back to article Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

Linux GNU firebrand Richard Stallman says Windows and Apple's OS X are malware, Amazon is Orwellian, and anyone who trusts the internet-of-things is an ass. In a column for The Grauniad Stallman preaches to the non-technical masses about the evils of proprietary software and vendor lock-in, and how closed-door coding …

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

Because the GPL says it must be.

Fortunately, the law is not whatever the FSF says it is…

Encumbrance is a legal term, look it up. The provisos of the GPL count as encumbrance. Companies avoid it because they don't want to have to pay lawyers to check anything. Cases against TIVO et al indicate that this is the right approach: no GPL code in a product, no expensive court case.

The automatic assignment of copyright in the GPL is another bit of stupidity for fanbois. Why on earth would you want to assign your copyright to a litigious group like the FSF is beyond me. In most countries copyright is automatic and strongly protected.

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Vic
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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

> You can't patent code.

Yes, you can.

It's very probable[1] that you can't patent software. But that's not stopping the USPTO from issuing pure-software patents, nor the US courts from upholding them :-(

Vic.

[1] There was some discussion on Groklaw a few years back showing the relevant bits of US legislation. But I can't be bothered to go look for it now.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

The automatic assignment of copyright in the GPL is another bit of stupidity for fanbois.

Whew! It's lucky that no such automatic assignment exists, then, isn't it?

We dodged a bullet there...

Vic.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

> Fortunately, the law is not whatever the FSF says it is…

Oh, Yes, it is. The GPL, just like any other software license, is a Contract. It's governed by Contract Law. Look it up.

> Companies avoid it because they don't want to have to pay lawyers to check anything.

Wrong again. There are plenty of for-profit software companies providing binaries for FOSS licensed under GPL. Again, go look it up. These companies have lawyers on their staff, and these lawyers do exactly what you claim they don't: they check and enforce their employers' compliance with any license that may be applicable, FOSS or non-FOSS.

The real reason some companies spread FUD about the GPL is because of their inherent sleazebagginess: they take the code written by others for free, they modify it to suit their profit needs, but they don't want to comply with the GPL provisions. See TiVO and D-Link, as the two most recent examples. Both of them got sued by the FSF, and the FSF won in both cases.

> The automatic assignment of copyright in the GPL is another bit of stupidity for fanbois. Why on earth would you want to assign your copyright to a litigious group like the FSF is beyond me.

Fortunately, you don't write any software of any kind, so you don't have to worry about your non-existent copyrights to your non-existent software.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

> It's very probable[1] that you can't patent software.

In a rational world, you would be correct. :-) But, as you say, the USPTO will issue a patent to any patent application containing a complicated and pretty drawing.

When someone like Apple or Microsoft threatens a patent lawsuit to a FOSS project, the project is faced with two choices: fold and close shop, because they will not be able to afford the lawyers that Apple or Microsoft can afford, or assign the copyright to a bigger organization such as the FSF, which has more resources to provide a legal defense to the project.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

The GPL, just like any other software license, is a Contract. It's governed by Contract Law.

At the risk of pedantry, it actually isn't...

Contract Law varies somewhat between jurisdictions, but typically requires both a Contract (sometimes verbal will do) and a Consideration. This is why you see huge companies sold for £1 - it makes the Contract Law bit a lot simpler.

GPL code doesn't have a signed contract, and some might argue that, since the code has no monetary cost, there is also no Consideration; this would lead to all sorts of nasty legal battles if it were merely a contract. It is often said that a good lawyer will win for you in court, but a great lawyer keeps you out of court in the first place...

And so to the meat of my point: the GPL v2 Section 5 has this to say:

You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works.

IOW, if you distribute the code, it is entirely up to you whether or not you are bound by its terms - but if you choose not to be so bound, then you are guilty of an offence under whichever copyright law applies in your jurisdiction, and there is no way around it. To date, most infringers have chosen to be bound by the GPL, and the ones that haven't - e.g. Best Buy - have lost quite magnificently.

I don't want to detract from the rest of your post, but I think that bit is quite important...

Vic.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

> At the risk of pedantry, it actually isn't... [ a contract ]

> GPL code doesn't have a signed contract, and some might argue that, since the code has no monetary cost, there is also no Consideration [ ... ]

You're technically right on both points. I found this:

http://www.law.washington.edu/lta/swp/law/contractvlicense.html

which explains the differences quite well, and it uses the GPL as an example.

From the URL above:

<QUOTE>

Distinguishing between a license and a contract in the open source software context may or may not be significant. The Mozilla Public License is clearly designed to be a robust contract. The authors of the General Public License, however, maintain that the GPL is nothing more than a bare copyright license. Yet the GPL contains a definition of "derivative work" that may be inconsistent with copyright law. In addition, the GPL contains conditions on use of open source subject to the license that are arguably distinct and separate from the copyright license grants. Is the GPL then enforceable as nothing more than a bare license under copyright law? No U.S. court has yet considered these questions.

If some of the contents of the GPL take it beyond the scope of copyright law, then a court would likely evaluate the GPL in light of contract law. But if the GPL is tucked away in one of the software's files that the user or developer does not readily see before use, then requisite assent or acceptance by the licensee is not present, and the GPL may not be not enforceable under contract law. Under this circumstance, it is possible that a court could employ the doctrine of "implied license" to allow the user to use the software without the restrictions and conditions contained in the copyright license, since the licensor made the software available without making the license restrictions obvious. Likewise, a court might determine that the licensee had “impliedly” consented to the formation of a contract even if there was not express consent. It remains to be seen whether a court would declare the license as a whole unenforceable under contract law, but uphold the purely copyright law-based licenses and provisions.

</QUOTE>

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

I found this:

http://www.law.washington.edu/lta/swp/law/contractvlicense.html

Hmmm. I don't know who wrote that - it appears unattributed - but it is, at the very least, outdated, if not just wrong. Note that the most recent citation on it is from 2005.

Is the GPL then enforceable as nothing more than a bare license under copyright law? No U.S. court has yet considered these questions.

That's a rather tenuous statement; for example, can the default judgement against Westinghouse[1] be thought of as consideration? You'd have to ask someone who knows more than I. Note, however, that German courts have most assuredly tried this[2], and the GPL has come out on top every time.

Under this circumstance, it is possible that a court could employ the doctrine of "implied license" to allow the user to use the software without the restrictions and conditions contained in the copyright license, since the licensor made the software available without making the license restrictions obvious

Given that such software invaliably comes with files like "COPYING", "LICENCE", and "README", at least one of which will state the terms of the GPL, and given also that we all know software is copyrighted by default, so some sort of licence will be necessary, I think this statement is total bollocks. It's like claiming that because a DVD only had copyright notices on it, not an explicit instruction not to copy it, except in those unskippable bits once you'd started playing it, that an "implies licence" was in effect. No it wasn't.

Vic.

[1] It was Westinghouse that didn't fold, not Best Buy as I mistakenly said earlier. But both companies still lost in a big way.

[2] See, for example, the FortiNet and D-Link cases.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

Something more recent here:

https://atrilife.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/license-or-contract-the-form-of-the-open-source-license/

<QUOTE>

Some believe that the GPL is a type of contract known as a browsewrap agreement. At lease one court has taken this view, noting that some terms may be viewed as covenants under a contract, not license conditions, for example by number of users. See Netbula LLC v. Storage Technology Corp., 2008 WL 228036 (N.D. Cal., 2008). Otherwise, it could also be a unilateral contract without express acceptance, until the GPL code is modified or distributed, where the agreement then becomes a bilateral contract.

</QUOTE>

As of 2011, Massachussetts treats software licenses as contracts under the UCC:

<QUOTE>

Until specific legislation has passed, Massachusetts courts will treat software licenses as contracts subject to the UCC. See I. Lan Systems v. Netscout Service Level Corp 183 F. Supp. 2d 328, 331 (D. Mass., 2002).

</QUOTE>

interestingly enough, Massachussetts is the US State where the Free Software Foundation is headquartered.

It's a tricky issue - at least in the US, because in the US it is possible to construct a de facto Contract without explicitly stating that it is, in fact, a Contract. Also, it is not true that a breach of contract - if the GPL is indeed a contract - would not create a damage claim from the licensor's - the FSF - point of view, as that article states. Many jurisdictions in the US - for example NY - expressly allow for punitive damages claims in case of breach of contract. The fact that the GPL does not explicitly state what happens in case of breach would not moot a punitive damages claim in case of breach, at least not in NY, and probably many other US jurisdictions.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

"That Apple or Microsoft patent may still be in effect today, I don't know, I haven't checked."

Probably has to do with subpixel anti-aliasing which came into vogue with LCD displays, first in laptops then more generally. Microsoft has about 10 patents related to these because it innovated the technique with ClearType(TM) for Windows XP and beyond.

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Holmes

A fool without money will soon be ignored

Actually, rms has mostly gotten ignored for many years. Simple to explain. Bad software with a good economic model works. Stallman has NO viable economic model and no interest in better economic models.

My summary is that Microsoft has gawdawful software but two clever innovations in their economic model. (1) No liability, no matter what their software does to you, and (2) Sell upstream to the manufacturers, and just force the users to take, again, no matter how bad the software is.

In contrast, Apple has devised a clever anti-freedom model of black-box fashions. You do have to give them some credit for better software than Microsoft, but the profit comes from making their technologies into fashion statements.

Linux OUGHT to be competitive, but the financial models all reek like the big dog's m0e. How about #MDFC models to fund better software with charity shares?

(Actually an email exchange with rms helped lead to the key idea of a charity share brokerage, but he wasn't interested, even though he asks exceedingly good questions. The problem in the years since then is that I'm a lousy salesman and worse evangelist. I don't really care about money, either.)

P.S. Appears to be a new feature to make the new post editable in place? Or an old feature and I have a new status? Whatever it is, I like the convenience.

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

"Apple has devised a clever anti-freedom model of black box fashions."

And this is the key point Stallman seemingly fails to appreciate. The way Apple is anti-freedom is the same way the modern motor car is "anti-freedom." The freedom inhibited isn't what the the user cares for; the freedom to pull the engine to pieces and service it on your kitchen table. 99% of users are only interested in whether their car will take them where they need to go, preferably without ever having to personally service the engine. And that of course isn't inhibited at all. Indeed, as comared with Linux, as much as it has improved over the years, lay users find they are positively empowered as they find laptop, phone, tablet and now watch all work seamlessly together. Plus as Benedictine Evans has noted, it's now desktop web browsing that provides the cut down experience of the web (the http services "web" not html web) as compared with mobile.

Mobile first

So the chance of convincing the lay user to abandon the richer user environment in preference for a desktop os they don't feel they need, don't want to have to service and that doesn't integrate as well with their phone... Well we are seeing the result.

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

Except Apple and Windows operating systems aren't bad software. So it's a win/win for them.

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Holmes

Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

Must be a Windows Vista user.

The kernel of Apple's OS was BSD... Not sure how far beyond that they've gone, so maybe they deserve more credit.

(On "major" OSes I'm running Yosemite and Windows 7, myself. I'm still using some Ubuntu, but it has mostly been sliding the wrong way for my applications...)

I should clarify as regards Apple that it is the PRINCIPLE of closing the box that I regard as anti-freedom. Microsoft has adopted the same principle, but it wasn't their idea. (Perhaps I should have included that as a count against Microsoft, but never inventing a wheel is not actually a crime, just as reinventing a wheel is also okay.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

In contrast, Apple has devised a clever anti-freedom model of black-box fashions. You do have to give them some credit for better software than Microsoft, but the profit comes from making their technologies into fashion statements.

No, their software is more usable than Microsoft, probably because their revenue does not depend on cramming the code with new useless features so that they can sell some more, they mainly sell hardware. And it's not that closed either, I use things like nmap and wireshark directly compiled on OSX via macports. The only thing they really screwed up on is their implementation of webdav, I have no idea what they did but their implementation sucks. It's almost Windows compatible, it's that slow.

Linux OUGHT to be competitive, but the financial models all reek like the big dog's m0e. How about #MDFC models to fund better software with charity shares?

Linux would do a gazillion times better if it had some figureheads that were actually compatible with the real world. Even if you have managed to bring Linux into your enterprise, you can only pray that your management never runs into Stallman and (heaven forbid) even tries to talk to him because I can guarantee you they would rip every box out of the company on their return, assuming they wouldn't have called ahead from the conference straight after that meeting. Linus fares in this context slightly better, but it's exactly that foaming-at-the-mouth zealotism and fanatism instead of a willingness to calmly engage in a debate that screws over Linux and indeed the whole Free software moment every time.

I have two friends who are deep into free software, and I had to train them (think deeply bruised shins) to stay out of preachy mode when meeting high end executives. Even after running at enterprise levels for years, their zealot switch still occasionally trips and they start spouting all the wonderful benefits of FOSS even if that is TMI or just not appropriate at the time. It's better to keep that your secret internal cost saving and stability feature than trying to convince people every time you open your mouth just how wonderful FOSS is - the discussion is just not always germane but they just can't help themselves.

Initially they were thus limping a *lot*, but they have now learned that there is sometimes no need to even mention FOSS - just calmly deliver. When you send a packet from A to B, you're not going to insist on it being carried in a VW or on a bike either - all you care about is getting from A to B with an appropriate amount of assurance and risk. When someone asks how you managed that, *that's* the time to talk about the benefits of your methods - you have proven it already, so your audience will be far more receptive. At least, that's my opinion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

"Microsoft has gawdawful software but two clever innovations in their economic model. (1) No liability, no matter what their software does to you, and (2) Sell upstream to the manufacturers, and just force the users to take, again, no matter how bad the software is."

How well is that working for MS in the phone market?

The same 'economic model' seems to work pretty much the same way in the phone market, just that the name in the frame is Android not Windows, for various reasons: the manufacturers have no ties to Windows, the customers have no ties to Windows...

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

Except Apple and Windows operating systems aren't bad software. So it's a win/win for them.

They are both abysmally bad. The fruity fools have gone the same way as M$ in their search for "ease of use", and have sacrificed any last vestige of security. M$ still use a broken I/P stack "borrowed" from BSD nearly 30 years ago - it's slow, error-prone and unreliable (and the reason for the complexity of Windoze networking Drivers). Both OSs are hopeless.

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desktop web browsing that provides the cut down experience of the web

The rest of post is valid, but if you are not "on the go"

"desktop web browsing that provides the cut down experience of the web"

Is nonsense.

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

"The kernel of Apple's OS was BSD"

Strictly speaking the kernel of mac os is Mach. What you should have said is that the basis is BSD.

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

But here's this thing: I am running a business, and computers are something that are just supposed to work. Preferably in the form of a laptop with good battery life.

Most stuff is either PDF or various web-based services these days (booking management, Invoicing, banks, website) and I guess I could do that on most OSes. But I soon need to upgrade (5yo Macbook Pro), and I could 1) buy a newer model, knowing I will be up and running in an hour or so, or 2) identify the right model, select the Linux distro, figure what to replace various bits of SW with, check if printers want to print, ...

Last I checked, the BIG problem was I want my 20-odd thousand photos neatly accessible (LightRoom) and _colour managed_. It looked like Linux was roughly where Windows was last millennium and I dropped the idea.

Even more for phones: I need an phone with email access. What is there apart from Android and iOS these days?

The car analogy is perfect. The time I spend getting an OS to work for me is not available for what brings in the bacon (or for explaining this on El Reg)

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

Mach was basically BSD + a new VM system and some message passing primitives.

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Re: desktop web browsing that provides the cut down experience of the web

@Mage

Did you read the Benedict Evans piece? It's very well put. He takes a different angle on things. What he is is not saying is that the mobile web browser is better than the desktop web browser and would concede if you take that as the narrow definition of the web then the point does not hold. The point he is making is more profound than that. He does not see much value in any longer taking a constrained view of what constitutes the web because that no longer reflects particularly well how we are spending our Internet connected time. If we define the web, as powered by http and JSON type services (e.g. not just the HTML web), in conjunction with Apps, it turns out mobile is offering a much richer experience because the mobile device embodies and provides continual access to a large range of sensors either not available or less conveniently accessed/used in the context of desktop or laptop. So now we have apps like What's-App, Foresquare, Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, Twitter, Siri/Google Now, Maps with Directions, Passpack for Scanning Loyalty cards, Strava for cycling and running - all these things are less constrained and better served and provide for richer use cases in the context of mobile (and often, in key regards, are better performing due to native app code) than their desktop web browser bound counterparts. My point above is that this is another way in which Stallman is failing to see how users are really using computing these days. He appears to be stuck in the browser centric world of 2006.

Also don't forget Facebook is working on an instant articles feature because users are becoming so attuned to app level performance, even the time it takes to load a page over http is now seen as a problem to be overcome. The user testing results for Facebook's instant articles are apparently outstanding (e.g. people really, really like them). So now newspapers are in a panic fearing, using the web and HTML alone, they will not be able to match the instant appeal of news articles delivered via Facebook.

This actually is an area where I do start to agree with Stallman - only I think there needs to be other strategies than an OSS OS. It won't be good if the majority of text articles we read are being delivered by a proprietary social network.

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

"identify the right model, select the Linux distro, figure what to replace various bits of SW with, check if printers want to print, ..."

To be fair, in a business situation the choice of Linux is quite limited if you want/need support and your other "problems" are the same if you are switching from one type of OS to another, eg Windows to Mac or vice versa. Although in your case, colour management is certainly a deal breaker in Linux land.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

M$ still use a broken I/P stack "borrowed" from BSD nearly 30 years ago - it's slow, error-prone and unreliable (and the reason for the complexity of Windoze networking Drivers). Both OSs are hopeless.

You may want to update yourself, this is no longer the 90s. Microsoft has ditched that stack quite a while back (and you're talking to someone who started off with Wollongong IP stacks on MSDOS so I can claim some expertise), and OSX as well as iOS are actually rather solid not only in stability but also security. They suffer at worst the same exposure as any other Unix derivative (Heartbleed and OpenSSL being good examples), but I can give someone a Mac and they'll be productive in a day, or less if they don't have to unlearn Microsoft habits first, even if they have to install extra software and secure storage. iOS' secure storage is done right with a device locked key - you delete the associated app and the storage pool key gets deleted, so your data is gone.

If I want security and I want a commercial grade desktop I'll choose a Mac any time. It works, you don't have to mess around with it and it just does the job. What's more, I can buy commercial software for it. Every time I come near Visio on Windows it shocks me just how badly they messed up that originally rather elegant program - it's a complete horror. Instead, I start up OmniGraffle on the Mac or the iPad, draw what I need to and done, and it looks better too. If I want a Linux tool I run macports which pulls in the source and compiles it on my machine. Need a remote xterm from a Linux box? I can set up an X11 supporting ssh pipe and presto, it's there.

I run Linux on servers, but I haven't had the need for a Linux desktop in years, despite always having a VM with Linux Mint around.

You really need to use other platforms for a while before you comment on them.

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

> foaming-at-the-mouth zealotism and fanatism

Chair throwing, monkey dancing, "Developer, developers, developers, ..."

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@AC Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

Very well-thought out and said, AC. Fanaticism and zealotry to point of a religious revelation will kill any product. The only one who has pulled this off was Jobs and I'm really not sure how he managed it. I imagine that if we locked RMS and LT in a room, there might be some serious blood-letting or a mutual pack for letting the blood out of others. Not sure on how that would play out.

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

ROTFLMAO... when did you first start using a computer with a Windows operating system?

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

You know that you can customise Gnome/Unity/KDE etc (the Linux GUI) to work the same way as a MAC, including the docker bar? MACs are nothing special and MAC OSX is not as scalable or performant as Linux. Super computers do not run on MAC OSX.... Commercial software is coming to Linux too e.g. VIsual Studio by Microsoft but in a lot of instances there is a Linux equivalent e.g. Microsoft office is not as good or stable as LibreOffice and it is so much simpler to install it from a repository.

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

It's like those door-steppers.

Political vote canvassers who know your door.

Double glazing / home improvement sales people who knock your door.

Religeous folk who knock your door to try and pass their message.

Linux zealots.

Just leave me alone, I am an OS agnostic. It's not important and I don't care.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

You know that you can customise Gnome/Unity/KDE etc (the Linux GUI) to work the same way as a MAC, including the docker bar? MACs are nothing special and MAC OSX is not as scalable or performant as Linux.

OSX doesn't try to sell itself as something it isn't. For me it's quite simply giving me the benefit of a proper ergonomic and efficient desktop on which I can run paid for applications that don't have their peer in Windows in terms of usability and finish, yet at the same time I can pop up a terminal and do some decent Unix work.

I would not put this on a server - that's where I prefer Linux. But as a desktop, it's the best I've used in years (I'm a late convict :) ).

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

> Just leave me alone, I am an OS agnostic. It's not important and I don't care

On one point you are correct - you are free not to care (you should, but that's your choice). But on the other you are wrong - it does matter.

I've met RMS, and yes, he's as "difficult" to talk to as his reputation. I agree that his "no compromise" approach doesn't endear him to many.

But, and this has been mentioned several times already - even if you never ever use any bit of FOSS software, you still benefit from it being there.

I had written out an analogy, but I'll just leave it at :

FOSS provides a cheap, FREE, competitor to closed and non-free environments. Because there is competition, vendors of closed software are forced to up their game - heck, even Internet Exploder now supports standards !

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

Hmmm, I tell you that you can easily make Linux work the same way (aesthetically and ergonomically) and you tell me how you are a late convert. I did not mention Windows but I did mention Microsoft products (which I am guessing that you do run on your MAC?). You should convert back to Linux because its capabilities go way beyond that of Windows or MAC, and yes, you can run Photoshop on Linux.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

' ... you can easily make Linux work the same way'

And that is the point: one can MAKE it work the same way, with effort, knowledge, experience, time and yet more downloads.

But users just want to use the machine. It is just a tool, like a hammer, a pen, a pad of paper, a car to go to the shops, a bus ticket or an Oyster Card. Their time is needed for earning their living or following their favourite cricket team or playing with their children or writing a letter or using a search engiine to get data for their homework .....

You perhaps know nothing about architecture or how to write a sellable magazine article or design a birthday card for your niece. But for most users, that is the sort of thing they want to spend their time and ability doing, not patching and mending the tool just so they can, at last, get their photos from the camera, fix the red-eye, add a humorous caption and send them to their mother.

It does seem that computer nerds are even less capable of understanding most of humanity than other kinds of nerd and less pleasant. (some call me a computer nerd, oh dear).

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Headmaster

Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

" and you tell me how you are a late convert."

No he didn't. He said he was a "late convict."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

Hmmm, I tell you that you can easily make Linux work the same way (aesthetically and ergonomically) and you tell me how you are a late convert. I did not mention Windows but I did mention Microsoft products (which I am guessing that you do run on your MAC?). You should convert back to Linux because its capabilities go way beyond that of Windows or MAC, and yes, you can run Photoshop on Linux.

I have a strong preference for running apps native, and although you can make a Linux desktop look like OSX, that doesn't automatically replicate the functionality and usability that is the main reason to use OSX, nor the ability to run rather good software such as Pixelmator, Artboard and Ulysses. It is maybe relevant to mention that I am conversant with quite a few versions of Unix, have been using Linux for years (starting with a pack of floppies containing Slackware), and still do - I just don't have the time to fiddle around, I need to get things done.

OSX on a Mac is like Linux on a server: fit and forget. It just works, and it doesn't need much attention to stay that way, which is what I need. For me it's the most perfect companion to a Linux based server infrastructure because it actually speaks and respects open standards, and its TCO is lower than the equivalent Microsoft setup, yet more efficient and less exposed to risk. The only reason we still have a Windows machine around is user experience testing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

And that is the point: one can MAKE it work the same way, with effort, knowledge, experience, time and yet more downloads.

Actually, no, let me spike that myth right now.

You can make it LOOK that way, you can't make it WORK that way. If those who design Linux desktops should take one thing away from OSX it's how applications actually work and interact with users. That usability sits very low on the list of priorities of Linux UI designers was demonstrated by changes such as from GNOME 2 to 3, ditto for the KDE 3..4 change, and don't even get me started on Ubuntu One.

You don't dream up something and talk to users later, you talk to users FIRST and then start looking at what they need and how the changes you make will impact usability.

That's what makes OSX and iOS and all the Apple gadgetry so successful, design and paying attention to the user instead of labelling them 'lusers', 'wetware', 'the problem between keyboard and chair' (etc. - it's a depressingly long list). Linux is still subject to that attitude that considers users accidental nuisances, instead of the prime reason IT even exists. If Linux UI designers were to start taking a leaf out of Apple's book when it comes to design and human interaction, yes, then you could eventually indeed arrive at the year of the Linux desktop. Until then, Linux will live on servers where it does very well indeed.

Just stop with that myth that making a desktop look like another OS makes it replicate that functionality, because it doesn't. Not by a long shot.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

"How well is that working for MS in the phone market?"

Thing is, in order for something like this to work, there's one other catch: you also have to be first. There's simply not enough room for more than one, and whoever's first gets the incumbency advantage that lets them beat down any Johnny-come-lately. Microsoft was first in the PC OS market but not in mobiles. Google beat Microsoft to the punch with Android.

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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

> Microsoft was first in the PC OS market

Nonsense. CP/M was first, by several years, in the personal computer and small business market. MS-DOS 1 was a poor clone of CP/M* (but for 8086). CP/M-86 even beat MS-DOS (though not on IBM PC). MS/PC-DOS succeeded because it was cheaper and IBM had funded the conversion of several applications: dBaseII, BASIC, Visicalc, Peach, etc.

> but not in mobiles.

Microsoft had mobiles: Pocket PC (2000) and tablets (1990s) and phones (2001).

Attempting to rewrite history merely shows your ignorance.

* MS/PC-DOS 1 only supported the CP/M API with a few minor changes and could only run .COM programs that had a 8085 memory model or a similar model with separate data and code segments (relocatable .EXE were in MS/DOS 2). Even the PSP was a clone of CP/M's 'page 0' and supported CP/M's BDOS calling methods.

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To the author: can I request that we, in Australia at least, refer to the paper by its actual name: "The Guardian"?

Or not. Whatever, I suppose.

To the article, his best point is about the TPP/TTIP treaties, which are exactly as he says: provisions to allow (foreign) corporations to ignore/repeal the laws enacted by a (nominally) democratic country. The idea that any government could ever agree to such conditions shows just how far we have strayed from the ideal of the politicians representing the people.

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It's a purely British joke, taken from the satirical magazine Private Eye and celebrating the number of misprints for which the Grauniad was noted.

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@Dan1980

Bang on the mark about TPP/TTIP - this is the real area of concern raised by Stallman. Unfortunately by bringing it up with all his usual pointless whining, Stallman ensures it will be ignored.

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@Chris

I am aware of the joke and aware that it is 'purely British', hence my suggestion that the Register's Australian bureau leave it for the Brits.

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Dan, I suppose they could knock up some Javascript and replace words you Australians prefer to use in their articles. But where would it stop? Englishman/Brit = Pommy Bastard, Woman/She = Sheila? Then again the Reg Aussie tentacle are presumably only sitting there sinking tinnies and have plenty of time. [Only playfully rattling your cage Dan in the absence of a mobile joke icon]

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@Martin

I loves me a good rattling . . .

It's utterly unimportant and I really don't care that much but I find it odd that, with the Australian arm going from the proverbial strength to strength (the addition of Darren is most welcome) I now see very Australian-focussed set of articles - courtesy of geolocation - but yet still have these Australian-focussed articles peppered with the same British-centric terms and in-jokes like "Grauniad" or, as Simon wrote the other day, "luvvies".

Thankfully, Richard uses "Guardian".

Like I said - utterly unimportant, but that's just the place I'm coming from: we get a a set of "Top Stories" and "Spotlights" that are 100% Australian but presented in British vernacular. Worse, the spell-checker uses US spelling.

So, I get routed to an Australian-specific set of stories which are written with British terms and when I comment I get corrected with American spelling : )

Still, give me Darren, Richard and Simon any day.

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"the number of misprints for which the Grauniad was noted."

"was"? Although to be fair, since the advent of computer based spell checking and the sacking of meat-bag proof readers, most of the media seems to be particularly error prone these days, including our beloved El Reg. The very act of placing a "Corrections" hyper-link on the bottom of every story tells us that they are happy for errors to to be "crowd-fixed" rather than use proper quality control.

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Dan is the man!

Dan1980 said "To the article, his best point is about the TPP/TTIP treaties, which are exactly as he says..."

This is the really important story here. The TPP/TTIP treaties are looking to place corporations over and above democratically elected governments.

In the U.K. there will be a referendum on the E.U., but the people will be lead sleep walking in to the TPP/TTIP treaties; and the general media coverage of the TPP/TTIP treaties will act as a natural soporific!

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Online Indy's catching it up…

…not that I read it that much, but there was an article the other day where the authoring hack believed Reagan to have been president in 1961. In her defence, she DID look all of about 20, but there's not really any excuse for that kind of appallingly obvious error these days, is there (and, yes, she really DID mean 1961…).

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I can speak with reasonable knowledge only about US government and politics, but the mechanism here, and I strongly suspect nearly everywhere else, is something like this: Those with much to gain or lose over an issue make it a point to convey their perspective and wishes to those who manage the legal environment; those who are indifferent to the outcome, or stand to gain or lose little, do not. The legislators are beset by large numbers of such supplicants and have schedules chock full of meetings and other more or less obligatory activities. They do not normally have the time for more than superficial thought about the consequences, and their information about issues is biased strongly in favor of the views put forward by those with a big stake, and know implicitly that their vote will not greatly affect their reelection prospects.

The horrid copyright regime we have, that appears to be built into and extended by the TPP, TTIP, and similar agreements, is one example of a great many. It differs from the basic model only in that the proposed laws are being made by the executive branch in the form of treaties. The President's insistence on a straight up or down vote is simply an attempt to make sure the thing doesn't fall apart during the necessary legislative approval process.

Another example is the management of national security law and practice, where until recently the information givers have been aided by the substantially justifiable requirement for secrecy. This unfortunately also enabled companies with a substantial potential stake to finesse the issue and not push objections they might have had. Now that it is more in the open, they are beginning to behave normally and present their commercially motivated views publicly, and through lobbyists to senators and representatives.

An up and coming example is the concern for "infrastructure", presently focused on the railroads after the recent serious accident in New Jersey.

It is not obvious how to correct this fundamental problem, which probably is about equally prevalent everywhere and under all types of regime, although the details will differ.

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Re: Online Indy's catching it up…

Maybe back in '61 he played a president in some film?

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Re: Dan is the man!

"In the U.K. there will be a referendum on the E.U., but the people will be lead sleep walking in to the TPP/TTIP treaties"

Despite this treaty coming through the EU, we actually have a better chance of avoiding it by staying in where opposition to TTIP is growing daily, rather than leaving as all of our main parties and UKIP are actually in favour of signing it. (caveat, not sure where SNP stand) and would do so independently immediately on withdrawing from the EU.

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