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Interview: Ask Jon "maddog" Hall What You Will

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the got-a-question? dept.

Open Source 26

It's been over 13 years since we did a Q&A with Linux International executive director Jon "maddog" Hall. For decades, maddog has been one of the highest profile advocates for free and open source software. He is currently working on Project Caua which aims "to promote more efficient computing following the thin client/server model, while creating up to two million privately-funded high-tech jobs in Brazil, and another three to four million in the rest of Latin America." He's also gearing up for FISL in Brazil, and helping to plan the FOSS part of Campus Party Europe in London. maddog has graciously agreed to find time to answer some of your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

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Hosts file? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44102229)

Do you know where I can find a good HOSTS file to help improve my computer security?

On Project Cauã (0)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year ago | (#44102231)

First I praise you for your work and your goals -- they are refreshing compared to "please investors." But one of the keywords in your goals statements [projectcaua.org] for Project Cauã is "capitalistic" as in "do all of this in a capitalistic, sustainable way, with little or no money coming from government." This mildly confuses me. I don't see FOSS as directly contradictory to capitalism but your goal of "triple or quadruple the number of FOSS developers in the world" seems, well, a little more public domain oriented than private industry, ownership and other tenants of capitalism. To put my question bluntly, why even pay petty lip service to capitalism when your goals of reducing electronic landfills, free-of-charge wireless and increasing user security are just not monetarily rewarded by the free market? These goals are about empowering people and protecting our future environment, how precisely does that align with capitalism? I understand how your job creation might benefit the economy but I don't understand how you're going to actually create these jobs. What companies are you talking to that have positions for these jobs? Most countries can't even pay to create jobs -- I'm sure several leaders would gladly put down billions of dollars if it meant magically creating productive and sustainable jobs, what is Project Cauã doing differently?

Re:On Project Cauã (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44102301)

private industry, ownership and other tenants of capitalism.

Tenets*

Re:On Project Cauã (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44102441)

The magic of the free market is that people don't depend on magic.

Capitalism is merely the observation that capital (i.e., any resource, such as money, land, labor, etc.) is best allocated not by, say, the bureaucrat who takes it by decree, but rather by the one who—through voluntary interaction—gained control of that capital in the first place. That's it.

More capitalism means more freedom, and more freedom means faster progress in all aspects of life; under a free market, each person realizes he actually has that capital, and can use it readily to better both himself and his community (that is, to accrue more capital; profit is not merely a transfer of wealth, but an increase in the world's wealth).

What most people don't realize is that the free market is not about immediate solutions, but rather about the evolution of a solution over the long term, even if nobody realizes that a solution is emerging. Evolution requires variation and selection—that is, the free market; the government, by its very nature, crushes this process. When a poorly performing organization grows larger and more intrusive rather than dying of its own ineptitude, then you know something is fundamentally wrong.

Re:On Project Cauã (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44102501)

The magic of the free market is that people don't depend on magic.

Capitalism is merely the observation that capital (i.e., any resource, such as money, land, labor, etc.) is best allocated not by, say, the bureaucrat who takes it by decree, but rather by the one who—through voluntary interaction—gained control of that capital in the first place. That's it.

More capitalism means more freedom, and more freedom means faster progress in all aspects of life; under a free market, each person realizes he actually has that capital, and can use it readily to better both himself and his community (that is, to accrue more capital; profit is not merely a transfer of wealth, but an increase in the world's wealth).

What most people don't realize is that the free market is not about immediate solutions, but rather about the evolution of a solution over the long term, even if nobody realizes that a solution is emerging. Evolution requires variation and selection—that is, the free market; the government, by its very nature, crushes this process. When a poorly performing organization grows larger and more intrusive rather than dying of its own ineptitude, then you know something is fundamentally wrong.

Except that, in the case of the environment and child labor laws and everything covered by the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, you're completely wrong.

Also, I like how a solution arises even when no one knows a solution is arising so it's sort of like a religion where you can never say that it's going the wrong way because you just don't realize yet that a solution is arising.

Re:On Project Cauã (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44103103)

Of course you can say it's going the wrong way—at least, you can say so under the free market, where only the laws of reality matter; the bureaucrats are the ones in the habit of ignoring reality.

New Hampshire License Plate (2)

Ian.Waring (591380) | about a year ago | (#44102259)

Who had the "Live Free or Die - UNIX" license plate at Spit Brook first; you or Armando Stettner? And do you still have it??

Affiliate Product Launch (0)

Trưởng Demon (2960689) | about a year ago | (#44102353)

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Re:Affiliate Product Launch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44102377)

Yeah, I'll get right on that, thanks. Quick questions, though, why did you name your site "covertstorebuilder-reviews.com" when you sell "Covert Store Builder"?

Secondly, what the absolute fuck is a "covert store builder"?

Re:Affiliate Product Launch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44103517)

Secondly, what the absolute fuck is a "covert store builder"?

That's where you build a store and you make sure no one knows about it. I guess that would include customers, too.

First off, thank you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44102491)

For taking the time to suck off Linus Trovalds. Kidding, but in all seriousness, do you fiddle with his balls while fellating or do you let me them bounce off your chin?

Your perspective on Bitcoin et al. (2)

Statecraftsman (718862) | about a year ago | (#44102527)

As someone who takes a pragmatic view of software freedom and considers business interests carefully, what are your thoughts on decentralized virtual currencies such as Bitcoin as they relate to individual freedom as well overall economic efficiency?

What is your opinion on GPLv3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44102539)

What is your opinion on GPLv3?

Ask Jon "maddog" Hall What You Will (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#44103201)

What, you will?

Five to six million jobs? NICE job, Mr Hall! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44103317)

Personally creating 5-6 million jobs out of nearly thin air is a cool thing, no matter how you look at it.

I with I could do that.

Teach me, master! [blogspot.com] ;)

startup advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44103677)

What is your best advice for a Linux-based startup at ground-zero?

(I.e. ground zero := Zero funding for other devs, no office, some functional code done in spare time, plenty of good ideas)

The transition to SoC-based “content devices (4, Interesting)

Adekyn (2114976) | about a year ago | (#44103709)

The “Apple iPhone” and “Amazon Kindle” were release in 2007; and the “Apple iPad” followed just 3 years later in 2010. Now, in mid-2013, the combination of smart-phone and tablet devices has eroded the PC market - with projections of tablets out-selling PCs by 1 million units by 2017. It has been estimated that, presently ~70% of these devices are running Linux (in the form of Android) and soon, Canonical will be throwing Ubuntu/Unity into the mix. Ironically, while it is fantastic that Linux has been to be proliferated to the masses, it has done so in a very “closed” way. These are marketed as self-contained content devices _not computers_. To develop software for these products, one (for the most part) cannot simply code with tools/languages of your choosing – you have to conform to the tools and delivery methodologies of the device manufactures. How do you see this trend of abandoning Personal Computers for SoC-based content devices affecting the future development of Linux or, for that matter, the future of programming in general?

Quotation marks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44104275)

Why do you have a quoted word in the middle of your name? Do you find that having unusual characters in your name helps with name recognition and memory? As an advocate, do long names (like "Thomas Penfield Jackson" - how many people publicly use all three of their names) help people stand out in the press? Do unusual names like "maddog" or "moxie marlin spike" help or hinder advocacy? Do people take these names seriously?

Re:Quotation marks (1)

PuZZleDucK (2478702) | about a year ago | (#44107955)

Do you find that having unusual characters in your name helps with name recognition and memory?

There are four of them famous enough to have a wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Hall_(disambiguation) [wikipedia.org]
11 if you count the Jonathans: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Hall_(disambiguation) [wikipedia.org]
and I'm not even counting the Johns: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hall_(disambiguation) [wikipedia.org]

...The dude has a need to differentiate with a name like that.

Making money off FOSS (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#44105063)

Traditionally, the 3 ways of making money off FOSS have been
  1. a> Selling hardware
  2. b> Selling support services
  3. c> Donations

Long term, do you see any other ways in which one can make money on FOSS?

Thin client server (2)

countach (534280) | about a year ago | (#44106673)

My question is, why do we need thin client/server in an age where a decent computer surely costs about the same as some kind of thin client anyway? I can see benefits in a specialized scenario where you need access to vast computing power, but for every day people in an apartment complex, web browsing and reading mail, why is it necessary, and doesn't it in fact add a lot of complexity for little gain, not to mention administrative problems and a central point of failure. People are using $30 Android tablets for their computing needs without that complexity.

What's next for FOSS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44106711)

With the first generation of FOSS developers reaching retirement age, and FOSS having won mainstream acceptance. What do you think will be the challenges for the next generation of developers? Now that the plans for world domination have come to fruition, where do we go from here?

Your question to you (2)

Mbit (2963331) | about a year ago | (#44107035)

My question to Jon "Maddog" Hall: What would you ask Jon "Maddog" Hall and what would the answer be?

Thoughts on Alpha? (1)

idunham (2852899) | about a year ago | (#44119507)

I'm wondering what you think looking back at the whole Alpha scene.
-were there any major failings?
-what were the nicest features?
-while the hardware is now abandoned and slow, do you think it could have remained competetive?
-favorite stor(y|ies) related to Alpha or Linux/Alpha?
-are you still interested in Alpha, or have you moved on?

No UK VAT FOSS bookkeeping program (1)

eionmac (949755) | about a year ago | (#44121165)

My question.
  Part1 history.While developing many other facets of Gnu/Linux so that most small companies can use FOSS to totally run their business, the lack of a FOSS UK or EU VAT system of bookkeeping keeps small start ups 'locked' into Windows as there they have the relevant accounting/bookkeeping programs. (GnuCash is OK for personal accounts, useless for UK or EU VAT systems).
Part 2 Question: Is any effort being made to solve this as it would allow start ups to be independent of Windows.
There are some paid Linux bookkeeping systems but that is off putting to start ups.

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