Free is too expensive (Economist)
Posted Apr 8, 2012 10:11 UTC (Sun) by khim
In reply to: Free is too expensive (Economist)
Parent article: Free is too expensive (Economist)
If other people were actively excluded from joining that group (as is the case when copyright and/or patents and/or lack of source code exclude people who do know how to program from being able to modify the software that they use), then it might.
What this has to do with discussion in question?
What you dismiss as "crazy declarations" are nothing less than the core ideals that the 18th century French and American revolutionaries believed in.
Rilly? You must know how to program or you are not human are ideas of French and American revolutionaries? News to me.
Linux breaks applications all the time.
But you can still run them, as I've already said…
The next step was:
I can run them. You can run them. Joe Average can not - and that's the problem.
Which prompted this crazy response:
In that case, the real problem here is that "Joe Average" isn't computer-literate enough.
Which basically implies that people who don't want to learn how to build Linux systems and care for them should be considered defective and don't deserve lenience.
This is far cry from the “core ideals that the 18th century French and American revolutionaries”. It's one thing to empower people by giving them access to human knowledge. It's another thing to disqualify people by demanding them to learn things they don't really need or want.
It's way too soon to say that Plasma Active and Nemo Mobile are "failed".
They failed in the sames sense Linux desktop has failed. They don't come preinstalled (and will not come preinstalled in the future), they don't influence the markets they are in (hardware is designed to support Android 2.x or Android 4.x, never to support Plasma Active or Nemo Mobile), etc. The most they can hope for is something like Zaurus: niche product which will be on market for a few years mostly unnoticed and which will be later replaced with Android (or may be Windows8/9/10). They may survive as “curiosity project” like XMBC but this is side-attraction at best, this is not where future direction of the society is determined.
If that were true, then it would have been impossible for OPIE and GPE to run on hardware made for Windows CE (Jornada / iPAQ), but they did.
Sorry, but this is wrong. OPIE and GPE only had platform to run because Sharp created Linux-based PDA. And earlier efforts were also driven by companies, not by FOSS community. The same hardware was used for Windows CE devices thus it was an easy port (initially OPIE only supported Zaurus). When Sharp switched to Windows CE itself in 2007 OPIE and GPE lost the momentum, too. It's one thing to circumvent the bootloader and few unique components. It's another thing to port Linux to the hardware which has no public specification and which was never designed with Linux in mind.
And it's not guaranteed that Android being successful will ensure that unlocked hardware will be available in the future — for a while it seemed like there would be no more unlocked Android phones, when the Nexus One was cancelled.
That's separate issue. But if your hardware is using Linux-friendly components then to have free OS on it you basically only need to circumvent the bootloader. If your hardware is designed for totally different OS from the ground up then it's much, MUCH, MUCH harder.
iOS is descended from FLOSS (Mach and 4.3BSD), and yet it has no "sibling platform for FOSS-lovers".
iOS is only used by one producer which is quite explicitly is not interesting in filling all the niches. And it you can install Linux (Android) on iPhone - but it works significantly worse then Linux on Android handsets.
The only real solution is for there to be a large enough niche market of people who actively prefer unlocked hardware, regardless of whether it's desktop or mobile.
Bullshit. It just does not work. This approach was tried many times (Zaurus, OpenMoko, Nokia's Maemo/Meego efforts, etc). This niche market is just too small. It's large enough to support creation of a few devices from the components used by mainstream, but it's not large enough to support it's own separate ecosystem.
That's why it's crucially important to make the case to the public at large about the benefits of user-freedom (and in particular the ways that locked-down hardware restrict it).
“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”? That's definition of insanity. This way was tried and it just does not work.
Time to move on: accept that public at large is just too ignorant to care about software freedom… and coopt it anyway. Internet community did that beautifully when it was threatened by SOPA/PIPA: general public don't care about copyright all that much (mostly because it's too ignorant about copyright-relevant issues), but it reacts when confronted with the danger of loss of their favorite toy.
This means that FOSS long-term survival is guaranteed only if FOSS community will learn to create toys used by general public. If they will be threatened then you you can mobilize millions if not billions in a case of danger. If FOSS will be used only by some FOSS-lovers then the destruction of the whole ecosystem will just not be noticed by general public.
FOSS community may be powerful, but it has an Achilles heel: ultimately it needs hardware to run on and said hardware can only be created by large companies. It is just as stupid to pretend that it's not important as it is to stupid to pretend that FOSS is powerless.
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