I wouldn't use the "proof of work" but rather signatures of trusted parties,
Is there a term-of-art for this blockchain-verified-by-syndicate? With it, just about any group can become their own bankers (not totally trustless like Bitcoin, but just a small amount that is easy to maintain small group), I have been wondering how long it will be before a drug cartel issues a cryptocurrency, backed by drugs instead of gold, and verified by signature servers on a darknet. It would probably be more functional than some of these South American government currencies. Then Scarface could dump his crooked bankers after all, and be the banker, raking in money without having to do any actual work.
Ok, it's not really Microsoft selling copies of Windows when a consumer buys a computer at retail. The consumer is buying a copy of Windows from Dell (for example), and Dell is licensed to re-sell Windows. The distinction is not important to my point, which is this: The consumer enters into a transaction whose appearance and nature is that of a sale of chattel goods. When he offers cash for the purchase, he is within his rights to expect to fully own what he paid for. (This follows from the fact that consumers live in a world where simple sales transactions are the norm, and customized contracts of sale are not.) A EULA places encumbrances on the consumer's ownership that, due the the asymmetrical nature of how EULAs are formulated, are beyond that which is reasonable for ordinary consumers to understand, The goods were misrepresented; to sell them that way constitutes fraud. (Strictly speaking, Dell is committing fraud, but doing so under contractual obligation with MS. Getting Dell to do the dirty work makes MS a conspirator to fraud.)
I suppose EFF could come up with a industry-uniform EULA, though I would think they have bigger fish to fry. We sort of have that with the GPL. I wouldn't have any problem with a software vendor using the GPL as a EULA.
This reasoning applies to mass-marketed merchandise. I don't have a problem with arbitrary EULAs for bespoke-coded software projects, nor the licensing terms MS makes with Dell (except, of course, for the part where they conspire to defraud consumers). The problem occurs when we have asymmetrical lawyering; the solution is the first sale doctrine (or, alternately, uniform contracts produced through a process that properly represents consumers' interests).
Oh, I am not defending taxi licensure; local governments have taken the simple need to "regulate and make uniform" commercial activity with some simple rules (If you offer services at a published rate, you must do so in a non-discriminatory fashion) and turned it into a giant rent-seeking scheme. A have to disagree with your assessment of the facts, though: Microsoft very much does want to sell Windows at Best Buy (and every other random retail channel); they want to do so as part of a bundle. It certainly is to Microsoft's advantage to have OEM's take cash for their products in sale as chattel goods (and bundled together in arbitrary combinations as is the right of someone selling chattel goods). My claim is that is it bad policy to allow them to do so without holding them to the first sale doctrine.
I suppose a case can be made that the software business is mature enough now that a uniform EULA can be put in place, much like the "uniform contract of carriage" you get with an airline ticket. That avoids the asymmetrical lawyering that has heretofore gone into EULAs; the industry and consumers negotiate en masse (ideally as private sector organizations but usually this happens through the political process) the terms of a uniform EULA without one side spending, literally, a million times as much effort as the other. The most successful example of this is the GPL.
On a final note, I would point out that a truly free market wouldn't have copyrights at all. Attacking restrictions on EULAs and software bundling on free-market grounds is a bit spurious. It's not for nothing that RMS dislikes the term "intellectual property".
This gets into the legal weeds a bit, but freedom of contract, in the classical sense, assumes a proper negotiation process before entering the deal. There are all kinds of contracts that are prohibited due to time constraints, situations of duress, or asymmetrical information. We don't allow taxi drivers to triple their rates when a rider appears to be suffering a heart attack and needs a ride to the hospital (a freely negotiated rate, eh?). We prohibit sharecropping (bundling seed-corn purchases, land rents, and debt financing together in an exploitive way). In most cases, we don't allow drug-makers to transfer liability for poisonous contaminants to the consumer. For common transactions where the rules of an ordinary don't sale apply (airfares, amusement tickets, and car rentals for example) we have contracts that are uniform industry-wide. And yes, we have the "first sale doctrine" where a transaction that has the nature and appearance of a sale necessarily exhausts the seller's copyright interests.
If Microsoft wants the benefits that come from mass merchandising, they should be required to play by the rules of mass-merchandising. Instead, they want to treat a retail purchase at Best Buy like a Wall Street finance deal by inserting a click-license after the fact. This faux-contract is replicated millions of times for Microsoft (and therefore they can spend millions on legal fees crafting the language to advance their interests) but is seen only once by the consumer, who if competent to understand it at all, has a much smaller stake and can't afford to invest much effort into it. In the end, the consumer is confused and swindled. That isn't freedom of contract, that is fraud.
The terms of the agreement have been altered, pray that the corporate lawyers don't alter them further [insert Darth Vader breath here].
Can't speak to the other systems (so this doesn't really invalidate your larger point), but I have to dispel the common misconception that the Amiga was anything but profitable to the end of its days. Commodore went under due to losses from the PC clone business, and Amiga production shut down when suppliers stopped delivering parts. Near the end, Amigas shipped with dealer-installed hard-drives (paid for in cash) since HD makers were among the first to get stiffed with delinquent invoices. I would posit that, under better management, the Amiga platform could have survived and have a market position similar to the Mac today.
There is a reason Amigans are so bitter about how that went down.
I take the
Heh, my combo set (which I didn't pay a dime for, and whose VCR broke long ago) can't play DVDs through the video input. The video passes through the VCR's AGC circuit whether I am using it or not, and Macrovision signal corruption creates brightness flicker as is its pathological intent. I use my xdimax Grex time-base corrector on it when I must.
I always recommend against "smart" TVs myself. To describe it succinctly, the upgrade life-cycle of a TV is much longer than the upgrade cycle of a streaming appliance. If TVs had slots for plug-in cards that would be better, but we don't really have anything like PCI or Cardbus for TV sets.
plenty of dead film formats
And the deadest of the all is the Kodamatic. When Polaroid sued Kodak in the 80's, the film supply disappeared. Consumers got a $50 rebate, and Kodak lost billions. So in the most prominent case of IP concerns leading to bricking a consumer device, the consumers got something. (This assumes DMCA blocks someone from providing an alternate cloud service for the Revolv.)
I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats; If it be man's work I will do it.