Archive for the ‘Open Source’ Category

SJW’s in tech: Eric Raymond speaks up

January 1, 2018

Eric Raymond is one of the original “hackers” at MIT that spawned the Free Software Foundation (Richard Stallman, the GPL, LGPL, etc.) and the whole Open Source Software (Eric Raymond, OSS licenses, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”) movements.

He once wrote “How to Be a Hacker”.

In this article, he blasts the hell out of people trying to mess up OSS with the SJW political purge culture:

Remember that Eric Raymond has cerebral palsy. So if anybody fits the stereotypical person to be able to claim SJW special status victimhood, it would be him. But no, the guy blasts the hell out of it and wants it purged from hackerdom.


Open Source

December 31, 2015

Open source is the inevitable future for coding and software. It is one of the most important characteristics of the changes that society will undergo as a result of the Internet, which itself was borne of “public-domaining” of its technology.

In fact, Open Source is the sharp point of the advance of deeper changes. The angel said in Daniel 12 of the Bible that “knowledge shall be increased”. The printing press made it possible to publish scathing criticism of kings, who promptly clamped down on this new danger to society (sic) by requiring a “copyright”, or right to copy, a book.

With the computer age came electronic copying, and with the Internet came electronic sharing. With computers also came “hacking” by those with the aptitude. The copy-left movement sparked when MIT hackers saw their code escape hidden from them into the clutches of copyright by people who had nothing to do with creating it.

Companies are getting tired of budgets bloated by the arbitrary residuals and the captivity of proprietary fences. Even creators of web sites by the most well-known original Microsoft dot-net experts are abandoning all the insane licensing. Microsoft itself has acknowledged the inevitable.

Oracle has the tightest of proprietary technology it seems and the worst of fees and peripheral charges. Not for nothing Larry Ellison offered to “donate” their software for a national database of all Americans for free. (They make $150 per hour for hiring out their consultants.)

Open source has spilled over into other contexts too. There is now the “Creative Commons” licensing. The rebellion against fiat monopoly grants by a central committee is spreading without a shot being fired.

The effects will cascade further still, and is already. IBM has shared its Power-8 technology for the core hardware of its bread-and-butter systems with a group of giants. Google is building out a huge data center based on it, in combination with other open technologies.

Big corporations might even be able at this point to get a general ledger item total of the cost of patents, copyrights, and licensing. It distracts from other revenue streams. One can even argue that patents are just copyrights as well, since they must be legally described in explicit language.

The line between “fair use” of copyrighted material is so artificial, so arbitrary, that the laws and rules could NEVER be so clear as to avoid a future of never-ending litigation. The situation is so bad that there are thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of patent applications, every year, whose sole purpose is to take something rather evident, or even obvious, to protect its applicants from lawsuits.

The thing will come crashing down. Even the great Isaac Newton said he only “built upon the shoulders of giants” who came before him.

Just as when social pressures obligated kings to give up the censorship over works of literature that copyright laws were meant to enforce, and “pseudo-democratize” it by granting monopolies to creators, and just as the printing press itself created a new environment for sharing ideas new and old, stories new and old, the ease of electronic sharing will eventually overcome the resistance of today’s versions of mercantilism and feudalism.

In any case, we can now unmask the truth that the riches that flow from “intellectual property” royalties usually do not go to the actual creators, but to their employers. Only a few of those who become the most famous eventually get out from under their binding contracts, or have the talent to make hay from them. The Microsoft company structure does nothing but pay the coders, same as for Oracle, HP, and all the licensing producers of proprietary software. Given a good chance to make a living without having to give away their smarts to the boss, most of the good coders, writers, artists, musicians would stampede toward freedom.

Maybe they already are. The natural state of man is not to become a mindless controlled drone. We are individuals, all of us humans, and each of us, the way our Creator made us.


September 1, 2014

Ian Sommerville’s blog provoked this post, as it gave another chance to talk about copyright:

It’s all wrapped up in the monopoly grants of copyright. Today’s legal morass of “intellectual property” laws and rulings are just one result that exposes the immorality of having any monopoly copyright enforcement at all. I deliberately avoid the word “protection” because it’s more like a Mafiosi type “protection”. Big Boss owns the neighborhood and as long as you recognize his authority and pay up other subjects’ “copyright” charges, he’ll figuratively kneecap anybody who “violates” yours. It’s not so much “figurative”, because they will put you into a cage it is criminal law.

But as we see with ACM and with Hollywood monopolies, the artists and the authors have to pay a very long debt with the Entrenched Monopolists before they are really able to enjoy the fruits of their intellectual labors. That eliminates the only “moral” argument for it.

Copyright began as a way for kings and rulers to censor content they were displeased with, and that is exactly how many people are applying it today. Whence the many youtube notices that say they nixed a video because of complaints from somebody who didn’t like some of their content included in the posting. ┬áSometimes it was factual content that slipped past a media corporation’s own (self-censoring)editors that contradicted their usual editorial line. This is why NBC will never allow another appearance of two reporters’ interview with Juanita Broadrick.

Better to have reputation sort it out, and there can also be reputation arbiters that themselves earn their fame. I believe in credit where credit is due.

Especially in software, copyright -and patents- is counter-productive. Assume the premise and conclude the absurdio.

Premise: My idea or algorithm is a property right.
Absurdio conclusion: I have the right to extort compensation from any of 7 billion people worldwide who might come up with the same idea or algorithm –even if they got there first!

That’s why there’s so much “preemptive copyright” registrations, and patents. That’s why even attorneys who offer scathing rebukes of the ideas of “intellectual property” are compelled to copyright their own stuff, to protect their own use of it.

That’s why Richard Stallman himself says he created the GPL and the LGPL, and Eric Raymond the Open Source Foundation. At MIT they saw people take the innovations of code written by hackers in the lab like themselves and slap a copyright lock on it. That’s theft. Hollywood movie studios are among the worst historical offenders of their own stated principles.

Why Open Source will dominate the future and is spreading freedom.

October 1, 2013
Tux, the Linux penguin

Tux, the Linux penguin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Why Open Source will dominate the future and is spreading freedom.


1. The USA situation is where it all ends up, in the end, it’s just that the bigness multiplies the moral hazard (an economic term) of rent-seeking, and concentrates more economic influence. Being the declining #1.

2. Enterprises pay for modernization, for sure, of their own software. Work for hire is not relevant. IBM has even paid big for projects that enhance Linux, for example, including the big belly flop dive of a billion dollars –with a “B”– some years back.

3. Which brings me to the point that the very title you gave to this discussion supports my point. IBM is making Linux work well on the mainframes!

4. Speaking of which, we also note that Linux is treated in technical terms as an “equal partner” with IBM i and IBM p on the Power Servers. Its role has only grown.
And that means it shares the spot with what looks from my perspective like the absolutely best multi-user proprietary operating system ever built, the IBM i, of course.
And yes, I’m sure it still beats Linux, even though both of them share one shortcoming with the mainframe, and that is no native GUI. (Which by the way Frank Soltis said once was something he always regretting deciding against.)

5. But note that even with the IBMi on Power, IBM opted, instead of enhancing the operating system with the new functionality that has been coming at us from open source projects, they decided to just incorporate the open source applications into the operating system (or plugged onto it). Apache, PHP, MySQL, Java, and of course HTTP and HTML, and the rest. And our fellow brethren of the “order of the i” have jumped in and added Ant, and Python, and lots more, God bless them.

And you could make a case for Scott Klement’s open source projects blowing open great new vistas of productivity for the i community.

6. Android is taking lots of market share from what would have been Apple’s domain, and probably expanded the touch-screen market in the process.

Bottom line, not going away soon, especially before libertarian principles start affecting central planning territory, but it is in start-up mode.