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09.26.20

‘Appeal to Novelty’ as a Lever for Proprietary Software Monopolies, Bloat (Planned Obsolescence) and More Surveillance

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 3:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Appeal to Novelty Fallacy: Why New Isn’t Necessarily Better
From “The Appeal to Novelty Fallacy: Why New Isn’t Necessarily Better” (pattern now used by Microsoft to push Linux into GitHub, i.e. Microsoft)

Summary: Novelty is generally fine, but in many cases products are developed iteratively (not cumulatively) not to advance society or to objectively improve services, only to increase control over people (because emergent ‘freemium’-like business models nowadays revolve around addiction and subjugation, e.g. ‘brain-farming’ and manipulation of minds)

THE general population typically seeks popularity (how it’s measured depends on a person’s environment, but to many the yardstick is nowadays “number of Facebook ‘friends’ and ‘likes’ etc.”); nobody wants to “stay behind” and advertising constantly attempts to compel people to get rid of “old things”, then buy “new things” (the “smart” stuff, the cutting-edge nonsense with all the latest patents). We see this in “5G” and increasingly in listening+tracking devices often referred to as ‘smartphones’ (because they’re largely for intelligence and sometimes they can also be used as phones).

Shaming tactics are incredibly effective, especially within large and indoctrinated groups (peer pressure), when the target is a career-climbing insecure person with social aspirations (class).

“We see this in “5G” and increasingly in listening+tracking devices often referred to as ‘smartphones’ (because they’re largely for intelligence and sometimes they can also be used as phones).”More people need to learn to say “no!”

“No” to whatever corporations trot out the door and are unable to actually justify (more e-waste, more expenditures and newer patents that artificially inflate prices — not to be conflated with worth).

This extends well beyond software freedom; environmentalists too, for instance, ought to talk about it. There are people out there who replace their “old” car with something brand new every now and then (even if the functional aspect of the “old” car is totally fine) because many people in workplaces or extended families judge one’s “success” by the vehicles that get one around. Yes, vehicles. Plural. Because to ‘prove’ one’s high status the garage may turn into somewhat of a wardrobe, with different kinds of “rides” for all sorts of “occasions”.

“Shaming tactics are incredibly effective, especially within large and indoctrinated groups (peer pressure), when the target is a career-climbing insecure person with social aspirations (class).”At the moment, accelerated a great deal by COVID-19, the “war on cash” goes up a notch. People who use “dumb” payments are stigmatised as dirty and primitive (or not “smart”, hence “dumb”). They’re presumed to be incapable of opening a bank account or having an “app” and they’re ridiculed as “conspiracy theorists” if they speak about their privacy. Last month we were turned away for demanding or insisting on payments using cash (for merely ordering a meal) on at least 3 occasions; they’re all smug about it, treating customers like lepers if those customers do not wish to be identified.

Digital 'smart' payments... Because the above is always the alternative?

The story regarding “war on cash” is a bit of a cautionary tale; it’s part of a broader trend and the goal is to get everybody “in line” (whose line? Sheep line up for the slaughter, too). In the case of software, we’ve come across conceited corporate players who refer to systemd-rejecting geeks as “neckbeards” (it’s a vulgar slur and a gross generalisation); as if a simple system that can be studied comprehensively (and isn’t developed on Microsoft servers) is for hairy hermits who refuse to shave (or cannot afford a razor) and likely live in the distant past… maybe in their ageing mother’s basement. Actually, UNIX was a more modern alternative to monolithic and hard-to-maintain systems which came before it. Those older systems became dying systems (never used anywhere anymore). We recently published a video about that. So as it turns out, according to more recent history, this sort of ‘novel’ system like Windows/NT, basically a ripoff of other systems, is nowadays becoming obsolete itself. We’re going back to UNIX, except this time it’s free (as in freedom) and it’s GNU/POSIX.

“People who choose to reject so-called ‘novelty’ aren’t backwards or foolish; it’s perfectly possible that they have legitimate concerns about the direction in which things go, mainly to benefit authoritarian governments and corporations (giving them vast powers) at the expense of the general population.”It’s perfectly possible that systemd — like Windows/NT — will be deprecated (Google still rejects it, but we don’t call Google “neckbeards”, do we?) and when people realise tyrannical ‘benefits’ of digital payments (surveillance of all transactions/interactions) they will reintroduce physical bartering systems (digital currencies/payments can be made anonymous, e.g. GNU Taler). Newer is not always better; bloat is never better; obsolescence of the old has all the burden on those looking to rationalise it. People who choose to reject so-called ‘novelty’ aren’t backwards or foolish; it’s perfectly possible that they have legitimate concerns about the direction in which things go, mainly to benefit authoritarian governments and corporations (giving them vast powers) at the expense of the general population. Such people should expect to be mocked by corporate media, controlled if not wholly owned by those same governments and corporations looking to increase their breadth of control.

Don’t always be shamed into being “novel” or easily become “smart”.

Are you being pressured to put a “smart” meter inside the home (one’s house, private space)? Things to say to energy suppliers/representatives who push those “smart” meters: 1) you only need 30 seconds in my house a few times a year, not 24/7. Send a person to get a reading. 2) what’s so smart about those anyway? Who controls them? 3) sign my contract, as I will not sign yours. $1000 fine for each privacy violation, $10,000 fine for a security breach.

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