07.07.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Free Software: Technically and Ethically Better

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 7:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The BBC helps daemonise the idea of crowdsourcing, Google shows that proprietary software falters, and Bradley Kuhn (FSF/SFLC) explains why “proprietary software licensing produces no new value in society”

THE BBC is losing talent fast, by its very own admission (as published early in the day). Even Jonathan Ross is leaving. Earlier today we mentioned the corporate bias that the BBC helps push (including that of the Copyright Cartel) and another new example is a critique of crowdsourcing — the idea of pooling ideas. Here is a rare positive part of this Monday piece which was titled “Should we trust the wisdom of crowds?” (it’s a rhetorical “no”, as implied by the form of this question)

Open source computer operating systems, such as Linux and Google’s Android, the big rival to Apple’s iPhone, are written and refined by members of the public.

Another good example of such collaboration is Wikipedia, which allows users to write and edit entries for its online encyclopaedia: “For the first time millions of people can aggregate their talent and expertise,” says Williams.

A form of meritocracy works very well. Attempts to dismiss this approach often come from the likes of Jaron Lanier. Here is a new article which explains why more eyeballs can indeed improve reliability and security in the case of code: (more here for background)

Youtube Hacked – Ramifications for the Connected TV Industry?

[...]

Let’s start with a fact. Youtube is not like Android – it is not open source software. It is reasonably open however, and does have API’s available. But it is web-based and apparently has had some vulnerabilities exploited by creative hackers over the years.

[...]

There are far fewer minds at work on a proprietary project than there are on an open one… less testing, less debugging, less resources available.

People also develop differently when they are aware that their code is ‘naked’ for everyone to assess. It encourages high-quality programming.

Coincidentally, Bradley Kuhn has this new essay titled “Proprietary Software Licensing Produces No New Value In Society”:

Meanwhile, I’ve also spent some time applying this idea of “creating nothing and producing nothing” to the proprietary software industry. Proprietary licenses, in many ways, are actually not all that different from these valueless financial transactions. Initially, there’s no problem: someone writes software and is paid for it; that’s the way it should be. Creation of new software is an activity that should absolutely be funded: it creates something new and valuable for others. However, proprietary licenses are designed specifically to allow a single act of programming generate new revenue over and over again. In this aspect, proprietary licensing is akin to selling financial derivatives: the actual valuable transaction is buried well below the non-existent financial construction above it.

[...]

Software freedom is another principle of this type. While you can make a profit with community-respecting FLOSS business models (such as service, support and freely licensed custom modifications on contract), it’s admittedly a smaller profit than can be made with Open Core and proprietary licensing. But that greater profit potential doesn’t legitimatize such business models, just as it doesn’t legitimize strip mining or gambling on financial derivatives.

Glyn Moody responds to it by claiming that:

This idea of getting money for work already done is precisely how copyright is regarded these days. It’s not enough for a creator to be paid once for his or her work: they want to be paid every time it is performed or copies made of performances.

So ingrained is this idea that anyone suggesting the contrary – like that doughty young Eleanor – is regarded as some kind of alien from another planet, and is mocked by those whose livelihoods depend upon this kind of entitlement economics.

But just as open source has cut down the fat profits of proprietary software companies, so eventually will the exorbitant profits of the media industry be cut back to reasonable levels based on how much work people do – because, as Kuhn notes, there really is no justification for anything more.

Microsoft was born out of desire to suppress sharing of code, at least based on the manifesto-like document of its co-founder. A company that arises by striving to maximise wealth at the expense of good engineering is bound not only to produce shoddy software but software that also harms a community of software developers. The next post will show how developers feel about it.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day



  2. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day



  3. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021



  4. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day



  5. Another Gemini Milestone: 1,500 Active Capsules

    This page from Balázs Botond plots a graph, based on these statistics that now (as of minutes ago) say: “We successfully connected recently to 1500 of them.” Less than a fortnight ago more than 1,800 capsules overall were registered by Lupa, almost quadrupling in a single year



  6. [Meme] António Campinos and Socialist Posturing

    Staff of the EPO isn’t as gullible as António Campinos needs it to be



  7. António Campinos as EPO President is Considered Worse Than Benoît Battistelli (in Some Regards) After 3.5 Years in Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO's demise at the hands of people who don't understand patents and don't care what the EPO exists for is a real crisis which European media is unwilling to even speak about; today we share some internal publications and comment on them



  8. Media Coverage for Sale

    Today we're highlighting a couple of new examples (there are many other examples which can be found any day of the year) demonstrating that the World Wide Web is like a corporate spamfarm in "news" clothing



  9. Links 3/12/2021: GNU Poke 1.4 and KDDockWidgets 1.5.0

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 02, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 02, 2021



  11. Links 3/12/2021: Nitrux 1.7.1 and Xen 4.16 Released

    Links for the day



  12. Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

    Links for the day



  13. The EPO's “Gender Awareness Report”

    There’s a new document with remarks by the EPO’s staff representatives and it concerns opportunities for women at the EPO — a longstanding issue



  14. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 01, 2021



  15. EPO Staff Committee Compares the Tactics of António Campinos to Benoît Battistelli's

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO talks about EPO President António Campinos, arguing that “he seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli…”



  16. Prof. Thomas Jaeger in GRUR: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Incompatible With EU Law“

    The truth remains unquestionable and the law remains unchanged; Team UPC is living in another universe, unable to accept that what it is scheming will inevitably face high-level legal challenges (shall that become necessary) and it will lose because the facts are all still the same



  17. Links 1/12/2021: LibrePlanet CFS Extended to December 15th and DB Comparer for PostgreSQL Reaches 5.0

    Links for the day



  18. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below



  19. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation



  20. EPO Dislikes Science and Scientists

    The EPO's management has become like a corrupt political party with blind faith in money and monopolies (or monopoly money); it has lost sight of its original goals and at this moment it serves to exacerbate an awful pandemic, as the video above explains



  21. Links 1/12/2021: LibreOffice 7.3 Beta, Krita 5.0, Julia 1.7

    Links for the day



  22. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 30, 2021



  24. Links 1/12/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and WordPress 5.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] EPO Administrative Council Believing EPO-Bribed 'Media' (IAM Still Shilling and Lying for Cash)

    IAM continues to do what brings money from EPO management and Team UPC, never mind if it is being disputed by the patent examiners themselves



  26. The EPO's Mythical “Gap” Has Been Found and It's Bonuses for People Who Use Pure Fiction to Steal From Patent Examiners

    The phony president who has the audacity to claim there's a budget gap is issuing millions of euros for his enablers to enjoy; weeks ahead of the next meeting of national delegates the Central Staff Committee (CSC) tells them: "Events show that the delegations’ concerns about functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation."



  27. Video: Making the Internet a Better Place for People, Not Megacorporations

    Following that earlier list of suggested improvements for a freedom-respecting Internet, here's a video and outline



  28. Links 30/11/2021: KDE Plasma 5.23.4, 4MLinux 38.0, Long GitHub Downtime, and Microsoft's CEO Selling Away Shares

    Links for the day



  29. A Concise Manifesto For Freedom-Respecting Internet

    An informal list of considerations to make when reshaping the Internet to better serve people, not a few corporations that are mostly military contractors subsidised by the American taxpayers



  30. Freenode.net Becomes a 'Reddit Clone' and Freenode IRC is Back to Old Configurations After Flushing Down Decades' Worth of User/Channel Data and Locking/Shutting Out Longtime Users

    Freenode is having another go; after “chits” and “jobs” (among many other ideas) have clearly failed, and following the change of daemon (resulting in massive loss of data and even security issues associated with impersonation) as well as pointless rebrand as “Joseon”, the domain Freenode.net becomes something completely different and the IRC network reopens to all


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts