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Re: [hackers-il] Free Software compared to Terrorism - looks like the ultimate in FUD

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  • Shlomi Fish
    ... I also see a lot of inaccuracies, over-generalisations, wrong facts, and lack of credit in the article (which I did not finish reading because I found out
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 18, 2008
      On Tuesday 18 March 2008, Omer Zak wrote:
      > http://www.theobjectiveobserver.com/articles/technology03.shtml
      > 1. I do not see as much hate-filled rhetoric among Free Software
      > developers as the author sees.

      I also see a lot of inaccuracies, over-generalisations, wrong facts, and lack
      of credit in the article (which I did not finish reading because I found out
      to be completely ridiculus). In the entire article, not a single link or
      reference is given. There are some quotations, but they are un-sourced and
      probably taken out of context.

      > 2. The author claims that mentioning security vulnerabilities of
      > commercial software is an attempt to use Fear to persuade people to
      > switch to Free Software. He ignores the other side of the coin - that
      > commercial software developers, who do not design their products for
      > security, are as guilty as pharmeutical manufacturers, who sell
      > defective medications.

      One should also note that security vulnerabilities in open-source products are
      publicised, and often quickly fixed. If a project exercises poor security
      practices, one is free to fork it, which cannot be said on most proprietary
      software.

      > 3. Disregard of law by Free Software proponents - he ignores the
      > official position of respecting others' intellectual properties. Those
      > who violate copyrights by file sharing are ones who would violate those
      > copyrights even if there were no Free Software.

      "Intellectual property" is a wrong and misleading term - http://xrl.us/bhuyk .
      In the same link I argue why copyrights in the digital age, despite being
      valid, should not extend to trying to control the non-commercial distribution
      of copyrighted works, and why copying copyrighted files is fully objectively
      ethical.

      But you are right that it is orthogonal to the free software/open-source
      issues.

      He does mention violating patents in the article, but this is an issue that is
      not specific to free software. Recently Microsoft lost a case where someone
      sued them for patents covering the mp3 technology (despite the fact that it
      licensed it.). And there were many other cases mentioned on Slashdot.


      > The other example of
      > "theft" cited - Bruce Peren’s admission of “stealing time from Pixar to
      > work on Linux” - does not include evidence that Pixar considered this as
      > a theft, or that it was harmful to their business (which relied upon
      > Linux clusters).

      Actually, back at the time Pixar used a Solaris-based cluster, or at least
      that is what they set up for Toy Story. They switched to Linux and
      Intel-based clusters later on.

      ----------------

      In any case, I think this guy is lying to himself if he calls himself "The
      Objective Observer". If you're interested in a really objective analysis of
      open-source see my own:

      http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/obj-oss/

      BTW, he has a "Valid XHTML 1.0" button at the end. The code running the
      validator is fully open-source and can be downloaded and installed (as I
      did).

      Also see:

      http://toolbar.netcraft.com/site_report?url=http://www.theobjectiveobserver.com

      It is running Apache on Linux, both open-source.

      Saying that open-source is equivalent to terrorism is a bit absurd. Terrorists
      harm the lives and (tangible) property of innocent people. Open-source
      hackers don't do anything besides generating code, which by itself is
      harmless at worst and very useful at best. See my essay for more information.

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

      I'm not an actor - I just play one on T.V.
    • Arik Baratz
      ... Just FYI, theobjectiveobserver.com is a personal web site, registered to: Greg Deckler 155 Jackson Blvd Plain City, Ohio 43046 United States It s just one
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 18, 2008
        On Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 6:41 AM, Omer Zak <w1@...> wrote:
        > http://www.theobjectiveobserver.com/articles/technology03.shtml

        Just FYI, theobjectiveobserver.com is a personal web site, registered to:

        Greg Deckler
        155 Jackson Blvd
        Plain City, Ohio 43046
        United States

        It's just one person writing all that, and he's far from being
        objective or logical. Let me use the good old ad hominem attack and
        bring just a few quotes from other articles:

        "Pi is the unsolvable equation for life because pi represents a
        perfect circle. Life is a perfect cycle in a world of imperfection."

        "The Maxwell's demon thought problem forms the basis of a scientific
        hypothesis for God."

        "So then, here's the kicker. Despite all of these brains, despite all
        of this history and despite the fact that the general effects and
        properties of all of these forces are well known and understood,
        physicists STILL don't actually know WHAT a force really is. No,
        really, I'm serious. Now, think about this for a minute. This is like
        coming home to your 12-year-old son standing in the front yard with a
        baseball bat, a broken window and a baseball inside your house and not
        being able to explain what happened. What passes for an explanation is
        that "fermions" exchange "virtual particles" which mediate the
        "interaction". I seriously and truly do NOT make this stuff up folks.
        Somebody else does. "It's not my fault dad, the fermions did it!".
        Damn you fermions, you'll pay for my window. I mean, at least they
        could have come up with a term that doesn't sound like an alien race
        from Babylon 5."

        "OK, so the Jews were slaves thousands of years ago, we're talking
        B.C. here folks, in the Middle East. Moses led his people (the Jews)
        out of slavery, parted the Red Sea, yadda, yadda. Now, first of all,
        it is not like the Jews left the Middle East under the best of terms.
        People hated them thousands of years ago because they were the slave
        underclass. People thought of them as property, not people. Second, if
        the Biblical text is to be believed, it is not like the Jews worked
        real hard to endear themselves, spreading plagues, raining toads,
        killing people's first born and the like. No wonder they were driven
        away into the desert! I mean...come on."

        and the clincher:

        "The Internet, the great time waster. People waste their time to
        provide content and other people waste their time consuming that
        content. It is a sick, twisted little circle that feeds inexorably
        upon itself. It's a nauseous, corrupt version of the six degrees of
        Kevin Bacon where with each link the information becomes less useful
        and finally just plain weird."

        Take care,

        -- Arik
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