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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday October 13 2019, @03:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the last-throes-of-public-culture dept.

https://public-interest-tech.com/

Mr. Schneier and friends have created a new website to promote a change to the socio-economic technical milieu we are currently facing.

He suggests we need to have "public interest technologists" to help the situation.

He writes:

"We need technologists who work in the public interest. We need public-interest technologists.

Defining this term is difficult. One Ford Foundation blog post described public-interest technologists as "technology practitioners who focus on social justice, the common good, and/or the public interest.""

Is he right? How can this be implemented without becoming as riddled with government agents, spies and mafias as the key positions of our corporations and institutions are right now?

Full disclosure: this writer has been a public interest technologist for a while now and I have actually alluded to the need for something like what is being suggested on multiple occasions, 'a different kind of organization' is the way I put it, way back a few months ago.

Discuss.


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by barbara hudson on Sunday October 13 2019, @03:54PM (16 children)

    by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Sunday October 13 2019, @03:54PM (#906639) Journal
    Wasn't the ethos of open source pretty much the same thing? And isn't it foundering because there's plenty of ways to exploit open source financially, but few ways to make a living creating open source software?

    The marketplace makes plenty of bad decisions, but things like systemd are a demonstration of the failure, or rather, the lack of a marketplace governing decisions. Red Hot has the same monopolistic effect on Linux as Microsoft and Google and Facebook do in their respective markets. Good intentions won't cut it .

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 13 2019, @04:20PM (14 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 13 2019, @04:20PM (#906645)

    Wasn't the ethos of open source pretty much the same thing? And isn't it foundering because there's plenty of ways to exploit open source financially, but few ways to make a living creating open source software?

    To the first question, obviously, NO. And, as someone that works for an Open Source Company that has revenues in 100s of millions per year .... ok.

    systemd are a demonstration of the failure

    Hahahaha! Still at this? Now we need someone to rage against Linux because it killed Hurd.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by barbara hudson on Sunday October 13 2019, @05:22PM (9 children)

      by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Sunday October 13 2019, @05:22PM (#906666) Journal
      There are companies that use open source that have revenues in the 100s of millions or more - Google and Facebook are two examples. However, there is no company with the exception of RedHat that makes 100s of millions selling open source software - and even RedHat doesn't sell open source software, just support

      Take the Mozilla Foundation as an example. Almost all its revenue is from search engine deals with google, Microsoft, etc. So ready Mozilla is an advertising company, same as Google. They're selling advertising services. Not even support for open source software, never mind selling the software itself.'

      It's probably significant that at 66, RNS still has to beg for a room to sleep in on a regular basis. Kind of hard to save for retirement if the salary as president was $0 per annum. Genteel poverty isn't really that genteel once you become something of a pariah.

      --
      SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
      • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday October 13 2019, @08:11PM (8 children)

        by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Sunday October 13 2019, @08:11PM (#906700)

        Redhat do sell software, it is called Red Hat Enterprise Linux and there is a "buy it" button right there on their site.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by barbara hudson on Sunday October 13 2019, @09:47PM

          by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Sunday October 13 2019, @09:47PM (#906720) Journal
          It comes with a mandatory service contract - it's the contract you're paying for. Otherwise just grab Centos.
          --
          SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
        • (Score: 2) by arslan on Sunday October 13 2019, @09:49PM (2 children)

          by arslan (3462) on Sunday October 13 2019, @09:49PM (#906722)

          Umm technically they sell support, you can download RHEL, and source, and use it for free; yes registration required and they don't make it simple but not paid. You just don't get support, if you want support you pay for it. But yea, for most folks they see them as practically "selling" RHEL - me included. If you don't want to "buy" you just use Centos or Fedora or something else entirely you wounldn't bother jumping through hoops to get the "free" RHEL (or you just BT it)

          • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday October 13 2019, @10:13PM (1 child)

            by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Sunday October 13 2019, @10:13PM (#906738)

            Oh, well technically correct, because that is the best kind of correct.

            • (Score: 2) by arslan on Monday October 14 2019, @12:13AM

              by arslan (3462) on Monday October 14 2019, @12:13AM (#906779)

              touché! =)

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 13 2019, @09:54PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 13 2019, @09:54PM (#906726)

          Even then, you can just use CentOS. It is basically identical, minus the branding and support. And that doesn't get into the other derivatives either.

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday October 14 2019, @09:54AM (2 children)

            by c0lo (156) on Monday October 14 2019, @09:54AM (#906882) Journal

            Even then, you can just use CentOS

            Actually, you can't. Every time I tried, it resembled an exercise in retrocomputing (by how many packages were about two years behind).

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14 2019, @02:04PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14 2019, @02:04PM (#906922)

              you can't [use CentOS] ... many packages [are] about two years behind

              That's why people buy RHEL, to stay safely off the bleeding edge.

              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday October 14 2019, @02:25PM

                by c0lo (156) on Monday October 14 2019, @02:25PM (#906930) Journal

                May be good for office work, but it's worse than pulmonary anthrax if you need to develop on that platform - a painful and sure professional death.

                --
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by Bot on Sunday October 13 2019, @09:36PM (3 children)

      by Bot (3902) on Sunday October 13 2019, @09:36PM (#906716) Journal

      >Hahahaha! Still at this?

      Maybe he will shut up when systemd actually boots faster than sysvinit. Try ubuntu vs sysvinit mxlinux and have a somewhat more deserved laugh yourself.

      --
      Account abandoned.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Monday October 14 2019, @01:45AM (2 children)

        by c0lo (156) on Monday October 14 2019, @01:45AM (#906807) Journal

        Maybe he will shut up when systemd actually boots faster than sysvinit.

        As someone who doesn't reboot their Linux all day long, I so don't care about systemd booting faster.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Monday October 14 2019, @04:22AM (1 child)

          by deimtee (3272) on Monday October 14 2019, @04:22AM (#906837) Journal

          I don't boot my system very often either, but faster booting was supposed to be one of the main arguments in favour of systemD.

          bash-4.3$ uptime -p
          up 2 weeks, 3 days, 3 hours, 50 minutes

          --
          No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14 2019, @10:13AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14 2019, @10:13AM (#906887)

    Wasn't the ethos of open source pretty much the same thing?

    No, that's closer to the ethos of Free Software, which is different from open source.

    but few ways to make a living creating open source software?

    The fact that you can make a living from something doesn't mean it's ethical to do so. Proprietary software is necessarily an attack on people's freedoms, and therefore should not exist in any form.

    I've seen you attack Free Software (and "open source" I guess) in a number of places. But, the alternative is proprietary software, which is far worse for freedom and gives corporations and/or the developers massive control over your computing. With how ubiquitous computing is now, software freedom is more important than ever.