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posted by martyb on Sunday December 06 2015, @01:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the rethinking-closed-source-software dept.

Akkana reports via the Shallow Thoughts blog

I went to a night sky photography talk on Tuesday. The presenter talked a bit about tips on camera lenses, exposures; then showed a raw image and prepared to demonstrate how to process it to bring out the details.

His slides disappeared, the screen went blank, and then ... nothing. He wrestled with his laptop for a while. Finally he said "Looks like I'm going to need a network connection", left the podium, and headed out the door to find someone to help him with that.

I'm not sure what the networking issue was: the nature center has open wi-fi, but you know how it is during talks: if anything can possibly go wrong with networking, it will, which is why a good speaker tries not to rely on it. And I'm not blaming this speaker, who had clearly done plenty of preparation and thought he had everything lined up.

Eventually they got the network connection, and he connected to Adobe. It turns out the problem was that Adobe Photoshop is now cloud-based. Even if you have a local copy of the software, it insists on checking in with Adobe at least every 30 days. At least, that's the theory. But he had used the software on that laptop earlier that same day, and thought he was safe. But that wasn't good enough, and Photoshop picked the worst possible time--a talk in front of a large audience--to decide it needed to check in before letting him do anything.

Someone sitting near me muttered "I'd been thinking about buying that, but now I don't think I will." Someone else told me afterward that all Photoshop is now cloud-based; older versions still work, but if you buy Photoshop now, your only option is this cloud version that may decide ... at the least opportune moment ... that you can't use your software any more.

[...] I talked to the club president afterward and offered to give a GIMP talk to the club some time soon, when their schedule allows.


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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @05:41AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @05:41AM (#272400)

    Steams DRM has never prevented me from playing a game, online of off.
    Steam will stream my games to my tv, or another pc in the house.
    Steam has awesome sales.
    Steam is the only reason there are any entertaining games on Linux at all.

    I have weighed the pros and cons. I will continue to use steam. I am not saying its "awesome" but it is not that bad.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @10:43AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @10:43AM (#272446)

    Steam is non-free proprietary user-subjugating software. By definition, it does not respect your freedoms. Digital restrictions management restricts the user, even if it doesn't restrict them in ways they personally care about. You're still support proprietary software companies, and you're still supporting DRM.

    Steam will stream my games to my tv, or another pc in the house.

    That might be cool, but it is shallow compared to the importance of freedom.

    Steam has awesome sales.

    So?

    Steam is the only reason there are any entertaining games on Linux at all.

    What I'm after is freedom, not more games. Such shallow motivations are of no interest to me, as I am not in the "open source" camp.

    I have weighed the pros and cons.

    What you've done is disregard the fact that freedom is much more important than mere technical quality or cool features so that you may live as a drug-addicted slave, just like your proprietary software masters intended.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @11:25AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @11:25AM (#272455)

      You have an ideology problem.

      You seem to place software freedom above all other considerations. I have a different set of values, and while I believe software freedom is an important consideration, it is not the end all be all. I refuse to be bullied by the likes of you who insist that I change my gaming habits to make you happy, and that I am the crazy one for refusing to do so.

      We can have any disinterested third party read this thread and trust me your the one that sounds crazy. Seek help.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @02:56PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @02:56PM (#272482)

        You have an ideology problem.

        There seems to be a tendency for people to accuse other people of having "ideology problems" when they care about something a lot. This is very disturbing, because it makes it impossible to argue in favor of something for all but the most shallow reasons. But sometimes what you care about are things like ethics and freedom to the point where all else is secondary. I'm sure there are many things you care about quite a bit, to the point where I could accuse you of the same thing. I'm sure you absolutely oppose owning other human beings as property, for instance; that's an "extreme" position. It's also not the same as this, but it does show that you don't have an "ideology problem" merely because you care about something on principle. Ideology shouldn't be a bad word; it depends on the ideology.

        I refuse to be bullied by the likes of you who insist that I change my gaming habits to make you happy, and that I am the crazy one for refusing to do so.

        You are free to discard your own freedoms (even for shallow reasons like this) if you wish, but I merely telling you that it is foolish. And funding proprietary software only makes the proprietary software companies more and more powerful, thereby making it more difficult to avoid. Companies tend to expand into many areas to make even more money. So while I said that you are free to discard your own freedoms, don't forget that this can have far-reaching consequences for other people if these companies become powerful enough. For example, it is nearly impossible to find a car totally devoid of non-free software unless you buy a very old car.

        The ones who are truly bullying you are those who do not respect your freedoms.

        We can have any disinterested third party read this thread and trust me your the one that sounds crazy. Seek help.

        This looks like the bandwagon fallacy. Either way, what some disinterested third party thinks is irrelevant to whether or not my arguments are correct. In a culture where most people don't care about or are actively ignorant of software freedoms, it wouldn't surprise me if what you say is true, but that does not make what I say wrong.

        There is also a disturbing trend to pull the same tactics you're using now. "Reasonable People would agree with me!" Of course, "reasonable" is defined in such a way as to be advantageous to the one making such irrelevant statements. But even if it is true, arguments stand on their own merits. It doesn't matter how many hypothetical "reasonable" people agree with you. You don't need to bring in imaginary backup from hypothetical "reasonable" people; you need to bring good arguments.

        • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @03:54PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06 2015, @03:54PM (#272496)

          So you put words in my mouth and claim that I am reducing your arguments to shallow ones, and then you follow up by actually accusing me of using shallow arguments.

          I also never claimed that the people reading the posts would have to be "reasonable" You get any disinterested person, or get them all and take an average, and you will see that you sound slightly unhinged.

          How about this, stop putting words in my mouth to further your argument. Frankly I care very much about free and opensource software. I also enjoy my video games and frankly don't care if they are close sourced. The authors wrote the game and this is the best way they see to make money from it. Nothing they have done has harmed that experience for me, and frankly I see no reason to worry about closed source video games. Closed source OSes worry my much more.

          This is like atheists that get but hurt when someone in the government says merry christmas. Yes, the separation of church and state is very important, no I do not think that getting butt hurt over something that matters so little is proportional or proper. Thats what you are doing here in your ideological (and yes your arguments are purely ideological) crusade to banish all closed source software. By doing so you are actually driving away people (namely me) that are sympathetic to the belief that code is better when it is opensource. When it comes to video games though I don't give a damn, and if you don't play video games then why do you even care if I give a damn or not.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07 2015, @12:35PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07 2015, @12:35PM (#272858)

            So you put words in my mouth and claim that I am reducing your arguments to shallow ones

            I think technical benefits are shallow compared to freedom, so when you say/act as if I have an "ideology problem" because I don't consider them, that does sound like what you were doing.

            I also never claimed that the people reading the posts would have to be "reasonable" You get any disinterested person, or get them all and take an average, and you will see that you sound slightly unhinged.

            It doesn't matter what choice of words you used. Can't you see that that wasn't the main point?

            Here, let me try again: This looks like the bandwagon fallacy. Either way, what some disinterested third party thinks is irrelevant to whether or not my arguments are correct. In a culture where most people don't care about or are actively ignorant of software freedoms, it wouldn't surprise me if what you say is true, but that does not make what I say wrong.

            There is also a disturbing trend to pull the same tactics you're using now. "Disinterested People would say that you're crazy!" Of course, "disinterested" is defined in such a way as to be advantageous to the one making such irrelevant statements. But even if it is true, arguments stand on their own merits. It doesn't matter how many hypothetical "disinterested" people agree with you. You don't need to bring in imaginary backup from hypothetical "disinterested" people; you need to bring good arguments.

            The structure and logic of what I said has not really changed, so that was pointless.

            How about this, stop putting words in my mouth to further your argument.

            It's more than you didn't grasp what I was getting at.

            I also enjoy my video games and frankly don't care if they are close sourced.

            I would say that you should care if software you use is non-free proprietary user-subjugating software, but you have stated you have different values from me, so there's probably not much more to say.

            I also find it puzzling how you say that you care about free software, but then say you "don't care" if the video games you play are proprietary software. You don't care even one bit? Wouldn't you at least rather they be free software?

            and frankly I see no reason to worry about closed source video games.

            Because they do not respect your freedoms. Due to this, you are beholden to the developers to make any changes; you can't hire someone else to do it for you, can't rely on random people in the community to make changes, and you can't do it yourself either. You can't run the program for any purpose, see the source code, and can't share with your neighbors. It disrespects your freedoms and the spirit of education at every level.

            Because so much proprietary software also includes malicious anti-features, even small things like games. The Sony rootkit is an example of such maliciousness. Countless games also include digital restrictions management (which is inherently anti-user) and some even phone home. Filthy rich companies as well as governments will find ways to screw you over even with the most innocuous-looking software possible, because that is what they are good at. Just because you can't think of a way a simple game could be malicious doesn't mean it won't be. Not all proprietary software has malware-like 'features', but none of it respects your freedoms, which to me is what is most important.

            Closed source OSes worry my much more.

            Maybe so, but that doesn't mean other proprietary software should not worry you at all.

            This is like atheists that get but hurt when someone in the government says merry christmas.

            I am an atheist, but I don't get angry over that, because Christmas is a secular holiday. The word "Christmas" is just a name and you can celebrate it in any way you please. Most people think of Santa Claus and presents when they think of Christmas, not Jesus.

            Thats what you are doing here in your ideological (and yes your arguments are purely ideological) crusade to banish all closed source software.

            Again, you're using "ideological" as if it's a bad term. Even your "open source" stance is ideological, as the definition of "ideological" is so broad that it could apply to basically any belief system. But it doesn't matter, because what matters is whether the ideology is good or not, not whether it is an ideology. Saying that I am on an ideological crusade does not refute anything I've said, and I don't even find the term "ideology" to be insulting. I do, however, find it odd that you use it in such a way.

            I also avoid the term "closed source". [gnu.org]

            By doing so you are actually driving away people (namely me) that are sympathetic to the belief that code is better when it is opensource.

            I'm not an "open source" [gnu.org] advocate in the first place.

            When it comes to video games though I don't give a damn

            Although I don't condone putting technical quality ahead of freedom, I find it interesting that you say that you are sympathetic to the idea that code is better when it is "open source" but then say you don't care if video games are proprietary. In your view, wouldn't the video games have better quality code if they were not proprietary?

            and if you don't play video games then why do you even care if I give a damn or not.

            1) Because I care about others' freedoms. I don't ride on planes, but I care that people's constitutional rights are being violated by TSA thugs. I am not gay, but I support gay marriage. Maybe you don't care much about software freedoms, but I do, and I would prefer to not see others' freedoms being disrespected.
            2) Because you are funding the development of non-free proprietary user-subjugating software and allowing it to flourish in society.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07 2015, @10:08PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07 2015, @10:08PM (#273075)

    Copy protection laws last 95+ years by default. This is unacceptable. By not explicitly releasing something under a license that releases itself under a CC or other permissive license in a much more reasonable period of time anything covered by copy protection laws is implicitly releasing itself under a license that lasts 95+ years. We, as consumers, should not accept anything that demands 95+ year protections.

    I'm not saying that software has to be open source. Just that we as consumers allow software, art, movies, publications, and other works that are released under 95+ year protections to exist because we allow companies to (implicitly) release their works under 95+ year terms (by not explicitly releasing them under a more permissible license after a shorter period of time).

    OK, someone can release works under an all rights reserved license for the first ten years. But then the works should specify a publication date and an irrevocable creative commons date that takes effect about 10 years after the publication date.

    Microsoft Windows 95 and below should be public domain by now. If not it should be released under a creative commons license. The same with older games. This will allow others to provide continued support for them if they wish. They can provide support by modifying them and/or building a framework around them (ie: virtual machines that can load them) and ensuring that they can support newer hardware. At the very least it would allow future generations to better see and appreciate the history of operating systems and how they progressed if not to allow people to continue using oler operating systems and software and improving upon it. Even without source code people can still reverse engineer and provide third party updates, support, and improvements for older operating systems. Even back when Windows 98 was popular I remember people used to do similar things but it was Microsoft that ended up stopping it because it's their proprietary works.

    but if a discontinued game is proprietary for 95+ years then it can't be widely distributed and so there is little point in providing continued support for new hardware. Again I am not saying it has to be open source just that it should be released under a license that freely allows anyone to tinker with, redistribute, and improve it and release those improvements either after the game is discontinued by the original developer or after a reasonable period of time.

    The license that consumers should demand should also provide that any specific version of something is released under a permissible license after a reasonable period of time. Say you make version one and state that it gets released under a CC license 5 years later. Then, say, one year later you make version two. Version two also gets released under a CC license 5 years later. By the time version one is released under a CC license version 10 would have came out and version one could tell people where to find the latest version if they are interested.

    By forcing producers to explicitly release works under a reasonable permissible license in a more reasonable period of time we can both support more reasonable copy protection laws intended to support producers while still opposing overreaching copy protection laws and overreaching copy protection licenses. By not forcing producers to release works under a reasonable permissible license in a more reasonable period of time we are implicitly supporting bad copy protection laws and those who benefit from them and we are implicitly supporting those who release works under unreasonable terms. Anyone that doesn't explicitly release their works under a reasonable permissible license in a reasonable period of time is implicitly releasing their works under unreasonable terms that we shouldn't tolerate.