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05.15.13

Man From Microsoft Runs the Ubuntu Project Now

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Current front page of Ubuntu.com, featuring the Microsoft-dominated Dell (with Linux patent tax)

Dell at Ubuntu

Summary: How the leadership of Ubuntu has changed and how it may relate to some strategic decisions inside the project

I ADDRESS this issue not from a position of hostility but a position of concern. I write this from a *Ubuntu box, my main workstation for years. I started using Ubuntu in 2005 (first release) and have since then publicly posted links to around 10,000 pro-Ubuntu articles, installed Ubuntu for many (even relatives of mine in the States), and helped people with all sorts of technical trouble related to it, never for a fee. I really contributed a lot to the project, not just as a user. Back in the days some people used to call me “Ubuntu shill”, accusing me of working for Ubuntu in some ways (I never had).

Ubuntu changed recently, but I perpetually tried to ignore it and dismiss all negative moves as illegitimate reasons to turn my back on the project. It has been a gradual process of consistent exacerbation. There was no last straw.

“Back in the days some people used to call me “Ubuntu shill”, accusing me of working for Ubuntu in some ways (I never had).”In short, the project became less recognisable since upstream got abandoned, some time around 2010. From not contributing to upstream (or barely contributing to it, notably the kernel, Linux) Ubuntu turned to drying up upstream, inadvertently perhaps, by creating other routes that are exclusive to Canonical. The list of such projects has been named completely in several other blogs, so I’ll spare the details. Ubuntu has been upsetting many in the community and closed down development recently (the process went into private hands). Ubuntu is deviating from upsteam, ignoring decisions and even developing in secret (neither source code nor access to read-only decision-making). How can that be? It’s evidently against the spirit, the philosophy and the motto I put my weight behind around 7 years ago.

Earlier this week it turned out that Canonical is closing down a community participation site. I heard some Ubuntu proponents trying to justify this, but their reasoning was weak and hardly persuasive. The other day I saw a link about a Ubuntu.com redesign that would further de-ephasise the community in favour of the shareholders community. Right now it’s promoting Dell, which pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux and deserves a boycott for it.

“That person, who from Microsoft, became Vice President (VP) of Ubuntu some months ago.”More relevant to my perspective is Ubuntu signing deals with Microsoft, usually accompanying those with promotional language for Microsoft, the abusive monopolist. Even UEFI Restricted Boot got assisted by Ubuntu, aiding an agenda that harms many distributions of GNU/Linux (yes, GNU too, by demoting GRUB [1, 2]). The same applies to Mono and Moonlight.

The person behind some moves that were beneficial to Microsoft, such as indirect Mono promotion (concurrent with GNU demotion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) and adding Yahoo as a search supplier for Ubuntu (Yahoo is just a Microsoft front end), came from Microsoft itself. Guess what? That person, who from Microsoft, became Vice President (VP) of Ubuntu some months ago. Yes, Mr. Spencer is now the head of Ubuntu. He got promoted some months ago, climbing up the ladder over the years until becoming “Vice President, Ubuntu at Canonical Ltd.” He still lives in “Greater Seattle Area”, far from Canonical and much closer to Microsoft. Who might he hang out with in his spare time?

I stated a couple of times this month (in microblogs) that I had ceased promoting Ubuntu in microblogs. It’s just not worth the time and the future of the project seems less clear now that the Microsoft friendliness can be explained in terms akin to entryism.

Microsoft mentality seems to have been brought to Canonical after Red Hat too had hired from Microsoft for a top position [1, 2]. Learn a lesson from Nokia next time (if there is a next time).

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79 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    May 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Gravatar

    Your paranoia about MS and anyone who has ever even worked there is silly.

    jonobacon Reply:

    I think this post demonstrates an emotionalized bias to always criticize Microsoft or anyone who has worked there. Just because someone worked at Microsoft doesn’t mean they are bad people with nefarious intentions.

    Likewise, this post demonstrates a clear lack of awareness and experience of how the software industry works. Microsoft, like any large company, are not a single entity, they are not a single brain that makes a single set of coordinated decisions. Microsoft are a large company with many interconnecting pieces with different views and perspectives.

    As an example, we have found the Azure folks to be awesome in supporting our values with Ubuntu, and ensuring people can use Free Software on their cloud and are willing to pay us to continue building a Free Software OS. Likewise, Microsoft Open Tech and Outercurve are great organizations; I know many of the folks there personally, and I consider them my friends and good people, and they have consistently sponsored the Community Leadership Summit every year and demonstrated a strong commitment to community and openness.

    To think that everyone at Microsoft has a dictatorial mindset about their technology is simply untrue; Microsoft and other large companies are multi-faceted beasts with multiple personalities, motives, and goals. Not everything they do is good, and not everything they do is bad.

    Speaking specifically of Rick Spencer. He is my boss but I have a very frank and open relationship with him, and he was my peer before he became my boss. While Rick, like any human, makes mistakes from time to time, his commitment to Ubuntu and the values of freedom and transparency is and are unquestionable. I am always working to ensure our project is as open and as community focused as possible, and Rick has not just supported these goals but actively advocated and directed his teams around them. Rick gets it, I can assure you.

    Roy, as you know, I consider you a friend, but this article is nothing but a paranoid collection of assumptions as opposed to a frank, detailed, and evidence-driven journalistic piece. I know you can bring a better quality of reporting to Techrights than this.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Jono, you did not disprove anything I had written. You are generally unhappy about an article which does not paint your employer in a positive light. Journalism is writing stuff certain people may not want to be known; the rest is public relations, to paraphrase Orwell.

    if you believe something in my claims is not correct, please point this out.

    Michael Reply:

    He pointed out the absurdity of your paranoia in all things even remotely connected with Microsoft. And he is right. You think anyone who has worked there is evil and has some bizarre allegiance to the company even once they are no longer on the payroll. It is paranoid and irrational.

    jonobacon Reply:

    Hi Roy,

    Good journalism is not driven by assumptions and jumping to conclusions based upon an ethical opposition to a company. Good journalism is balanced, fact-driven, and removes emotion from the reporting.

    Some examples where you are emotive and lack the facts:

    “In short, the project became less recognisable since upstream got abandoned, some time around 2010″ – upstream has never been abandoned; we integrate a significant number of upstreams into Ubuntu, and we make all of our patches available. Also we have become very active as upstreams with Unity, Mir, Launchpad, Bazaar, Juju etc.

    “Ubuntu has been upsetting many in the community and closed down development recently (the process went into private hands)” – untrue. Our development is fully open and tracked at http://status.ubuntu.com, available in Launchpad branches and public bug tracking, and discussed every three months at a community online UDS.

    “Ubuntu is deviating from upsteam, ignoring decisions and even developing in secret (neither source code nor access to read-only decision-making)” – not true. We maintain many upstream policiies (e.g. GSettings, EDS, freedesktop), but we make our own decisions from time to time, which as a free and open source project, and as an upstream, we have the right to do.

    “The other day I saw a link about a Ubuntu.com redesign that would further de-ephasise the community in favour of the shareholders community.” – you infer that we are demoting community from ubuntu.com. Not true, we are building a dedicated community site and there will be a global nav to it on ubuntu.com – see https://wiki.ubuntu.com/CommunityWebsite and http://design.canonical.com/2013/05/ubuntu-com-update/

    “More relevant to my perspective is Ubuntu signing deals with Microsoft, usually accompanying those with promotional language for Microsoft, the abusive monopolist.” – we signed a deal to bring Ubuntu to Azure, making a Free Software OS available to more people. How is this a bad thing?

    “Even UEFI Restricted Boot got assisted by Ubuntu, aiding an agenda that harms many distributions of GNU/Linux (yes, GNU too, by demoting GRUB [1, 2]).” – we are simply ensuring Ubuntu can support SecureBoot – the other option is people’s computers don’t boot…which is not an option. This was not an agenda or alignment with MS on this topic…believe me, we don’t like SecureBoot.

    “The same applies to Mono and Moonlight.” – Mono is supported in the archives but not shipped by default. We stopped doing this years ago.

    “The person behind some moves that were beneficial to Microsoft, such as indirect Mono promotion (concurrent with GNU demotion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) and adding Yahoo as a search supplier for Ubuntu (Yahoo is just a Microsoft front end), came from Microsoft itself.” – you infer Rick is driving a pro-Microsoft agenda. Not true. Yahoo was a senior exec idea that we evaluated, and Mono was not “promoted”; we just didn’t block apps just because they were written in Mono. There is a difference between “supporting” and “promoting”.

    “He still lives in “Greater Seattle Area”, far from Canonical and much closer to Microsoft. Who might he hang out with in his spare time?” – Canonical is an internationally distributed company so there is no center of gravity for Canonical. Rick is as far from Canonical as I or anyone else is. Also, you infer he hangs out with Microsoft folks in his spare time and that somehow influences his decisions. This is nothing but sensationalism; you have no idea whether he hangs out with folks at MS, and even if he did, why would he drive a MS at Canonical given that he isn’t at MS anymore? I bet you that *I* hang out with MS people more than Rick does. :-)

    “Microsoft mentality seems to have been brought to Canonical after Red Hat too had hired from Microsoft for a top position [1, 2]” – you say “mentality” but don’t say what that mentality is, but assume we are somehow greatly inspired by MS. Not true.

    Michael Reply:

    Excellent examples.

    Sadly Roy does more harm to Linux and open source advocacy than the “trolls” he imagines he is fighting against.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Good journalism is not driven by assumptions and jumping to conclusions based upon an ethical opposition to a company.

    You would be mistaken by assuming that this is what happened here. I observed Ubuntu since its dawn of days. I could see the policies varying over the years. Looking for explanations like staff roles was not the hypothesis.

    Good journalism is balanced, fact-driven, and removes emotion from the reporting.

    Like your name-calling against RMS after he criticised Ubuntu over privacy? Just like the EFF had done before him?

    Some examples where you are emotive and lack the facts:
    “In short, the project became less recognisable since upstream got abandoned, some time around 2010″ – upstream has never been abandoned; we integrate a significant number of upstreams into Ubuntu, and we make all of our patches available. Also we have become very active as upstreams with Unity, Mir, Launchpad, Bazaar, Juju etc.

    These are Canonical upstreams, some with Canonical copyrights.

    “Ubuntu has been upsetting many in the community and closed down development recently (the process went into private hands)” – untrue. Our development is fully open and tracked at http://status.ubuntu.com, available in Launchpad branches and public bug tracking, and discussed every three months at a community online UDS.

    Ubuntu Mobile/Touch was closed until a later date. Not just decision-making but code too. This was a leading Ubuntu project. As for UDS, it’s growing smaller.

    “Ubuntu is deviating from upsteam, ignoring decisions and even developing in secret (neither source code nor access to read-only decision-making)” – not true. We maintain many upstream policiies (e.g. GSettings, EDS, freedesktop), but we make our own decisions from time to time, which as a free and open source project, and as an upstream, we have the right to do.

    This is a marked deviation from the spirit of the Ubuntu I once knew.

    “The other day I saw a link about a Ubuntu.com redesign that would further de-ephasise the community in favour of the shareholders community.” – you infer that we are demoting community from ubuntu.com. Not true, we are building a dedicated community site and there will be a global nav to it on ubuntu.com – see https://wiki.ubuntu.com/CommunityWebsite and http://design.canonical.com/2013/05/ubuntu-com-update/

    This is the article I was referring to. The community is being relegated and separated, just like the “free speech zones” in Ubuntu Forums (e.g. for Mono).

    “More relevant to my perspective is Ubuntu signing deals with Microsoft, usually accompanying those with promotional language for Microsoft, the abusive monopolist.” – we signed a deal to bring Ubuntu to Azure, making a Free Software OS available to more people. How is this a bad thing?

    See the article I referenced in the text above. Giving Microsoft this privilege is counter-productive and opportunist at best. it’s akin to what Novell did.

    “Even UEFI Restricted Boot got assisted by Ubuntu, aiding an agenda that harms many distributions of GNU/Linux (yes, GNU too, by demoting GRUB [1, 2]).” – we are simply ensuring Ubuntu can support SecureBoot – the other option is people’s computers don’t boot…which is not an option. This was not an agenda or alignment with MS on this topic…believe me, we don’t like SecureBoot.

    You presented a false dichotomy; it’s not about those two choices. Ubuntu could put its weight behind an antitrust complaint. Instead, Canonical legitimised what Microsoft had schemed. Debian didn’t; Debian sidled with the FSF in a petition.

    “The same applies to Mono and Moonlight.” – Mono is supported in the archives but not shipped by default. We stopped doing this years ago.

    Well done, and I applauded Ubuntu for it, resuming my support for it.

    “The person behind some moves that were beneficial to Microsoft, such as indirect Mono promotion (concurrent with GNU demotion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) and adding Yahoo as a search supplier for Ubuntu (Yahoo is just a Microsoft front end), came from Microsoft itself.” – you infer Rick is driving a pro-Microsoft agenda. Not true. Yahoo was a senior exec idea that we evaluated, and Mono was not “promoted”; we just didn’t block apps just because they were written in Mono. There is a difference between “supporting” and “promoting”.

    Rick announced the Yahoo search bar plan and he was also behind the call to remove GIMP. It’s well documented.

    “He still lives in “Greater Seattle Area”, far from Canonical and much closer to Microsoft. Who might he hang out with in his spare time?” – Canonical is an internationally distributed company so there is no center of gravity for Canonical. Rick is as far from Canonical as I or anyone else is. Also, you infer he hangs out with Microsoft folks in his spare time and that somehow influences his decisions. This is nothing but sensationalism; you have no idea whether he hangs out with folks at MS, and even if he did, why would he drive a MS at Canonical given that he isn’t at MS anymore? I bet you that *I* hang out with MS people more than Rick does. :-)

    You accuse me of “sensationalism” but do nothing to disprove my claims. I am quite certain Rick has old friends who still work at Microsoft. It potentially changes one’s perspective.

    “Microsoft mentality seems to have been brought to Canonical after Red Hat too had hired from Microsoft for a top position [1, 2]” – you say “mentality” but don’t say what that mentality is, but assume we are somehow greatly inspired by MS. Not true.

    Microsoft mentality may be the mentality that Microsoft products are worth using.

    Michael Reply:

    Good journalism is not driven by assumptions and jumping to conclusions based upon an ethical opposition to a company.

    You would be mistaken by assuming that this is what happened here. I observed Ubuntu since its dawn of days. I could see the policies varying over the years. Looking for explanations like staff roles was not the hypothesis.

    You are missing the point here, Roy. Nobody is saying you have or have not watched Ubuntu since its inception. What is being noted is that you view the world in a very biased way you cannot back. You repeatedly assume that anythings coming from Microsoft is evil (same with Apple) and that anyone who has ever worked for these companies is still somehow "tainted" by that evil.
    It is an irrational world view and it is unsupportable.

    Good journalism is balanced, fact-driven, and removes emotion from the reporting.

    Like your name-calling against RMS after he criticised Ubuntu over privacy? Just like the EFF had done before him?

    Assuming this is true, which is not shown, it does not mean it is OK for you to do it. What you are doing is moving the goal posts.
    As far as noting how Stallman can be, shall we say, a bit "off", I think that is very easy to support. He used doublespeak nonsense to back his view of what is "Free" and advocates for allowing porn to be uncensored in public schools, at least at the high school level. He specifically includes child pornography in his list of "published works" which should not be censored. This does not mean it is OK to criticize Stallman for things he is not guilty of, and I do not know the history of the claims you make, but Stallman is clearly not a person you want to point to if you are looking for an example of morality and honesty.

    Some examples where you are emotive and lack the facts:
    “In short, the project became less recognisable since upstream got abandoned, some time around 2010″ – upstream has never been abandoned; we integrate a significant number of upstreams into Ubuntu, and we make all of our patches available. Also we have become very active as upstreams with Unity, Mir, Launchpad, Bazaar, Juju etc.

    These are Canonical upstreams, some with Canonical copyrights.

    As Linus Torvalds has said:
    "I agree that it’s driven by selfish reasons, but that’s how all open source code gets written! We all "scratch our own itches". It’s why I started Linux, it’s why I started git, and it’s why I am still involved. It’s the reason for everybody to end up in open source, to some degree.
    " So complaining about the fact that Microsoft picked a selfish area to work on is just silly. Of course they picked an area that helps them. That’s the point of open source – the ability to make the code better for your particular needs, whoever the ‘your’ in question happens to be."
    Even if this is what Canonical is doing, there is nothing wrong with them using open source to the benefit of themselves and their users. This is "the point of open source", at least in the view of Torvalds. I respect his opinion on this.

    “Ubuntu has been upsetting many in the community and closed down development recently (the process went into private hands)” – untrue. Our development is fully open and tracked at http://status.ubuntu.com, available in Launchpad branches and public bug tracking, and discussed every three months at a community online UDS.

    Ubuntu Mobile/Touch was closed until a later date. Not just decision-making but code too. This was a leading Ubuntu project. As for UDS, it’s growing smaller.

    Here even you admit that the development is fully open – your complaint now is that their "Mobile/Touch" code was not open until later. So what? They have no obligation to open up their code until doing so is required by the open source licenses they use. Google has a lot of in-house code they have never releases. This is perfectly acceptable in the GPL. Keeping code "close to the vest" makes sense in a competitive market. In case you have not noticed, the "Mobile/Touch" market is rather competitive these days. I commend Ubuntu for adding to the choice in that market and wish them well.

    “Ubuntu is deviating from upsteam, ignoring decisions and even developing in secret (neither source code nor access to read-only decision-making)” – not true. We maintain many upstream policiies (e.g. GSettings, EDS, freedesktop), but we make our own decisions from time to time, which as a free and open source project, and as an upstream, we have the right to do.

    This is a marked deviation from the spirit of the Ubuntu I once knew.

    That is how the GPL works. That is the spirit of open source software. There is nothing wrong with this. You disagreeing, by the way, is fine by me, too. But let us get back to the topic.
    You do not just disagree, which is fine, you tie it to your obsession with Microsoft and your irrational belief that any person or entity that has worked with Microsoft is somehow tainted for life. This is irrational and paranoid. It is devoid of sense.
    Do you understand that? Without quoting the rest of your comments, here are just the parts where you reference Microsoft:

    Giving Microsoft this privilege is counter-productive and opportunist at best. it’s akin to what Novell did.
    Instead, Canonical legitimised what Microsoft had schemed.
    I am quite certain Rick has old friends who still work at Microsoft. It potentially changes one’s perspective.
    Microsoft mentality may be the mentality that Microsoft products are worth using.

    On and on. Your obsession about Microsoft and your paranoia toward them is very strong. You claim this is not supported… but you show support for it in this very discussion.

  2. lozz said,

    May 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Gravatar

    M$ is not just another software company employing lots of friendly people who are misunderstood.

    M$ is a gigantic software Corporation!

    Corporations by their very nature are psychopathic – they intend to keep on growing – by any means both foul and fair – until they rule the world.

    The M$ Corporation’s bottom line is Money. Most of its other lines are also Money and good will towards its users runs a distant last.

    Besides earning a fair chunk of its income by scabbing alleged royalties off of Android producers, M$ has partners that they never mention in their glossy brochures. Partners like Corrections Corporation of America!

    Here they get to scab off the virtually free labour of America’s vast prison population.

    If Aaron Swartz had been sent down for 30 years he would probably have been contacted by M$ to work as a programmer for a few dollars a day, with a prompt spell in solitary if he refused.

    “At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor.”*

    People trained to think that this sort of conduct is a normal part of doing business are not really suited to the concepts of the Free Software Community.

    Roy, I agree with your growing doubts about Ubuntu. As another early user I had had enough of their increasing arrogance by 2010 and departed via LMDE and finally found a satisfactory home at Fedora Xfce.

    * http://www.infowars.com/private-prisons-the-more-americans-they-put-behind-bars-the-more-money-they-make/

    Michael Reply:

    M$ is not just another software company employing lots of friendly people who are misunderstood.

    M$ is a gigantic software Corporation!

    I do not think that the idea that Microsoft is a large corporation is in question. What I will note, though, is you are unable to speak of them without resorting to juvinile terms such as "M$". This speaks poorly of you.

    Corporations by their very nature are psychopathic – they intend to keep on growing – by any means both foul and fair – until they rule the world.

    Corporations are run by people. Some people are good. Some are bad. One primary goal of corporations is to make money and they often do this in ways which are not moral. This does not excuse villifying all their actions nor pushing the idea that anyone who has worked for one is tainted by their "evil". Also keep in mind that Roy is very friendly to Google and Samsung, two other very large corporations.

    The M$ Corporation’s bottom line is Money. Most of its other lines are also Money and good will towards its users runs a distant last.

    Companies who do not work to serve their customers do not last. Their products do not sell. Clearly MS Office and MS Windows sell very well. In other areas MS struggles.
    You seem to be working to feed Roy’s paranoia. Sadly there are a large number of people in the open source world who share similar views, especially those who follow Stallman (though there is not a 1:1 overlap here, there seems to be a strong connection).

  3. lozz said,

    May 16, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Gravatar

    Michael, there are a number of videos on youtube that discuss the reasons why corporations are essentially evil. You could try;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y888wVY5hzw

    Your arguments are similar to those about being half pregnant. Is a corporation that is half good and half evil, good or evil?

    Evil is evil is evil.

    I’ve used the device M$ for many years now, because I think it best describes them. If there was a symbol for evil that I could add, that would be even better.

    M$ doesn’t “sell well”. It’s foisted on everyone because it has agreements with most OEMs to supply it as a standard monopoly feature.

    You didn’t make any comment on whether you considered Microsoft’s usage of slave labour to be good, or evil.

    I’m not trying to feed Roy’s “paranoia” about M$, he’s got enough to not need any help from me. But is it “paranoia” if you’re in a war and think people might be shooting at you. They are and so is M$.

    Virtually everyone in the Free Software Community follows Richard Stallman. He is a great man.

    Michael Reply:

    Michael, there are a number of videos on youtube that discuss the reasons why corporations are essentially evil. You could try;
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y888wVY5hzw

    Not interested in a 2+ hour video where you wish to push a view point. But let us go with the idea, as absurd as it is, that corporations are by nature evil. This *backs* my view that it is irrational for Roy to continually target MS and Apple and give passes to Google and Samsung. He has picked his "good guys" and his "bad guys" and rarely goes outside of that. Worse still, he insists that if someone has worked for one of the "evil" groups (MS and Apple) they are forever tainted by that evil. This is unsupportable and paranoid.

    Your arguments are similar to those about being half pregnant. Is a corporation that is half good and half evil, good or evil?

    Your analogy is very weak. A corporation is not a single person with a single condition. There are "good" people in corporations and there are "evil" ones, just as there are outside of corporations. And, of course, the idea that people (or corporations) are pure one or the other is a rather silly proposition to start out with. People and corporations are complex – neither pure good nor pure evil.

    I’ve used the device M$ for many years now, because I think it best describes them. If there was a symbol for evil that I could add, that would be even better.

    Nobody is questioning your juvenile bias.

    M$ doesn’t “sell well”. It’s foisted on everyone because it has agreements with most OEMs to supply it as a standard monopoly feature.

    This is not supported, and – worse that that – it is directly contradicted by the fact that Dell, HP, and other OEMs sell hardware with non-MS OSs and other software. Also notice your focus on MS while you ignore another corporation, Google, which has made it very clear it will break its partnership with Asus if they sell products with Aliyun OS. In other words, Google is preventing a partner from selling devices with a competing OS, the very thing you accuse MS of doing even though the facts do not back it. And you show no signs of thinking Google is evil, even though they are a huge corporation. This is common in those who follow Stallman, though to his credit he does speak about the "evils" of Google.

    You didn’t make any comment on whether you considered Microsoft’s usage of slave labour to be good, or evil.

    The word "slave" does not appear on this page other than in the sentence I am responding to. But I find many labor practices to be unfair and reprehensible. This is not, however, the topic. Remember, the topic here is Roy’s obsession with MS and how he sees them and all they touch as being "evil". It is not rational

    I’m not trying to feed Roy’s “paranoia” about M$, he’s got enough to not need any help from me. But is it “paranoia” if you’re in a war and think people might be shooting at you. They are and so is M$.

    Many groups are competing in the technology market. This is a good thing in my view (which is not to say all the ways they compete are good!)

    Virtually everyone in the Free Software Community follows Richard Stallman. He is a great man.

    Some of what he has done is great – especially the creation of the GPL. But to say he is a great man is something I strongly disagree with. Very strongly. As I note, above, I disagree with his dishonest doublespeak about what it means to be "free", which is a relatively minor "problem" with him – my main problem is his active support of harming public school students by wanting porn of all types, including child porn (which he agrees should be illegal to make if you can *show* it is harming kids), to not only be uncensored in the schools (at least at the teen level) but his view that to block such material would be harmful to the students. This is inexcusable and very much what I see as being "evil". For that I find the man to be absolutely reprehensible… and his views on that are more offensive than anything I have ever heard any MS or Apple (or Google or Samsung or Canonical) representative *ever* say.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    @lozz I agree about Richard Stallman. My original post left out the observation that Richard Stallman shunned Ubuntu over privacy issues which the EFF had raised before him. Richard Stallman did this after I had spoken to him about it. This issue is a bit orthogonal to the subject of this post, but it contributes to Ubuntu de-emphasising its core values. Earlier today I saw a Ubuntu proponent worrying that Ubuntu moves to Chrom[e|ium] as default Web browser. It’s not exactly FOSS. Until about a year ago Ubuntu.com (front page) still featured the Skype logo, essentially promoting/endorsing proprietary Microsoft spyware.

    Michael Reply:

    Skype existed long before MS bought it. At that time you used it and spoke highly of it. As soon as MS bought Skype you decided it was evil, even before they had time to make any changes.

    This gets back to the heart of the discussion: you have an *extreme* bias against MS and Apple. To you they are pure evil, as is every technology they touch (other than Linux, which MS has contributed to, and perhaps WebKit – though now that Google no longer is using it I expect that to change as well). You go so far as to push the idea that people who have worked for these companies have some sort of magical taint that follows them around. It is bizarre and irrational thinking.

    At the same time you generally completely ignore the wrong doing of those corporations you have decided are “good” because they use Linux: Google and Samsung. It does not matter how much evil they do, how much price fixing they are involved with, how much they prevent their partners from selling competing products, etc. You might occasionally show some level of disagreement, but you have a very black and white world view of MS/Apple being evil and Google/Samsung being good. It is a naive and very religious-like or cult-like way of seeing the world.

    You also blind yourself to the weaknesses of the desktop Linux ecosystem, such as when you and I talked on your podcast about PCLOS past and (then) present. You and I each shared our views of what it had been and what it (then) currently was. After the show I looked in detail at our comments and quoted us directly from the show – and while my views were not 100% correct (I had underestimated the level of growth… and I am happy to have made that error), your claims were grossly off the mark. Just flat out wrong.

    When faced with this you took back your invitation to have me be a guest on your podcast again.

    You have extreme biases which are not swayed by facts.

    You also have some excellent qualities – such as allowing comments such as this one, quite critical of you, to remain on your site. Not many people would do that and this speaks very highly of you. I just wish you would open your mind to see things in a more rational and less emotional way.

  4. Aleve Sicofante said,

    May 17, 2013 at 10:07 pm

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    1. Ubuntu has changed A LOT in the last few years. That change consists mainly of making more decisions by management and less decisions by community. Negating this is understandable by anyone being paid by Canonical, especially the one person devoted to the community (duh!), but it’s pretty obvious to any outsider. (Mr. Bacon: don’t take it personally, but it’s just hard to believe whatever you have to say about Ubuntu and community, when the change is so strong and evident.) I’m not even judging if that’s good or bad. It’s just a fact. Some people (definitely Canonical as a company, Shuttleworth as an individual and many other employees too) consider it a good thing that provides a faster evolution. Shuttleworth is notorious for saying “move along” to those who disagree with his views. Fine. Many have done exactly that and it’s OK.

    Some people think the price of that faster evolution is contrary to the core values of free software. I’m personally fine with Ubuntu today, as long as they still produce open source software anyone can check and/or modify. I consider they’re on the verge of crossing the line (they produce code complicated enough to be almost impossible to port, as the effort to put Unity on OpenSuse has shown), but they haven’t clearly done that yet and I still benefit from a better design and a more cohesive experience with Ubuntu. Unity is IMO the best DE available for any OS, period (yes, there are pretty stupid and whimsical decisions here and there, like hiding the menus by decree or removing the dodge after terribly done user testing and even more terribly made conclusions from the testing, but there’s no such thing as a DE without whimsical design decisions and mistakes). The move to QML actually promises better openness (despite the Mir affair) and consistency, so I can’t see Ubuntu/Canonical really becoming anything close to a proprietary philosophy. All the adware/spyware (Amazon, server side searches, etc.) is publicly explained upfront and can be easily disabled/removed. So far so good, then.

    2. Rick Spencer has only spoken logical and intelligent proposals so far. I haven’t read a single line coming from him that doesn’t make sense or is clearly opposed to the open source and free nature of Ubuntu. Actually, he nailed it with the rolling release between LTSs proposal and it was the usually irrational Shuttleworth who stopped that. He also nailed it recently with the Ubuntu Phone dogfooding. He seems to be a very clever guy and I love he works at Canonical, especially now that community matters less and Canonical matters more. I didn’t know he had worked for MS before, but that obviously can’t change my mind. You aren’t required to prove that you hate FLOSS and swear over the Bible you’ll fight it for good when you are hired at MS. It’s not a sect. Thinking otherwise is plain childish and a really poor argument against someone, like Rick Spencer in this particular case.

    3. Corporations are evil. All of them. The system is built in a way that doesn’t allow any other outcome. In the US, CEOs are required by law to make as much money as possible without breaking the law. The law is full of loopholes which make evildoing legal. As a CEO, you have just three choices: a) go through those loopholes and be as evil as required in order to make as much money as possible, b) leave, go home and be replaced or c) stat but be morally right and be sued by the shareholders -and even go to jail- for not making all the money you could have made.

    Would I work for a corporation thus helping them, even in some minuscule way at any position? Not in a thousand years unless my family was about to starve and this was my only choice. Does it mean everyone is evil because they work/ed for a corporation? Obviously not; most people don’t even think about it when working for anyone, corporation or not. I try to be as far from any corporation as possible. Currently looking for an alternative to Gmail, for instance. Unfortunately, Labels are a genius idea and nobody seems to want to copy it… ;-) But you can’t judge people by doing otherwise. I bet you’re surrounded by products made by corporations, even knowingly, so maybe you should think twice about that anti-MS fixation. If Canonical becomes a corporation (“a company at the mercy of its shareholders”) at some point, I will cease to use their software… if/when some non-corporation can match their performance (and that’s MY judgement, not anyone else’s; don’t even think about suggesting me other distros as if I couldn’t choose myself).

    All that been said, dealing with corporations has to be done really carefully. I don’t like Canonical dealing with Microsoft at all, no matter what the apparent benefits. A deal with MS (or Apple, Dell, Google or other giant) has NEVER been a win-win deal. It’s never a loss for the giant and a serious risk for the little one. So I’d suggest Canonical to stay away from corporations (they won’t listen, anway ;-)). It always sounds tempting, I know, but just read some history and see how most little ones end up after dealing with giants. And I’m not even referring to moral issues, just practical ones.

    4. Children and sex is a matter of debate. I think there’s too much cultural bias regarding this, especially in the US (a country with serious sexual issues as a society), and I would never ever argue about it when it comes to declaring someone honest or not. I haven’t read what RMS has to say about it, but it doesn’t matter to me in the least. The same I don’t care at all about what Linus Torvalds has to say about user interface design or circumcision. RMS is not a psychologist, anthropologist or a philosopher. He’s just a programmer with a political view on software (he happens to be one of the guys who actually started the revolution Ubuntu is part of). I’m only interested in what he thinks about matters related to that. I’d never ask him about children and sex, dress code, interior decoration or hair cuts, to name a few examples.

    5. I never reply to anyone writing “M$”. In fact, that shortcut equals “end of file” to me. I stop reading whenever I reach it. Grow up!

    Michael Reply:

    Much snipped (yet still a long reply)

    1. Ubuntu has changed A LOT in the last few years. That change consists mainly of making more decisions by management and less decisions by community.

    Nothing wrong with having a well managed project. In fact, without having decent management a project fails to produce a complete system but is just a bunch of different components tossed together. With that said I do not agree with all of the decisions and projects made by Canonical and no longer use it as my primary distro, but I respect their focus.

    I’m not even judging if that’s good or bad. It’s just a fact.

    Fair enough.

    Some people think the price of that faster evolution is contrary to the core values of free software. I’m personally fine with Ubuntu today, as long as they still produce open source software anyone can check and/or modify.

    The idea that planning and focus is against the value of open source is just silly. Those that make this claim do not get the concept of the freedom that open source represents.

    I consider they’re on the verge of crossing the line (they produce code complicated enough to be almost impossible to port, as the effort to put Unity on OpenSuse has shown), but they haven’t clearly done that yet and I still benefit from a better design and a more cohesive experience with Ubuntu.

    Even if they make code that is hard to port it is not against the open source philosophy. That is what open source is all about – different people and groups using it to the best advantage of themselves and those they serve.

    2. You aren’t required to prove that you hate FLOSS and swear over the Bible you’ll fight it for good when you are hired at MS. It’s not a sect. Thinking otherwise is plain childish and a really poor argument against someone, like Rick Spencer in this particular case.

    This point (which I snipped a lot from for space) is exactly right on. Roy has a very black and white world view where not only are MS and Apple evil (because they do not use Linux much) and Google and Samsung good (because they do use Linux more), but he takes it to the extreme that anyone who has worked or these companies are somehow tainted, as if there is some sort of demonic possession that exists withing MS and Apple. It is absurd to the extreme.

    3. Corporations are evil. All of them. The system is built in a way that doesn’t allow any other outcome. In the US, CEOs are required by law to make as much money as possible without breaking the law.

    Corporations can also have other goals. I used to work for Intuit and when the original creators of Quicken ran the company the management was not evil. They were good people looking to help people manage their money – and they did so while making a lot of money for themselves. I have no problem with that. They then brought in a new management team and the company did become evil – and I left the company, but that is a different story. :)

    4. Children and sex is a matter of debate. I think there’s too much cultural bias regarding this, especially in the US (a country with serious sexual issues as a society), and I would never ever argue about it when it comes to declaring someone honest or not. I haven’t read what RMS has to say about it, but it doesn’t matter to me in the least.

    If you want to understand his morals it should. I do not want to take the conversation too far off the focus, so just two quick quotes from him:
     
    "Internet filtering in schools blocks access to educational materials. While that article focuses on blockage of the educational materials that prudes would admit, porn is also very important for education. Blocking adolescents’ access to porn, or keeping them ignorant of sex in any way, is likely to stunt their emotional growth and make them vulnerable to mistakes that can hurt them badly. "
     
    "When making pornography involves real abuse of real children, those who distribute it under a business relationship with the abusers arguably participate in the abuse. They could be prosecuted for doing so. However, that does not excuse censorship. No matter how disgusting published works might be, censorship is more disgusting."
     
    Looking at those it is clear he is (thankfully) against child porn, at least if the child is not willing (as if a child can make such a decision!). But once such material is made and "published" (posted to the web) he thinks it is not just wrong to censor it (censoring it is more disgusting than the actual child porn itself in his view!), he thinks that blocking it from public schools, at least at the teen level, is somehow *harmful* to the students. This is beyond offensive and repulsive. This means that if a student is raped and the attack is filmed, Stallman thinks the censoring of that material in schools is not only more repulsive than the actual video of the assault, but that to block this material is somehow *harmful* to the students. This is insane. There simply is no excuse for ever backing this type of repulsive, offensive, dangerous, and harmful philosophy.

    The same I don’t care at all about what Linus Torvalds has to say about user interface design or circumcision. RMS is not a psychologist, anthropologist or a philosopher. He’s just a programmer with a political view on software (he happens to be one of the guys who actually started the revolution Ubuntu is part of). I’m only interested in what he thinks about matters related to that. I’d never ask him about children and sex, dress code, interior decoration or hair cuts, to name a few examples.

    And do not get me wrong: the fact he holds such repulsive and offensive and harmful views does not make me respect the GPL any less. It is an amazing piece of work and it has changed the world for the better. But just as I think people should understand Jobs’ "bad" side (such as his ripping off Woz on multiple occasions), I think they should understand the person behind the "Free" movement.

    5. I never reply to anyone writing "M$". In fact, that shortcut equals "end of file" to me. I stop reading whenever I reach it. Grow up!

    I absolutely agree it is a sign of immaturity, as is Roy’s use of the term "Vista 8". There is no such product. Roy often uses such language on this site and it is just another sign of his extreme bias and inability to speak maturely on the subject.

  5. sjdanderson said,

    May 18, 2013 at 12:24 am

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    I have some observations and criticisms, if you will:

    1. Dr. Schestowitz implies and Iozz and Aleve Sicofante state outright that Microsoft is “psychopathic” and “evil”–just because it is a corporation. Frankly, the three of you are wrong and Michael is right: corporations are merely groups of human beings. They are no more evil and/or psychopathic than any other group of humans; be they governments, Churches, other charities–or the Free (Libre) and Open Source Software movement. :)

    2. Even if an group can be considered “evil,” it doesn’t follow that EVERYBODY in that group–now or in the past–is likewise evil.

    3. Iozz, Michael is right that, in a free economy, satisfying the customer can NOT be a “distant last” for a corporation. If a business does not produce a good-enough product or service at a low-enough price to make their customers better off, they will not sell that product or service. Period. For example, if I am not better off with the gallon of gasoline than I am with the US$3.50 or so that I paid for it (as I write), I won’t buy the gasoline. I might ride a bicycle or walk instead, or use a manual push-mower rather than a gasoline engine-powered one. There are always alternatives.

    4. Moreover, Michael is right about OEMs and Microsoft software. OEMs would not jump through the hoops to become “Windows certified” if they weren’t sure that there is a market among end-users for Windows. In spite of such jokes as “Win-doze” or “Wind-blows,” that market would not exist if Windows didn’t have quality for the price.

    5. I must also say that, since Linux’ market share is steadily increasing while Microsoft’s is decreasing, the 300-some Linux distros seem to be doing a better job of satisfying the customer than Microsoft at the moment. ;)

    6. Aleve Sicofante said:

    In the US, CEOs are required by law to make as much money as possible without breaking the law.

    I am unaware of any such law. US law only states that corporate management has a “fiduciary responsibility” to their shareholders. That means that managers must act in shareholders’ best interest. There is no way, for example, that a CEO of a company where most of the shares are held by devout Mormons and Baptists would invest in a pornographic film, even if it did make the most money! ;)

    Further, even if there was such a law, the meaning of the phrase, “make as much money as possible” is somewhat vague. Are we talking long-term or short-term? Are we talking about dollars or about percent increase?

    Are we talking about pre-tax or post-tax? Progressive taxation induces oil companies, for example, to drill dry holes in order to reuce taxes enough to increase after-tax income.

    Furthermore, it isn’t necessarily the companies that are supposed to be made richer (though it helps! ;) ), but its shareholders. Guess who is the largest investor in US stocks?

    Answer: The California teachers union.

    7. While Mark Shuttleworth certainly has weaknesses (of course he does; he’s HUMAN!), the fact is, without him, FLOSS software would not be anywhere near as omnipresent. I cannot for the life of me understand why people so viciously attack middlemen (for that is what Shuttleworth is) for cost-effectively distributing goods and services.

    8. Yes, Dr. Schestowitz, Mr. Bacon did call Mr. Stallman names. He admitted it and apologized for it. As Michael pointed out, however, that neither gives you the right to hold it against him forevermore, or to call Microsoft employees–past or present–names.

    Finally, Iozz is right that the fact that Richard Stallman started the FLOSS movement in general and GNU and the GPL in particular makes him a great man. If Michael is right about the child porn, it doesn’t make him a not great man; it merely shows that even great men have flaws.

    Perhaps we–including me–should be more charitable.

    Michael Reply:

    About your comments:

    You are absolutely correct. Claiming that an organization is "psychopaths" and "evil" merely because they are a corporation is irrational. To make matters worse, Roy holds this "standard" to MS and Apple but not Google and Samsung. In each case these corporations and their managers can be shown doing things which are good, which are bad, and which are questionable. Roy pushes a very black and white world view which he rarely strays from.
    You are right that even with groups that can be considered "evil" it is silly to believe all people with any association with that group are evil.
    Any company that sells products must make sure that the products they sell satisfy their customers. MS does this by making lower priced products and selling a lot of them. Apple does this by making higher priced products which earn higher user satisfaction ratings but also cost more. Google does this by monetizing personal information to sell ads. Samsung does this by copying other’s work and making things "good enough". Of course, in each of these cases these are generalizations – it is not as if any of these groups does *only* this.
    Not only do OEMs "jump through hoops" to sell Microsoft products, they also sell hardware with other OSs, disproving the claims that there are "secret" deals which prevent this. I do believe Windows is a heavily flawed product, but it is "good enough" and *generally* serves people better than desktop Linux (this is based not just on the OSs but the whole ecosystems).
    Desktop Linux market share has increased over the years and I think (and hope) it will continue to. It, however, is still somewhere around 1.5% of the usage base. This hardly indicates it is satisfying consumers more than the competition, especially given how it is readily available for free. I do not think it is serving people as well as the competition, though it does continue to improve. Comparing PCLOS from just a few years ago to the recent versions is very eye-opening, as Roy and I discussed on his podcast. The improvements in desktop Linux have been amazing, but there is still a long way to go. Windows 8 represents another chance for Linux (and Apple) to grow their share (much as Vista did).
    You are right about the misinterpretation of the US law by Aleve Sicofante.
    Mark Shuttleworth, Linus Torvalds, Jim Zemlin, and many others in the open source community are excellent examples of people who have earned great respect and helped to push the open source ecosystems further than many would have thought possible. They are each great "faces" for the open source community. Sadly they are often over-shadowed by Stallman who seeks the limelight and, as wonderful as his GPL is, is such a flawed person as to make open source look bad.
    People do wrong. We all do. How we handle our errors says a lot about us. If Mr. Bacon has apologized then let it go.

    For the most part we are in agreement with your points. There is one place where we disagree, but maybe it is more a matter of semantics than a real philosophical difference:

    Finally, Iozz is right that the fact that Richard Stallman started the FLOSS movement in general and GNU and the GPL in particular makes him a great man. If Michael is right about the child porn, it doesn’t make him a not great man; it merely shows that even great men have flaws.

    I accept that great people can have flaws, even major ones. But I cannot agree that a man who promotes such harm – especially as significant as the harm Stallman supports – is a great man. This does not mean he has not done great things: the example I repeatedly bring up is the GPL (though that is not the only example). I am a huge proponent of human rights and children’s rights specifically. For my morals, what Stallman pushes crosses a line which disqualifies him as ever being someone I could see as a being a "great" person. He is a horrible person in my view – though one that has done great things. Roy claims I am an Apple shill: for what it is worth, I think Steve Jobs could be a massive jerk and grossly immoral and even perhaps delusional – and like Stallman he sought the limelight, but this does not put him in the same class as people such as Stallman who push for such abuse on children. I cannot condone that nor forgive him for that, especially without him denouncing the comments he has placed on his own website.

    Perhaps we–including me–should be more charitable.

    Perhaps. But I will never condone the type of abuse toward children that Stallman advocates for. Never. And I will speak out against it. This is a place where there is no room for “charity”, at least in my view. Stallman is more than simply wrong, he is advocating for child abuse.

  6. Aleve Sicofante said,

    May 18, 2013 at 11:42 am

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    “corporations are merely groups of human beings.”

    No they’re not. They are organizations with a goal and that primary goal is making money for its shareholders. That’s far from “merely”.

    Let me clarify: when I’m talking about corporations I’m talking about big public companies. How big? Well, just big enough to provoke things like the last financial crisis, for instance.

    IANAL, and I’m not American either, so I can’t express the exact terms for the American law regarding the responsibilities of a CEO and how the shareholders can bring him to justice for not making enough money, but there definitely is such a law or laws in America which equal that lay men terms. Evil is just part of the wild, uncontrolled capitalism practiced in many parts of the world (I’d say, most of it nowadays).

    Anyone, that doesn’t make any one of their employees part of the plot. That would be silly.

    “Some people think the price of that faster evolution is contrary to the core values of free software. I’m personally fine with Ubuntu today, as long as they still produce open source software anyone can check and/or modify.”

    “The idea that planning and focus is against the value of open source is just silly. Those that make this claim do not get the concept of the freedom that open source represents.”

    It’s not the the planning and focus, but the price Canonical has paid for it (taking power decision from the community by giving it to management) what makes some people think it’s against the values of free software. I’m personally far from religious in this free software purity thing, so my personal position is that whatever makes the software better to use while keeping it open for others to inspect and modifiy is good enough for me. I never trusted “design by committee”, so I much prefer design by a small team, like it’s done today at Canonical, even if I disagree with some of their decisions.

    Michael Reply:

    Corporations *are* groups of human beings. Yes, they are businesses and they have as at least one of the goals the earning of money. This seems to be a problem for you to the point where you see it as being evil. I find such thinking to be foreign to me. This does not mean I defend the bad things corporations do, whether that corporation is MS or Apple of Google or Samsung. But to jump to the conclusion that these people in the corporations are all evil because the people who run the corporations have as *a* goal the earning of money is not rational. Sadly it is a view I see all too often in the open source world (though it is hardly universal!)

    "The idea that planning and focus is against the value of open source is just silly. Those that make this claim do not get the concept of the freedom that open source represents."
    It’s not the the planning and focus, but the price Canonical has paid for it (taking power decision from the community by giving it to management) what makes some people think it’s against the values of free software.

    Open source software is made open source so different people can use it in different ways. The idea that Canonical uses it to make a distro more focused than many others is in no way contrary to the GPL or to the "values" of open source.

    I’m personally far from religious in this free software purity thing, so my personal position is that whatever makes the software better to use while keeping it open for others to inspect and modifiy is good enough for me. I never trusted "design by committee", so I much prefer design by a small team, like it’s done today at Canonical, even if I disagree with some of their decisions.

    This I can agree with… and I hope to see, and think we shall see, different teams in the open source ecosystem working together more to make better products for consumers. Mark Shuttleworth has helped contribute to that push, and I commend him for it.

  7. Aleve Sicofante said,

    May 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

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    Sorry: “Anyway”, not “Anyone.” in the 5th paragraph.

  8. lozz said,

    May 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm

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    Michael, I don’t have time to check right now, but I seem to recall, from years ago, that Roy was very opposed to the Samsung Corporation, due to various GNU/Linux unfriendly behaviours.

    About the same time, I think, he was also opposed to Android, because of the proprietary content involved. I don’t know anything about his current attitude to Samsung, Android and Google.

    I, personally, regard the Google Corporation as a prime danger to everyone on the internet. They are associated with some of the shadiest groups in the world today and I have never liked their business methods or their continuously snooping conduct.

    I try to eliminate every bit of their software off my computer that I can and I never use their search facilities.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I never criticised Android on these grounds. I still criticise Google and Samsung on separate grounds.

    lozz Reply:

    Roy, I was trying to remember back to the days of FSD and BoycottNovell.

    There was a lot of criticism of Android and its proprietary content at FSD and I thought you may have been one of them.

    My apologies.

    People now forget how hectic it was for GNU/Linux in those days.

    Bill Gates had departed to the UN to pursue the wiping out of two thirds of the world’s population and Ballmer decided to put his stamp of authority by stamping out the Free Software Community.

    They tried every contemptible trick in the book to wipe out GNU/Linux and it went on for years; Ron Hovesepian, SCO, OOXML and much, much more.

    By the time they had finished they had corrupted half the standards bodies in the world and left the patent system in such tatters that it gave rise to the present trolling system that is causing complete chaos in the software world.

    I don’t just use the M$ device to indicate they are simply money-grubbers. I also use it as a symbol of complete disrespect for a corporation that is a corrupt and evil entity, still trying to pursue a course of monopoly world domination.

    They started out at school as software shoplifters, went on to boasting about how much they had stolen from Xerox, stole DOS when it morally belonged to IBM, stole Network Navigator and called it Internet Explorer and eventually got convicted of monopoly behaviour, which was only their just deserts.

    I hated Windows 3.11 when I first started using it and hated every version up to Windows 2000 when I was introduced to GNU/Linux and have never had Windows on my computers since.

    People need to study the deplorable history of this organisation before deciding whether it is an evil entity, or not.

    A leopard can’t change its spots and neither can M$.

    Michael Reply:

    Roy has occasionally spoken about wrong-doings from both Google and Samsung… but he mostly ignores their “evil”. He obsesses over the wrong doings of MS and Apple, even when he cannot support his claims they have done wrong.

    And when their is a “battle” with one of his “good guys” on one side and one of the “bad guys” on the other, I know of *no* example of him ever admitting his Google or Samsung are in the wrong or are the aggressors in their fights. His bias is *extreme*, but you might be right that it would be possible for it to be even more extreme.

    Not sure that is a very good defense of his black and white world view, though.

  9. Aleve Sicofante said,

    May 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm

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    “Corporations *are* groups of human beings.”
    And rock and roll bands too, but that definitely doesn’t define them. I said they aren’t *merely* groups of human beings. They have a purpose and that purpose is make money by selling goods (products and services) to customers. That does indeed define them.

    “But to jump to the conclusion that these people in the corporations are all evil because the people who run the corporations have as *a* goal the earning of money is not rational.”

    We may disagree on this, but I say it’s not *a* goal but *the* goal. I have never said *all* people working for corporations are evil, I put the evil behavior in business decision makers, which are a handful in any corporation (I thought this was pretty obvious). The evilness doesn’t come from the fact that money is the goal, but from circumstances (basically fierce market competition) that may force decision makers to become evil in order to succeed. You must be very naive if you think a corporation can succeed (i.e. make money) without using immoral tactics, since your competitors will be using them and you simply won’t be able to compete unless you do the same. In other words, there’s no such thing as a “long term decent corporation”. Decency is not part of the rules. Law and decency are two different things and sometimes even contradictory.

    That has nothing to do with open source at all, BTW, not even with software. This has only to do with laws not punishing immoral behavior by corporations. As I said before, shareholders will ask CEOs to do whatever is allowed by law (for instance, outsourcing jobs to sweatshops in countries with no practical labor legislation like Bangladesh, or to “suicide camps” like Foxconn, strongarming smaller builders to install your OS, bribing customers and governments to not buy from your competitor AMD, etc., etc., etc.) in order to make money. And CEOs have very little choice, if any. That’s the way the game is played. It’s irrational, yes, but not precisely on my side.

    Anyway, this (a deeper discussion on how capitalism works and how it might work better -because I do believe there’s a way for a better capitalism-) is far from the point in this thread. I don’t know what was Rick Spencer’s position at MS, but I understand he was making technical decisions there, not business ones. If Roy wants to list the evil actions Rick Spencer has done at MS, I’m all eyes and ears. So far, he has only suggested that having worked for MS has to mean he hates FLOSS, which is baseless.

    Michael Reply:

    Corporations share a goal of making money. Rock and roll bands share a goal of making music. This does not imply that all corporations or rock and roll bands are good nor evil, nor does it suggest that those who work for such groups are all good or evil, and it *certainly* does not imply that working for either type of group somehow taints someone for life.
    But this is what Roy implies: he repeatedly speaks of those who have worked for Microsoft as if they are some how tainted by evil – almost as if they are possessed. It is an irrational and unsupportable world view. Of note, notice how Roy himself does not even try to support it nor show any counter examples. If there are counter examples they are rare and the instances of him doing this are common.

    “But to jump to the conclusion that these people in the corporations are all evil because the people who run the corporations have as *a* goal the earning of money is not rational.”
    We may disagree on this, but I say it’s not *a* goal but *the* goal.

    You can say that but it is not a supportable position. I have worked for with and for corporations and I know that the people who run them have had other goals. Having spoken directly to Scott Cook on a number of occasions, for example, I know his goals with Intuit were not just about making money (though that clearly was *a* goal of his). Steve Jobs had a goal of making money, but he also wanted to make a difference in the computing lives of people. There are many other examples. Your claim that it is the sole goal of these people who start or run these corporations is to see the world in a very 2 dimensional and shallow way. People are far more complex than being motivated by a single goal. The idea that this is not only true of some people but in your mind of *all* people running corporations is not rational.
    On your comments about me being naive about corporations behaving in immoral ways, I have made it clear I am aware that they often do. So your point there is also not based on evidence. But I think we can safely say that Costco and Trader Joe’s, both of which are very successful corporations, are not acting in the way WalMart does. And even then I would not say any of them are pure good or pure evil. The world is not that black and white.
    As a side note: if you are looking for me to defend the laws that promote the use of (basically) slave labor and absurd tax evasion, or to defend unfettered capitalism, you are looking in the wrong direction.

    Aleve Sicofante Reply:

    I’m not looking for you to defend anything. I only ask conversations to abide by the laws of logic.

    Of course people running corporations can have many goals, but the corporation itself has a single goal: making money. Why? Because that’s what they offer their shareholders at the stock exchange. A private company can have all sorts of goals. A public corporation can’t. The persons involved in managing a corporation might love fishing, football or even things related to the core business of their companies. In other words, Steve Jobs goal might not have been making money but Apple’s is, since the very day the became a public corporation.

    Again, this is becoming off-topic. Still waiting for Roy to show concrete examples of Rick Spencer’s wrongdoing at Microsoft.

    Michael Reply:

    Corporations have no goals. People have goals. The goals people have sometimes lead them to creating corporations, but the goals that lead them to this are not always the same. When a corporation is publicly owned this does not change these facts.

    When you say that corporations have goals you are making assumptions which are irrational. A corporation has no more ability to have a “goal” than a rock does. Neither are living entities.

    As far as our shared desire for Roy to back his claims – in that we are in total agreement. Roy is not very good at backing his claims, though, and when asked to he either avoids the questions or points back to his own site where his “evidence” is, in essence, that he has made the accusation before.

  10. Aleve Sicofante said,

    May 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Gravatar

    Of course corporations have goals and supercede those of their creators or managers. What’s definitely irrational is saying they have the same abilities as rocks.

    A corporation is a superorganism, comparable to what bees or ants build. There you may have a comparable entity. Not a rock.

    In Spain (where I’m from), a person is legally a “physical person”, while a company is legally “a juridical person”. Can you see the reasoning?

    Michael Reply:

    People have goals. Corporations are not people (no matter what the US Supreme Court says or any other court says). The people in corporations have goals, as do the people in rock bands, churches, dentist offices, mobile taco trucks, and others. But none of these groups has goals, thoughts, motives, or ideas by themselves (outside of what the people in those groups have). They are simply entities created by people… and are not a form of AI or anything else that *can* have goals.

    To claim a man made construct has “goals” outside of what the people in the group have is like saying the people in a book have goals outside of what the author says they do. Sure, others might “see” these goals and theorize about them, but they are artificial constructs. They cannot have goals by themselves.

    Aleve Sicofante Reply:

    I find your position overly simplistic (there’s a load of literature about it and for good reason), but since this is not the question, I’ll leave it here.

  11. sjdanderson said,

    May 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Gravatar

    Iozz wrote:

    By the time they had finished they had corrupted half the standards bodies in the world and left the patent system in such tatters that it gave rise to the present trolling system that is causing complete chaos in the software world.

    Governments have long ago fouled up property rights law–including intellectual ones (i.e., patents and copyrights)–predating messes by modern corporations.

    There has to be a balance in determining the length of intellectual property rights.

    Too short a time span often leaves the innovator with too little time to recoup the cost of development before others appropriate the innovation with no cost to themselves. This tends to dry up innovation–except for those that can be fully and immediately exploited.

    Too great a time span, on the other hand, means that others cannot take timely advantage of innovations to further advance civilisation.

    I believe, for example, that proprietary software copyright law should follow the time span for patents. 95 years is WAY too long to spend “reinventing the wheel” of advances of Windows, when we could more profitably for society take them off the shelf. While there isn’t much of Windows 95 or NT3 left to protect, others could be taking those advances to new levels if not for present copyright law. :)

    I don’t just use the M$ device to indicate they are simply money-grubbers. I also use it as a symbol of complete disrespect for a corporation that is a corrupt and evil entity, still trying to pursue a course of monopoly world domination.

    Given that they have more than 300 competitors, and their flagship programmes IE, Office, and Windows have substantially decreased over the last few years, if they’re truly trying for “monopoly world domination,” they’re doing an AWFUL job of it! ;)

    They started out at school as software shoplifters, went on to boasting about how much they had stolen from Xerox, stole DOS when it morally belonged to IBM, stole Network Navigator and called it Internet Explorer

    Actually, DOS belonged to a small Seattle-based company, and Microsoft bought the rights fair and square (which is why Gates moved his company from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Redmond, Washington). Microsoft also bought the rights to the nucleus of IE, and rewrote both programmes to the extent where 90% (give or take) of each programme was original with Microsoft.

    Buying the rights to programmes and modifying it to suit your needs is HARDLY stealing.

    I hated Windows 3.11 when I first started using it and hated every version up to Windows 2000 when I was introduced to GNU/Linux and have never had Windows on my computers since.

    I disliked Windows until Win 95. Couldn’t do much with it. Even though I generally like Windows since, I still use Linux most of the time, because I think it is better–most of the time.

    People need to study the deplorable history of this organisation before deciding whether it is an evil entity, or not.

    A leopard can’t change its spots and neither can M$.

    Maybe when studying the history, we should get rid of some assumptions.

    Bad assumptions often lead to bad conclusions.

  12. sjdanderson said,

    May 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Gravatar

    Michael says:

    Any company that sells products must make sure that the products they sell satisfy their customers.

    Exactly. If they don’t, they don’t stay in business long–at least not in a free market.
    ;)

    MS does this by making lower priced products and selling a lot of them. Apple does this by making higher priced products which earn higher user satisfaction ratings but also cost more. Google does this by monetizing personal information to sell ads. Samsung does this by copying other’s work and making things “good enough”. Of course, in each of these cases these are generalizations – it is not as if any of these groups does *only* this.

    That’s true. It’s hard to look at MS Office, which is higher priced than either WordPerfect or StarOffice, the old pay version of OpenOffice, and conclude that Microsoft sells for lower prices.
    ;)

    However, if one compares a brand new PC with the latest version of Windows with a brand new Mac with the same hardware (easier now, since both now usually use Intel chips) with the latest version of OS X, one does find the Windows box to be cheaper–substantially so.

    Moreover, Microsoft also provides some measure of user-friendliness–at least until last fall ;) –as well as a LARGE amount of standardisation.

    I might also add that Linux distros–all of them–provide low cost mixed with rock-solid stability and a decided lack of vulnerability to malware. To add more reasons why Apple and Microsoft execs are somewhat quaking, Linux has made GREAT strides toward user-friendliness, as well–thanks in LARGE part to the efforts of Mark Shuttleworth, and, to a lesser extent, Red Hat and SuSE. Michael, you said that Shuttleworth gets lots of respect, but, sadly, that’s not entirely true among open source fan-bois. However, he certainly deserves MUCH more respect, and at least a little more benefit of the doubtthan what he has been getting!

    I think our comments may be trending toward that end.

    Not only do OEMs “jump through hoops” to sell Microsoft products, they also sell hardware with other OSs, disproving the claims that there are “secret” deals which prevent this.

    Indeed. I didn’t comment on that point because, frankly, it was SO good, nothing I could have said could improve it!
    ;)

    I do believe Windows is a heavily flawed product, but it is “good enough” and *generally* serves people better than desktop Linux (this is based not just on the OSs but the whole ecosystems).

    I agree that Windows is “good enough,” but not that it serves people better. Here I think Linux is superior, but not necessarily to the extent that overcomes monetary, psychic, and other cost involved with switching.

    Those costs, however, are decreasing–as evidenced by the shrinking gap between Microsoft’s and Linux’ market shares!
    :)

    There is one place where we disagree, but maybe it is more a matter of semantics than a real philosophical difference:

    ****

    I accept that great people can have flaws, even major ones. But I cannot agree that a man who promotes such harm – especially as significant as the harm Stallman supports – is a great man. This does not mean he has not done great things: the example I repeatedly bring up is the GPL (though that is not the only example). I am a huge proponent of human rights and children’s rights specifically. For my morals, what Stallman pushes crosses a line which disqualifies him as ever being someone I could see as a being a “great” person. He is a horrible person in my view – though one that has done great things.

    The fact that a person does great things makes him a great person.

    Remember Charles Ramsey, the guy who helped save those three kidnapped girls in Cleveland? Apparently, he was also a wife beater:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/cleveland-hero-charles-ramsey-criminal-report-article-1.1339043

    Is he a hero, a villain , or both?

    Roy claims I am an Apple shill: for what it is worth, I think Steve Jobs could be a massive jerk and grossly immoral and even perhaps delusional – and like Stallman he sought the limelight, but this does not put him in the same class as people such as Stallman who push for such abuse on children. I cannot condone that nor forgive him for that, especially without him denouncing the comments he has placed on his own website.

    I haven’t seen his comments on child porn, and thus, I don’t know if he was actually advocating raping children, saying that watching children get molested is a good thing, or simply extending non-censorship to the grossly sick extreme of child porn, without saying that child porn is a good thing. While the last is indeed a horrid thing because it inexcusably insults those kids by ignoring their agony (and, having been a victim of child molestation myself, I am *painfully* aware of both types of agony!), it is light years less awful than the middle, which, in turn, is significantly less evil than the first.

    Assuming your report is accurate, if like the FSF, action proceeds from advocacy, then I know of a super-max to which he can retire. If our justice system doesn’t make him pay, rest assured that God will. However, he does deserve credit because his free software has made our lives better.

    Am I making sense?

    Michael Reply:

    Any company that sells products must make sure that the products they sell satisfy their customers.

    Exactly. If they don’t, they don’t stay in business long–at least not in a free market.

    Right. Microsoft and Apple and Google and Samsung all make products people are willing to pay for… and have been doing so for some time. In the case of Google their product is mostly user’s information and they are selling that to advertisers – with the rest it is direct sales to consumers.

    MS does this by making lower priced products and selling a lot of them. Apple does this by making higher priced products which earn higher user satisfaction ratings but also cost more. Google does this by monetizing personal information to sell ads. Samsung does this by copying other’s work and making things “good enough”. Of course, in each of these cases these are generalizations – it is not as if any of these groups does *only* this.

    That’s true. It’s hard to look at MS Office, which is higher priced than either WordPerfect or StarOffice, the old pay version of OpenOffice, and conclude that Microsoft sells for lower prices.

    MS Office sells for the price point it does for a few reasons: it has become the de facto standard (which is not a good thing in my mind) but also because it handles many things better than the competition. Word Perfect had some benefits but it also had some pretty extreme weaknesses. OpenOffice and LibreOffice, as good as they are and as much as they have improved over the last few years, are mostly trying to be MS Office clones (though they use the "old" UI). Apple iWork is a great program but Apple has been letting it wither on the vine and it runs only on OS X and iOS. And while it has some areas where it is ahead of MS Office (such as its presentations program) overall MS Office allows users to do more. With the newest MS Office they have even worked to catch up to Apple with the use of images and the like. Microsoft is not standing still with MS Office. This, of course, does not mean MS Office does not have significant flaws, but that is a topic for another day. :)

    However, if one compares a brand new PC with the latest version of Windows with a brand new Mac with the same hardware (easier now, since both now usually use Intel chips) with the latest version of OS X, one does find the Windows box to be cheaper–substantially so.

    If you look at the comparisons made by different tech magazines you will find that the Apple products are generally priced about the same. There are a few caveats to this, though:

    They compare similar hardware. This includes all of the stuff you may not want. Do you really need WiFi and Bluetooth and an IR port for a remote and … all the stuff that comes with an iMac whether you want it or not. It also includes the software that comes with the Mac, which at one point was pretty much top of the line but Apple has left iLife rot on the vine.
    The comparisons are generally made when a new Mac comes out – when the Macs are at their best "bang for the buck". They stay the same price for the next year or so while other machines get lower prices or greater capabilities.

    Still, they also generally do not include the glass covering on the screen, the differences in chances of getting malware, etc. The comparisons are approximations… but Apple tends to do fairly well in most of these.

    Moreover, Microsoft also provides some measure of user-friendliness–at least until last fall –as well as a LARGE amount of standardisation.

    I think even MS has figured out Win 8 was an insane mistake. Win 8.1 is rumored to be a free update and will fix at least some of the insane decisions of Win 8.

    I might also add that Linux distros–all of them–provide low cost mixed with rock-solid stability and a decided lack of vulnerability to malware. To add more reasons why Apple and Microsoft execs are somewhat quaking, Linux has made GREAT strides toward user-friendliness, as well–thanks in LARGE part to the efforts of Mark Shuttleworth, and, to a lesser extent, Red Hat and SuSE. Michael, you said that Shuttleworth gets lots of respect, but, sadly, that’s not entirely true among open source fan-bois. However, he certainly deserves MUCH more respect, and at least a little more benefit of the doubtthan what he has been getting!

    I agree he is often maligned by many in the open source world, and would even say that I think some of his decisions are wrong (though mostly understandable, he wants Canonical to make money). And, yes, the open source ecosystem has improved to the point where distros are much better than they were even a few years ago. Roy and I discussed PCLOS in some detail when I was on his podcast. I was pleasantly surprised by how far it had progressed; Roy was adamant to not speak of the weaknesses it had in the past. But the objective evidence is clear: PCLOS has improved a lot. And it is not the only distro which has done so. Still, there is a mix-and-match approach to desktop Linux with a mix of programs designed for KDE, Gnome, and other that does not exist anywhere to that level on Windows or OS X (well, Windows 8 is trying hard to catch up to that level of user unfriendliness!)

    Not only do OEMs “jump through hoops” to sell Microsoft products, they also sell hardware with other OSs, disproving the claims that there are “secret” deals which prevent this.

    Indeed. I didn’t comment on that point because, frankly, it was SO good, nothing I could have said could improve it!

    It is a very important point to make for those who insist MS has secret deals which prevent what we directly see. Anyone who believes that this is true is showing an extreme bias.

    I do believe Windows is a heavily flawed product, but it is “good enough” and *generally* serves people better than desktop Linux (this is based not just on the OSs but the whole ecosystems).

    I agree that Windows is “good enough,” but not that it serves people better. Here I think Linux is superior, but not necessarily to the extent that overcomes monetary, psychic, and other cost involved with switching.

    It depends on what the user’s needs and abilities are. I run OS X, Windows, and Linux labs and watch how people use all three (though admittedly I do this less than I once did). I do have a number of customers who use Linux, and I often hear complaints along the lines that it feels "duct taped" together (an actual expression used by one of my customers). He used it for about a year and then got a new computer and went with Windows. And for users with higher end needs in image editing, music production, screencasting, and many other areas desktop Linux simply does not serve them well. Even with the "basics" of email and editing documents and the like, OS X has many productivity tools desktop Linux lacks (proxy icons, media browsers, PDF Services, application services, renaming and moving and duplicating from the title bar, QuickLook, saved status indicators, a visual versioning system – which allows easy copying and pasting from earlier versions). But, again, OS X is not cheap – and it, too, has significant flaws.

    I accept that great people can have flaws, even major ones. But I cannot agree that a man who promotes such harm – especially as significant as the harm Stallman supports – is a great man. This does not mean he has not done great things: the example I repeatedly bring up is the GPL (though that is not the only example). I am a huge proponent of human rights and children’s rights specifically. For my morals, what Stallman pushes crosses a line which disqualifies him as ever being someone I could see as a being a “great” person. He is a horrible person in my view – though one that has done great things.

    The fact that a person does great things makes him a great person.
    Remember Charles Ramsey, the guy who helped save those three kidnapped girls in Cleveland? Apparently, he was also a wife beater:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/cleveland-hero-charles-ramsey-criminal-report-article-1.1339043
    Is he a hero, a villain , or both?

    We can argue semantics, but I think it is safe to assume we both agree on these two points:

    The creation of the GPL and the pushing of it to be used as much as it is throughout the open source world is a wonderful thing that has changed the world for the better.
    The pushing of uncensored porn, including child porn, into schools is a repulsive and inexcusable thing.

    Now both of these things are being done by the same person, though, clearly, he focuses more on the top point than the second. Is he good or evil? I think we can say he (like all people) has both in him. I admire Stallman for point 1… I find him repulsive based on point 2.

    Roy claims I am an Apple shill: for what it is worth, I think Steve Jobs could be a massive jerk and grossly immoral and even perhaps delusional – and like Stallman he sought the limelight, but this does not put him in the same class as people such as Stallman who push for such abuse on children. I cannot condone that nor forgive him for that, especially without him denouncing the comments he has placed on his own website.

    I haven’t seen his comments on child porn, and thus, I don’t know if he was actually advocating raping children, saying that watching children get molested is a good thing, or simply extending non-censorship to the grossly sick extreme of child porn, without saying that child porn is a good thing.

    He is very clear that he is against the creation of child porn if a real child is being used in the production and is not willing. He believes, though, that once porn is made available it is harmful to keep school students ignorant of it in any way. Here are some of the quotes from Stallman:

    I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children.

    When making pornography involves real abuse of real children, those who distribute it under a business relationship with the abusers arguably participate in the abuse. They could be prosecuted for doing so. However, that does not excuse censorship. No matter how disgusting published works might be, censorship is more disgusting.

    If people are seriously concerned not to let children have sex in making porn films, they could use the approach that has succesfully eliminated cruelty to animals in films. You have seen the statements certifying that "no animals were harmed in making this film." There could be a similar certification that "no minors had sex or were nude with adults in making this film."

    When making pornography involves real abuse of real children, those who distribute it under a business relationship with the abusers arguably participate in the abuse. They could be prosecuted for doing so. However, that does not excuse censorship. No matter how disgusting published works might be, censorship is more disgusting.

    Internet filtering in schools blocks access to educational materials. While that article focuses on blockage of the educational materials that prudes would admit, porn is also very important for education. Blocking adolescents’ access to porn, or keeping them ignorant of sex in any way, is likely to stunt their emotional growth and make them vulnerable to mistakes that can hurt them badly.

    Each of those can be found on Stallman’s own site, and there are many more such quotes from him.

    While the last is indeed a horrid thing because it inexcusably insults those kids by ignoring their agony (and, having been a victim of child molestation myself, I am *painfully* aware of both types of agony!), it is light years less awful than the middle, which, in turn, is significantly less evil than the first.

    To be clear, Stallman does say that he is against child porn if it involves "real abuse of real children". He has said it is fine if it is not involving an actual child (say CGI or a young adult playing the part of a child). His idea that censoring such material is harmful to school students, though, is something I find completely inexcusable. There is never a time when uncensored porn is acceptable in a public school, and preventing students from seeing such material does not keep them ignorant nor cause harm. Such material is about fantasy and not education.

    Assuming your report is accurate, if like the FSF, action proceeds from advocacy, then I know of a super-max to which he can retire. If our justice system doesn’t make him pay, rest assured that God will. However, he does deserve credit because his free software has made our lives better.
    Am I making sense?

    Absolutely. I would even add that assuming he has not acted on his views and actually harmed children the way he promotes as acceptable and even beneficial I would not want to see his actions adjudicated. He has a right to his views – even ones which are harmful, repulsive, and dangerous. Still, I think the open source community would be wise to not only ignore his comments on this topic (which is what is generally done) but to actively denounce his views. One can do so and still show respect for the GPL and his role in the creation of it. Nothing about his views on porn, schools, or the lack of censorship makes the GPL any less of a great thing that has changed the world for the better. Nothing can take that away.

  13. sjdanderson said,

    May 19, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Gravatar

    Michael wrote:

    But to jump to the conclusion that these people in the corporations are all evil because the people who run the corporations have as *a* goal the earning of money is not rational. Sadly it is a view I see all too often in the open source world (though it is hardly universal!)

    Exactly!

    I would submit that this is a BIG reason why FLOSS hasn’t taken more hold than it has.

    Some years ago, Clement Lefebvre, the leader of the Linux Mint community, invited those of us who think that the Israelis deserve to live to neither use nor contribute to his product[See http://abriefhistory.org/?p=774. I have accepted that invitation, and continue to this day, in spite of his withdrawal of that invitation under pressure from more reasonable types [See http://abriefhistory.org/?p=776.

    I suspect that most businesspeople would view patronizing those whose attitude toward the business world resembles that of “Occupy Wall Street” [See https://www.adbusters.org/magazine/100/fight-against-capitalism.html with the same distaste that I have for Mr. Lefebvre’s anti-Semitism.

    And, I suspect, for the same reason: Nobody but the mentally unbalanced wants to PAY to commit suicide!

    Michael Reply:

    I had no clue about such views tied to Mint. Makes me want to not use it. Seriously… wow. I am floored.

  14. sjdanderson said,

    May 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Gravatar

    Aleve Sicofante writes:

    The evilness doesn’t come from the fact that money is the goal, but from circumstances (basically fierce market competition) that may force decision makers to become evil in order to succeed. You must be very naive if you think a corporation can succeed (i.e. make money) without using immoral tactics, since your competitors will be using them and you simply won’t be able to compete unless you do the same. In other words, there’s no such thing as a “long term decent corporation”. Decency is not part of the rules. Law and decency are two different things and sometimes even contradictory.

    You obviously have no real knowledge of how business work in a free economy. You claim that everybody acts immorally toward their customers and employees, causing even decent people to act immorally. This is bogus. All it takes to bust this immoral “conspiracy” up is just ONE person willing to act decently.

    There is the accusation of businesses paying women only 59 cents for every $1 that men with the same qualification make for the same work. If it were true, I could become a hero, both to the politically correct crowd and the business community by the simply act of firing every male employee I have, and replacing them with females for, say, 65 cents on the dollar. The influx of high-quality females wanting more money, coupled with higher profits from reduced costs would make me a billionaire!

    However, the REAL truth is that we’re NOT dealing with either the same qualifications–or even the same work.

    If customers weren’t happy with businesses’ products, they wouldn’t buy them, and if employees hating the pay and/or working conditions they would quit. In a free economy, there are alternatives–it’s that simple.

    As I said before, shareholders will ask CEOs to do whatever is allowed by law (for instance, outsourcing jobs to sweatshops in countries with no practical labor legislation like Bangladesh, or to “suicide camps” like Foxconn, strongarming smaller builders to install your OS, bribing customers and governments to not buy from your competitor AMD, etc., etc., etc.) in order to make money. And CEOs have very little choice, if any. That’s the way the game is played. It’s irrational, yes, but not precisely on my side.

    Not only irrational, but untrue.

    Several years ago, when I was a graduate assistant, I was approached by other officers in my grad assistant union requesting participation in a boycott of multinational firms on similar grounds you give in your comments. I demurred.

    The following is the gist of my reasons why:

    If multi-national corporations only offered “sweatshops,” we wouldn’t see dozens–if not hundreds–of applicants for every open position.

    While it is true that Bangladeshi girls work in what by developed, Western standards would be sweatshops, it is NOT true that, absent those multi-nationals, they’d be making American-style pay in American-style working conditions! The alternative, rather, is being sold into slavery or starvation.

    I cannot get too excited with people dying of cancer caused by pollution, or of heart attacks from overwork at age 60, when the alternative is dying of AIDS from the sexual slavery or by starvation at age 18!

    Aleve Sicofante Reply:

    You claim that everybody acts immorally toward their customers and employees, causing even decent people to act immorally.

    No I don’t. I “may have no real knowledge of how business work in a free economy”, but you simply can’t read.

  15. sjdanderson said,

    May 19, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Gravatar

    Michaels says to others:

    On your comments about me being naive about corporations behaving in immoral ways, I have made it clear I am aware that they often do. So your point there is also not based on evidence. But I think we can safely say that Costco and Trader Joe’s, both of which are very successful corporations, are not acting in the way WalMart does. And even then I would not say any of them are pure good or pure evil. The world is not that black and white.
    As a side note: if you are looking for me to defend the laws that promote the use of (basically) slave labor and absurd tax evasion, or to defend unfettered capitalism, you are looking in the wrong direction.

    You won’t find me defending slave labour or crony capitalism either.

    I will, however, defend the unjustly accused–including businesspeople.

    Despite appearances to the politically correct, when a company pays a 10-year-old Thai girl a fraction of American minimum wage, it is NOT treating them like slaves–not when that wage empowers her–and her family–to upgrade from a one-room hut to a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in her native land.

    Michael Reply:

    I do not think we should expect companies to hold up to US standards when using labor in such countries, but I think we should hold them to a higher standard than we do. The fact that their are worse things that can be happening to these people does not excuse treating them poorly.

  16. sjdanderson said,

    May 19, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Gravatar

    Aleve Sicofante writes

    Of course corporations have goals and supercede those of their creators or managers. What’s definitely irrational is saying they have the same abilities as rocks.

    But those same corporations will not have goals that contradict the values of the bulk of the shareholders and managers.

    Chick-Fil-A, for example, refuses to open for business on Sunday. This is an example where the Christian values that induce them to obey the Divine command to give employees at least the Sabbath Day overrides the object of making money–at least on that day.

    Another example is J.W. Marriott’s Mormon values causing him to treat both consumer and staff well, even though mistreating either or both might bring short-term gain.

    As Stephen Covey of “Seven Habits” fame, and Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute point out, the “Win-Win” scenario is the only sound long-term policy for businesses.

    Michael Reply:

    Some truth to that, but there is also truth that it is a fiction that the workers and the corporations make deals on equal grounds.

    I think my beliefs fit between yours and Aleve’s.

  17. sjdanderson said,

    May 19, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Gravatar

    Michael wrote:

    It is a very important point to make for those who insist MS has secret deals which prevent what we directly see. Anyone who believes that this is true is showing an extreme bias.

    Yeah. It is that bias that I think really hurts Linux.

    Don’t leftist open source fans have anything better to do than to quixotically tilt at the non-existent windmills of alleged corporate evil?

    Michael Reply:

    The extremists in the open source world make a lot of noise… and make the rest of us look bad. I am very pro-open source, but if you look at the way the Linux Advocates in the Usenet group speak of me you would think I am anti-Linux, anti-choice, and all sorts of other fictions they push simply because I do not buy into their herd-like mentality. It is amazing to watch.

  18. sjdanderson said,

    May 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Gravatar

    Michael says about Richard Stallman:

    He is very clear that he is against the creation of child porn if a real child is being used in the production and is not willing. He believes, though, that once porn is made available it is harmful to keep school students ignorant of it in any way. Here are some of the quotes from Stallman:

    I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children.

    When making pornography involves real abuse of real children, those who distribute it under a business relationship with the abusers arguably participate in the abuse. They could be prosecuted for doing so. However, that does not excuse censorship. No matter how disgusting published works might be, censorship is more disgusting.

    If people are seriously concerned not to let children have sex in making porn films, they could use the approach that has successfully eliminated cruelty to animals in films. You have seen the statements certifying that “no animals were harmed in making this film” There could be a similar certification that “no minors had sex or were nude with adults in making this film.”

    When making pornography involves real abuse of real children, those who distribute it under a business relationship with the abusers arguably participate in the abuse. They could be prosecuted for doing so. However, that does not excuse censorship. No matter how disgusting published works might be, censorship is more disgusting.

    Internet filtering in schools blocks access to educational materials. While that article focuses on blockage of the educational materials that prudes would admit, porn is also very important for education. Blocking adolescents’ access to porn, or keeping them ignorant of sex in any way, is likely to stunt their emotional growth and make them vulnerable to mistakes that can hurt them badly.

    Each of those can be found on Stallman’s own site, and there are many more such quotes from him.

    While I am relived that Stallman isn’t as evil as I felt led to believe, his rejection of censorship goes WAY too far–to the point where it almost undermines his efforts at the FSF.

    Stallman isn’t the only one who foolishly endangered his own main cause. The NRA did this after the Sandy Hook massacre, but, fortunately (I share their pro-2nd Amendment view), the corrected course and concentrated on providing ideas that were designed to help their opponents achieve their stated goals without violating their principles.

    We can learn from that! ;)

    Michael Reply:

    While I am relived that Stallman isn’t as evil as I felt led to believe, his rejection of censorship goes WAY too far–to the point where it almost undermines his efforts at the FSF.

    Agreed. It makes the FSF, the GPL, and the open source ecosystem itself look bad in that people in the community ignore this side of him and do not openly reject it.

    Stallman isn’t the only one who foolishly endangered his own main cause. The NRA did this after the Sandy Hook massacre, but, fortunately (I share their pro-2nd Amendment view), the corrected course and concentrated on providing ideas that were designed to help their opponents achieve their stated goals without violating their principles.

    I tend to lean to the left but do not understand many of the liberals views on gun rights. I can see the point to background checks, but given how it will not be long until people will be able to print their own guns from 3D printers and a few pieces of metal you can easily get at any hardware store even that will become largely useless.

  19. sjdanderson said,

    May 19, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Gravatar

    Michael says:

    I had no clue about such views tied to Mint. Makes me want to not use it. Seriously… wow. I am floored.

    Yeah; me too! :(

    I can understand, maybe, why people might feel strongly against MS and Ubuntu, though, I am unconvinced that their views of both parties’ wrongs are as severe as Mr. Lefebvre’s.

    I wonder, though, if Mr. Lefebvre is aware of how much US and Israeli Jews contribute to FLOSS….

    Maybe he’ll repent. ;)

    Michael Reply:

    I can understand people not wanting to use products based on the philosophy or actions of the people making the product. I do not get the extreme bias against Apple and MS and the extreme bias for Google and Samsung that is expressed on this site.

    With that said, I continue to give Roy *major* kudos for allowing people to express such opinions on his site. That shows a level of character not always seen by people running sites.

  20. sjdanderson said,

    May 19, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Gravatar

    Aleve Sicofante’s comment:

    I find your position overly simplistic (there’s a load of literature about it and for good reason), but since this is not the question, I’ll leave it here.

    Funny; I get the same reaction when I read your (and Iozz’) attack on all corporations as evil.
    ;)

    The questions are, “Is Microsoft evil?” and “If so, does the fact that somebody worked there mean that everywhere he goes, he spreads that evil?”

    The answer to both is, “No!”

  21. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Gravatar

    Michael comments:

    Some truth to that, but there is also truth that it is a fiction that the workers and the corporations make deals on equal grounds.

    The good news is that the grounds don’t have to be equal. All that’s needed is for both to be better off, and the exchange to be voluntary.

    It may not be optimal to outsiders, but if they choose to intervene when everybody’s better off, everybody tends to be WORSE off–even those whom outsiders try to help.
    :(

    When the US government increased minimum wage to $7.25 per hour, many smaller companies were induced to furlough unskilled workers whose labour was worth less than that. Businesses were worse off because they’re denied labour that USED to be profitable, and the workers lost because 40 hours at $5.15 per hour is MUCH better than zero dollars at $7.25 per hour.

    As Oliver Wendell Holmes put it, Be careful when you lift something up; you may pull something else down further!

    Michael Reply:

    I think we are getting pretty far off topic here. Just leave it as we disagree on how we see the “balance of power” there. I see it more as those who have power are in a position to accumulate even more and can do so better than those who are not in power.

    Granted, we have seen things improve, overall, but much of that improvement came from collective bargaining and regulations. We saw at least a possible consequence of reduced regulation and oversight in Texas recently (though it cannot be proved it was a 1:1 correlation, of course). Still, I believe there is a good place for regulation and oversight and rules to balance the system – and accept that those rules will never be perfect.

  22. Aleve Sicofante said,

    May 20, 2013 at 1:45 am

    Gravatar

    Michael’s Comment:

    His idea that censoring such material is harmful to school students, though, is something I find completely inexcusable. There is never a time when uncensored porn is acceptable in a public school, and preventing students from seeing such material does not keep them ignorant nor cause harm. Such material is about fantasy and not education.

    You forgot the customary “In My Humble Opinion”. Despite your last sentence making no sense (fortunately, there’s a lot of fantasy going at schools; literature is precisely about that…), you think your opinion on children and sex is so clear and absolute, that any other opinion is “inexcusable”, unimaginable, pure abomination, probably. Well, I agree with Stalman on this.

    In Europe (in Spain, in particular) we laugh out loud at the problems people have in your movies regarding sex (problems I’ve seen in real life when meeting Americans in my trips across the Ocean, of course). Really, you guys live in a sexually obsessed society. My little nephews and nieces got tired of watching porn on the net before their parents even noticed. Do I think that’s fine? Sure, as long as they a) Know it’s precisely fantasy and 2) Understand porn movies don’t depict ordinary human sexual relationships, like gangster movies don’t depict ordinary families lives (in other words: life isn’t full of guns the same it isn’t full of sex). I, their parents and other adults in the family, have been happy to explain these things to the kids. Not in a serious ceremony with all the grand family gathered together solemnly, no, but just in many casual conversations. Those usually involve drugs too, since the public school can only repeat the idiotic “drugs are bad”, “say no”, etc.

    Regarding the recurring theme of Mint’s Lefebre “antisemitism”, here we have another common America-vs-Europe topic. For most of us here, History goes like this: Israel, a new invented country, was planted in the Middle East by the UN in 1948. That involved removing other people from their land, obviously. Who? Well, the ones who lived there at the time and we call today the Palestinians. To make a long story short: bad idea. (I’m pretty sure pro-Israeli people have a different History in mind, and of course I know it’s a lot more complex than that, but bear with me.) There we had two parties bound to be enemies from day one. Since then, one party, Israel, has had all the support from the US -biggest military force on Earth-, while the other party, Palestine, has had basically no support. Israel is essentially a huge US Base in the region, an oil fertile region… Guess who’s the underdog for most European public opinion. Guess who’s the bully. Guess who deserves home made missiles against high-tech ones. Guess who has a 100 to 1 ratio in casualties at every battle. Guess who people here sympathizes with.

    That’s it. There’s no antisemitism whatsoever. There’s no religion involved when judging an obviously unbalanced situation. It’s just a cup of compassion for the little one and a cup of outrage for the big one. Lefebre’s is just a gesture. I know many don’t understand it, especially in America, and I definitely don’t want to start a discussion on the issue. I’m just trying to make you understand Lefebre is not antisemitic or pro-”terrorist”. My personal position is pretty similar to Lefebre’s, but I understand other people, who may get information from other sources or even have personal affairs involved, may feel otherwise.

    Michael Reply:

    You can call being against direct child abuse as merely a “humble opinion”, but I stand by it and will stand up against anyone, even someone who has done great things as Stallman has, when they advocate for it.

    As far as your comments on porn: you speak of it as “fantasy” and not as being harmful to block it from kids… and you speak of it in private homes and not public schools.

    Let’s take Stallman’s views and see what happens if we follow them: a child is raped and, perhaps, the attackers are adjudicated in the legal system. But the video is “out there”. Uncensored. In public schools. In the very school that this child goes to. Now this child is being victimized over and over and over all in the name of some insane ideas of what it means to be “free”. It is completely unacceptable and grotesque and unacceptable. There can be no excuse for this. Even without that extreme, Stallman advocates putting kids in the position to be subjected to images of porn of all sorts in what is *supposed* to be a safe environment. He advocates for a form of child abuse. Again, no amount of pointing fingers at the US and its sometimes over-stated concerns with sexuality can excuse this. None.

    Michael Reply:

    You forgot the customary “In My Humble Opinion”. Despite your last sentence making no sense (fortunately, there’s a lot of fantasy going at schools; literature is precisely about that…), you think your opinion on children and sex is so clear and absolute, that any other opinion is “inexcusable”, unimaginable, pure abomination, probably. Well, I agree with Stalman on this.

    OK, I rarely post links here, but someone shared this with me on FaceBook today (good timing)… and I figured it might help you to understand just some of the problems with supporting Stallman’s views on this issue: http://www.sexpertslounge.com/2013/05/20/porn-vs-reality
    The reality is Stallman supports a form of sexual abuse (not necessarily physical sexual abuse, though he is unclear on some forms of that, but psychological abuse). Abusing children is never OK. Advocating for putting children in abusive situations is never OK. This is more than "my humble opinion", this is basic morality.

  23. Aleve Sicofante said,

    May 20, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Gravatar

    sjdanderson, the neocon, said:

    You won’t find me defending slave labour or crony capitalism either.

    I will, however, defend the unjustly accused–including businesspeople.

    Despite appearances to the politically correct, when a company pays a 10-year-old Thai girl a fraction of American minimum wage, it is NOT treating them like slaves–not when that wage empowers her–and her family–to upgrade from a one-room hut to a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in her native land.

    Hahahahah. That’s a good one. In one line you’re abhorring slave labour and “crony capitalism” and the next second you’re just explaining how to do it. That must be a world record in cynicism or idiocy. So you think it’s even remotely right that a 10 year old Thai girl WORKS for the products you buy? Why not your own 10 year old daughter or your friend’s daughters?

    When the US government increased minimum wage to $7.25 per hour, many smaller companies were induced to furlough unskilled workers whose labour was worth less than that. Businesses were worse off because they’re denied labour that USED to be profitable, and the workers lost because 40 hours at $5.15 per hour is MUCH better than zero dollars at $7.25 per hour.

    You know what’s even better? Paying $0.15 per hour or even less, but who’s going to work for that??? Mmmmhhh, let’s see…. Eureka!!!! Bangladesh is full of girls who know how to sew. We can put them in old buildings and if those aren’t tall enough, will add a few stories higher, no matter the foundation of the building. Now these girls are so happy because we pay them barely enough to eat that not even when the building was about to crumble, they disobeyed their bosses, and entered the building only to die in a number around 500 a few minutes later.

    You sir, are describing today’s slavery at the same time you pretend to abhor it. That has a clear definition in the dictionary: hypocrisy. Stop it. You’re disgusting.

  24. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Gravatar

    Michael comments:

    The extremists in the open source world make a lot of noise… and make the rest of us look bad. I am very pro-open source, but if you look at the way the Linux Advocates in the Usenet group speak of me you would think I am anti-Linux, anti-choice, and all sorts of other fictions they push simply because I do not buy into their herd-like mentality. It is amazing to watch.

    Very much.

    Wait until the name-calling begins. Then it gets REALLY fun!

    Michael Reply:

    Oh, take a look at comp.os.linux.advocacy, the name calling is extreme.

    Right now there is someone running around calling me a “psychopath” because I do not accept his view that there was a video shown in 1990 on a government owned network which showed explosives being planted in the Twin Towers as it was made in 1969. You see, in his mind all copies of the video have been removed from libraries and there are no known copies of this video existing from any VCR collection or at any TV station that showed it. More than that, somehow all references to this video have been removed from the copies of TV Guides from the year (he gave the name of the show – but it was never listed or discussed in the TV Guide). This is just the tip of the iceberg. But because I will not accept his claims I am a “psychopath” in his mind.

    It is amusing to watch. :)

  25. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Gravatar

    Michael says:

    I tend to lean to the left but do not understand many of the liberals views on gun rights. I can see the point to background checks, but given how it will not be long until people will be able to print their own guns from 3D printers and a few pieces of metal you can easily get at any hardware store even that will become largely useless.

    I tend to lean libertarian myself, yet I cannot understand why my fellows are so keen on legalizing drugs–especially at this stage. I can see it now: We legalise drugs and we STILL won’t have most of our rights. We just won’t give a hoot.
    ;)

    More seriously, since the BAD guys are finding it ever easier to get guns, the solution is to get similar guns to enough GOOD guys that the bad ones will think twice before starting something….
    ;)

    Getting back on topic, freedom is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Even an “evil” company like Microsoft can’t mess it up!
    ;)

    Michael Reply:

    Let’s take the right to bear arms to an extreme and allow everyone to have dirty bombs, nukes, weaponized anthrax, etc. After all, what could go wrong? :)

  26. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Gravatar

    Aleve Sicofante rants:

    No I don’t. I “may have no real knowledge of how business work in a free economy”, but you simply can’t read.

    Really? You didn’t say, on 17 May 2013 at 10:07 pm, in your third point: “Corporations are evil. All of them”?

    I copied it right from the web page. If it is inaccurate, I apologise for relying on it. In that case, maybe we can rely on Dr. Schestowitz to fix the problem….

    Aleve Sicofante Reply:

    You definitely can’t read, and by your other replies, I can see you have the logical abilities of a mouse, so I think I’m leaving the conversation here. It’s not about the topic, anyway.

    Have a nice day.

  27. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Gravatar

    Aleve Sicofante says:

    Regarding the recurring theme of Mint’s Lefebre “antisemitism”, here we have another common America-vs-Europe topic. For most of us here, History goes like this: Israel, a new invented country, was planted in the Middle East by the UN in 1948. That involved removing other people from their land, obviously. Who? Well, the ones who lived there at the time and we call today the Palestinians. To make a long story short: bad idea. (I’m pretty sure pro-Israeli people have a different History in mind, and of course I know it’s a lot more complex than that, but bear with me.)

    Indeed we do. By your reasoning, in the early 16th century, the Moors would have been right to take back the Iberian Peninsula from the usurping Spaniards, because they were “removed” by those usurpers.

    That “problem” has, of course, “festered” over the last half-millennium.

    Before you ask, the comparison DOES hold: Even though most Jews were scattered elsewhere, the Jews have been a presence in that part of the Middle East since the third millennium BCE.

    In truth, though, I see no more reason for the Jews to give up Israel to the “Palestinians” than for you Spaniards to return your homeland to the Moors.

    Here’s a question before we get too deep in a flamewar: “Do you believe that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is authentic?”

  28. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Gravatar

    Aleve Sicofante resorts to name-calling:

    sjdanderson, the neocon, said:

    I’ll give you an A for effort, since the intent is obviously there.

    However, the execution is somewhat lacking. Even though I’m not a neocon, I’m not insulted by the term.

    Do you even know what a neocon is?

    In one line you’re abhorring slave labour and “crony capitalism” and the next second you’re just explaining how to do it. That must be a world record in cynicism or idiocy.

    Or it could be a misunderstanding on your part of what slave labour and crony capitalism are.

    I know that, as a Spaniard, English is NOT a first language, so I try to be precise regarding my choice of words, and the meaning I wish to convey.

    Still, your command of English is superior to mine of Spanish. I only learned Latin, German, and French in high school, and I learned Russian and Turkish while in the US Army (the former at the Defense Language Institute in California).

    You DO know that slave labour is where a “master” forces an innocent to perform involuntary work of servitude–usually at little or no pay, don’t you?

    And you do know that crony capitalism is where government and business have “sweetheart deals,” like when government lends large amounts of money at artificially low interest rates, or when government gives subsidies to business so they can sell products at less than what it costs to produce them (I’m thinking of YOU Solyndra and General Motors!)–don’t you?

    So you think it’s even remotely right that a 10 year old Thai girl WORKS for the products you buy?

    Actually, she works to receive money in exchange for making products that I buy.

    Yes, when she exchanges her labour for the pay she gets–usually MUCH higher than the prevailing wage for ALL workers in her country, it is not only remotely right, it is spot on right!

    You know what’s even better? Paying $0.15 per hour or even less, but who’s going to work for that??? Mmmmhhh, let’s see…. Eureka!!!! Bangladesh is full of girls who know how to sew.

    That is true, and they will be RIGHT to want to work for 15 cents per hour–if the nation’s prevailing wage is eight cents per hour, or less than one dollar per twelve-hour work day.

    Let’s say that I’m a 10-year-old Bangladeshi girl, and I have a choice between working for Yankee Imperialism, Inc. for ten hours a day, six days per week at fifteen cents per hour, or I can work twelve hours per day, seven days per week at the Socialist Cooperative of Bangladesh for eight cents per hour. Ignoring taxes, the Yanks will give me a weekly paycheck of $9.00 while the SCB will pay only $6.72 each week

    Let’s see, do I remain in the socialist paradise for $6.72, or should I get exploited by the Yankees for $9? Decisions, decisions…..
    ;)

    We can put them in old buildings and if those aren’t tall enough, will add a few stories higher, no matter the foundation of the building. Now these girls are so happy because we pay them barely enough to eat that not even when the building was about to crumble, they disobeyed their bosses, and entered the building only to die in a number around 500 a few minutes later.

    I have a number of issues with the scenario you describe. Did you say that the bosses tell the girls NOT to go into the crumbling building? If so, that strikes me as a responsible thing to do.

    But if you’re telling me that the bosses ordered them to go into the building, then you’re right; the company–and its management should be (and in a free economy, would be, not only in the host nation, but in the “homeland,” as well) liable for all deaths and injuries.

    Sadly, this has happened before, in Dhopal, India. Union Carbide not only had to indemnify the injured and the next-of-kin of the deceased through the Indian court system, they had to do it again through the US court system.

    That was as it should be. As bad as Union Carbide’s policies were, let’s compare it to how the management of Chernobyl dealt with their accident at about the same time. Chernobyl, of course, wasn’t owned by an “evil” US multinational, but by the “sainted” government. Total indemnification: zero.

    You sir, are describing today’s slavery at the same time you pretend to abhor it. That has a clear definition in the dictionary: hypocrisy. Stop it. You’re disgusting.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! I was told that conversations about Linux often devolves into flamewars. :D

    I would suggest that, before you viciously attack somebody, get your facts straight. That way, you won’t expose yourself as an unthinking, hate-filled lunatic.
    ;)

  29. lozz said,

    May 20, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Gravatar

    One of the reasons that Corporations are evil and love slave labour is that they are investor-driven rather than consumer-driven.

    About 25 years ago, Australia de-regulated the banks. The banks, which were customer-driven up to that point, began to amalgamate into large corporations that attracted lots of investment interest.

    The management of these banks, suddenly had to keep their investors happy by showing big profits. The easiest way to do that was to lay off large numbers of their tellers, so that they paid less wages and made bigger profits.

    The investors loved it and voted for management to get massive increases in their salaries.

    The customers hated it. Where they previously ducked into their banks and got served almost instantly, they now had to wait in long lines for a couple of over-worked tellers to finally get around to serving them.

    The investors couldn’t care less. Share prices were going up and they were happy with the management’s performance.

    Where mistakes had previously been almost unknown, they now became common. If a bank underpaid customers, nothing was said if they didn’t notice and the customers had to fight them to get it back if they did. If a bank overpaid them and they spent money they didn’t realise they had, the bank would blame them and promptly prosecute them, because they should have ‘known’ they didn’t have that much money.

    They closed many branches deemed unprofitable and customers had to drive further and further just to get to a bank.

    The common bank customers began to desert the big banks in droves for community-based financial institutions called building societies, where they could get some service they could trust. The big banks were quite satisfied because they could concentrate on their truly big profit earning customers.

    The investors didn’t care. So long as those profits kept rolling in, they were happy and paid management bigger salaries to keep things that way.

    This is a feature of every corporation.

    Ballmer’s investors don’t care about security problems in Windows which cost money to fix. They just want big profits and the river of gold to continue.

    Ballmer will continue to out-source to third-world countries with cheap labour and even go grubbing in America’s privatised prisons for slave labour to give his investors exactly what they want. His customers are just a bunch of ‘marks’ that supply the loot to keep the whole scheme rolling.

  30. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Gravatar

    Iozz says:

    One of the reasons that Corporations are evil and love slave labour is that they are investor-driven rather than consumer-driven.

    Actually, you haven’t proven they love slave labour.

    Those who’ve done the research know that slave labour is VERY bad for business. There is a reason why the free-soil north ran economic circles around the slave-state south.
    ;)

    About 25 years ago, Australia de-regulated the banks. The banks, which were customer-driven up to that point, began to amalgamate into large corporations that attracted lots of investment interest.

    Not everything that is called “deregulation” is that in fact. For example, what the State of California called “deregulating the utility industry” was in fact an *increase* in regulation, because the State set prices to a level below what it cost power companies to produce. The result was a series of “rolling brownouts” denying power except to the “important people.”

    Further, during what President Obama called “a lack of regulation” in the financial industry, US businesses had to hire legions of lawyers and accountants to fill out the paperwork required by the Sarbanes Oxley and other laws–and their attendant regulations–which came to pass over the previous decade or so.

    I understand that Australia’s “deregulation” was similar in nature.

    Ballmer’s investors don’t care about security problems in Windows which cost money to fix. They just want big profits and the river of gold to continue.

    To be fair to you, there is some truths in this claim. However, this isn’t quite accurate, either.

    Have you considered that the very desire for “big profits and the river of gold” *forces* investors to care?

    If I had a computer with an OS that simply did not work, I would ditch that OS and get another one–possibly the computer, too. There are more than 300 alternatives to the OS–and dozens of computer brands.

    The average consumer is not stupid. I suspect that he or she would be no more willing to stick to a product that isn’t worth what was paid any more than I would.

    A case in point is Internet Explorer. Microsoft got sloppy in maintaining its quality, and within a year of start-up, Mozilla Firefox took 25% of the market away from Microsoft.

    Linux has done similar things to Microsoft Windows over the last few years–but to a lesser degree. There is a reason that Red Hat’s revenues are in the billions of dollars, and SuSE’s and Canonical’s are in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

    There is a saying in the business world: Satisfy the customer or the market will punish you.

    While nobody is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, it seems clear that Microsoft, Apple, and Linux’ big three (for grins and giggles, I’ll include Google ;) ) all do a pretty good job of satisfying their customers.

    Ballmer will continue to out-source to third-world countries with cheap labour

    You have a problem with hiring people in developing countries, because…? Don’t they have a right to sell to people in rich nations, too?

    Look, if a Bangladeshi girl who produces $1.00 in value per hour is propelled to the “1%” in her home country by getting paid $.15 per hour, then it seems that hiring her makes perfect sense–and seems to me to be a GOOD thing–for employer, worker and consumer.

    But if she only produces ten cents of value per hour then it makes no sense to employ her.

    Why damn businesspeople for buying products with the best quality at the lowest prices? We consumers do it all the time.
    ;)

    More seriously, most US businesses don’t outsource just because labour is cheap. In fact, in many cases labour is cheap because there isn’t enough capital for labour to be more productive. Rather, businesses “outsource” more because increasing regulation is making getting US labour and other inputs too expensive.

    Have you seen a copy of the Code of Federal Regulations, recently? It is so large, that it would fill the library of a small city. Even the Federal Register, which document just the changes in the CFR, takes up literally YARDS of shelf space. By the way, the volume of regulations have doubled over the last five years.

    His customers are just a bunch of ‘marks’ that supply the loot to keep the whole scheme rolling.

    Consumers are NOT stupid–and assuming otherwise is a big, costly mistake!

  31. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Gravatar

    Michael says:

    I continue to give Roy *major* kudos for allowing people to express such opinions on his site. That shows a level of character not always seen by people running sites.

    Roy seems smart enough to realize that passionate comments tend to bring about hits, which can be a good thing. ;)

    Michael Reply:

    Yeah, but he is still not willing to have a “round 2″ with me on his podcast after I fact-checked both his claims and mine. Mine were *mostly* correct (though I found some errors, largely I underestimated how much better the then-current PCLOS had gotten from my previous look at it – and I am darned glad I was wrong!). Roy’s comments were about as far off the mark as you could be – just out and out denying that problems I had documented with images and videos had existed. Once I did that he took back his offer to have me on his podcast again and refuses to respond to any of my comments – and sometimes bad-mouths me in his IRC channel (though admittedly I have not seen him do that in a long time).

    I would love to be on his podcast again and discuss Linux and open source topics with him. He likes to think of me as anti-Linux and against open source… and ignorant of it. So fine… have me on, stack the deck with some questions he think will embarrass me, and then we can have fact-checking of both of our comments and claims. Would be fun and good for ratings. :)

  32. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Gravatar

    Michael says:

    I believe there is a good place for regulation and oversight and rules to balance the system – and accept that those rules will never be perfect.

    To which I must raise the question, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” “Who watches the watchers?”

    I would submit that, for the most part, a firm’s customers and competitors do a pretty good job of overseeing that firm. Note that I said, “for the most part”–there are people who are jerks, and we all act like jerks at one time or another. In those cases, outside pressure may be needed.

    If I buy a Toshiba Windows box from Wal-Mart, and something goes wrong, the odds are high that I could contact either Toshiba, Wal-Mart, or Microsoft, or all of them–locally or their HQ–and that problem would be fixed to my satisfaction–quickly. I know this because I have bought many items from all three firms, and my experience with each has been good.

    On the other hand, I have had many experiences with the US government that went sour, which required me to ask members of Congress or other high government officials for help in resolving them. I think I can honestly say that not many of them have been resolved to my satisfaction, and, without those contacts, even that record would be worse.

    Am I making sense?

    Michael Reply:

    I believe there is a good place for regulation and oversight and rules to balance the system – and accept that those rules will never be perfect.

    To which I must raise the question, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” “Who watches the watchers?”

    You try to keep the system as open as you can but by the very nature of governments there will be secrets and they will be abused. Still, it is better than putting all the power into the hands of the corporations and the top 1% which control the majority of the resources of the world. Of course, given their power they end up controlling the "watchers" far too much… we need a way to balance that.

    I would submit that, for the most part, a firm’s customers and competitors do a pretty good job of overseeing that firm. Note that I said, “for the most part”–there are people who are jerks, and we all act like jerks at one time or another. In those cases, outside pressure may be needed.

    This is simply not true. If it was we would not have the wealthiest corporations paying almost no taxes and being able to pollute and pushing their own goals to the detriment of the population. Look at the industrial revolution when there were fewer regulations. Look at Texas recently and the plant that blew up in the face of no inspections (not that I am suggesting inspections and regulations stop all such things – they do not). Look at our food supply – even with regulations it has become quite bad… better regulations would make it better and improve health. Look at health care itself – the current situation is based on people getting insurance from their job which ties them to their jobs… or having to find insurance on their own, which can be pretty much impossible if you have per-existing conditions. Not all regulations make sense… not all social safety net programs make sense – but we are far better off with them than without.

    If I buy a Toshiba Windows box from Wal-Mart, and something goes wrong, the odds are high that I could contact either Toshiba, Wal-Mart, or Microsoft, or all of them–locally or their HQ–and that problem would be fixed to my satisfaction–quickly. I know this because I have bought many items from all three firms, and my experience with each has been good.

    WalMart does have an excellent return policy. But they also have horrible pay… to the point where many of their workers are dependent on social safety nets. This means that you and I help to subsidize WalMart. This is insane. If they paid their workers reasonable amounts – if they were made to do so by regulations – then you and I would not be subsidizing a multi billion dollar company in the way that we do. Also, if you look at the tech industry their customer satisfaction ratings tend to be quite low… with Apple leading the pack and most others being far behind.

    On the other hand, I have had many experiences with the US government that went sour, which required me to ask members of Congress or other high government officials for help in resolving them. I think I can honestly say that not many of them have been resolved to my satisfaction, and, without those contacts, even that record would be worse.

    I have had problems with government agencies and corporations. Heck, just last week spend *hours* on the phone with Tracfone and they still ended up ripping me off badly. I am looking for another low-price option, but it is not as if it is only governments are incompetent.

    Am I making sense?

    Yes… which does not imply I agree. :)

  33. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Gravatar

    Michael’s comment:

    Oh, take a look at comp.os.linux.advocacy, the name calling is extreme.

    Right now there is someone running around calling me a “psychopath” because I do not accept his view that there was a video shown in 1990 on a government owned network which showed explosives being planted in the Twin Towers as it was made in 1969. You see, in his mind all copies of the video have been removed from libraries and there are no known copies of this video existing from any VCR collection or at any TV station that showed it. More than that, somehow all references to this video have been removed from the copies of TV Guides from the year (he gave the name of the show – but it was never listed or discussed in the TV Guide). This is just the tip of the iceberg. But because I will not accept his claims I am a “psychopath” in his mind.

    It is amusing to watch. :)

    You remind me of an experience I had:

    Some years ago, when I was a finance professor, a construction worker approached me to ask for advice on where to invest his money. Specifically, he wanted to know which stocks he had heard about that I thought were hot. When I told him he was better off investing in an S&P 500 Index fund to minimize risk and get a decent return. He became upset, telling me that I didn’t know finance.

    I just shrugged and let him gamble away his money. Every so often afterward, I would needle him about his gambling habit. ;)

    As Martin Luther said about Satan, the best way to beat him is to laugh at him….
    ;)

  34. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Gravatar

    Michael says:

    Let’s take the right to bear arms to an extreme and allow everyone to have dirty bombs, nukes, weaponized anthrax, etc. After all, what could go wrong? :)

    Well, not everybody! ;)

    While I have issues with both President Bush fils and President Obama, I think they’re trustworthy enough to not abuse NBC weapons. Iran’s leader Ahmadinejad, not so much! ;)

    More seriously, it’s legal to own an Uzi (a REAL assault weapon!) in Tel Aviv–yet the crime rate is lower than in similar-sized American cities like Boston.

    And, to bring the topic back, the reason I trust Ballmer and Hill and Shuttleworth isn’t that they’re supersaints (they’re no better than normal people, but they’re no worse either!), but that consumers are smart enough to make the market punish them–severely–if they were to produce too-shoddy products at too-high prices. In the last few years, I’ve witnessed the market do just that–often.

    Do I make sense?

    Michael Reply:

    You do make sense. And, yes, if products are not good enough they will not sell. It is interesting to see how desktop Linux does not “sell” well, even with a price of zip. But that is a different topic.

    So the market works there – or at least largely does. But this just involves products and price. It excludes: how they treat their workers, how they treat their business partners, how they gain and abuse monopoly power, how they damage the environment, how they abuse human rights, how they accumulate wealth in disreputable ways, how they take risks with the public paying for their mistakes (banking and auto industries, for example), etc. It also excludes doing research that is hard to quantify the benefits and risks of – such as pushing our technology to get man to Mars and back. Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks a lot about that latter point. The government funding man going to the moon pushed technology and helped the country in many ways. We have lost our way with that.

    Those are things the market simply does not handle well. For those things I have no problem with the government stepping in to push regulations, oversight, and even direct funding. Now I am not naive enough to think the government will always (or even generally) do this well. But it will do it better than *nothing* doing this.

    One challenge with the US system, which is also a benefit, is no one person or group gets their way. So by design we end up with systems which are inefficient, poorly put together, filled with gaps and overlaps, etc. I would like to see people put their minds together to find solutions to those problems without putting too much power into the hands of the few. But no solution is going to be perfect here – there is a trade-off with the balance of powers and efficiency, and I do not want to lose the balance of power we have. Heck, given how much power corporations have in the government I want to see more of a balance.

  35. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Gravatar

    Aleve Sicofante huffs and puffs:

    You definitely can’t read, and by your other replies, I can see you have the logical abilities of a mouse, so I think I’m leaving the conversation here. It’s not about the topic, anyway.

    Have a nice day.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! HOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO! HEEHEEHEEHEEHEEHEEHEE!

    (Drying tears of laughter from eyes)

    This is HILARIOUS! A person who doesn’t know the meaning of phrases like “slave labour” or “crony capitalism” telling me that I cannot read.

    Has a “kettle and pot” quality about it, no? ;)

  36. sjdanderson said,

    May 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Gravatar

    Michael says:

    I would love to be on his podcast again and discuss Linux and open source topics with him. He likes to think of me as anti-Linux and against open source… and ignorant of it. So fine… have me on, stack the deck with some questions he think will embarrass me, and then we can have fact-checking of both of our comments and claims. Would be fun and good for ratings. :)

    So thought Piers Morgan when he had young conservative columnist Ben Shapiro on his show to debate gun control. It turned out that Shapiro is a Harvard-trained lawyer with a doctorate who spent a lot of time studying Morgan’s views, arguments and tactics, and practicing how to counter them.

    Setting up an ambush, only to have your target thoroughly kick your backside, does not help ratings! ;)

    Michael Reply:

    I do not claim to study Roy’s “tactics” that well or be an expert in most areas of open source. I do have some areas of expertise or at least pretty high knowledge where I can back my views with peer reviewed studies, internal studies I have done in corporations and schools districts, opinions of experts in the field, etc.

    So, yes, I think that is a part of why Roy does not want to have me back. In the first podcast he was polite but when he and I got into disagreements, for the most part his claims were simply not accurate. And perhaps just as bad, from his perspective, I was happy to fact check and point out where *I* had been wrong as well – and encouraged he and others to do their own fact checking (no fair just having me fact check myself).

    Still, I think it would be fun. And Roy and Goblin disagree on things… so it is not as if it would ruin his show to have me disagree. It might cause him problems if he went too much on the offensive and tried to “ambush” me.

    If you have not heard my time on his show, here it is (from this site, so I think it is OK to link to): http://techrights.org/2011/07/24/gnu-linux-macosx-by-michael-glasser-roy-schestowitz-and-goblin-on-techbytes OR http://techrights.org/?p=51511

    Had not noticed he claimed it was “GNU/Linux Versus Mac OS X”. An interesting description of the show. :)

  37. sjdanderson said,

    May 21, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Gravatar

    Michael says:

    You try to keep the system as open as you can but by the very nature of governments there will be secrets and they will be abused. Still, it is better than putting all the power into the hands of the corporations and the top 1% which control the majority of the resources of the world.

    Actually, in the USA, the number is less than 40%–closer to 1/3 than to a majority.

    Of course, given their power they end up controlling the “watchers” far too much… we need a way to balance that.

    Your understanding of the capture theory is just a little off. More below.

    I am a whole lot less frightened of Ballmer and Hill and Shuttleworth and Buffett and Murdoch and all the other “1%”–put together–than I am of ONE IRS agent or federal regulator.

    If I don’t like Steve Ballmer, I can be like Iozz and patronize Microsoft’s competitors and not use one item produced by that company; in effect, telling Mr. Ballmer to go to Hades, and there is not one thing he can do to me. If I were to only buy, say, System 76′s Ubuntu boxes, no power on earth can force me to purchase and/or install Windows 8 or MS Office 2013.

    That goes for all the other “one percenters”–separately or together.

    On the other hand, if I run afoul of an IRS agent or federal regulator, I can have my property taken, I can have my freedom taken by being confined to jail–possibly indefinitely, and, if push comes to shove, I can have my life taken. All together, the 1% have NONE of these powers–and nothing even remotely approaching these powers.

    Regarding the “capture theory,” if government has the power to micro-manage everything you do (thus imposing very high costs) it make sense to expend some resources to induce regulators to “give you a pass” while enforcing the rules on your competitors. A successful capture reduces your costs–especially relative to competitors, providing you with an artificial–and unfair advantage.

    In fact, regulations themselves favour big business over small business. A big firm can afford to hire their own bureaucrats to do nothing but push the paperwork to keep the government ones happy. A small firm cannot.

    Thus, big firms have advantages they just would not have under a smaller government.

    If it was we would not have the wealthiest corporations paying almost no taxes and being able to pollute and pushing their own goals to the detriment of the population.

    Ironically, this is because of intervention–NOT a lack of it. Government intervenes to ostensibly prevent firms from riding roughshod over people, then turns a blind eye when favoured firms do it.

    The Obama administration hasn’t even acknowledged, let alone prosecuted (as the law requires) the firms whose wind mills killed the eagles. If the eagles were killed by, say, industrial fans owned by a Tea Party group….

    WalMart does have an excellent return policy. But they also have horrible pay… to the point where many of their workers are dependent on social safety nets. This means that you and I help to subsidize WalMart. This is insane. If they paid their workers reasonable amounts – if they were made to do so by regulations – then you and I would not be subsidizing a multi billion dollar company in the way that we do.

    Um, this is not quite an accurate picture. Many of the Wal-Mart workers “dependent on social safety nets” are retirees collecting social security, and NOT single mothers with infants collecting AFDC and food stamps.

    Forcing Wal-Mart (or any company) to pay more than people’s labour is worth is, sadly, NOT likely to reduce the social safety nets.

    I used to help administer a social safety net run by my Church. Never was the answer to force employers–not even Church members–to pay more than the labour was worth. Rather, we reduced the welfare burden by helping others better manage the assets they had on hand, and to take action to make themselves more productive.

    Michael Reply:

    You try to keep the system as open as you can but by the very nature of governments there will be secrets and they will be abused. Still, it is better than putting all the power into the hands of the corporations and the top 1% which control the majority of the resources of the world.

    Actually, in the USA, the number is less than 40%–closer to 1/3 than to a majority.

    Of course, given their power they end up controlling the “watchers” far too much… we need a way to balance that.

    Your understanding of the capture theory is just a little off. More below.

    I am a whole lot less frightened of Ballmer and Hill and Shuttleworth and Buffett and Murdoch and all the other “1%”–put together–than I am of ONE IRS agent or federal regulator.

    If I don’t like Steve Ballmer, I can be like Iozz and patronize Microsoft’s competitors and not use one item produced by that company; in effect, telling Mr. Ballmer to go to Hades, and there is not one thing he can do to me. If I were to only buy, say, System 76′s Ubuntu boxes, no power on earth can force me to purchase and/or install Windows 8 or MS Office 2013.

    That goes for all the other “one percenters”–separately or together.

    On the other hand, if I run afoul of an IRS agent or federal regulator, I can have my property taken, I can have my freedom taken by being confined to jail–possibly indefinitely, and, if push comes to shove, I can have my life taken. All together, the 1% have NONE of these powers–and nothing even remotely approaching these powers.

    Regarding the “capture theory,” if government has the power to micro-manage everything you do (thus imposing very high costs) it make sense to expend some resources to induce regulators to “give you a pass” while enforcing the rules on your competitors. A successful capture reduces your costs–especially relative to competitors, providing you with an artificial–and unfair advantage.

    In fact, regulations themselves favour big business over small business. A big firm can afford to hire their own bureaucrats to do nothing but push the paperwork to keep the government ones happy. A small firm cannot.

    Thus, big firms have advantages they just would not have under a smaller government.

    If it was we would not have the wealthiest corporations paying almost no taxes and being able to pollute and pushing their own goals to the detriment of the population.

    Ironically, this is because of intervention–NOT a lack of it. Government intervenes to ostensibly prevent firms from riding roughshod over people, then turns a blind eye when favoured firms do it.

    The Obama administration hasn’t even acknowledged, let alone prosecuted (as the law requires) the firms whose wind mills killed the eagles. If the eagles were killed by, say, industrial fans owned by a Tea Party group….

    WalMart does have an excellent return policy. But they also have horrible pay… to the point where many of their workers are dependent on social safety nets. This means that you and I help to subsidize WalMart. This is insane. If they paid their workers reasonable amounts – if they were made to do so by regulations – then you and I would not be subsidizing a multi billion dollar company in the way that we do.

    Um, this is not quite an accurate picture. Many of the Wal-Mart workers “dependent on social safety nets” are retirees collecting social security, and NOT single mothers with infants collecting AFDC and food stamps.

    Forcing Wal-Mart (or any company) to pay more than people’s labour is worth is, sadly, NOT likely to reduce the social safety nets.

    I used to help administer a social safety net run by my Church. Never was the answer to force employers–not even Church members–to pay more than the labour was worth. Rather, we reduced the welfare burden by helping others better manage the assets they had on hand, and to take action to make themselves more productive.

  38. sjdanderson said,

    May 21, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Gravatar

    Michael wrote:

    Those are things the market simply does not handle well. For those things I have no problem with the government stepping in to push regulations, oversight, and even direct funding. Now I am not naive enough to think the government will always (or even generally) do this well. But it will do it better than *nothing* doing this.

    I tend to agree–in theory.

    I suspect, though, the need for government intervention occurs far less often than many of us think! ;)

    One challenge with the US system, which is also a benefit, is no one person or group gets their way. So by design we end up with systems which are inefficient, poorly put together, filled with gaps and overlaps, etc. I would like to see people put their minds together to find solutions to those problems without putting too much power into the hands of the few. But no solution is going to be perfect here – there is a trade-off with the balance of powers and efficiency, and I do not want to lose the balance of power we have. Heck, given how much power corporations have in the government I want to see more of a balance.

    Government has HUGE powers, so it makes sense to try to co-opt it.

    Even with the fudge factor of Disney owning–and being the government of–many towns in central Florida, if they hate me, they have no power to do anything to me–as long as I stay off their property.

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