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Moglen on Social Justice and OSS

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the something-weighty-with-your-sunday-morning dept.

Software 336

NewsCloud writes "What does Firefox have to do with social justice? How will the one laptop per child project discourage genocide? How soon will Microsoft collapse? Watch Eben Moglen's inspiring keynote from the 2006 Plone Conference (Archive.org: mp3 or qt; or YouTube). The video presentation is ordinary, so the mp3 is an equally good format. 'If we know that what we are trying to accomplish is the spread of justice and social equality through the universalization of access to knowledge; If we know that what we are trying to do is build an economy of sharing which will rival the economies of ownership at every point where they directly compete; If we know that we are doing this as an alternative to coercive redistribution, that we have a third way in our hands for dealing with long and deep problems of human injustice; If we are conscious of what we have and know what we are trying to accomplish, when this is the moment for the first time in lifetimes, we can get it done.'"

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336 comments

Great presentation (2, Informative)

byolinux (535260) | more than 6 years ago | (#17184928)

Especially when he points out that the best efforts of Microsoft can't produce browsers as good as the Free Software community.

Except for the 'Social Justice' theme... (1, Insightful)

The Monster (227884) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185618)

Every time he said 'Social Justice' he fed the perception that Free Software is a communist plot. I suspect a lot of people will miss the part where he said that it is no longer necessary for a revolution of the have-nots to dispossess the haves.

Re:Great presentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185866)

I really doubt the "best and brightest" at microsoft are working on IE7. Rather, I suppose they are system programmers seeking revenge on pussy web developers who've never saw a specification they didn't want to ream with their nose. It may be one of the few justices in the world, IE x.x.

In any event, IE7 is pretty painless for the end user. Firefox has god knows how many more man hours put into it. It's pretty pathetic they can't even keep up with a small shop like Opera. I guesss when nobody is paying for your work it can't be inefficient. So much for the 'bazaar' with really big iron gates and power hungry gestapo running the watch.

Economy of sharing to compete? (4, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#17184946)

With what? The traditional economy goes something like: I have something, which you want, and you have something which I want. We trade. This non-concept of "economy of sharing" goes like: I have something, which you want, and I am morally obligated to give it to you, by virtue of the fact that I have it. Where is it in my interest to do so, if I do not accept your premise that I am somehow inherently obligated to?

The "one laptop per child" mentality is great at giving people the information that they need in order to succeed, but it will not make them succeed. It will ensure that everyone starts the race at the same point, but it will not make everyone a winner.

Re:Economy of sharing-an example (5, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185146)

This is how I finally bingoed to what FLOSS was all about. I had read the words but still didn't get it, I mean I was already using Linux and still didn't get it. But I thought of an analogy. FLOSS is like the olden days community barn raisings. Individually, it was pretty expensive and very difficult for one guy to build his own barn, collectively, members of the community go over on the weekend and help each other out, each contributing the tools and expertise they were the best at, eventually they all have very nice barns, then they can all go about the business of being farmers, were they made their livings at.

Re:Economy of sharing-an example (5, Insightful)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185870)

Humans have spent millions of years sharing, and just a few thousand owning. Sharing is what got us, as a species, so rich that we could afford to lock up resources, whether it cost anyone anything for others to use them or not.

Owning can speed up the pace of innovation by several orders of magnitude, but it can also slow it down. You don't need DMCA, DRM, and other insane intellectual property rights to do that. The medieval guilds in Europe, for instance, also slowed down the pace of innovation by a couple of centuries, and they did it using trade secrecy rules that worked just as well (or badly, depending on your point of view).

But the important thing is that sharing and owning are NOT mutually exclusive. Buddha had it right: it's the balance that's important. Microsoft shouldn't be allowed to own the ones and the zeroes, but sharing everything absolutely equally doesn't work well outside of a monastery either. The balance point, for me, is where you have the most innovation that benefits the most people and allows compensation to flow to the creators, not everybody except the creators.

One thing that's always brought up about "sharing economies" is the tragedy of the commons. That's where resources held in common and owned by nobody get trashed because nobody takes care of them. Our current environmental problems fall into this category. But the thing to remember there is that sharing only becomes a tragedy when it's a free-for-all. In that case, sure, it's a rip-off for whoever is the biggest thug. We don't have to let that happen. If the commons is adequately regulated, it can be used by everyone AND retain all its value, like a well-run city park.

Moglen has articulated the value in the new / old way of sharing, and brought so many separate things into one vision, it's like looking into a prism and seeing glorious rainbows. Love it.

OMG (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185972)

we are all COMMUNISTS ?!?!

Why did you ruin my sunday morning man, I was having a good time, now I need to revisit my McCarthy tapes once more ...
Snif..

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (4, Insightful)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185166)

You miss the point. It's about marginal costs and the commons.

The 'economy of ownership' is the one where people say 'This stuff is mine! Give me money or you can't use it, even if it costs me nothing for you to have it.

The 'economy of sharing' is where people say 'This stuff can't, or shouldn't be owned at all. If anyone wants to use it, they can and if anyone wants to help improve it, bonus!'

The commons notoriously has problems with things like overgrazing and overfishing, and the notion of sharing what you produce has problems if it costs you something to share. With digital goods shared on the internet, neither of those are a problem. Software doesn't wear out, and it doesn't cost me anything if two people share my work over a website or p2p network. The fixed costs associated with creating free software in the first place do have to be covered, but that hasn't been a problem so far.

The internet works with a different set of economic rules from the traditional economy. Stuff like Linux and Apache are economic equivalent of bumblebees. They shouldn't work under the old rules, yet they do.

And because of that, the ethical rules should change too, but they haven't, yet. In a world where Ubuntu and OpenBSD can be made without having policemen to stop them being copied, why should we employ policemen and jails to prevent Windows or OSX being copied? Jailing people is violent and evil, m'kay, and should only ever be used as a last resort. The primary justification for employing copyright protections in the first place was just to produce copyrighted works - if the works are now getting made without those protections, then there's no excuse for attacking and threatening people just to make an equivalent work that might compete with it...

Umm, I think that's Moglen's point, more or less. I'm still waiting for the *cough*quicktime*cough* movie to download...

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185822)

One of the better counter-arguments is that long-run improvements in output depend on the rate of technological progress, and the major open-source works are largely derivative, feeding off of an ecosystem created by the commercial IT industry (including the commercial software industry, eg Apple, AT&T, Microsoft, et al).

I've no idea how it will play out, or which scenario is optimal for technological progress in the long run, but most of the original work which open-source has copied was developed with industrial funding. Moreover, there aren't really any examples of open source taking on the sort of platform leadership role Microsoft, Intel and others have done on the PC since the mid-1980s (ie basically guiding the evolution of the platform).

If we start to see open-source software take on the sort of role traditionally filled by Microsoft, eg partnering with Intel and other large hardware vendors to drive development of a PC (or similar) platform, I'll agree that software copyrights aren't needed to ensure technological progress. In the mean time, Linux is a long way away from being anything even remotely like that, even if it is reasonably good at reacting to the platform developed by Microsoft, Intel, et al. Linux users are in a sense actually free-riders, benefiting from Microsoft's platform development investment (but perhaps paying for the contributions of Intel and others).

To some extent, I think it's comparable to writing. A lot of people write for free, but that doesn't mean getting rid of copyright for academic publications wouldn't cause serious problems for students. The wider availability of existing textbooks and derivative works would provide a short-run benefit to education, but in the longer run, the industry's economic profit would be negative, and thus resources now devoted to producing textbooks would be moved to other activities. A lot of textbooks, particularly at the undergraduate level, simply wouldn't be written, and education would suffer as a result.

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (3, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185186)

Yes... where is the economy in giving birth to children? Where is the economy in giving a present to loved ones? Where is the economy in giving education to minors? Where is the economy in giving directions to a stranger in your town? Where is the economy in giving playing cards to someone who is sitting with you at a table? Where is the economy in giving advise or stating opinions on Slashdot?

As you can see: We are giving for completely uneconomic reasons all the time. Does that make us bad people?

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (0, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185362)

Everything you state is forbidden by some religion or another. So perhaps this will help by making people less dependant on idiotic religions ( http://thereligionofpeace.com/ [thereligionofpeace.com] ) and more on knowledge.

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185592)

Giving birth is forbidden by a religion? Ok... maybe there are some "Last Day" sects who say that those are the last days of the world anyway, so you shouldn't procreate anymore. But for some reason those sects don't last longer than a generation ;)

Giving advise, pointing out direction and educate the minors? How do those religions survive? How do the pass on even the interdictum of advisory, direction giving and education without pointing out that it is actually forbidden?

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185942)

The true members of the Catholic Church don't have the right to sex nor giving birth. The sisters have no right to "give birth".

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186176)

I guess you don't understand what Catholicism and Celibacy is about :) Priests, monks and nuns are in no way more "memberly" than laymen (even though they often act that way ;) ). A member of the catholic church is everyone who is baptized in a catholic rite and was never excommunicated. The one baptizing the new member doesn't even need to be a priest, a diacon can also hold the rite. And diacons often are people who are or were married (and now widowed), and whose children are already grown up.

The requirement for priests to be celibate was created to prevent dynasties in the clerical hierarchy (even though it didn't help all the time). But it is for the hierarchy only, not for the church as a whole.

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (4, Insightful)

E++99 (880734) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185978)

Yes... where is the economy in giving birth to children? Where is the economy in giving a present to loved ones? Where is the economy in giving education to minors? Where is the economy in giving directions to a stranger in your town? Where is the economy in giving playing cards to someone who is sitting with you at a table? Where is the economy in giving advise or stating opinions on Slashdot?

Yes, but you see, the ability to do this, i.e. to practice charity, which is the moral way of life, is in many ways dependent upon having the resources to give, which in turn is dependant upon a healthy free market economy. Obviously, you can be just as moral without any resources, but there is dramatically more that you can do for others if you do have resources. I think that Open Source is largely a result of this spirit. However, it is a result, not a cause, and I think it has exactly NOTHING to do with most the ideals mentioned, such as Justice. Justice has more to do with the free market. Charity is about rising above justice.

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (5, Insightful)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185210)

This non-concept of "economy of sharing" goes like: I have something, which you want, and I am morally obligated to give it to you, by virtue of the fact that I have it.

You're wrong. You are describing a communist system, where wealth is distributed evenly, rather than according to how much each person is worth.

That's not open-source. To me, there is a huge difference with open-source: It is specifically about acknowledging how much something is worth, giving credit where it's due, and respecting the wishes of the authors. Thus, if you build something on top of what I have built, and I have shared it, all I ask is that you share it too. There is nothing in open-source that says that if you build something from scratch, you absolutely must open-source it. Only if you use parts of what other people did. Frankly, I think that's a reasonable request.

What it means is that it's more efficient than traditional innovation, because it means not having to re-invent the wheel. All we ask is that you open your code, too. You're perfectly free to not use what someone else did, but it would be re-doing a lot of work, so I don't recommend it.

Where is it in my interest to do so, if I do not accept your premise that I am somehow inherently obligated to?

You're only obligated if you are using something someone else did. Again, how is this not reasonable? If you're going to go and sell some code you wrote, but it includes a bunch of code I wrote, and I stated originally that I'd prefer you to share your code if you use it, then you're not inherently obliged to, you're obliged to according to the license agreement that you chose to comply with.

The "one laptop per child" mentality is great at giving people the information that they need in order to succeed, but it will not make them succeed. It will ensure that everyone starts the race at the same point, but it will not make everyone a winner.

Absolutely. However, the hope is that it will, in total, create more winners. Or at least even out the distribution of winners over the globe. Right now there is a serious imbalance in the world that is making it a very unhealthy place to live. We can't just keep giving money to developing countries, hoping that they'll invest it properly and fix all their economic problems. Instead, this is an attempt to help them help themselves, a much better approach IMHO.
Anyways, notice that the OLPC project isn't exactly a charity. It is an effort to create a machine that is useful, but made in such a way that the target demographic can actually afford it. This is perfectly moral from a capitalist perspective. (Yes it is a non-profit organization, but as far as I'm concerned that doesn't change anything. They are still selling the machines, not giving them away.)

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185434)

My favorite was when the MIT Technology Review [technologyreview.com] compared Negroponte (who's received a lot of funding to develop the OLPC and will be selling them in huge batches) to Andrew Carnegie, who used questionable robber-baron business practices to make tons of money, and then funded the building of libraries via grants nationwide, and then set up a maintenance grant provided that the city also contributed funds to the ongoing support of the library.

Anyhow. They're selling machines, at an overall low cost (though there's not much work on the actual implementation part of them yet), without letting people do pilot projects in their own countries before signing on to buy millions of machines through World-Bank debt-financing. Woot.

While I'm on a rant; while I think the OLPC counter-point to Bill's "why can't they just use cell phones?" comment is valid; who want to read a book on a cell phone (Ok, BESIDES me, that's not the point) cell phones are great communication tools, but poor educational tools. Nevertheless, the whole OLPC-will-prevent-genocide is poorly phrased. Citizen journalism will reduce the risk of genocide (I'm not sure I even buy this point, media coverage of Darfur has certainly had mixed, at best, results w/r/t US policy); but OLPC doesn't => citizen journalism any more than cell phone video recording, TelSur [typepad.com] style handicams, and so on.

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185212)

I have something, which you want, and I am morally obligated to give it to you, by virtue of the fact that I have it. Where is it in my interest to do so, if I do not accept your premise that I am somehow inherently obligated to?


Do you only do things that directly benefit your own interests? How about benefiting from living in a more altruistic society, one which you would contribute to as well as benefit from? Particularily if the thing you "have," which I "want," is digital in nature and therefore technically trivial to share with others.

You're trying to go back to the dark ages. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185380)

In the dark ages, if someone knew something of value, they kept it a secret. Only members of the guild could get the knowledge needed to earn a living in a trade. What brought us out of the dark ages was the idea that knowledge should be shared. Scientists started to publish their findings and technology shot ahead. With the printing press and widespread literacy, knowledge became free. In fact, the whole idea behind patents is to encourage the publication of knowledge. Ditto for copyright.

So, you can shill for Microsoft, the RIAA et al and send us back to the stone age (literally, you should read 'The Ingenuity Gap' by Thomas Homer Dixon http://homerdixon.com/ingenuitygap/ [homerdixon.com] ) or you can get with the program.

Re:You're trying to go back to the dark ages. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185938)

I've yet to see a coherent argument from the anti-copyright brigade, to support their claim that abolishing copyright would not impede the creation of new works.

As you said, the reason copyright exists is to encourage sharing, so what do you think will happen if you get rid of it? Some people will continue to create/distribute their works, but others will either stop creating, or take great pains to ensure secrecy about anything of value they write (knowing that if they don't keep it secret, they'll have no way of profiting from it).

I realise a lot of people aren't overly concerned with making a lot of money, as long as they can earn a living, and would still create and share works in their areas of interest. I'm in fact one of them: I love my field, and will continue to write in it as long as I can, whether or not it's profitable. However, I'm realistic enough to accept that, without copyright, a great many people would refuse either to create or to share their intellectual works.

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185548)

Where is it in my interest to do so, if I do not accept your premise that I am somehow inherently obligated to?

Because if you don't, I'll take it anyway. Sharing, like private property, is a human convention that evolved to avoid wasteful violence.

But that is beside the point. It is in your interests to participate because you'll have more in the system than outside it. Your only "obligation" is the terms of the license of the software involved.

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185744)

This non-concept of "economy of sharing" goes like: I have something, which you want, and I am morally obligated to give it to you

I think the "economy of sharing" is more a reference to the "gift economy", in which people exchange things with each other not because they stand to gain personally from the transaction, but because they want to. There's nothing obligatory about the gift economy, quite the opposite. It's the voluntary nature of gift giving that makes it what it is. If a market economy is organized around the greed/competition instinct of humanity, a gift economy is organized around the group affinity/nuture instinct.

I know this concept flies in the face of everything people learn at Harvard Business School, and pretty much invalidates most market theory, so I'm not going to waste my time going into much detail, but the fact is that many, many exchanges throughout the world take place through the gift economy, and it is the primary form of economic exchange in many successful communities - the Free Software Community being one of them.

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186090)

With what? The traditional economy goes something like: I have something, which you want, and you have something which I want. We trade.
No:

I have something you want, and I won't let you have it unless you have something I want.

This non-concept of "economy of sharing" goes like: I have something, which you want, and I am morally obligated to give it to you, by virtue of the fact that I have it.
I have something you want. Here, take it.
Now, is there anything you have that I want?

Capitalism. Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17186136)

The underlying assumption you have there is that you lose what you trade.

This is actually a mercantilist theory.

Capitalism already has it that both parties taken together gain more than just that which is traded.

If I have a log, and I make a deal that I'll give you a plank in return for a saw... I might actually end up with several planks and a saw, you end up with the one plank, which you use to finish a barrel which you can then trade for something else... etc...

On balance, we each gain more than that which we traded for. Capitalism is non-zero sum.

With digital media, you don't actually have any negative values on your balance when you make a trade. If I give you a copy of my program, I still have my program myself as well.

Counter intuitively, the highest total gain for both of us is when I don't actually request anything back, as you will then be most likely to be willing and able to accept my deal. (It's a no brainer.)

If you have several people making similar trades like that, society still advances. IT's very strange.

Note that I can still earn money to trade for finite resources if I like: I can trade the time I take writing software (time is a finite resource) for money.

This is in fact how I earn my living.

So in the end it all makes economical sense, it's just slightly counter-intuitive.

And if you think *that's* a counter-intuitive capitalistic concept already, wait 'till you hear of things like leverage or put options.

As to giving everyone equal chances at the start. I think that's just being a good sport, don't you?

Re:Economy of sharing to compete? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17186150)

Actually is it more like this:

The traditional economy goes something like: I have something that I created using X-amount of energy, which you want either because I have convinced you that you need it or I have forced you to need it, and you have something which I want, which contains more energy than I used to create my something. We trade.

The concept of economy of sharing goes like: I have something, which you decided that want, and I am going to give it to you so that you can create something with it that I may want. We may trade.

Boglin (1)

EinZweiDrei (955497) | more than 6 years ago | (#17184948)

Notably more well-recieved that Eben Boglin's [wikipedia.org] address, which was admittedly just a lot of arm-waving and scare tactics.

Interesting, but a little too high brow for me (3, Insightful)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 6 years ago | (#17184956)

OK, this guy has some great points, but he's just too educated and high brow for a Sunday morning. He could have covered his points in 1/4 of the time and made them more accessible to the general public (in the audio that is). But then again, since when do lecturing lawyers try to be accessible and understandable?

The blogger's summary said the speech evoked "memories for me of Martin Luther King's speeches". Ummm ... ok. I think that's going a bit too far. Will anyone remember Eben Moglen's Plone conference keynote 5 years from now? I can't even say that sentence without laughing a little.

What a gasbag (-1, Troll)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185366)

Even reading the writeup makes me gag; every time I read nebulous expressions like "social justice", I want to reach for my gun (which I don't own one of, but there you are). What the hell does that mean besides theft and redistribution itself according to one man's idea of "fair"?

Re:What a gasbag (2, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185728)

I think Moglen's point was that he hoped to get 'social justice' without 'coercive redistribution', that is, without the theft-and-redistribution part that you dislike.

Re:Interesting, but a little too high brow for me (2, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186118)

He could have covered his points in 1/4 of the time and made them more accessible to the general public

I think it's worth keeping in mind that the speech we all listened to was an invited keynote address at the Plone Conference in Seattle. [plone.org] His audience was a bunch of free-software experts (Plone [wikipedia.org] is a FLOSS content management system). Making his talk 'more general and accessible' would have bored the audience. The intention of the talk was to remind some free-software developers of the 'why' of free software, and to encourage them to 'keep at it' because they are part of something good and something that can really help the world.

So again, keeping in mind the context I think it was a very good speech and very well-targetted. Admitedly you can't just show this video to someone who has never heard of Free Sofware (there are too many obscure references, acronyms, etc.), but that wasn't the point. For many slashdotters, however, I imagine the content hits very close to home and was quite interesting. I enjoyed it, at any rate.

Video Format (5, Insightful)

draevil (598113) | more than 6 years ago | (#17184958)

I suppose there's a certain irony to the fact that the talk is available only in proprietary formats from those links.

Re:Video Format (2, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185010)

Indeed, I'm still wondering why people haven't switched to MPEG-4/MP3 or H.264/AAC .mp4 files yet.

And no, DivX/XviD aren't .mp4 files, they're MPEG-4 data inside AVI/ASF containers (sometimes with VBR MP3, which ain't even allowed in a strict AVI file) that just won't play on a Mac without crashing/slowing down the whole system.

Re:Video Format (2, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185086)

"MPEG-4/MP3" and "H.264/AAC" are still proprietary formats. What I'm upset about is that this video hasn't been made available in an Ogg container with Theora and Vorbis streams.

Re:Video Format (-1, Flamebait)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185128)

Yeah sure, because everyone has a player for those installed on their computer. Not everyone is an open-source fanatic, get over it. And H.264/AAC is still more accessible than Quicktime or AVI files (especially with their dozens of CODECs).

And H.264/AAC may be proprietary formats, but nothing prevents the open-source community to buy licenses. After all, if people can send money to some guys just so they can destroy an Xbox360/PS3/Wii on launch day, they can send money to help pay for CODEC licenses.

Re:Video Format (1)

Kopl (1027670) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185356)

Having a player for open formats != fanatic. I sort of wonder what kind of person thinks that.

The propriety formats are bad because they allow abuse of patent laws. This is because they make money, not from innovation, but from people not being able to play content from a player that hasn't had that fee paid.

Re:Video Format (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185500)

Ogg containers with Theora and Vorbis streams still require expensive computers built with propriatary components.
What I'm upset about is that this video hasn't been made available as a printed flip-book animation with the soundtrack on phonograph.

Re:Video Format (1)

zefrer (729860) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185532)

Well maybe you need to get a better video player, have had no problems whatsoever with those files under linux, using either mplayer or xine. And im terribly sorry, real h.264 encoding takes forever and a day compared to divx encoding. Sometimes the extra time(its a lot) is not worth the better sound quality and marginal video quality h.264 offers over divx.

Re:Video Format (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185602)

The file on Archive.org that the article refers to as "qt" is a H.264/AAC file.

Re:Video Format (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185848)

Yes but is it H.264/AAC data inside a plain .mp4 file or within a Quicktime wrapper that Linux users won't be able to access?

Widespread internet access could cause genocide (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17184962)

I know I've wanted to kill a few people after looking at their MySpace pages.

Well, there's your problem: (3, Funny)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185108)

Stop looking at people's MySpace pages!

Re:Widespread internet access could cause genocide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185248)

Osama has a MySpace page? I know he's on MSN, but a MySpace page is just to much ...

Is he related??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185008)

Is he related to Buddy Ebsen?

Anyone have this in a downloadable Vorbcast format?

Delusional (3, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185026)

Microsoft are going to collapse in the next couple of years and this somehow will prove the validity of the sharing model? I dont think so, MS will be around for a long time yet. If Microsoft survive and so well for a couple of years will Moglens theory of sharing then be proved false?

re: Salvation through education (4, Insightful)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185042)

The laptop was developed under the motto:

"Because information can save the world"
I think that in America, there is a long history of beliving that education is our salvation. This was a very popular belief in the mid-1800s, and has continued on to this day. For instance, no matter how bad our schools do, we believe that giving them more money will fix the problem and save us.

See this quote by Horace Mann:
"the common school is the greatest discovery ever made by man: we repeat it, the common school is the greatest discovery ever made by man.. .Let the common school be expanded to its capabilities, let it be worked with the efficiency of which it is susceptible, and nine-tenths of the crimes in the penal code would become obsolete; the long catalogue of human ills would be abridged; men would walk more safely by day; every pillow would be more inviolable by night; property, life, and character held by a stronger tenure; all rational hopes respecting the future brightened." (Clarence Carson, A Basic History of the United States, vol. 3, p. 91).
I think the Laptop program is just an extension of trying to "evangelize" our philosophy on the rest of the world.

That said, however, I think the more people who can get around the controlled press with these devices, and blog and create their own content, the better off the world is. It's salvation...no.

Re: Salvation through education (2, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185980)

I think that in America, there is a long history of beliving that education is our salvation

And being the most powerful nation in the world somehow invalidates that sentiment?

Education *is* the salvation, our very history is proof of that. But there is also a strong tradition of anti-intellectualism masquerading as anti-elitism in this country, and as our wealth encourages laziness and the expectation of success, that sentiment is now the stronger force. The failure of throwing money at a problem as a substitute for interest and participation, and actually understanding the problem, does not invalidate the solution.

Hahah (-1, Troll)

Silvah (797931) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185090)

I vote we begin our 'economy of sharing' with the keynote speaker's car.

Re:Hahah (1)

Kopl (1027670) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185164)

Data/Knowledge is a lot different than things like cars. You can share it at no cost to yourself.

Re:Hahah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185570)

Data/Knowledge is a lot different than things like cars. You can share it at no cost to yourself.

Yes, but both cars and data take time and resources to create. If I could snap my fingers and make a car magically appear, then I would have no problem giving my current car away for free. However, that's not the case. Thus, it's only fair for a seller to ask you to pay for data/knowledge that he has created, just as it's fair for him to ask you to pay for a car that he has created. We should not let the fact that sharing is trivial blind us to this moral truth.

Re:Hahah (2, Insightful)

Kopl (1027670) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186018)

Nice post. You are right, if a producer wants to be paid for his product, and a consumer wants it, then they should be paid for it.

Re:Hahah (1)

Silvah (797931) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186190)

Hey, you're right, my time is 100% worthless.

Shoot! I guess all those teachers and professors tricked us into paying them for knowledge, because they can 'share it at no cost' to themselves.

Figure out the difference between price and cost before you even consider responding...

Genocide? (4, Insightful)

Rydia (556444) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185098)

You know what stops genocide? Functioning governments with the ability to combat rogue elements within the country, or the diplomatic relations required to get help. Functioning militaries, headed by civilians and not career officers. Strict regulation of trade along with neoliberal economic policies to help ease countries out of depressive states. Ground-up education as both an educational and social tool to create civic awareness and consciousness.

A bunch of laptops to some starving, poor, thirsty people who live in terror of their government or paramilitary groups the government can't control are going to do a whole freaking lot.

Please.

Re:Genocide? (2, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185180)

He seems to think that somehow giving everyone a video camera will solve genocide because it will be all over the news. Um, there was a lot of video of the Rwandan genocide and yet it went on. Ditto for Darfur etc. So I fail to see how more video would actually stop the genocide.

Oh, and the potshot "that the government of the United States chooses to ignore" is complete bullshit. The world (as am I) is already mad enough at the US for intervening where it should not have, why would the rest of the world be happy if the US went to war because of some video some kid posted on youtube? Futhermore, the US isn't the only one ignoring genocide. While the US is doing nothing in places like Darfur, the EU is doing next to nothing.

Re:Genocide? (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185750)

When you say militaries headed by civilians, you mean an elected official like a secretary of defense, or do you mean civilians in the position of the generals. Deciding tactics and troop movements?

Re:Genocide? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185994)

You realize you basically just described Third Reich Germany, right? I mean, not that what you list is bad, but it pretty clearly doesn't stop genocide--it's the right idea, but far from complete.

Re:Genocide? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17186024)

Ok....

and $100 laptops could of helped how???

Social Justice? (0)

saikou (211301) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185126)

I just wonder what will a person that lives paycheck to paycheck have to say about social justice when asked by an OSS developer that has several computers at home and perhaps can afford that nice new $550 video card.
I wonder.

Re:Social Justice? (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185788)

You mean most of the general public that is in debt up to their ears. I consider living on credit paycheck to paycheck.

Re:Social Justice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17186142)

Will an OSS developer actually be able to use that $550 video card? OSS users/developers get ignored by hardware companies...

People remain resistant to technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185150)

It changes nothing. It enables us to be more what we are. I keep hearing how technology will change politics and social interactions and it does not. I don't expect laptops to stop genocide or topple MS. I want some of that skunky bud the mega-progresssives get. Must be good stuff to make them believe this shit. Sorry but true and I don't intend to flame. Poor people need good government, property rights, civil rights, basic services, and time to lift themselves up. Africa, in particular has little of this, and no stinking laptop or other technology is going to change that. This is a strain of the same western developed world's arrogance that got us into Iraq.

Eben Moglen as a lawyer (1)

camcorder (759720) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185182)

First time I saw Eben Moglen in from-the-hawai shirt, I had no impression about he's a lawyer and also who's the one behind FSF's legal moves. Later on he started to talk about GPLv3 in a way that he's fighting with audience, then I had my first impression of his lawly background. And now with a suit. Luckily with pink shirt.

Re:Eben Moglen as a lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185948)

Moglen used to work for Swaine, Cravath, and Moore, one of the most prestigious firms in the country. So he's definitely got credentials.

As a visionary though, he's showing himself to be a complete tool. OLPC stopping genocide. mmmyeah okay.

in much simpler to understand terms... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185200)

first understand that we are all consumers and producers.
With that in mind:

"Consumer choice rules"

And when the choice is not acceptable to the consumer, they put on their producer hat and make it for themselves and to share.

That's OSS!!

The essence why Richard Stallman wrote the GPL in the first place.
He was unhappy what rights his employer, at the time, was claiming of his work.

Re:in much simpler to understand terms... (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185266)

He never left academia although his friends did. He created the GPL, FSF, and GNU because to get the source to a buggy printer driver he had to sign an NDA.

More from Moglen (2, Informative)

Fiznarp (233) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185206)

Moglen also spoke recently at the Sakai conference in Atlanta. He is representing the Sakai Foundation in their fight against Blackboard's software patent.

He gave a keynote Wednesday morning and then appeared during lunch for a debate of sorts with Matthew Small, VP and General Counsel for Blackboard, Inc. It's quite entertaining, IMHO, especially if you have strong feelings about software patents.

You can listen to the podcasts here (look at the Wednesday schedule, day 2 for download links):
Conference Schedule [sakaiproject.org]

(Sakai [sakaiproject.org] is an initiative supported by several higher educational institutions to build an Open Source learning management system.)

More Columbia Rubbish (1, Insightful)

chromozone (847904) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185282)

That was just a Marxist software speech - nothing new in it. It's the same psedo virtuous template that gets applied to other things. "this is a moving speech because Moglen is not talking about software licensing as much as a multi-generational movement for social justice that many of my closest friends care deeply about despite their having very little knowledge of technology. As the lecture unfolds, Moglen's commentary invoked memories for me of Martin Luther King's speeches." Wha....? So people with "little knowledge" of technology now "care deeply" about the social justice of software liscensing? The reason they care is because they are shallow and suggestible. A lot fo people have no real virtue these days so they are easy prey for rhetoric that sounds "sorta" noble but has no root in reality. A lot of these "ivory tower" sorts who buy into this rubbish are already guilt ridden and prone to self loathing. "If we know that what we are trying to do is build an economy of sharing which will rival the economies of ownership at every point where they directly compete; If we know that we are doing this as an alternative to coercive redistribution, that we have a third way in our hands for dealing with long and deep problems of human injustice" Human injustice is due to character flaws and spiritual emptiness(ego pride selfishness etc) and Marxism always wants to hide that fact behind superficial economics. It's like saying "People aren't bad it's their choices that are bad so we will just have to make sure there are no options". These sorts are guilty of what they accuse others (capitalists) of being. Marx did once say "accuse others of what you do".

Re:More Columbia Rubbish (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185486)

I thought it was Lenin who said: "Accuse your enemies of doing what you do, label them of what you are."

Re:More Columbia Rubbish (2, Interesting)

caseih (160668) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185960)

Your implication that Marxism is Communism, or something otherwise bad or evil, is quite false. Marx said a lot of things. Further most people, myself included, don't hardly have the slightest clue what Marx really proposed or believed in. Certainly the Communist Manifesto was *not* Marx. It was the Communist Party's charter for which they paid Marx to draw up according to their own ideals, not Marx's.

Talking to people (in the ivory towers no less) I have learned that Marx wrote many many things that touched on the great and important issues of the day. Many do not realize that Marx predicted what would happen in America. He predicted that cold hard capitalist worker abuses would lead to unions and a reformation of American labor, even within the context of our somewhat free market system. He was exactly accurate in these areas and many others. And it's a good thing we "listened" to Marx or else we'd have never made it through the industrial age intact. Although I would strongly disagree with Marx over globalisation, it seem that the US has listened to him very well when it comes to protectionism of domestic markets. The US is all about free trade and free markets when it is our trade and your markets, not when it's your trade and our markets. Marx does have some flaws.

Now from what I know, the Free Software movement is definitely *not* communism, but rather humanist capitalism at its finest. And yes, it does represent, in my opinion, the true ideals of Marxism too. This is a good thing, in my opinion. It does not take away anything from those who espouse themselves to be libertarian, free-market thinkers ( http://www.politicalcompass.org/ [politicalcompass.org] really opened my eyes to where I stand in relationship to our government leaders)

Funny you should talk about character flaws and spiritual emptiness. For Max himself did believe that religion was a bandaid to the this problem, and not a solution. Rather he said we should find and solve the underlying causes of this emptiness, such as the dull, monotonous, slavery of factory worker life, common in his time. I happen to agree with the latter statement, but not with his opiate comment. Programming in a cubicle, notwithstanding a great salary, leads to emptiness and a lack of fulfillment in many circumstances. The Free Software ecosystem, on the other hand helps to offset this monotony and tediousness but encouraging us to exercise tremendous creativity. I believe this can really benefit and complement companies who develop software.

So why is Marxism such a bad thing? It has already brought the US stability and amazing economic development. And honestly if you really listen to what Moglen and the FSF say, they want to bring the same leaps and strides to computers and people, as in the computer industry specifically, we face many of the same issues Marx wrote about. If anyone is truly interested in what Marx had to say, throw away the "Communist Manifesto" and read his real books.

Re:More Columbia Rubbish (1)

gaspar ilom (859751) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186096)

Human injustice is due to character flaws and spiritual emptiness(ego pride selfishness etc) and Marxism always wants to hide that fact behind superficial economics.
Addressing your first point: The ability of people's behaviors and intentions to affect reality clearly DO depend environment, conditions, and *context.* (your second point is rubbish: that's not what "Marxism" is -- and Moglin's lecture wasn't even about Marxism.)

So, if the power of intention is mitigated by context, then OF COURSE you can re-structure society and its rules to shape the collective result of peoples' behaviors toward a particular outcome.

At a minimum, it doesn't matter if those behaviors are the result of "character flaws" -- or even whether those flaws are genetic, biological, or social in origin. (although, the point I'm making is even stronger if those "character flaws" are found to be social/environmental in origin.)

For example:
In a hierarchical system where vast power can be concentrated into the hands of a few decision makers -- one "bad apple" can more easily create "evil" results that harm everyone else. In a a system where power is distributed more evenly, that ability for a "bad apple" to do harm would be diminished.

Notice that it's irrelevant whether everyone has those same character flaws, to greater or lesser degree. (It just so happens, BTW, that the system we do have puts exactly those kinds of bad apples in positions of power -- that's just an emergent property of that system perpetuating itself.)

Haven't you ever wondered whether it's the system we have now that leads to things like: externalities, global warming, and psychopathic corporations? -- Or was that all just the result of immutable, inner character flaws?

Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185326)

I don't buy that it will curb genocide. First of all, if people are attacking my village I am going to either be fighting or running; I'm not going to stand around cranking my laptop to capture grainy images/video and upload them to my blog. Ignoring that for the moment, I don't think it would make a difference anyway; unless the images are of U.S. soliders we (in general) are reluctant to do anything. Images of dead Iraqi children are easily obtainable at a number of websites, and occasionally hit the air waves on CNN, but that doesn't change policy on the ground. We have very little interest in Darfur, and there are many websites documenting what is going on there, yet we do nothing. The sad fact is that we just don't care because there's nothing in it for us. If we see something we don't like we can simply change the channel. Out of sight is out of mind.

The speaker's goals are admirable, but his zealousness is blinding him from reality. My personal opinion is that OLPC will have mild success in some more highly-developed regions, but generally it will be a failure. Ultimately time will tell.

And from the first link:

Tonight I sat back with a tofu burrito from Gorditos and a glass of wine to watch Eben Moglen's keynote to the 2006 Plone Conference...

LOL, what the fuck?

Re:Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185784)

Why should I do anything about Dafur? Because you feel badly about it? War is in the history of the establishment of all great civilizations.

I feel 'sorry' for the people caught up in it, but I feel that it is not my place to meddle in their affairs.

Re:Ok... (1)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185798)

Tonight I sat back with a tofu burrito from Gorditos and a glass of wine to watch Eben Moglen's keynote to the 2006 Plone Conference...

LOL, what the fuck?

You should agree with the author because he's better than you. Why? Because he's sophisticated (wine) and cares about the planet (tofu).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority [wikipedia.org]

Social Justice? (3, Interesting)

fatboy (6851) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185342)

I have issues with the concept of "Social Justice" (in this country, the USA). I can understand helping people in poverty. Having the government give them the training and tools to get out of poverty is something anyone can understand.

That is not what I see when people speak of "Social Justice". I see them attempting to have an even distribution of wealth, by using the government as the enforcer of what is socially just.

It does not seem fair. Those who sacrifice, save and work hard should be rewarded. Those who do not, should not.

On a global scale, often, when I see the struggling indigenous people of wherever, they have placed restraints on their economy or their economy is a structured (ie planned) economy that has inefficiencies in it. These types of economies look like the economies proposed by those seeking "Social Justice".

This is just a Sunday morning rant. As always, I could be wrong :)

Re:Social Justice? (1)

Soko (17987) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185878)

It does not seem fair. Those who sacrifice, save and work hard should be rewarded. Those who do not, should not.

I agree - hard work should be rewarded. I have no problem with people who start a company with a great idea and become very wealthy - I'm very glad for them when it happens. What irks me is that some horde their wealth and effectively take it out of circulation. The only reason anyone would want to hold on to over $1Billion (US) is for POWER, not living well.

On a global scale, often, when I see the struggling indigenous people of wherever, they have placed restraints on their economy or their economy is a structured (ie planned) economy that has inefficiencies in it. These types of economies look like the economies proposed by those seeking "Social Justice".

Oft times those restraints are a wealthy few who wish to keep the wealth and therefore power. Currency has to be in circulation in order for others to earn it. To me, "Social Justice" means that some reasonable limits should be placed on the accumulation of wealth, otherwise you end up with an Aristocracy. As I said, it's not the money the wealthy control that I'm against, it's the undue influence over their fellow citizens because of their un-necessary hording.

Soko

Re:Social Justice? (1)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186128)


What irks me is that some horde their wealth and effectively take it out of circulation. The only reason anyone would want to hold on to over $1Billion (US) is for POWER, not living well.

Only an idiot would make $1 Billion and then stick it under their mattress. The way people with money make more money is to invest it. Even if they're putting it in one truly massive CD (heh), that's still money that's being used to give out loans, purchase capital, etc...

The fact that they're not spending it on a daily basis does not mean that that money "sitting around" in a holding company isn't having positive side-effects.

Besides, don't people complain about ugly American "conspicuous consumption"?

This is not what Moglen's talking about (4, Informative)

Geof (153857) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186112)

This (from my transcription [geof.net] ) is what he means by social justice:

There is no moral justification for charging more for bread that costs nothing than the starving can pay.

His vision has no government or other enforcer. It is realized due to a restructuring of economic production around products based on software which is free. Here is how he describes past efforts to achieve social justice:

the greatest problem of human inequality is the extraordinary difficulty in prising wealth away from the rich to give it to the poor, without employing levels of coercion or violence which are themselves utterly corrosive to social progress. . . . We cannot make meaningful redistribution fast enough to maintain momentum politically without applying levels of coercion or violence which will destroy what we are attempting.

An information economy based on free software, however, can be different:

We find ourselves now in a very different place. . . . It's a place where the primary infrastructure is produced by sharing. The primary technology of production is unowned. . . . We have begun proving the fabric of a twenty-first century society which is egalitarian in its nature, and which is structured to produce for the common benefit more effectively than it can produced for private exclusive proprietary benefit. . . . a world in which the resources of the wealthy came to us, not because we coerced them, not because we demanded, not because we taxed, but because we shared. Even with them, sharing worked better than suing or coercing.

Not even a token gesture toward software freedom? (2, Informative)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185360)

How ironic that the /. headline mentions "OSS" (open source software) yet Prof. Moglen is General Counsel for the Free Software Foundation; an organization that not only predates the Open Source Initiative (which coined the term "open source") by over a decade but has a different philosophy [gnu.org] which sometimes reaches different conclusions about what software is acceptable than the open source philosophy does. For the open source movement, running non-free software is okay (not that an open source proponent would call it that; the open source movement exists in part to not talk about software freedom at all). For a free software proponent, non-free software is avoided except when writing a free replacement for a non-free program. The difference in reaction to non-free software [fsfeurope.org] is quite striking.

You can see how that plays out in this /. story: none of the formats this talk has been transcoded to can be played by all users with free software even though this could have been accomodated. Instead of including options free software users could use, we have a list of (what are for most users) non-free alternatives. MP3 is patent-encumbered in many countries, so citizens of those countries can't have free MP3 encoding or decoding software. The QuickTime container format can be free, but the codecs most often used with QuickTime are non-free. Flash can be played with free software but the free replacements aren't yet to the point of maturity where it can be used as a drop-in replacement (and even when the job is done, MP3 soundtracks on Flash video+audio files will pose a problem).

The solution has been around for some time and works well: add Ogg Vorbis audio files and Ogg Theora+Vorbis video+audio files. These files can be played on all platforms and there are implementations which are free software for everyone.

So, all you really want is an Ogg file :-) (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185496)

If I condense those paragraphs down it appears that all you're really saying is that you would have liked the talk to be in Ogg format. Plenty of conversions on Google, but I do agree they ought to have thought of that - I guess they decided to get the word out first before converting...

Joking aside, I'm not sure I believe in a conspiracy to snub Free Software. Whatever fork argument you use, I still think that both strands still share more ideas than they care to admit, only the way they approach the world is different.

The Open lot is a bit more pragmatic (I'd call them the 'I want it NOW' crowd), the Free crowd has a more philosophical stance, with RMS as the ultimate cheerleader (argh, that called up a picture of RMS in a skirt - give me a moment to recover, aaargh :-). I think the Open crowd is paving the way to the Free approach - the world does not work with black and white cut-overs unless someone just got raided by FAST/BSA and makes guitars for a living.

Without the Free ideas the Open crowd would eventually wander back into the proprietary world, with the Open guys making it happen now the Free ideas would just remain ideas - another ideology but now worth paying attention to. I think both are required to make a difference.

But that's just MY view - feel free to disagree.

After all, it's a free/open world .

You try fitting a headline with /. short character (1)

newscloud (1037538) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185648)

count Fair point though.

Ogg Vorbis, please (1)

ArcRiley (737114) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185986)

I have to agree. I'd hope the Plone group would be "with-it" enough to realize the ethical conflict they've put themselves in by only releasing a video about freedom using proprietary codecs.

While keeping in mind that 80%+ of Internet users have never heard of Ogg, a vast majority of the people listening to Moglen have & would highly prefer it. Besides, Vorbis is vastly superior quality to MP3.

Question for the Board (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185414)

If we know that what we are trying to do is build an economy of sharing which will rival the economies of ownership at every point where they directly compete;

What happens if we (in Western Europe and America)are trying to build "an economy of sharing" and the rest of the world isn't? Who wins?

This isn't a flame. Its a serious question. What happens in a global competitive environment when one's domestic for-profit industries compete with grassroots, open source initiatives -- and the rest of the world capitalizes on the latter to become more competitive. Is this akin to killing the cow for the milk?

Reasonable expectations (1)

SysKoll (48967) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185416)

I'm all in favor of the OLPC project. It's a great project, but it shouldn't be seen as a world savior either. OLPC is a project that will make a few Westerners feel good and will help a few thousand (or tens of thousands) people acquire the basics of computing, provided that they are in the right conditions to start with.

But OLPC is not going to convince warring tribes that they should start loving their neighbors. It's not going to resolve hatreds and conflicts that have been raging for decades, if not longer in some cases.

Before a new technology has a chance to improve lives, the basic sociological problems have to be solved. In a place where slavery is OK (they still exist), where women and children are fair game, and where the winner takes all, law and stability extend only as far as the reach of the local warlord -- until the next one takes over. And having to fight bouts of malaria while trying to avoid being caught between warring factions doesn't help making time for learning to read, much less for learning computing.

So let's have reasonable expectation here. If the project is supposed to create world peace, then it will be doomed a failure regardless of its achievements.

Moglen for president ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185422)

Obviously Moglen gets it, he understands the business case for free software and also sees the potential to effect wider social change. Quite the intellectual, his speeches are imbued with a sense of anarchic fun that must be unsettling for the status-quo. For this reason alone, they're always worth hearing, even if you think his optimism may ultimately be misplaced.

Go LTFF (Listen to The Fine File?)

freedom and resources (2, Informative)

argoff (142580) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185462)

One problem. For the longest time, we have already had more than enough food to feed the world. The primary problem of getting food to the poor was never a cost or distribution problem, it was a political and freedom problem. The fact that we have entered the information age with free software has not changed this problem. While society has advanced greatly in the sciences over the last 150 years. Society has gained nearly nothing in the advancement of freedom and liberty. The US constitution was the cutting edge of that, but has not increased our liberties and powers for a long time.

Notice that how even though Linux is free, that the place that it is used the most is silicon valley - more than any other place in the world. A free market Mecca. Not Africa, not China, not India. That's because it's not about costs, but about freedom. And free markets are not about markets, but about freedom too and people taking advantage of it to create wealth and prosperity where none existed before.

Contrary to what he said, the free market still has limits, but now the limit in supply and demand centers around services and not around content controls. The information age is doing for services what the industrial revolution did for production.

Re:freedom and resources (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185702)

I agree -- food isn't the issue.

more food = more people = more conflict.

more food = less time working to make food, find food = more time to think = more conflict.

Humans are wired for conflict, especially between the ages of 13 and 30.

More children = more conflict.

---

As long as we respect other people's rights to raise their children by teaching them other people are not human then the problem.

Only by teaching their children different beliefs can we change their culture.

I suppose the laptops might help in that regard- the children would see concepts they would otherwise not be exposed to.

Re:freedom and resources (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186124)

I suppose the laptops might help in that regard- the children would see concepts they would otherwise not be exposed to.


In 1960's China. Millions and millions of people were dying from starvation as the farms were not producing enough food. But, no amount of new farming tools was going to help it. No amount of charity was going to stop the massive death tolls. So what stopped it. Well, the farmers revolted and forced China to switch back to a private property system. The point is that people don't need charity, they don't need tools, they needed understanding and freedom. Handing these kids laptops is like handing them farming tools. They don't need a freaking laptop, they don't need high speed internt. What they need is some understanding of liberty (and some guns parhaps). Maybe being connected will get them that understanding, but I doubt it. Has slashdot turned back the tide of statisim here in the US, nope. The internet in the US has only made the mob more capable of enhancing their power base to coercively take from one group and distribute to another.

Re:freedom and resources (1)

Thomas the Doubter (1016806) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186104)

This is a very interesting point - although we have advanced greately in material wealth, our liberties and powers have "not increased much in a long time". As someone who is "wealthy", it is easy to see that the name of the game is control.

Significantly, the timely emergence of the concept of Intellectual Property appears to be aimed directly at the economics of control: who has access to what, when, and under what conditions. It is clearly mostly a system of control - which makes most all of us poor in what really matters - our freedoms, choices, and powers, all the while draining off increasing sums of money.
All is not dark, however...Along come some wild prophets, such as RMS, and they show us there is another way. Do not play the IP game - assert your natural and God-given freedom. The poor in spirt shall inherit the earth. Thomas

stop the socialism (2, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185528)

What does "social justice" have to do with open-source software? Or with closed source? Or with anything? Trying to justify cooperative or closed efforts based on what you think their benefit to mankind will be is off-point. The closed source software occurs because someone wants to make money. The cooperative effort exists because people want to volunteer their efforts. Using the government hammer on the people who want to make money because they're detrimental to society by "consuming money" is as smart as beating down the open-source people because they're "destroying the free market".

Re:stop the socialism (1)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185584)

Hey don't go against Slashdot's truthiness here!

"What does Firefox have to do with social justice? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185534)

"What does Firefox have to do with social justice?" Dunno. Ask the Debian maintainers...

The self-importance is awe inspiring (3, Insightful)

oldmanmtn (33675) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185594)

Because what has really been holding back the third world all this time is the lack of source code to their C++ compilers.

Open Source (or Free, or whatever the f*ck) software is fanstastic, but Jesus, can we have a little perspective please?

Here's a transcript of the talk (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185678)

A friend in the free software community has transcribed this talk:http://plone.org/events/conferences/seattle-2 006/ [plone.org] .

SORRY, here's the working LINK: (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185770)

Heh. That'll teach me to check my URLs. ...nah.

Here is a temporary copy of the transcript: http://ciaran.compsoc.com/texts/moglen-2006-oct-pl one.html [compsoc.com]

It will have a permanent link soon, and that will be listed at: http://ciaran.compsoc.com/texts/ [compsoc.com]

Why use QuickTime ?? (1)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 6 years ago | (#17185742)

Maybe I didn't look hard enough but the only download-able format I found was QT. Why do this to us? Why not MPEG? Given the theme, I could understand if they wanted to make it available in Ogg, but QT? I can play MPEG with just about anything. Is there some sort of free codec pack that I could use (on Windows), rather then having to install another annoying proprietary player?

Re:Why use QuickTime ?? (1)

HellYeahAutomaton (815542) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186014)

QT is pretty much standard. Why not rip it with one of the Firefox Add-ins and convert it to pretty much any format you want?

Don't let laziness stand in the way of your open source format idealism.

First poWst. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17185762)

it simple, charnel house. The

Thanks to the editors (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186050)

...for not posting anything else for several hours so we all had a chance to watch the nearly hour long video.

Missing the Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17186070)

Much of the disdain about FOSS comes from a fundamental misunderstanding that reflects pretty much the way that one views the entire world as a whole. The aim of FOSS is not about making sure that no one makes money; moglen pretty much concedes that that economic imperative is required. The issue is really how and why various players (such as M$, but even worse the telcos) are able to propagate their monopolies of a commoditized industry under the guise of the "free market". The answers to how one answers some of the following representative questions pretty much dictate your view on the FOSS movement.

1. Why does the EU continually chide MS?
2. Why is the US continually sliding most broadband metrics?
3. Why was the whole WiFi movement possible?
4. Is IE a product or a platform?

It is in this vein, why GOOG has become such a market darling and a posterchild (obviously not to the extent of Linux) of the OSS movement. FOSS is not about not allowing companies to make a profit. It is more of a recognition that at some point, the perpetuation of the monopoly becomes detrimental to society as a whole. Even the Founding Fathers recognized this.

Access to what? (2, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#17186180)

Is it really access to knowledge, or just access to more mind degenerating nonsense?

Too much of what you find on the Internet is garbage. From the web page equivalents of open mike poetry nights at the local coffee house, to vacuumheads like 9/11 or moon landing conspiracy theorists, there's a lot of rubbish.

Will the network spread truth and liberty, or will the lies just spread faster? Is it a tool of freedom, or a global generator of intelletual smog?

Here's how you save the world:
1. Global education with a solid core of scientific method, basic logic and critical thinking skills.
2. Free access to all known forms off birth control.
3. Bust up the organized religions. Seriously, we have GOT to wean humanity off that shit. It's like every problem in the world can be traced back to some religious text or another.
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