@lightweight "Developing nonfree software is an inherently antisocial act, for it is intentionally choosing to create an unjust power structure, in which a developer knowingly keeps users powerless and dependent by withholding information."
The other option for most businesses would be: not develop software?
When talking about MS, it's fine and a good way to look at things.
But there is so much software that developing is inherently expensive, it is hard to see it not being closed.
@lightweight Obviously I firstly think about my job (yeah, what a surprise). I can't see a viable way to get Driver Monitoring Systems developed without the code being closed source.
The testing to develop the algorithms has to involve a lot of expensive real world testing.
Not doing that costs lives.
@LovesTha the better option: get public health funding for dev and make the code open. Your biz gets fairly compensated, and many people are helped. As a pleasant side effect you make it MUCH harder for proprietary devs to flog their wares. Do it quick, lest someone else beat you to the punch...
@lightweight Public health departments should be subsidising car manufacturing? I think I can see that, but it's going do be a hard sell for many.
But until that occurs, isn't funding the software dev the best way one can better than not writing the software?
@LovesTha that's a good question.. I'd lean towards no. Simply because, rather than oppress their users, like proprietary software cos do, this cos should be showing govts that their software is crucial public infrastructure that should be funded accordingly, like the road network. And all taxpayer funded code should be copyleft licensed.
Arguing DMS is crucial would require arguing that state of the art driver assistants are crucial and remove from sale/use pretty much every car.
Your last sentence is patently true. I think it should also apply to anything they purchase, not just commission.
@LovesTha dunno if I agree with your conclusion. I ran a software dev shop for 14 year, and we only created open source software... It's a viable proposition. What's more, if people (rightly) rejected the use of proprietary software (due to the aforementioned power imbalance... It'd be the only viable option.
@lightweight That a company can survive/thrive creating open source software isn't proof that all software can be, just that some can be (and anyone trying to claim that foss is impossible for all software has some reality to check)
@LovesTha also, I'd argue that the pervasiveness existence of extremely high quality #FOSS, as used by just about every proprietary corp today, suggests that the narrative of "high quality software costs a lot" is only true among those who've bought into the proprietary mindset. I think they're wrong.
@lightweight Not all high quality software costs a lot, but not all software is testable without expensive testing. I don't believe Tesla's model for crowd sourcing is either viable for a open community or actually adequate for developing safe self driving cars.
@LovesTha to be fair, I don't think there are any viable models for testing that particular class of software.
@lightweight I think there is, but it involves collecting masses of video footage and having many many people review the actions of the AI in many many situations.
Which is obviously insanely expensive.
@LovesTha that's the kind of thing that crowdsourcing could address... but not for the benefit of private interests...
@lightweight The data to review, maybe. I'm not sure that the review can be done with enough quality by the crowd.
The crowd could be used as a first pass for videos worth reviewing, but that only improves the speed of rejecting a build, using it a positive evidence of no bugs is not possible.
@LovesTha there are well understood ways to improve that quality (e.g.multiple people reviewing the same content to identify outlying revews, etc.) There are some high profile examples of this, e.g mapping features on Mars and the moon...
@LovesTha just like Wikipedia has higher quality data via iteration than Encyclopedia Britanica ever had, I think smart use of these techniques could change the game... and the viability of proprietary software...
@LovesTha perhaps, but there might be other ways to structure the data to crowdsource. See Google's CAPTCHA system...
@lightweight Yeah, it could possibly be gamified. Having players 'play' through the video and compare when the players would react.
@LovesTha point is that the 'profit motive' for proprietary corporations leads to different behaviour than a public safety or common infrastructure motivation..
@lightweight "I would argue that "informed consent" for software EULAs is a farce, with almost unbounded scope for abuse, but that's not the main point of this post."
I think a growing number of judges agree with you there, things in a EULA aren't that enforceable.
@lightweight A lot of your arguments are very desktop computing focused. The customer relationships I'm more familiar with are all business to business transactions.
Most tellingly the power dynamic you talk about has been reversed for all of them: The software company has been much much smaller than the businesses they have been selling code to. That is pretty important.
Can we start breaking up big companies and see if that leads to a good place?
@LovesTha as I see it, there's a *possibility* that a company wouldn't abuse the implicit power imbalance they have over those who use (or even more leverage over those who build software/process dependencies) their proprietary software... but it seems almost inevitable to me that that power imbalance will eventually be exploited to the user's detriment....
@LovesTha it might only be after the original developer/proprietor 'exits'... whoever acquires their business, the temptation to exploit the proprietary advantage would be very difficult to resist.
@lightweight Avoiding monopolies is very important, with a real market place the power imbalance isn't there. We may need laws around data storage formats to allow a (free) markets to really exist.
Because software inherently scales governments need to be proactive and strong in how they prevent monopolies. As long as governments are up front about this the companies shouldn't be surprised.
@LovesTha each piece of proprietary software is an inherent market distortion. It can't be replicated under the rule of law in most jurisdictions (patent, copyright, & trademark), thereby conveying a government-granted (and, thanks to the key role of gov't, taxpayer subsidised) limited monopoly on it. A 'real market' can only occur with open source (or, at the very least open-standards-compliant, as defined: https://openstandards.nz/definition) code, where software from different vendors is interchangable.
@LovesTha fwiw, I also think it's inexcusable that we shovel vast $ into big pharma coffers. Drug/medical tech should be funded by govt too, like CERN for science, or CSIRO (before neoliberal corruption moved to semi-privatise them like our CRIs here in NZ)...
@lightweight CSIRO at least spinning out Australian companies instead of selling everything internationally would be a win :(
The big pharma picture is clearly terrible from the way patents work. And that they don't even do much of the original research, that is already mostly government funded.
Big industries that are leeches on government at both ends are unjustifiable to anyone who isn't getting paid by them.
@fsf The hardware compatibility issue with Windows 11 is bad enough...
I use elementary OS btw. No proprietary apps.
@fsf A passionate article written for people already on board. However I think it's aggressive wording is off putting to people just waking up to those issues. Closed source is not inherently antisocial. The products behavior is. Most regular people don't care to go on a "software journey", they just want something that works and they don't need to think about. FOSS is more then capable to deliver this. But it has to feel right. This article feels more like shouting then a welcoming invitation.
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