2199 posts • joined Monday 31st May 2010 16:59 GMT
Sendmail module on webmin has "M4 configuration." Use that, then have it build your .mc. I have been using it for >5 years, works like a hot damn.
@eulampios There is no “selective judgment of the Linux flaws.” I praised Linux as well as criticized it. I use it as well as Windows. I have a long history of discussing the benefits and flaws of all platforms; you seem incapable of making the distinction. I believe that you have succumbed to brand-image tribalism, and that it is distorting your perception of reality.
Here is a list of all the roles and features available in Windows Core. They may not be role or features you would use, but when you haughtily try to compare your bare-bones install of Linux to Server Core you are being intellectually dishonest. As mentioned above, the install size for Windows Core includes an entire local repository required to install every single feature and role on that list. These are not merely “cut down” versions of those features, either…they are the full versions; the best Microsoft can bring to bear.
Microsoft hasn’t released for the public a “Debian squeeze”- size version of Windows – though builds do exist – however Server Core is a certainly a mid-range option. It has a lot of the shiny ripped out to optimise performance and lower attack surface. More to the point; Server 2012 does it better than Server 2008 R2 did; Microsoft has learned, and they are adapting fast.
Dell doesn’t have a Windows compensation plan because their margins are already razor thin. If you want to scream at Dell, please learn the economics of Tier 1 PCs first. Dell put together a PC and include an operating system then sell it to you below their cost. That might not make sense to you, but it is true. Where they are making their money per unit – what brings the PC out of the red and gives them those few precious points of margin – are the add-on applications like Anti virus trials or the Office 2010 trial.
These applications only run on Windows. So what is Dells’ choice here? They can sell you the same hardware for more money - at which point people who don’t understand the economics of Tier 1 consumer PCs start screaming – or they can simply choose not to offer them at all.
They can’t ship you a PC without an OS, because then they would be taking a loss on that PC. (Because they can’t ship you pre-installed trail versions of the software that is actually providing them revenue!)
So they spend the ~$35 to put Windows on the computer (that’s all that Dell pays per Windows license,) and add trial software that they receive ~$300 for.
That’s why this Ultrabook is such an interesting play; Dell is actually subsidising Linux on the desktop by doing this. They will lose money on every unit sold. But they are doing it anyways.
There is no giant conspiracy excepting in your own mind, sirrah. There is simply the crappy reality of economics. There are no frakking margins in selling hardware whatsoever. Dell’s requirement to maintain an American workforce (for government contracts, etc.) means that they can’t simply work a bunch of Chinese people to death and live off 1% margins. They need 3-4% per system of they are done.
So Dell takes the deal with the unsavoury software companies and installs the trial versions. In exchange we get support staff who almost know what they are doing and speak a language we can almost comprehend, with a slightly higher chance of not having worked some child to death in a labour pit full of toxic chemicals.
For that, you have to put up with a computer that ships with Windows. Which you can uninstall. The alternative – which is unpalatable to consumers everywhere – is paying $30 or $40 more per system.
The “free market” decided. You decided. Your choices shape the decisions of companies like Dell...and their competitors.
@eulampios Careful now, your bias and intellectual dishonesty is showing. Windows Core does a hell of a lot more than Debian squeeze. Yet you insist on comparing them, why? Windows Core's more direct comparison is CentOS 6 without X installed. The install size and default RAM requirements, just by the by, are nearly identical in that situation. Also note that Windows Core - like all Windows since Vista - is an image based installer. It installs an image of a default instal that contains its complete package repository. So all that you need to add any of the features included with the OS is copied to the disk at that time, not pulled from a remote repository.
It is of interest to me that you can't make technical distinctions like this.
Furthering my concern regarding your bias is that you brush aside valid concerns regarding the state of Linux’s desktop readiness with a thinly veiled conspiracy theory. Let me try to spell something out for you here: the problem with Linux on Tier 1 hardware is the chicken and the egg.
Linux takes more money to prototype and eventually support in a desktop environment due to limited hardware support. (All of us “pretentious” people demanding things like graphics cards that work well enough to play games or run multimedia without artifacts.) The costs on this won’t go down until more Tier 1 OEMs offer Linux on their devices, thus having a vested financial interest in bringing requisite pressure to bear on device manufacturers to provide proper support.
Without pressure from Tier 1s, device manufacturers have no reason to provide support, so there is crappy driver support which in turn means that Tier 1s don’t want to ship Linux.
Compare this to Microsoft where Microsoft itself is the size of two or three Tier 1 players on its own. Here Microsoft can lean on manufacturers right alongside the Tier 1 OEMs. There are thus good reasons to ship Microsoft on your hardware.
No conspiracies are required here; shipping Microsoft instead of Linux is a sound financial decision.
So for this reason I will support Dell’s Linux Ultrabook. This is Dell taking a risk. They are inserting themselves into this chicken-and-egg cycle here. They will not make money on this Ultrabook and they know it…but they are doing it anyways. They are giving open source a chance here by attempting to create a market that can eventually bring the kind of pressure to bear on manufacturers that the Microsoft ecosystem to exert.
Dell’s move here might well be one of the only chances that open source gets this decade for a real, honest to god chance at becoming something real in the desktop space.
And you – with your well demonstrated pro-open source, anti-Microsoft bias – want to piss on that olive branch? Out of what…some offence taken at actions a decade ago that you mistakenly believe indicate back room collusion must still be occurring today?
Maybe my Linux complaints are pretentious. Oh well, so be it. When I pay money for something, it had damned well better deliver. Whether that be hardware or software.
Unlike some, I don’t seek out “free, as in beer.” I do have a philosophical soft spot for “free, as in speech,” however I prefer “actually works” to both. When I encounter an open source project that I end up using, I typically find a way to donate money to it.
With RHEL, this is straightforward: I pay for support. Other projects – such as CentOS or Apache – require me to hunt a donation button. On occasion, I even run into someone who outright refuses to let me donate (the Notepad++ guy springs to mind.) In general however, I believe that a man’s labours deserve to be rewarded. I don’t like to owe anything to anyone; legally or morally.
By the same token, I expect anyone working on anything to have pride in their work. I expect every person who undertakes a task – from flipping burgers to writing a kernel – to give it the absolute best they possibly can. If and when I encounter professional apathy I take my custom elsewhere.
Is demanding commitment and quality pretentious? I suppose only the reader can answer that. I can honestly say that I try very hard to meet the same standards I set for other people. When I slack off, I am typically quite unhappy with myself and end up feeling guilty enough to kick my own ass back into working hard.
So this colours how I approach computer selection. Be it software or hardware, I expect whatever I am putting on my systems to work and work well. For the most part, Linux does. But Linux is certainly not perfect. There are flaws and there are areas that need improvement.
Some of these areas are things that open source developers can do nothing about; they rely on vendors to pull their socks up and do the right thing. While these issues may not be the “fault” of the open source community, failure of vendors to work with the open source community does in fact diminish the value of Linux (and similar projects) when trying to create a workable, production-ready environment.
Similarly, there are issues within the open source community itself. Communications issues, personality conflicts, jihads about every which little thing. These issues come to a head in the weirdest ways. An upstream developer outright refusing to make a minor change for philosophical reasons, the result of which is that their package has to either be maintained by a third party in order to make it into certain distributions or that it simply never does.
Security updates can lag behind for these sorts of reasons too, as can bugfixes. How many times have I had to completely reinstall an anti-spam VM with a newer distro because bloody ClamAV and Fedora/Ubuntu/RHEL couldn’t get whatever communications issue they have solved enough to get the latest ClamAV versions into the repo? For the record: this happens about once every 8 months.
Criticising the open source community – and the vendor community – for failing to work together isn’t blasphemy. It isn’t an attack on you, personally, your beliefs or some sort of failure in my critical thinking capability.
There are flaws in Linux. There are flaws in Windows. There are flaws in every flavour of Unix, VMS, OSX and any other operating system, application, business process, economic model, political philosophy and so forth that you care to name.
To allow yourself to become so completely wedded to anything – corporation, operating system, philosophy, political ideology – that you take every criticism as a personal slight is to limit your own thinking and ability to objectively consider alternatives.
I believe it is morally, ethically, philosophically and economically wrong to alter our expectations regarding software and hardware to suit what is available. I far prefer the model where we as consumers, systems administrators and business owners continually hold the products we purchase and the projects we support to ever higher standards.
This – in my opinion – is what drives innovation. Voting with out wallets is one tool; providing support in terms of manpower, knowledge or otherwise is another. Continually pushing barriers and never being satisfied with “good enough” is how we get “better.”
You make comments about how a “comparable” windows setup needs more resources than a Linux one. I call utter bullshit on that. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but in the past ten years, Microsoft got this “ambition” thing down pat. Windows 7 can kick some serious ass, even on low-spec machines.
If you want to go even lower spec, there’s Windows core for servers, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone for ARM. Believe it or not, these systems pack quite a punch, even on systems I wouldn’t have thought it possible for them to operate on.
Feature for feature, I honestly believe that Windows can match Linux for performance. It is only with a great deal of intellectual dishonesty (comparing a stripped down Linux GUI with zero bells and whistles to a full-fat, all-the-shiny-on Windows GUI, for example) that you can really make Linux come out ahead.
I can make Windows 7 (classic mode) about as responsive on my crappy single core P4 1Gig as XFCE in CentOS6. Then again, I’ve got 15 years as a Windows admin, and at least 10 working with Linux. I know what I’m doing in both arenas.
Despite this, standing up and saying “hey, you know what, you’re wrong about Windows” doesn’t make me a Windows fanboy. My posting history – in the comments as well as my articles, my personal website and my twitter account – will verify that.
I’m an agnostic; I care about the best tool for the job, period.
So I maintain: sometimes that’s Linux…but just as often not. Windows owns the desktop for a reason, though Linux is slowly getting better.
Dell being willing to support an Ultrabook shipping Linux is huge. It could mean that we will finally see the kind of pressure we need brought to bear against vendors to finally bring Linux the rest of the way towards a true competitor with Microsoft on the desktop.
Apple is in the mix too; what works for Apple should more-or-less work for Linux, and Valve’s nice Steam-for-Ubuntu announcement brings yet another 800lb gorilla into the fight. (Indeed, I am of the opinion that the Valve console rumours will end up being a Steam-for-Ubuntu box on a fixed set of hardware…but that is probably just wishful thinking on my part.)
The point is: an open source philosophy and happy thoughts aren’t enough to make Linux truly competitive on the desktop. Slapping recalcitrant vendors around with a trout is periodically required. In the history of Linux as an operating system, “the community” has had precious few victories in this regard. Now, with Google, Apple, Dell and Valve having vested interests in Linux/Unix drivers, we might finally see the kind of hardware support that “pretentious” folk like me demand of our systems.
At that point, a prominent presence on the desktop becomes a very real possibility.
I don't think you hold your operating system choices to much of a standard. "2D is good enough?" No. A properly set up system will deliver me 200fps on my games, even when running in WINE.
You talk a lot about how much "better" Linux is than Windows, but at the same time simply pooh-pooh any desire I have to actually utilise the performance of my hardware as irrelevant.
If all you are looking for is a flat, basic, 2D environment that can run a command line…then Linux will do that on just about any hardware. I’m sorry to tell you however that this isn’t good enough. This isn’t “working.’
My phone provides superior performance to that.
A desktop needs to be able to do everything I throw at it. Compile code, run 3D simulations, play games, remote into other computers, run virtual machines, run peripherals, browse the internet, play multimedia, serve as a communications center, teleconference with people around the world, operate a colour calibratable monitor using DDC/CI, and so very much more.
Bare bones basic functionality is fine…for a child’s toy. Any desktop I use – or deliver to a customer – is going to be able to make full use of its hardware. In the Linux world that pretty universally means not relying on the drivers built into the kernel.
If all you want is a palm pilot, grand. I need me a proper smartphone. If all you want is Windows 3.1-era tech, grand. I want colour calibrated real-time 3D with blinding FPS and 10.2 smell-o-vision in sensesurround. Anything less than the ability to use every single feature of the hardware I purchase is a failure of the installed software.
So I'm not a "fan" of any software. Or any development houses. I'm not emotionally attached to any operating system, application or programming philosophy. I use whatever works and works best. What helps me get the most productivity for the least amount of money, effort and support hours.
Sometimes that is Linux, but just as often…it’s not.
Re: Ultrabook with Ubuntu and Steam for Linux?
Why wouldn't I persist? Windows XP/2003 wasn't much better, stats-wise. How much time did we spend back then finding exactly the right driver ToE to work, or for that video game to not crash? We don't think of it like that, because "that's just the way it is." I look at Linux the same way. Most people don't go all the way, get every hardware element to work as its designers intended. I do. It's part of being a sysadmin; it simply comes with the job.
"It passes packets" ian't good enough; I want tcp offloading. "The desktop works in 2D" isn't good enough; I want my games in WINE to be delivering 200fps. "Works" and "works properly" are separate concepts; and the latter is very much hit-or-miss in the Linux world at the moment.
This may be largely due to vendors being douches - isn't it always? - but it still degrades the value of Linux in a desktop role.
Re: Ultrabook with Ubuntu and Steam for Linux?
I've probably installed Ubuntu, Fedora or CentOS on 200 different hardware configurations in the past 3 months. ~95% of them "work," where "work" is defined as "meets the minimum functionality for that device. ~60% of them actually work, where "work" is "utilises the full functionality of a device, such as TCP offloading or full 3d graphics."
~5% of hardware configurations won’t work at all, and require a component swap. Such is my life with Linux; and the diversity of hardware I work with.
Re: Linux = Good idea, Ultrabook = Bad Idea
They do. I have several. My favourite is the Asus Transformer. As I recall, Android is a Linux distribution, and the Asus Transformer very much so runs on an ARM processor.
I get 12 hours of typing into an RDP session while it is using WiFi to connect through my cell phone to the internet. Oh, and it's generally charging said cell phone off the USB port most of that time...
Re: strange hardware
Side note: I also find it funny that I have gotten stupid, autistic, hive-minded and freetard as insults on a number of occasions.
Criticising copyright maximalism
Explaining the science of climate change
Explaining that it actually violates the laws of physics for cell phones to cause cancer
Providing evidence that conclusively disproves vaccines cause autism
Providing a list of evidence to support the argument that publicly funded health care systems are in fact significantly cheaper per citizen while providing higher levels of care when compared to the privatised American model.
I leave the conclusions to be drawn from this as an exercise for the reader.
Re: strange hardware
What does 2D get me? Not the games I want to play! If I was going to use 2D, I might as well stick to Webmin. 2D is never a solution.
As to my articles being mostly about Windows...it's what I use the most! I may use Linux on servers and on my personal desktop, but Microsoft is still the bulk of the deployed ecosystem. I have a few Apple shops; and there may be an Apple article or two in the works. (I haven't decided.)
Writing Linux articles? That's tricky business. I have a lot to say about Linux…but I really just don’t have the inclination to deal with the Linux community. The chest-thumping die-hard Microsoft fans are a hard enough group to stomach. I am both a stupid, autistic, “hive-mind” freetard because I dare criticise Microsoft…and a paid shill because I dare praise them where and when praise is due.
Given that I “write what I know,” (I.E. my experience,) and that Apple is rapidly displacing Microsoft on the desktop (and Linux on the server) and am faced with a conundrum; which group do I tackle next? Make even the smallest mistake – either a technical error, or *gasp* choosing the wrong distro/not compiling from source/use the wrong package manager/whatever and the Linux crowd will discover whether or not my soul does indeed blend.
the other option is to wade into the squirming masses of fanbois and lose all faith in humanity. At least with the Windows die-hards I know exactly what I’m getting. I’ve lived that world for decades; I know how they think, how they troll and how to troll back.
So not writing about Linux; fear? Trepidation, at the very least. If I go start shifting what I write about over towards the Linux work I do…then I really won’t have enough “glowing praise” articles to keep the pengunistas happy. There will be honest criticism; something that – from experience – triggers apoplectic rage.
But just for you, I’ll write one tonight. We shall see.
Microsoft is hiring PR people to spin their bad decisions. What they should be investing in is smart, talented, plugged-in people to help them talk to their customers, from the individual to the HPC datacenter operator and then make good decisions based on that data. Instead, they make decisions aimed solely at "the majority."
Everyone is - at some point - not a member of "the majority," and so by only targeting the highly visible fuzzy blog, you alienate everyone, eventually. By better learning the microcosms of your own customer base; what minorities want, and then building products (and licensing schemes) that can and do cater to multiple niches simultainiously, Microsoft would not need PR of this calibre.
Ah, but what am I saying? I forget that today's mantra is "this is designed for the majority of users participating in the Microsoft spy-on-your-mouse clicks program, so it is scientifically the best possible design!" Anyone who disagrees – or feels that maybe they are in one of those nasty niches – just needs to “get over themselves” and “learn to adapt.”
Everyone doing everything exactly the same thing using exactly the same device in exactly the same manner is the unquenchable, data-driven future! Just don’t dare interpret the data from using a different set of assumptions or biases...that's blasphemy!
Re: Follow the leader
Disagree. HP are trying to be Oracle and IBM simultainiously. HP doesn't seem to want a broad software portfolio; they just want to milk the ever living **** out of it at ridiculous margins, in single-quarter or less turnarounds.
Dell are doing something else altogether. Services are a part, but software is a much bigger part of the future (seemingly) than at HP, and I expect the hardware side to remain bigger than it is at IBM. I think Dell really are setting about making something new here; slightly different than anything that has really been tried before.
To be honest, the more I learn about their plans, the more respect I have for Dell. If they can execute even reasonably well, I think they’ll do fine. They have witnessed the commoditisation of their hardware business, and are branching out.
Good for them; it’s about time.
Re: Ultrabook with Ubuntu and Steam for Linux?
@Chemist: I am aware how much Linux's hardware support has increased over the years. By the same token, I am describing issues I am having right now, today, with hardware varying between 6 years old and brand-new-COTS equipment. This equipment ranges from cheap-as-derp to high-end-server-gear.
I am sorry to have to say it, but in my professional capacity as a systems administrator based on more than a decade's everyday experience with Linux (in many incarnations) there are still significant hardware issues that plague support. You cannot simply buy any old off-the-shelf system and have it work properly. For all the ills and evils of Microsoft's business strategies, hardware support remains superior within the Microsoft ecosystem.
First off, Intel Video Drivers (especially for anything Nahalem or Older) are ass. they are not regular ass, they are as special kind of ass for which an entirely separate wing of hell was created.
nVidia anything is...well...Torvalds said it well. AMD isn't far behind. There are some binaries that work well in some configurations...and in others mysteriously cause X to lock hard, requiring me to drop to command line, INIT 3 and then INIT 5 again.
This is nothing like the stability of Windows 7 on (for example) my Alienware MX18. I haven’t rebooted that thing in about 6 months. Lots of hibernating and suspending, not a single reboot. Still runs my games like a charm.
I’ve had issues with TCP offloading using Broadcom-based NICs, as well as older Intel NICs. This used to be a big issue under Windows 2003, but went away (mostly) on these same cards with Server 2008 R2. For love nor money I can’t get them to behave in CentOS unless I kill all the offloading with fire.
I have issues with Adpatec RAID cards under Linux. Specifically 3805 series cards with the latest firmware. I have had all sorts of problem with Ricoh card readers under both Ubuntu and FC17 and there is a very special place in my heart reserved for the trauma induced by trying to get various flavours of barcode and slip printer to work.
Oh, and I have a whole 5-page unpublished article on the rageface caused by CentOS 5/6 and some Intel Atom board I bought a dozen of. There is some absolutely bizarre bug in the NIC drivers. If you have an add-in-gigabit Ethernet card, then every single device on the same broadcast domain must talk at the same speed, or the NIC freaks out and throttles everything to 1Mbit/sec.
No, I don’t understand it etiher. Yes, this is a switched environment. No, I’m not crazy, this is completely reproducible across multiple pieces of hardware, and verified by four other sysadmins.
If I have a 1Gbit NIC attached to a gigabit switch and there is a 100Mbit –only device on that same switch, this Atom box will suddenly not communicate at anything faster than 1Mbit until you reboot it. That’s with all the offloading turned off, everything. Both NICs on the system (both Intel-based, but different models) will behave this way. Use only one NIC? No problem. Use a Broadcom or Realtek instead of an Intel for the add-on? No problem.
Damned if I know why, but it was frustrating as hell and cost me about a week of my life.
I run into these things all the time with Linux. I used to run into this crap with Windows…but most of that went away around the time Server 2008 R2 started becoming mainstream.
Understand me here; I’m not bashing Linux. I use it all the time. But I have yet to find a distro – any distro – that I can simply install on any random bit of hardware I pick up at the local computer shop and start playing games.
Run a webserver with Webmin, or a nice ridiculous DPI firewall? Usually. (Except for that one NIC bug…)
But “just works” desktop? Linux just isn’t there yet, sorry. Maybe with moves from companies like Dell and this Ultrabook, one day it will be.
Re: Ultrabook with Ubuntu and Steam for Linux?
The honest truth? Support. Specifically driver support for graphics.
Dell releasing an officially supported Linux notebook has a much higher chance of releasing it with a combination of Distro version and hardware that actually has driver support that isn't complete ass. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of dealing with shitty driver support on Linux. (I’m look at you, nVidia, Intel and AMD!) I want the damned thing to “just work.”
Linux does what I need it to do in nearly every case…except for the hardware support. It’s terrible. It’s Vista-right-at-release terrible, and its been that way for ages. Even Apple can’t get these guys to play nice with the graphics drivers, for $deity’s sake!
So I am not going to put myself up against Apple for quality control here. I am not arrogant enough to believe that I am capable of vetting hardware on the level of a corporation worth a significant chunk of Europe. Nor do I have the raw money required to buy prototype models for testing on a regular basis!
Dell however stands a reasonably good chance of being able to work this out. They have experience trying to do the hardware thing for Windows with a diversity of devices that would make Apple weep in terror.
So would I like a Linux device provided to me wrapped in a nice little bow and with driver updates handled by the vendor? You bet your ass!
Look, I’m not into open source because I’m a giant nerd wanting to tinker with Linux’s internals all day long, program some widget, compile packages from source or futz with a config file.
I want to use Linux because Windows 8 is asstastic. Worse, Microsoft’s recent actions have proven to me that they refuse to listen to SME clients and as such I cannot bet my business on them. I want to use Linux because I need to exit the Microsoft ecosystem based on trust issues, not philosophical ones.
But I still want a similar alternative. One where a vendor provides me an OS that simply works; where updates are pre-vetted by the vendor and where common software configurations are well tested.
To be honest, Android is more and more filling this role for me. Apple is also ready for the enterprise. But Android docking stations are rare as hen’s teeth, and they don’t support multiple external displays. Apple is simply too expensive for me to run my business on; we’re still too small yet.
So that leaves me looking for at vendor that will provide me with a Linux notebook, desktop and other such things. I don’t need Microsoft to run my business, nor do I feel I can trust them with my company’s future. But I like a lot of the things that used to be part of the Microsoft ecosystem. I’m hoping that this move by Dell – combined by others such as Steam porting to Ubuntu – are the first steps in building a business-class user endpoint ecosystem surrounding a mainstream Linux distro.
Why won’t I “just install Linux on another notebook?” Because I’m voting with my wallet here. To tell Dell “more of this, please.” To encourage a mainstream vendor to take a risk, to provide me the ecosystem and support that I want to see. I’ll buy this because its there…and I want more like it.
Re: Ultrabook with Ubuntu and Steam for Linux?
I can drive. Frankly, if I am forced to choose between a 12hr (each way) road trip with my wife through some lovely mountains and national parks (oh no!) and buying a Macbook...
...then the gas and wear+tear on my vehicle is totally worth it.
After all, even with the distance travelled to obtain the device, it'll still be cheaper than the Mac. I'm sure the fact that my clients will request I bring back several dozen to cover off their needs will make it a worthwhile trip. Ubuntu is really catching on up here. Maybe if enough of us try to register our shiny new Dell ultrabooks from Canada, Dell will relent and allow us to purchase them (and support them!) here in Canada.
It isn't the perfect solution...but it beats having to use a Mac.
Re: Boilerplate freeculture arguments, I'm afraid
Re: Boilerplate freeculture arguments, I'm afraid
If you want to roll copyright law back to just-post-VCR, and then start increased enforcement, I'd support you. The issue at hand however is more complicated. Copyright enforcement in practice may not catch every infringement online, but it does get many individuals. This includes many innocents are forced to pay a significant chunk of their life's savings to defend themselves when their use of the material was clearly in the bounds of fair use. (Not to mention the practise of copyright trolling; shaking down innocents for money with the mere threat of a copyright case.)
Copyright law allows for harsher punishments, and it doesn't have the limitations it did before. If we allow the kind of omnipresent surveillance required to catch every copyright infringement, we're basically ruining the lives of a significant chunk of our population for a minor civil infringement. The punishments have become so disproportionate, the techniques used in enforcement so inaccurate (high % of innocents) that I simply cannot support enforcement expansion.
And what if we do? Now we monitor everyone all the time - guilty until proven innocent! - for infringement...but society has gotten nothing in return. Copyright holders in this future have power to ruin a man; in return, society sees nothing but the continued diminution of fair use and no new works entering the public domain.
You demand enforcement without any consideration regarding the consequences of that enforcement. Libertarianism for your chosen cause; the burden of externalities upon the rest of society. Your arguments are based off rhetoric and elitism. Intellectual property holders are "special" to you; their needs come before others.
I sense a pattern in your vitriol and ad hominem attacks, Andrew. You consistently rise up in defence of any cause in which there is a call to have an industry begin to pay the cost of something it has externalised for decades. You level claims of catastrophism at those who disagree with you. You question their sanity, their motivations, I have even seen the odd conspiracy theory article.
You have even come very close to saying outright in your last comment that I am incapable of critical thinking because I look at the same data as you, draw some of the same conclusions, but not all. “Your brain doesn’t work right if you don’t agree with me” is a recurring theme.
This is not a good look, Andrew. I have presented you with several arguments that you simply brush aside without addressing, only to assert that I am not addressing your issues because I don’t agree with you.
So let me be explicit here: I am presenting to you a slippery slope argument. A slippery slope argument can be a logical fallacy, but only if a mechanism by which the chain of events is to take place is not provided, nor evidence that this chain of events is likely.
I do thus address your issues. I believe that your concerns are invalid, because were society to follow your suggestions then I firmly believe there would be very negative consequences; ones that society would be nearly powerless to undo. What’s more, I believe there is compelling evidence to prove that these consequences will indeed occur; and a long established history to back it up.
My argument is backed by literally thousands of peer-reviewed papers from the top minds in their field. (Dr. Michael Geist, University of Ottawa being one excellent example.) My argument is based on experimental evidence: we have seen maximalism tried, and failed. On the other hand, societies that reject it are flourishing.
So you are 100% correct in that this entire debate mirrors the debate you engage in over climate change, amongst others. Where other people decry a series of likely consequences to actions, and demand that corporations pay externalities associated with their businesses in an attempt to reduce or eliminate the possibility of those consequences becoming reality, you take up the fight.
Even when the overwhelming bulk of scientific evidence is against you – re: climate change – you can, will and do simply dehumanise your opponents. (Catastrophists! Autistics! People incapable of “proper” thought!)
At the core, the debate – be it climate change or intellectual property – has the exact same fundamental philosophical divergence between us:
I argue that the consequences of any social policy must be thoroughly examined, tested and subjected to expert consensus. In areas where consequences for inaction are disproportionately negative for society at large, regulation should be used to ensure the welfare of the many, preferably whilst avoiding too dramatic an impact on the few. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
You argue that social policy should be as “hands off” as possible; that “the market” should decide. Governments should intervene only when the status quo of an industry is changed; when they can no longer externalise a cost they had traditionally been able to. The moral right of the few outweighs the needs of the many.
We can go around and around here Andrew. At the end of the day, I believe that the social policies you propose will have dire consequences. I believe those consequences are significantly more dire for significantly more people in our society than the extant arrangement.
Simultainiously, I believe that society has not yet reached the optimal balance between the needs of society and the needs of creators. I believe there are a great many changes that need to take place if intellectual property is to serve everyone in society fairly.
Apparently however, the changes I would see implemented – the balance between the needs of the many and those of the few – is anathema to you. You argue only extant implementation, demanding a change-and-see approach with no examination of consequences excepting as they would apply to the group you consider “more equal” than the majority. By considering the many; by examining the consequences of your approach and seeking to minimise them, I am a catastrophist.
If that is your view of me, so be it. I cannot continue to go round with you on this topic; we are diametrically opposed on a fundamental philosophical level. We will continue to disagree vehemently about nearly everything higher level than that.
What has come from this however is the understanding that I simply shouldn’t reply to your articles; our viewpoints are so divergent the conversation can lead to nothing excepting animosity and logic loops.
So cheers sir; we’ll have to find other topics to discuss in the future. Ones where we are less divergent in our views.
P.S.: regarding copyright and international law? International law recognises that it is separate and distinct from traditional property. Thus why - so far - there are time limits on it. Despite the massive push to make it perpetual. So I maintain my position that it is not "property" in the morally perpetual sense that you continually use. It is a temporary monopoly granted to ensure that a creator can see economic reward from something that – ultimately – belongs to society at large. But now we’re back to fundamental philosophical disagreements…and apparently different interpretations of extant law filtered through those philosophies...
Who could tolerate 40 hours of Diablo 3? I just...what...I don't even...
Your prejudices and preconceptions about people and their motivations blind you to the truth evident in simple discourse.
No, I do not believe that I am agitating for change within Microsoft. I suggested that you could do so. If you - as you claim - talk every single day with IT representatives from the world's most powerful companies, then you are in a position to agitate for change should you desire it.
I however am in no such official position. I run a consulting company aimed at small and medium enterprises; the company itself being a small business. Whatever influence I have in this world comes entirely from the influence my words may – or may not – have on my readers here on The Register...and the conversations I have with my friends in the Seattle area when I drive down for inebriation and merriment.
The Register may be English, but I am Canadian; a Canadian who lives within easy driving distance of Redmond and who happens to be more than familiar with the ins and outs of licensing.
In addition to systems administration and writing for The Register, I have extensive experience in project management…some of which has included designing licensing programs alongside my clients; the software some of them provide being industry-essential within their niche, and utterly unique. Some even make quite a bit of money, despite being small businesses with a handful of staff. (Though growing, in most cases.)
In short: you have demonstrated a remarkably deficient understanding of “who I am” and “what I do,” despite this information being readily available. You make assumptions about my motivations, beliefs, philosophies and technical practices based upon nothing more than blatant misinterpretation of printed information and your own cracked view of reality.
I am sorry to inform you but people – myself included – do not always easily conform to the pre-canned formulae which you seem to believe govern human thought. That a person believes one thing – or advocates a thing – does not mean they believe some other thing that you have convinced yourself must inevitably be related.
Of course, there remains the possibility that you are not in fact subject to a fractured conceptualisation of the basic functionality of human dynamics. You could simply be an internet troll, attempting to get a rise out of me in a truly banal and unskilled attempt at trolling.
In that case, I would like to politely request that you bugger off. I have nothing against trolling whatsoever, but please either do a good job or go home. A proper troll should seem credible at first glance, and again at second. They should be nearly impossible to tell from someone who is dead serious.
A troll’s argument should be well structured, logical, backed by a mountain of evidence that is difficult to pick apart…but purposefully built upon a single faulty premise that they then utterly refuse to acknowledge. They should seem completely rational with the exception of that one faulty premise; without a doubt it is the most successfully in driving individuals raised to respect critical thinking completely fucking batshit insane.
The problem here is that I don’t detect anything even resembling critical thinking in your posts. There is nothing other than ad homenim attacks backed by rhetoric and vitriol. Your “arguments” are possessed of innumerable logical fallacies.
In short, your posts aren’t witty or well grounded enough to be part of an amusing trollish back-and-forth, nor are they actually broken enough to be the basis of a flame-of-the-week. Instead, they are merely annoying; resurrecting dead threads so that you can get the last word in a vain attempt to obscure the amount of sheer butthurt you are experiencing over being so utterly, abysmally wrong.
That’s inconsiderate to the other Register readers who have posted in this thread. When they check their “My Topics” page, this damned turkey keeps coming back to the top, with nothing new nor entertaining. Simply butthurt on your behalf.
For my part, I’m calling an end to my participation in the thread. With any luck, you respect your fellow Register readers enough to do the same.
Cheers to you, and many apologies to the other members of this thread. Sorry for resing it this one last time, but the sheer mediocrity of these posts has irritated my inner troll.
A pint for you all.
Well there's the issue then; I've only had to contact Microsoft for support regarding SQL Server twice, and they were acceptibly mediocre about support both times!
Re: "The application suite has been rewritten from the ground up"
Notepad ++, actually. It's brilliant.
Re: "The application suite has been rewritten from the ground up"
Um...duh? But retina displays are the only high-res displays even close to affordable, and they can be operated in "maximum workspace" instead of "retina" mode. I was pretty clear about wanting WORKSPACE not RETINA MARKETING CRAP. The retina Macbooks can provide either...assuming you have telescopic glasses.
What I *want* is a 50 inch display at 4k resolution for sub $1000 so that I can get as much utility out of a Windows-8/Office 2013 setup as I do today with a Windows 7/Office 2003 rig. That, or a suite of Microsoft software designed to MAXIMISE WORKSPACE by MINIMISING THE DAMNED INTERFACE while allowing me to use OVERLAPPING, RESIZEABLE WINDOWS.
If Microsoft are going to subsidise the cost of replacing all my displays with higher resolution ones in order to accommodate their design aesthetic, I'll write a lovely article about how they understand the needs of customers and are combining marketplace product development and acceleration with great design.
But if they expect me to have to pay more to get the same amount of work done, I am NOT going to be singing their praises.
Office 2013/Win 8/etc may one day be a great product…if the hardware ever catches up. Right now, today, they have a product that seems to me less useable than one of its antecedents, and there is zero indication of a shift in consumer electronics pricing and availability required to regain what was lost.
Let’s use a much-hated car analogy. Let’s say you’re the owner of a fleet of commercial vehicles. You’ve been using the Ford Taurus for 15 years, and it has served you well. Your entire business is build on this car, you know the ins and ours.
Ford announces tomorrow that the new Taurus will have limited self-driving capabilities. Hurrah! An upgrade! Unfortunately, it will only run on jet fuel. Ford simultainiously cancels all of its Taurus-like vehicles (so there is nothing like the old Taurus available,) and halts production of spare parts for your existing fleet of vehicles.
I think you’d be pretty pissed. Jet fuel is bloody expensive.
Now, if Ford was also announcing simultainiously that they were opening 50 jet fuel refineries in an effort to increase global supply (and drive prices down to the point where they are near parity with petrol,) then you would be far more inclined to migrate your Taurus fleet to the new jet-fuel pseudo-self-driving ones, but I bet you’d still be irritated you can’t get spare parts for the old ones.
This is Microsoft 2012. The difference is they aren’t out there building me the jet fuel refineries. They aren’t driving down the cost of the hardware to the point that throwing away 15 years of investment and buying newer, sleeker stuff to get the same functionality as before is even remotely palatable.
Fortunately, I have the same option as the Ford Taurus guy would: simply tell Microsoft to go fuck themselves and buy from another vendor.
I never said that you should "spend money only on open source." I said - very narrowly at access - that everything I've ever had to do with it I can do faster and easier with MySQL and PHP. When I need a real database for real things, I use Microsoft SQL.
Just because I advocate open source for particular use cases does not mean I advocate it for all.
What unbelievable prejudice and narrowness of thinking you have. Don't reject a solution simply because you dislike the company or economic model behind the product. Consider all solutions and choose the one which does the job with the best balance of ease-of-use, compatibility, extensibility and price.
Just don't go whinging on the internets because the sweet spot is more and more "not Microsoft." Go agitate for change inside your preferred vendor instead. It is far more helpful.
Re: @Andrew (was: no objections)
I disagree. I've answered the points raised; you simply don't like the answers. The issue is that we have a fundamentally different belief regarding the role of intellectual property in our society.
I do not believe that intellectual property holders have a fundamental moral right to perpetual monopoly over their works. You do. Until that is resolved, none of the rest of this really is relevant.
You claim we need more enforcement. I say we cannot accept more enforcement until we have assurances that we aren't walking to a society of omnipresent powerful enforcement combined with perpetual completely restricted copyright.
You wave the moral right of creators around as a reason to deprive the rest of society of rights (and to push maximalism.) I say that the moral all work belongs to society, and it is our job to ensure creators can earn a living, not milk the works until the end of time.
The fact that piracy can and does occur is not of itself reason enough to justify copyright maximalism. Not pragmatically and not ethically. Nothing you have said changes my mind in this regard.
Yes, I agree that more enforcement of extant regulations is needed. That said, I believe that the copyright maximalists have more than proven they do not have the best interests of society in mind; that enforcement has to come at a price. Their agreement to meet “the needs of the many” in the middle:
more enforcement, in exchange for hard limits on the maximalisation of copyright and the enshrining of technological neutrality regarding fair use.
You can argue “what good are laws that we don’t enforce” all you want. That’s a facetious argument. If the laws are on the books they can be enforced, and eventually…they will. Some enterprising fellow will come up with a way to drive the cost of enforcement down and then exactly what laws are no the books – and what punishments are attached to them – matter a great deal.
I will only ever support increased funding for enforcement if that enforcement is attached to restrictions on intellectual property. Rigidly defined term limits and fair use rights enshrined in laws that cannot be overturned without far more effort than mere lobbying money would ever dislodge. Multiple international treaties, if I had my druthers.
I quite simply do not – and can not, given the extent of my other philosophical beliefs – support the idea that intellectual property holders have a fundamental moral right to control every aspect of their works (and all potential derivatives) until the end of time. Every argument you make that is based on that premise will garner opposition from myself and those like me.
So yes, I have very much so addressed the issues you raised. I simply don’t find them important enough to cast aside the issues I raised. (Which you have dismissed with little more than proclamations of autism and hivemind thinking.) I still believe that both sides of the intellectual property debate raise valid issues that must find a compromise if society is to function in the modern era.
Well, Office 2013 is an interesting hybrid. It's not metro. It's actually a "classic destop application" that is Metro-styled.
So it addresses one of the most important concerns: it allows for multi-windowed multitasking. But the interface still eats way more of the screen than Office 2003, and I can't make ubitmenu work properly on it. For what? Paste preview and cloud sync? (Pretty much the two features I feel it has over Office 2003.)
Heck of a tradeoff...
Re: Why is it..
Some changes are good. Others are bad.
Cloud sync is awesome. The push for using the cloud-based crippled rental app however...
Re: "The application suite has been rewritten from the ground up"
Office 2013 isn't "dire." It's Office, it does the same thing. It has some actually quite nice cloud sync stuff. It has some irritating and intrusive Bing/Internet social media stuff.
What is dire is the interface. That's partly an aesthetic thing, but it is also a pragmatic consideration for those of us who value screen real estate. I'd say "this is the office suite designed for a retina Mac," except that I can't use a retina Mac at it's native res because my eyes won't make out pixels that small from a reasonable distance.
When Retina-class displays start becoming common in 24" and larger screens for less than $500, I will be the first person to jump up and down and say "goddamn, this new interface paradigm is kinda sexy, and that's awesome!"
"Kinda sexy" however is of no use to me whatsoever in a 1920x1200-or-smaller world where I need every single pixel of real estate for multitasking.
There are a whole bunch of extra features here that most of us (Register readers) will simply never care about, one that we might (cloud sync) a push towards Office 365 (which I promise you is more dire than Libre Office) and an interface that, while aesthetically appealing to a certain segment of the population, takes up far too much space on already too-small screens.
The fact that we don’t all have 4K screens isn’t Microsoft’s fault, not at all. But they do have to design for the realities of the world. Not for a happy fairy unicorn future in which we all either only use one application at a time, or we have screens with enough resolution to handle that kind of massive interface bloat.
I just want to type a damned document. I don’t care if the borders are white, grey, faded, or contain a social media update from twitter.
It’s just a word document.
Companies spend money on IT so that IT can solve a problem. Solving that problem in a manner cheaper than paying a human to do the same task, either because it performs the task faster, with fewer errors, or both.
They do not pay for IT because someone told them they should. They do not buy a specific product because an astroturfer or marketer told them to. They pay for IT because the specific solution at hand meets the requirements of the task, is the cheapest solution that does so and won't endanger future productivity by limiting options or compatibility.
There are wide ranging considerations to all aspects of IT. I advise my clients to think about many things. I don’t simply say “Microsoft is bad.” Indeed, I push Microsoft solutions when and where they are appropriate, which is to nearly every client I have.
I do not however push Microsoft’s client operating system or office package. Why? Because there is simply no need to do so. It isn’t something my clients absolutely must have, and it isn’t necessarily the best fit for their requirements.
Which has been the whole goddamned point of my recent articles, including this one. Microsoft is falling away from “the default, de facto item.” At the fringes first (SMEs,) but this will spread. I am starting to see it now even in large deployments.
The endpoints can be whatever the user wants. Windows. Mac. Linux. Android…who cares? As long as the apps can be found to do the job…the choice of OS here isn’t nearly as relevant today as it was five years ago.
I don’t need my client to “give me the opportunity to work on something I think is cool.” Writing for The Register does that. I can ask a vendor; they’ll usually let me try their latest widget.
In addition, I run my own company. If I wanted to use the latest Linux/Mac/Windows/whatever, I simply choose to do so. Don’t be so presumptuous as to believe that I would force my predjudices upon my customers or advise them to choose something simply because I “like a company” or “dislike that other one.”
That’s bullshit, and you know it.
If Windows is the best OS for a customer, I’ll tell them to buy Windows. If it’s not, I’ll tell them to buy something else. In almost every case however, I am in the position to ask the customer “what do you want to use?” Because those customers’ needs can be met by any modern operating system.
And it’s a great thing to live in a world where that is true.
Why thank ye. If you're ever in Alberta, stop by, I'll buy you a jar. (Also, I'm going to be in Palo Alto second week areound Aug 7th, if you are anywhere near there.)
Inebriation and enjoyment to you!
Re: Me Thinks :
It isn't "bashing" to point out flaws. Especially not when you devote at least as much time to pointing out the things done right.
As I have said before, Microsoft have some truly great stuff. Hyper-V for example, or System Center 2012. SMB 3.0 deserves a nod, as do Microsoft's efforts regarding NFS of late. I think SQL server is grand, and I am increasingly impressed by IIS. Microsoft Dynamics is a decent product that is coming along nicely and I think the xbox is finally coming into its own. (As an "own your whole living room" content delivery platform, complete with original/unique or first run content that Microsoft pays for.)
I even think that Windows Phone was a decently designed platform, even if I happened to prefer Android's interface. (At least WP7 was tight to the hardware with decent battery life and stellar performance!)
I have written articles to this effect. I give praise where it is due.
But this Office cloudy 8 Metro fingerpaints edition?
Lock that sideways.
Re: Me Thinks :
Why exactly should we be positive?
Fact: Metro is ass.
Fact: The goddamned ribbon bar is STILL ass, years later.
Fact: The "cloud" offerings are also ass.
Fact: Microsoft isn't paying the rest of us to astroturf.
So why, exactly should we be positive? Have faith in your favourite company? Why? I don't have faith in a deity. Why would I have faith in a company that doesn't listen to me, actively discriminates against my customers and goes out of its way to prevent the kind of innovation I would like to implement with its products for my customers. (Multitennant Windows 7 service-provider based VDI, as one example.)
Microsoft has some great technologies and great people. But the licensing department, Windows 8, Office post-2003 and Office 365 are not among them.
Poking at the preview
Re: self contradictory
@Mallorn; you are correct. But I was trying to stay a little high level here. It is the difference between trying to explain that a matter/anti-matter reaction doesn't provide 2(MC^2) energy "beacuse half the mass is lost as neutrinos" and explaining that "half the mass is lost as neutrinos after first going through a series of intermediary decay states, all of which occur so rapidly that we cannot possibly capture and make any use of."
To say "the neutrino causes Cherenkov radiation" may not be 100% correct (it omits steps,) but the result is the same: a neutrino impact causes Cherenkov radiation, which is what we measure. a WIMP impact should cause a different Cherenkov distribution (with aditional non-Cherenkov photon events.)
So a WIMP detector and a neutrino detector are remarkably similar; so much so that the WIMP detector could never have been built without the technologies we created for neutrino detection. Indeed, data we pull from this detector will probably be mined by the teams not only for WIMP detection, but additional information on neutrinos.
Either way; there's a balance between spelling out the total sequence in such events and "trying to simplify the science enough that people are likely to retain the important bits."
The important bit about how this detector works is "when a Neutrino or WIMP hits something, we see a flash of light (photons.) Based on the pattern, frequency and intensity, we can tell if this was caused by a neutrino, a WIMP or background radiation. However, we can only do that if the damned thing is buried so far underground that background radiation is as close to null as possible."
After all, the original comment was regarding "radiation," and why neutrinos aren't. (Thier lack of interaction.)
That said, I do have to go plunder the ArXiv for information about this supposed TeV neutrino "radiation" concern. It hurts my science a little. Neutrinos don't have charge, and are already just-barely-subliminal in speed...exactly how does one impart more energy to a neutrino such that it is suddenly a radiative concern? Something doesn't parse there...
Re: self contradictory
Cherenkov radiation is a photon. WIMPs barf up a photon AND an electron; which causes another Cherenkov event. Thus the pattern and frequency of the events can tell you one from the other.
That, and a god-awful amount of maths.
Re: self contradictory
Neutrinos aren't considered radiation. A neutrino smacking into something can cause Cherenkov radiation, but neutrinos themselves are not considered a form of radiation.
Please go here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation
Catch up on the different types of particles (Photons, Neutrons, Electrons, relativistic Protons and relativistic Helium) that we consider to be radiation.
These particles are radiation, and can all be considered ionising radiation under the right circumstances. Some can pass through quite a bit of material - especially the gasses that make up out atmosphere - and will cause Cherenkov radiation when they impact the detector.
We need to bury detectors so far underground that that the chances of an accidental Cherenkov event are functionally eliminated. (As it is through Cherenkov radiation that we detect things like neutrinos.) WIMP interactions are no different than the standard rules for neutrino detectors. WIMPs basically don't interact with anything. Except on the *very* rare occasions that they do. When they do so, they ought to produce something very similar to Cherenkov radiation.
Now, we have a good handle on the frequency of Cherenkov events due to neutrinos, and we can filter the background noise of such events due to radioactivity from things like the materials used to make the detector. But is we plopped the thing on the surface the potential sources of noise would be so high - overwhelmed by actual radiation - that we couldn't take useful measurements.
In an ideal world, you'd filter out even neutrinos, but that is simply impossible. So the best we can do in the search for WIMPs is to build our detectors as far away from radiation as possible, and crank the sensitivity on the sensors up as high as our manufacturing processes will allow.
Then the only things we have to filter are neutrinos and virtual particle collisions. Relatively simple…where simple is building a widget to detect particles that don’t interact with anything excepting through gravitational force.
But no, the statement isn’t a contradiction…
Where have I ever stated that I don't like Microsoft? More precisely, where have I ever stated that I dislike Microsoft specifically, as though with prejudice? I like plenty of people who work for Microsoft. I like many of the departments, divisions and products produced by Microsoft. I believe Microsoft to be in many ways one of the more ethical actors in the IT landscape; for example, the license all their patents to competitors, instead of keeping them tightly tucked close the vest, as bludgeons to prevent competition.
But you can like many aspects of a multinational corporation while loathing others. You can like certain actions or choices made by the body corporate whilst still believing that the larger corporate direction is flawed. In this case, I honestly and earnestly believe that the decisions made by Microsoft will rain down ruination upon not only Microsoft proper, but the entire Microsoft ecosystem, from partners and resellers to the very systems administrators that are paid to support their product.
I don’t write much in the way of “news” here on the register. I periodically write in depth reviews of some products, and I do some technical deep dives into things. But the Systems Administrator’s blog is just that: a blog. It isn’t “news.” It isn’t the latest feeds and speeds and regurgitated press releases.
As I see it, the sysadmin blog is a discussion of “things” that affect systems administrators. These could be products, they could be legal issues. The “things” we need to care about could the direction of a corporation or a security vulnerability resulting from an unforeseen interaction between two applications.
This isn’t a place to simply reword some press releases. You have a whole rest of the website for that. The kind folks who publish my articles helpfully label my opinion column as a “sysadmin blog,” in case you are offended by something other than the bland delivery of pre-vetted fact.
I do try for objectivity in my writing. There are limits to objectivity however; when dealing with theoretical or opinion, the prognostication involved extends beyond the mere reporting of fact. This has been the basis of opinion columns since we have had mass publication. I present to you what I believe to be true…and why I believe it to be so. I will even engage with you in the comments if you feel I am mistaken…and I have had my arguments defeated soundly before.
Rhetoric, however, simply will not sway me. The plaintive cries of a wounded ego of the visceral evocations of emotive “reasoning” will not alter my opinion. If you wish to alter my views about the world – and by consequence what I write about – then you must make a sound logic argument grounded in unimpeachable logic and backed by clearly verifiable fact.
I will then engage you in some debate. Probe the logic you display. What assumptions underlie your arguments; what values underpin the judgements you make? Raw science shouldn’t require value judgements and here my opinion is shaped by fundamental science and repeatable, peer-reviewed works.
But economic and ethical arguments become trickier. I believe very strongly in the following:
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but the needs of the few outweigh the desires of the many. The fact that most people are not capable of separating need from desire is where most strife occurs.
If you fundamentally disagree with my ethical viewpoint above, then many economic, ethical or political opinion topics will never be resolvable between us. We simply disagree at too fundamental a level for any of the higher order operations to work themselves out.
If however we can agree on that fundamental basis of ethics, then productive debate is possible. We simply have to follow the flow of logic from this basic assumption to its application in the current environment.
But that is how opinion columns work. They are distinct from news. If you want to prevent my opinion from being aired you have two choices:
Convince me that I am wrong, or appeal to The Powers That Be to censor me.
Calling me names on the internet and saying Mean Things however is not going to dissuade me.
tl;dr: Bitch please, I’m from the Internet.
Re: outside of a few Excel power users ...
Everything I could do with Access, I could do with PHP and MySQL while drunk out of my mind and in half the time to boot.
Anyone who complains that Access is "just easier" is simply someone afraid to take the ~4 hours out that is required to learn PHP. Once you learn that, you'll never - ever - go back to Access.
Microsoft Access is Velcro, invented by committee and implemented by wage slave who view the end user as the enemy.
PHP/MySQL is proper shoelaces. Still not the best, but a damned sight better than most alternatives, and easily understood by the common man.
Eventually, someone with very deep pockets is going to scream antitrust...and this time it'll stick. Microsoft walk a very fine line with these shenanigans.
Re: You think MS don't know this?
I have enterprise Apple deployments in the real world. I even have Linux-on-the-desktop and a trail of Android-on-the-desktop.
For Microsoft to stay relevant, they have to prove to be offering superior value, even in the enterprise. Their name is mud. It is associated with lock-in, change to promote more lock-in, high prices and product differentiation that promotes more lock-in.
Maybe you like their interface choices. Good for you! Most don't. Even if you do - and that's a smallish chunk of people - you have to balance that against hard economic questions. "Is this a company that I am willing to bet my business on? Will they screw me? How hard?"
You advocate faith in Microsoft. I think that's certifiably insane. I don't have faith in a deity, why would I have faith in a corporation? More to the point, why would I have faith in a corporation that has done nothing to earn my trust and everything to take advantage of me and mine for decades?
Microsoft isn’t the default or the de facto solution anymore. And they are ill equipped to compete in the new world. Novell took a long time to die, too. And RIM is still twitching. But both are shadows of their former selves.
I believe that short of a dramatic overhaul in "listening to (and not screwing) customers," Microsoft is locked irrevocably on the same course.
Re: @Andrew (was: no objections)
The idea that rhetoric as a "short coherent point" is fundamentally superior to a more nuanced discussion that actually addresses the issue is one that suits the particular style of argumentation employed by copyright maximalists. It is really no different than those who attempt to control the discussion regarding climate change, sexual preference rights, the cancer-causing cell phone boogyman or any of a dozen flavours of renewable energy fanatic.
Regardless of if you actually bring the word God into the argument, the copyright maximalist arguments are presented no differently than a bible thumper from Westboro. You, Andrew, are operating entirely by the book.
You strip the nuances from your opponent’s argumentation in order to present an absurdly simplified argument that is easy to dismiss. Essentially, you turn legitimate issues raised by others into strawmen by refusing to acknowledge the complexities involved.
If I turn that exact same tactic on your arguments then what I get is “copyright maximalism matters because copyright maximalism matters.”
Your arguments can essentially all be boiled down to exceptionalism: “creators are more deserving than others, are downtrodden, poor, underappreciated and taken advantage of. More to the point, it’s morally wrong to infringe copyright because it just is.”
Well I don’t buy that any more than I buy anything else that was revealed to someone by a voice in their head.
I’m neither a Borg drone nor an autistic; I make up my own mind. Based on evidence. Name calling, rhetoric and attempts to shame based on a manufactured morality are irrelevant.
I refuse to buy the argument that we need ever more enforcement until we reach the mythical point that copyright infringement is impossible. I argue that pursing an extreme on behalf of a minority in untenable; doubly so when acceptable compromises do exist.
Among those compromises is altering enforcement to make copyright infringement more “parking ticket” than “half a mortgage per MP3.” Once you get in that range, people will accept greater enforcement and even assist with it.
Another compromise is acknowledging that most people who infringe copyright don’t do it because they want free stuff. Most do it because it is significantly easier than the alternatives, and comes with far fewer restrictions. If you want public acceptance – and assistance – in the hunt for copyright infringers, you need to make it a completely marginal activity by making obtaining legitimate content as easy as piracy.
It is however a lot more profitable to simply moralise and demand the right to externalise the costs of doing business while claiming both hardship and moral exceptionalism.
Unfortunately for copyright maximalists, the hoi polloi are starting to be educated enough to see that sort of déjà moo for what it is.
Re: "Most peole download because it's free and easy."
The Oatmeal's "Game of Thrones" comic resonates with nearly everyone I know who feels the need to engage in copyright infringement. Every one of them wants to be able to pay for the content they consume. Alas, we're Canadian, and the media companies often simply decide we aren't allowed. (Or they make it possible, but so unwieldy that a psychological barrier is breached, and the ethics of copyright infringement stop mattering when compared to the frustration and hatred for the publishers caused by overwhelming megacorporate derping.)
Re: no objections
Well Andrew, I do disagree. I hold creativity in high esteem...just like I hold the endeavours of all people who contribute to our society. I don’t happen to hold one “type” of labour in more esteem than the other without some damned good reasons. Those reasons usually are things like “saving a life, pushing the frontiers of knowledge or advancing the frontiers of human endeavour.”
Writing a novel or composing a song – unless you happen to be at the absolute pinnacle of your craft – does not in my estimation fall into any higher esteem than building a road or fixing a computer. Mind you, a truly exceptional road builder or systems administrator deserved above-par recognition just as would a composer or writer whose works will echo through the ages. (Consider that some of those truly exceptional roads have been around for centuries, for example!)
I value creativity, and I value originality. But no, I simply don’t believe that creators are more deserving than non-creators. And other than “because it should be so!” I have heard no remotely convincing arguments to explain to me why I should. Religions also use “because it should be so,” and yet I still believe in dame science.
What exactly makes your version of “should” more important than mine? What exactly makes your ethics and morals so almightily important that they “should” be considered whereas mine “should” be discarded? What exactly entitles one set of beliefs to trump another; to shape society and become law?
Because that’s what we’re talking about here…not “what is law,” but rather, “what the laws should become, and how they should evolve to meet technological changes, societal changes and so forth.” Copyright maximalism is not law. Not yet, and certainly not everywhere.
Indeed, the pendulum has even swung the other way; popular resistance to maximalist approaches is so strong that the US has temporarily ceased exporting it, and may even be looking to export fair use.
Once, only landowners of a specific gender and race had any rights at all. Eventually, the people rose up, and decided that this shouldn’t be so. It changed. Here, now, technology has brought us to an equally important crossroads in the definition of intellectual property. “The past” can be – and is – interpreted in many ways, depending on your bias. But what IP will be in the future is an open battleground, where there are many conflicting moral and ethical viewpoints.
You continually present yours in a hostile and righteous manner; but I bow before neither god nor man; no preacher of faith will tell me what to believe. Science - peer reviewed evidence, preferably backed by a strong consensus amongst experts within the field - can sway me, but rhetoric never will.
But it gets worse! Copyright maximalism – which you seem to champion repeatedly – isn’t even about the creators. It is about the exceptionalism of copyright holders, which in the modern world is rarely the creator.
To add to this poo, copyright maximalism is built on a false premise: that creativity can occur in a vacuum. Under copyright maximalism, nothing new would ever enter the public domain. (Except possibly “orphaned works,” I.E. the works of individual creators which are not owned by media-holding cartels.)
So each new work must be entirely original, or else derive only from those works which existed before the extant copyright scheme took hold and moved creativity into a special category.
This limits the possible avenues of creation for new creators. If you want to create something based upon a currently-culturally-relevant conceptual universe, you must work for/with/under the aegis of the cartel that owns it.
Let’s take a practical example:
In the copyright maximalist world, the Bastard Operator From Hell belongs to the copyright owner until the end of time. The characters cannot be reused, even the common tropes, memes and terms could be challenged, if they were reused in a similar context by a similar work.
So if I wanted to write a BOFH story, I would have to go get permission, have it vetted by the copyright owner and otherwise subsume my creativity to his economic interest. That BOFH story then won’t be told, and likely won’t appear in an alternate “universe,” for fear that it would be “too similar” and I’d end up owing eleventeen squillion times my mortgage in “damages.”
Now, let’s look at how this could work in a non-copyright-maximalist world:
The BOFH, having become a cultural icon to two generations of nerds gathers a massive following. Like-minded creatives who have similar experiences to draw on start to create derivative works. Simon and the PFY’s antics flow from a thousand keyboards and tell the tales of a thousand minds.
Someone throws up a subReddit; the terrible ones are downvoted into obscurity, to be deleted in shame. The great ones rise up, to be considered on par with – or perhaps even surpassing – the works of the original author himself.
A whirlwind of creativity occurs around these characters; the universe they established, the tropes, memes and terminology forming a common platform for systems administrators everywhere to tell their tale.
Branches emerge. Before Simon worked at a megacorp, he was an SME admin. These are the tales of the SME admin. PFY1 leaves to form his own consulting company, becoming a BOFH in his own right. These are his tales, and those of his unfortunate PFY…
In a non-copyright-maximalist world, I don’t have to first create the universe in order to make apple pie. If I want to end my systems administrator tale of woe with an ominous “kzert,” then I can do so…in the knowledge that I won’t get sued into a singularity, and my audience will understand…because the memes and tropes of the shared BOFH universe are in the public domain for all people – creators and consumers – to benefit from.
So I do take extreme exception to copyright maximalism. Copyright maximalism puts copyright owners on a pedestal; “better” than me, the systems administrator. Based on the (usually false) assumption that they are representing “creators,” copyright maximalism demands they be given rights and considerations regarding their labour – or labour they purchased – that simply doesn’t apply to my labour.
For me to ever accept copyright maximalism you have to first explain how the labour of a creative is deserving of more protection than that of a doctor, teacher, lawyer or systems administrator.
And then, after you’ve convinced Trevor Pott, Systems Administrator that he is worth less than Trevor Pott, Writer…you get to explain to Trevor Pott, writer why it is that in order to tell a fictional tale of Systems Administration woe I should never be able to have a PFY or a kzert or a sysadmin named Simon who mysteriously removes floor tiles.
But Snow White? Let’s write the HELL out of that one.
Until then, I am going to hold fast to the idea of balanced copyright, and I will continue to believe copyright maximalists are as ethically bankrupt as any “freetard.” Neither side of this debate offers a damned thing except rhetoric, and sticks, sticks, sticks.
I believe in the requirement for the occasional appearance of a carrot.
Contrary to popular opinion however, my beliefs can be altered. With sufficient evidence.
Re: no objections
Copyright is about providing a temporary monopoly over intellectual works in order to extract economic value from those efforts in the hopes of spurring the creation of additional creative works. It must also inherently recognise the need for works to pass into the public domain (while they are still culturally relevant!) and it must contain rational fair use exceptions.
Copyright infringement is wrong, and society needs protections against it. Putting aside the loaded word “deserved,” there is a strictly pragmatic reason for us to compensate creators: if we don’t, both the volume and quantity of new works being created will decrease dramatically. These people have to make a living too; with 7 (soon 10) billion of us, the competitive pressure for resources is so high that we simply cannot support a renaissance-era category of creators who “simply create in their spare time.”
Nobody has spare time; to avoid destitution you either inherit enough wealth to get a great start to life, or you work 12-16 hours a day. Given the economic context; copyright infringement is unjustifiable; it directly deprives society of the talents of creators by creating an environment in which there is no realistic way for them to be able to devote adequate time to creation.
But copyright maximalism is equally ethically bankrupt. It attempts to shift the balance the other way; making creators into a special category of individuals whose labours are valued more highly than those of systems administrators, doctors, lawyers or teachers.
If I help build a road, I am paid for my labours per hour…but that road belongs to society. We all get to use it. Other roadworkers may come along and build on top of my work, learn from my technique or destroy it in order to lay pipes/repair faults/what-have-you.
If I fix a server, I am paid for my labours, but that server is then used by other users who benefit from my efforts. Other systems administrators may check the logs to see how I fixed things, alter my settings, or combine my efforts with theirs to create something new.
Neither the road worker nor the systems administrator gets to tithe their work beyond the initial payment for their labour. The roadworker does not get a toll for every person who passes over the patch he laid, nor the sysadmin a % of the ad revenue generated by each view.
Creative works are built upon those works that went before. Nothing is created in a vacuum. The whole of human experience is built upon the tropes and memes of our antecededents, whether through genetic memory or learned behaviour.
To suddenly claim that the labours and efforts of one category of people – intellectual property creators – is so important – that these intellectual property creators must simply be so privileged – that we must immediately reverse the whole of the human learning, experience (and yes, the creative process itself!) to protect their “moral economic rights” is beyond lunacy. It is arrogance. Arrogance born of nothing more interesting than greed.
Creators need to see economic benefit from their creations. Most people on this planet will agree with this. But this does not translate to the either notion that for creators to see economic benefit they must have complete unrestricted control over all use cases of their works nor that they should retain this control indefinitely (and by extension that this control should be infinitely heritable.)
Balance is required. The needs of the individual weighed against the needs of society at large. The people will no more tolerate autocratic control over knowledge and experience than we will accept that same level of protectionism or exceptionalism for any other special interest group.
You may stone me for saying so; but the writer is no greater than the road worker. The singer no more deserving than the sysadmin.
And if I am a filthy freetard for saying so - and for espousing the beliefs above, which appear to be both the original basis for copyright and increasingly the stance taken by post-aughties copyright legislation - then I accept the label with pride.
My opinions on this matter are mine alone, and do not represent the opinions of The Register, Andrew Orlowski, the BOFH, the Vulture logo, the copyright symbol, members of W3C, any HTML tag, or any other entity real or imagined.
Y’all make up your own mind now, ya hear?
FOSS versus Crowdsourcing
FOSS development gets a bunch of people together to develop something for a non-profit (or even charitable) cause. The labout is free, but so is the end product.
Crowdsourcing outside FOSS is almos universally an attempt by a for-profit organisation to get large quantities of labour from skilled individual for free.
See: The Huffington Post.
In short: FOSS is good, we all get something from it. But fuck for-profit crowdsourcers with 4 Vesta. Dry.
Microsoft's cloud services don't make sense to SMEs. Past a small handful of users, O365 costs more/year than buying a standalone product for a standard 3-year refresh cycle. (Hardware included!) Not only that, as I pointed out in an earlier article, you still need to be an exchange admin to use O365.
What does O365 get you besides less money in your pocket and increased sadness?
Re: As a small business owner, and systems administrator for SME clients...
When have I ever said I trusted Microsoft, hmm? I have said - and I maintain to this day - three things:
1) They have some great technology. Server 2012, System Center 2012, Hyper-V 3.0, SMB 3...they make shite a lot of the time (Metro), but they also turn out top notch stuff too.
2) They have a lot of good people at that company who are dedicated to making the best products in as open and standards-compliant a manner as possible. They also have a bunch of derpy proprietary lock-in fetishists, but significantly less of them in the past few years than the decade before that.
3) Microsoft's licensing department is powered by sadness and the tears of the innocent. There is nothing - nothing whatsoever - positive that can be said about them. Every customer- friendly move the rest of Microsoft makes which might earn them a little customer loyalty is instantly undone by licensing.
Whatever goodwill they might have earned through openness, kick-ass tech or so forth they immediately flushed down the toilet with user-hostile decisions (mandatory nature of Metro) and everything-hostile licensing.
I do not trust Microsoft. I will not trust Microsoft until they fly my ass down to Redmond to help them deal with their horrifically negative public image and help set licensing in the SME space to rights. (And actually IMPLEMENT those changes!) I am not far; I can even drive.
Ordinarily I abhor travelling, but I would be willing to go out of my way to help MS help SMEs. SMEs are my clients, after all. In the meantime however, every hostile licenceing decision they make to try to increase revenue results instead in a loss of more customers.
I can and do respect the technology Microsoft brings to the table. I can and do respect truly excellent individuals within Microsoft - like Jose Barreto - who strive to make the products on offer the best they can. I simultainiously believe wholeheartedly that Microsoft is pissing away its market, its customer base and its future.
People are voting with their wallets.
As a small business owner, and systems administrator for SME clients...
…thanks for pissing on small businesses everywhere. No, honestly, thank you.
Seeing as I run one of the few local consulting companies with any real world experience in CentOS/RHEL migrations, you guys just paid my mortgage. Between the hostile licensing and Metro...
...what can I say except thanks?