Pirates and Control

There have been a number of articles recently about pirates and using Free and Open Source software and it’s certainly an interesting consideration. In my opinion the problem is that people shouldn’t be fleeing a life with pirated software that’s being removed from their use (I’d say control, but users of software that is possible to pirate never really had control) by fleeing towards FOSS substitutes and I’m reminded of a quote today:

“It’s easier to understand what your running from than what your running into”

But that’s the other problem isn’t it, lots of people _still_ think Free Software is freeware. That price and immediate satisfaction are the only worthy considerations in software. Will attracting people who don’t have FOSS education into the community with the promise of free (as in water) software really help understanding why it was dumb to invest in proprietary software in the first place? Won’t they just go back to their chains with the first new gizmo *iphone* that comes along to dazzle them?

“That’s the problem with freeing people. Once you’ve freed the people they tend to do things you think are a bad idea, including making themselves slaves again.”

Shouldn’t we be trying to teach users _why_ they should support FOSS principles that:

  • Scientifically peer reviewed engineering is better.
  • Group collaboration is more efficient.
  • User participation is more effective.
  • Transparency is more trustworthy.
  • Openness is more educationally valuable.
  • Freedom means greater self control.
  • Multiple rights holders reduces artificial restrictions.
  • Enlightened self interest funds development and progress.
  • And that this ownership means a choice between self reliance and support.

I’d be happier about us going out there into the world helping people with piracy problems to use Ubuntu, “Linux” or other Free and Open Source Software is along with these technical marvels we could explain why and how they exist in the first place instead of just pretending that the magic community did it.

Your Thoughts?

Deactivate your Brain

If you’ve not seen Rebecca Saxe’s TEDTalk about how we are really very good at reading other people’s minds. I recommend it:

The interesting part is the disquiet in the audience that the idea of deactivating a person’s morales provoke. As Rebecca says, right now we can only interrupt certain regions in a very imprecise way. But a lot of the reasons not to worry about this mind altering technology are simply technical limitations.

I think it’s fascinating to watch a well educated audience grasp the magnitude of this kind of science and what it can teach us about ourselves as human animals. I think quite a fair few of them were also thinking about misuses that would be harmful.