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Re: [dvd-discuss] Gedanken Experiment -Unix and Norton

On Tue, 15 Jul 2003, Noah Silva wrote:
> I'll chime in here...
> >
> > You see profit as exploitation, I see it (at least partially) as a
> > premium on risk taking and investment.
> This seems to be common.  People don't realize that even if you want to
> do -good- you need to have some power to make good happen, which usually
> means money.

I DO realize that.  I THINK I wrote something that means the same thing as

There is this idea floating around our culture that something must be
absolutely forbidden if it is bad lest one be called a hypocrite.  I say
fuck that.  Hypocrisy is a natural effect of idealists living in a
non-ideal environment.  As long as you KNOW it's wrong and are working to
make it unnecessary, you can participate inasmuch as you feel you need to

The problem with any major social change is that it can only come from
those who have power and what constitutes power is dictated by the social
structure.  Hence, only the powerful can make change (but why would
they?).  So nearly every revolution ends with the same people in charge.
The American Revolution left the same old white guys rich and at the top
and the same poor brown people slaving in the fields.

It takes power to make change and it takes money to wield power.  So we
try to leverage the small amount of power that can be wielded without
money (tiny pockets of the governmental sphere that remain potentially
democratic) and we remain inside the money system trying to swing that
power one way or another.

However, none of us will EVER, even collectively, be able to have the
power and influence of just one GE so the real goal should be to take the
power out of that system.  The great thing is that the system is DESIGNED
to take the power out of itself, but the powerful people at the top are
manipulating the system in order to prevent that from ever happening.
Wealth of Nations clearly explains how the market should abolish profit
(by bringing the market price down to the market-delivery cost) and how
worker productivity should become so high (in an attempt to reduce
market-delivery cost) that abundance will be attained and (by unstated
extension) markets will cease to exist.  However, the profiteers have a
whole lot of power and wealth.  They successfully buy out or undercut or
collude with potential competition and maintain high profits even when
market-delivery cost is very low and products go obsolete on the shelves
(or worse, food rots, unsold and uneaten).  In other words, supply exceeds
demand at a given price.  All of this is just another factor on the
balance sheet for the profiteers and the fact they had product that did
not benefit ANYONE is not considered a bad thing in and of itself.

The feedback system is in place (books, newspapers, and television all
being produced for profit) to simply self-reenforce the idea that what
they do is good, right, and even the only way.  And, of course, any
attempt by the public to steer reign in the system and force it into
public service (which is the only reason it was allowed to exist in the
first place) is somehow considered blasphemy.

> > As for software companies... we'll just have to agree to disagree.  To
> > date no free software (and I've tried them) has the convenience,
> > completeness, and "fit and finish" of Word, Excel, PhotoShop, PaintShop
> > Pro, Maya (ahem... including a modest contribution from me) or even
> > Visual Studio.  These attributes (convenience, et. al.) have value to
> > me.

I think The Gimp is at LEAST as good as Photoshop or PaintShop Pro.  I
personally have absolutely no use for anything like Word and I really
can't figure out why anyone else thinks they do, either.  Excel is maybe
useful for certain kinds of simple accounting, but I only do accounting
for myself and my contracting work and GNUCash handles my needs pretty
well.  I also never understood why anyone wants to use something like
Visual Studio.

Of course, I could also go on to say that not a single piece of commercial
software can compare to the completeness of GNU Emacs.

> Free software catches up more and more, but a lot of it is because of
> commercial contributions.

I don't think anyone is disparaging commercial contributions to Free
Software.  I, myself, have worked for commercial organizations that
contributed to Free Software.

> The best Office Suite (StarOffice/OpenOffice) was commercial.
> Mozilla/Netscape? was commercial.  The new OpenGroupware that was just
> released? commercial?  FilmGimp (whatever it's called now)... improved
> because companied needed it.

And that's exactly the truth.  Companies need software to function
(insofar as anybody does, which is debatable) but if your "market
differentiator" is software, you're doing more harm to society than good.
Your whole purpose then becomes secret-keeping for private gain instead of
public benefit.

> SAP database ? it was commercial.

I'm out of the loop, I guess.  SAP is Free Software now?

> It's good that companies realize that releasing something is better than
> squatting on the source and doing nothing with it

There has been a change in the social pressures.  I don't think there is a
"bottom line" difference.  It could just as easily swing back the other
way.  Companies don't realize anything any more than information wants

> and I think linux desktop is perfectly usable for most things now
> (unless you want to play "barbie's playhouse" from the K-mart software
> section) - but it will be a little while before we can claim to be the
> most convenient, etc.

I don't think "convenient" is something a general purpose computer will
ever be, by its very nature.  The attempts by Microsoft (for example) to
create a system that doesn't obviously need administration and software
that doesn't require an understanding of what it does in order to use it
effectively have created a sterile environment that grossly limits the
capabilities of the machine and the people using it.

If you want "convenient" get a WebTV.

     Jeme A Brelin
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