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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: 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.