activity (just do that outside of corporate
> > > > > environment).
> > > >
> > > > The question is not what I consider criminal, but what the
> > > > laws consider criminal.  That is what will get your computers
> > > > confiscated and you jailed or fined.
> > > >
> > > > > What if this attitude was taught (and enforced) in school?
> > > >
> > > > To obey the laws?  Actually, that attitude _is_ taught in school.
> > > >
> > > Can't argue there.  Breaking the law is a bad idea, unless you see
> > > the law as unjustified enough for you to encourage civilian
> > > disobediance (hopefully in large quantities).
> >
> > Breaking the law is a bad idea, period.  And you have no clue what
> > civilian disobedience is.  Covert petty crime isn't.

> I think that I have a clue here as well.

You certainly don't show it.

> If the example was about outlawing writing free software instead of
> distributing illegal Windows copies, free software would continue to
> be written against the law.

The point of free software is to cooperate _without_ being forced to
break the law.  Its licences are written to stay strictly within the
confines of the law while allowing a domain of cooperation.

The law does not prohibit cooperation of consenting adults.
Microsoft does not consent to its software being copied among its
users, however.  And they have the right to decide under which
conditions you are allowed to receive the benefits of their work.

To me, their conditions stink.  That means I won't touch their
stuff.  It does not mean that I am allowed to steal it.

> The point is that law is not always aligned with ethics, and the
> incentive to break the law is culturally oriented - higher whenever
> it is considered harmless or unenforced enough.

It is not just the law.  It is also morals.  Microsoft has created
the software, so it is theirs to decide under which conditions others
may use it, and it is my choice to decide that they can stick it
where the sun don't shine under those conditions.

> In Israel where I live, high-tech companies need to be very strictly
> compliant with the BSA while computer stores and home users (yes
> even those day-job VPs and CEOs), adhere to very different standard
> behavior.  Of course that you could argue that this means
> nothing. Or maybe you'll see that distributing "pirated" Windows
> versions is natural and good,

If somebody took your bank account and distributed it, would you feel
that is "natural and good" as long as he distributed it to worthy

But this is misleading, since we are talking about something entirely
different here.  We are talking about making a local economy
dependent on a foreign company with a track record of bad business
practices, extortion, a continuing judicial record of maintaining
dependencies artificially and so on.

Basically you are proposing distributing stolen cocaine to the people
in order to break their dependency on the cocaine production process.

That's rubbish.  The solution, of course, is to work on alternatives
and boycott whatever is not offered from acceptable parties under
acceptable conditions and with acceptable consequences on the local
economy and security.

> unless people are scared from being punished. Which means that this
> particualar law exists for narrow commercial interests and should be
> debugged/cancelled.

Which law?  The law that the creator of software should be allowed to
decide how to market it?  Do you want to confiscate it or what?

Now the U.S. and other "intellectual property" laws tend to go off the
wild end completely (protection until 70 or 90 years after the death
of the author?!? Puleeeze).  But this does not change the fact that
the creator of some work basically should have certain _legal_ (as
opposed to moral) rights, including the rights to flush his work down
the toilet.  Because the consequences of societies where every
property or creation may be confiscated are just too bad.

The way that Microsoft tries to licence software is utterly wrong, but
it would be also wrong to steal stuff from them.  The right solution
to extortion and constriction is boycott.

Create your own software, or join those that do.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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