(Incidentally, people always feel that.)
Can anyone give some examples of specific predictions Stallman made that seemed surprising at the time, but that have come true? I'm not saying there haven't been any, just that such a list would be more useful than this article.
Here's a lot more in the articles: http://stallman.org/#politics
Edit: IFSO: Richard Stallman: The Dangers of Software Patents; 2004-05-24 (transcript) http://www.ifso.ie/documents/rms-2004-05-24.html
Copyright and Globalization in the Age of Computer Networks - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF) https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/copyright-and-globalization.h...
2nd edit: You are a Terrorist (Du bist Terrorist) German, English Subtitles - YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdIA0jeW-24
"Dan had learned that each book had a copyright monitor that reported when and where it was read, and by whom, to Central Licensing." -> Streaming content, DMCA tech
"It was also possible to bypass the copyright monitors by installing a modified system kernel." -> Jailbreaking
"But not only were they illegal, like debuggers—you could not install one if you had one, without knowing your computer's root password. And neither the FBI nor Microsoft Support would tell you that." -> trusted computing
"But ordinary users started using [free debugging tools] to bypass copyright monitors, and eventually a judge ruled that this had become their principal use in actual practice. This meant they were illegal; the debuggers' developers were sent to prison." -> DeCSS, Sony
From "The Dangers of Software Patents" 2004-05-24...
"Copyright covers a work of authorship. A patent covers an idea. ...... But a patent is an absolute monopoly on the use of an idea. Even if you could prove that you had the idea yourself, that would be irrelevant: you're still not allowed to use it." ->
Apple filed U.S. application Ser. No. 10/842,862 entitled “Multipoint Touchscreen,” filed on 2004-05-04 and published as U.S. Published Application No. 2006/0097991 on 2006-05-11.
From "Copyright and Globalization" 2001-04-19... (Selected bits that were interesting to me)
"In the ancient world, books were written by hand with a pen, …… you could copy a part of a book, then write some new words, copy some more and write some new words and on and on. This was called “writing a commentary” — that was a common thing to do — and these commentaries were appreciated. …… Now copyright was developed along with the use of the printing press and given the technology of the printing press, it had the effect of an industrial regulation. It didn't restrict what readers could do; it restricted what publishers and authors could do. …… copyright law no longer acts as an industrial regulation; it is now a Draconian restriction on a general public. It used to be a restriction on publishers for the sake of authors. Now, for practical purposes, it's a restriction on a public for the sake of publishers. …… To enforce it requires surveillance — an intrusion — and harsh punishments, and we are seeing these being enacted into law in the U.S. and other countries." -> NAFTA which is mentioned in the talk, SOPA, Protect IP, etc
The only novel idea I see here is the point that copyright, which was originally a restriction on publishers, has now become a restriction on consumers. But that doesn't seem so dystopian. Everyone is a publisher now.
When you think it through, it does seem dystopian. Imagine that e-ink matures, and paper isn't that useful any more. That we no longer purchase dead-tree copies of our books, magazines, and so on. I think that can happen. I read right now a novel on my electronic reader, even though I have a dead-tree copy, because my reader is lighter and slimmer than my book.
Now, how do I lend you a book for which I have no dead-tree copy? I can't give you such a piece of dead-tree (and naturally lose it for myself). All I can do is make a copy and give it to you. And then I'm a publisher. And then what I'm doing is forbidden. And then I can't even lend you my book.
(One could imagine laws/DRM that would erase the copy I own if I ever give another copy to someone else. However, I don't think the IP Lords would want even that. They'd say it harms their revenue.)
But that's not dystopian enough. True dystopia is when the means of enforcing it kick in: the only know way right now is a "total surveillance" regime, where free software itself is forbidden.
Why can't you lend it to me on the good faith I'll return to it you when I'm done?
Edit: Aha, I misread your comment! I think because in the proceeding paragraph you mention the case of having a dead-tree book but preferring e-ink. Of course, if you don't have it you can't lend it (assuming DRM prevents you).
So the "dystopia" is the artificial disability to lend books?
How about the counter-balance that millions of books are now available everywhere with an internet connection, instantly obtainable, with no real trees sacrificed and much cheaper than print editions (that one could get better, though). And you can even get 1-2 chapters for free to check if you want to buy the book (in Amazon kindle at least). Plus, everyone can become his own publisher for his own work (no copyright problem in this case) with easy worldwide distribution and no mediators.
So, yeah, you can't lend your book (almost, see below). But you can lend your ebook reader to others in the family. And how common is dead-tree book lending anyway? How about your friend buys a digital copy for himself (possibly after downloading the free sample chapters?).
"""(One could imagine laws/DRM that would erase the copy I own if I ever give another copy to someone else. However, I don't think the IP Lords would want even that. They'd say it harms their revenue.)"""
One doesn't have to imagine. iTunes store allows you to share your songs (haven't checked about books) with 5 other accounts.
And Kindle permits you to lend books to others for 14 days:
No, that's not bad enough. But it sure leads to a dystopia. Quoting myself: "True dystopia is when the means of enforcing [copyright] kick in: the only know way right now is a "total surveillance" regime, where free software itself is forbidden."
By the way, it still applies even when Big IP do permit you to share with a few friends.
It is the inability to communicate freely.
You have to admit that going digital introduces problems that aren't clear cut. If you were to reproduce a physical copy of a book and give it out en masse for either free or a fee you'd be called a bootlegger. But when that same book or movie or whatever is a digital copy then the difference between lending out a copy innocently and distribution which violates copyright gets blurred. Lending something out used to mean one copy gets passed between people. Now it means there's a copy for each person you want to share with.
I think we're just going through some growing pains. I really don't see how anyone can say any one side is right. Theyre just competing interests that we will hopefully find a happy middle ground for soon.
Since when was being prescient the sole marker of an ideas value?
What's interesting about Stallman is that he's been repeating the same material since the 80's, and it only gets more relevant. He might be a paranoid weirdo but he does seem to at least be paranoid about something that has it's roots in reality.
We might have increasing equality, and perhaps some additional freedom over our own bodies, but at the same time the wide spread deployment of mass surveillance tech has come at the same time.
> But that doesn't seem so dystopian. Everyone is a publisher now.
This is only not a dystopia if those publishers have sufficiently uncorrelated output and distribution channels. I'm not sure that's the case.
Remember - technology is only a tool and what happens with that tool is always guided by the ones who yield the most power. It was possible for Apple to eliminate DRM only because they maneuvered themselves into a position of power where media corporations were being lead by Apple and not the other way around. I think the actual reason why DRM was abandoned was because it was just not feasible, for music - remember the horror stories with Windows DRM for music, for instance. Removing DRM was both damage control by Apple and a 'hip' thing to do in the wake of consumer dissatisfaction. I have yet to see a similar push in any other field than music - extremely restrictive licensing and DRM are still alive and well in proprietary software and video content, respectively, and it doesn't seem like there is any change to that on the horizon. It probably helps that the Apple->Jobs->Pixar->Disney link is a very strong one and that video content is used fundamentally different compared to music.
Anyhow - it's always both - big corporations do have to pay attention to the market and both follow the will of the consumer and what is best for their own bottom line, which sometimes overlap. But sometimes they get weary of that and short circuit the system through politics (although that is often initiated by companies that are not primarily in technology). That's where any degree of authoritarianism is quite an asset.
I imagine we would save a lot of man-hours from defining and fighting man-made statutory IP laws that may not be beneficial after all. See the inefficiencies of the patent system, and the brilliant minds wasted(?) on circumventing man-made restrictions. Not to mention the potential for abuse by regimes, as chipsy mentions.
I believe the Free equilibrium point has a lower potential energy. Therefore I advocate it. Where the modern entrepreneur programmer fits, I'm trying to figure out.
One could say RMS is simply pointing out the obvious, the already demonstrated. Especially technical people like you and I. But remember, RMS has been ridiculed for these positions, by folks much like the author of this article who admits to dismissing RMS as a paranoid fanatic.
The salient message in this story is that the author's opinion has changed. The world has progressed further along this path and it is now quite obvious that the scenario RMS depicts is not only possible, but in some degree has already taken place.
saying that is ignoring the core problem. Since early on everyone wrote notes on textbooks and shared that. Everyone shared articles. in the 80's everyone hand out mix tapes. heck i did some movie nights at my place with more attendance than some illegal simpsons episodes get on some streaming sites.
my point, everyone always were "a publisher". That's a fallacy to ignore the main problem. it helps real publishers, i.e. someone who makes a living of that sharing/distribution, that failed to adapt to the times.
right, closed systems and draconian DRM already existed, fine. but neither were essential for our everyday lives in the way he put it back them. now it's obvious, of course. and apathy has already even ruled out anything wrong with it all.
heck people still thinks doctorow is clever for rewritting pretty much what stallman wrote years later.
Ultimately it's not one particular statement that is eye-opening, but rather taking a holistic view of how the landscape of law and the aspects of what general-purpose computers (and programmers) can do and how that will continue to step on more and more industries' toes as pointed out by Cory Doctorow .
It's not so much that he's some sort of prophet as it is the unfortunate fact that his paranoia is increasingly justifiable with every new law creating new IP restrictions and laws dealing with civil liberties (PATRIOT, NDAA, etc). It's a self-perpetuating negative feedback loop.
Even though his project got bogged down lots of other activity sprang up. BSD dropped some code in '89 and then things went crazy in the early 90's.
I'm sure you meant about security, though. I doubt the blog spammer had anything in mind, he was pretty uninformed on the subject.
Stallman's position has always been that it is bad for you not to have full control over the software you run. This is admittedly not very specific but I do not think it needs to be. It is a political view after all, not a scientifically verifiable hypothesis.
The article enumerates some cases of that badness which were not present when Stallman started his movement but are present now. That does not make him a prophet - it is just some new evidence that supports his views.
However, I think it's mostly just the general point that Stallman makes about free software (the 'prediction' is just that this is important). At the risk of hypothesizing how this point is relevant: freedom to modify software is an inalienable right, which increases the chances of people not taking advantage of other people with technology. Not in any absolute sense (it only increases the chances). But it just makes coming up with solutions to centralized, non-democratic uses of technology (SOPA, etc.) a lot more easy.
I considered him extreme until I thought more about it, then came to agree with him on most major points...
... that was in 1993.
Glad to see others here.
That essay is what made me a firm supporter.
What has he done to promote laws to prevent what he fears, and to fight laws that lead to what he fears?
That license, and others derived from it, are at the root of most non-proprietary software and many types of user-created content. Using the internet means you've used software that likely could not have been created without such licenses. Wikipedia is another example of something using a license derived from the one he helped create.
Helping create flourishing communities of people legally sharing each others' work, collectively creating great works, influences legislation. Imagine if no licenses existed for people to legally remix each other's work without explicit permission. Disney, the MPAA, the RIAA, and others would have had greater ability to lengthen copyright terms, increase penalties for infringement, and so on.
Microsoft had a strong play for extending from the desktop to servers when Unix was fragmented. I wonder what might have happened if apache didn't exist to compete with Microsoft -- how much more influence Microsoft might have had over U.S. legislation.
He's done a lot more than just help write the GPL, but that alone contributed a lot.
You see, the GPL takes the copyright system and turns it on its head. That's why it is named a copyleft license, an obvious pun.
How does it do that? Well, copyright prevents distribution. The GPL rides this restriction and says that you may not distribute GPL-licensed software unless (1) you distribute it with no extra restrictions + (2) the distributed binary is either accompanied by source-code or the source-code is available on request. The GPL COULD NOT demand this if it weren't for the copyright law and in regards to freedom / protecting users rights, it works out great because nobody can abuse the GPL without legal repercussions.
It's actually beautiful if you think about it and innovative - it enabled open-source / free software to really disrupt the software industry, creating the equivalent of the public commons. And this movement went viral and moved to books, music and movies. And this would have happened without the GPL, but on a much lower scale. The GPL is the spark that started the fire.
BTW - to change the world you don't need to change the laws. The alternative is to make them obsolete and technology has a habit of doing that ;-)
His speaking schedule is often published in the FSF newsletter; he appears to speak to a group about free software around once per week.
Even if GPL software had 99% market share in the US, and everyone in the country were running the same kind of computer as Stallman, the government could still step in and pass all kinds of draconian laws.
Getting regular people to adopt the GPL ethos is fine, but if the ethos doesn't permeate government as well, Stallman might as well be touring around promoting the Spice Girls for all governments will be prevented from doing intrusive things.
What's larger than freedom?
Let's assume Stallman had qualified as a Medical Doctor rather than a Computer Programmer.
Perhaps he would be making the same argument about pharmaceutical patents?
It's that his story looked much less plausible in 1997 than it does now. I remember reading the story at that time. I thought it had something going for it, but was very far-fetched and unrealistic. 14 years later, it seems way more plausible.
I agree with Stallman in many ways but I also have some important and major disagreements. I am sure that he would call me an enemy to free software, even though I regularly contribute to it, and that he would therefore consider my actions absolutely immoral and inexcusable. But I don't think it's immoral and inexcusable to charge money for things in a meaningful way (i.e., a way that actually generates money), at least not in the current context. I've read Stallman's arguments and don't find them particularly convincing.
I also don't believe that GNU is entitled to a prefix every time a complete system that uses the Linux kernel and GNU toolchain is mentioned.
So where does that leave me? As far as I can tell, Stallman would refuse to work with me, disavow any relationship with me, and consider me an immoral provocateur that harms free software no matter how much good I do for it in actuality (due to my disavowal of freedom 2 as an essential element in moral software).
That kind of hardcore, unyielding, exclusive ideology makes it really hard to get anywhere with people. You can't show someone the error of their ways if you refuse to associate or cooperate with them.
1. As an advocate, RMS scores own goals far too often.
RMS seems to go out of his way to present himself as an eccentric who has no comprehension of social norms.
I've also seen an entire roomful of people who were ready to eviscerate a new Microsoft technology (this was back when trusted computing was being introduced) suddenly flip around to sympathy with the Microsoft guy when Stallman weighed in.
2. Being RMS' friend is almost as bad as being his enemy.
He will condemn someone who has a slightly different position, or has made compromises, with equal vituperation as someone who is directly opposed.
I also know someone who got into trouble with his own repressive government due to RMS being unable to keep his mouth shut on issues he didn't understand. (Please don't ask for details.)
It's sad because, like the OP, I think RMS is fundamentally right about these issues.
I also can't recommend for others not knowing their needs and interests, but I can tell you some things I do. Maybe some things will translate to what you do.
I use free software as much as possible, running gnu/linux on my computers since 1996. I stopped dual booting about ten years after that.
I give some time to support freedombox -- http://joshuaspodek.com/tag/freedombox -- when I can.
I keep apprised of activities of Stallman, Eben Moglen, and a few others.
I attend conferences when I can, like Debconf.
I hardly code, but I've released a bit GPL'ed.
I support and contribute to Wikipedia.
I talk about free software to people who want to know more.
My art pieces -- http://joshuaspodek.com/tag/unionsquareinmotion and http://joshuaspodek.com/new_bryant_park_in_motion_videos -- run free software.
There's a short list. I'm not trying to save the world all by myself, just to avoid infringing on other people's freedom. All of the above together adds up to a modest amount of time and other resources. I have other priorities for most of my time, but, as I mentioned, I think by making myself aware of the issues, I've reduced how much I'd infringe on others' freedoms.
If you're looking for suggestions, I think asking the questions you asked in an open-minded way will start you off. I expect the more you do, the more you'll learn you can do.
Open software advocates should treat closed and controlled systems in the same fashion that techies implore content creators to treat piracy: an unstoppable force of nature that must be accepted and competed with, rather than feared and demonized.
Also underlying both issues: the need for improved business models to sustain free software and open content. People like to get paid, and t-shirts + donations doesn't always cut it.
What you're saying is that they should throw their arms up in the air and say "welp, that's how the real world works in reality, so might as well give up and accept it".
But I think you're being unfair. The normal open advocates don't fear and demonize closed source. They may secretly pity it, they may secretly hate it, I don't know.
The RMS vision of open source, when you get right down to it, is that of two sandpits. In one sandpit, everyone shares their toys. In the other sandpit... who cares what they do?
If someone comes from the closed source world and wants to play in the open source sandpit, they have to play by the rules (sharing and openness).
I think RMS gets frustrated sometimes, because he doesn't want the other people playing in the open playpit giving their stuff away to the people in the selfish (no sharing) playpit. I think his thinking is that it would mean that there is less incentive for them "over there" to examine and repent of their selfish ways.
Sometimes the people in the no-sharing playpit have rich relatives that buy them nice toys for Christmas. But RMS views that as okay, if the open playpit turns out to have a need for one of those, he is confident that the open source people have the ability to make something even better, if they can be bothered to do so.
> In one sandpit, everyone shares their toys. In the other sandpit... who cares what they do?
That's the attitude I mean. The fact is, a lot of people care: engineers, customers, and investors are making really interesting things happen in that sandpit. For FOSS advocates to avoid the development happening there is a hindrance to progress, not in aid of it. Maybe if RMS let himself own an Android or iPhone (perhaps with SIM removed), he would understand why these new platforms are a big deal, and be better equipped to create truly open equivalents, instead of insisting on living in his purist tech world of the 70's (wget-ing web pages? really?).
Closed source isn't evil. It's selfish. And we expect a certain level of selfishness from both individuals and companies. I fully support shifting our values in tech and elsewhere to a greater esteem for community and the commons. But calls for all software to be open and free is unrealistic: many people can't or won't create value without a selfish incentive. Time spent advocating against closed platforms is better spent making open platforms better.
You and I on the other hand, might look at it and say "okay, but how do these brave new programmers eat? Who pays their rent?" Back in the day, RMS used to just do some hand waving and point out that if (sorry: "once") the economic benefits of open source are realised that companies will do this because they realise it is in their best interests.
I'd be delighted to be wrong, but it seems that only a tiny minority of Open Source developers are actually hired by enlightened companies to work on their Open Source projects full time. Google being an obvious big contributor in that regard. But here's the thing with RMS, he is such an extremist that even Google's contribution isn't enough. He doesn't want a measly couple of buillion dollars worth of commitment, he wants it all, the heart mind body and soul must be dedicated to the cause or you are unworthy.
The sandbox metaphor breaks down when we look at one of the things that RMS objects to about Google, that they use Open Source, and they provide 'free(ish)' software services in return, but because those web/software services sit behind the "big-iron" curtain Google are never obligated to release their changes and improvements. Hence the GPL becomes ineffective in that scenario.
The problem of course is the risk of ghetto-isation of the open source developers. You and I might be reluctant to leap in boots and all because of petty economic concerns and so keep at least one foot in the closed source world. This lets us see lots of exciting things happening there. But don't forget that there is lots of stuff happening in the open source world. Closed source may look more exciting now, but RMS is taking the long position that in the end his legions of trusty hackers working together will create something much better than the corporations all doing their own small secret things.
And something genuinely spectacular happened last year. Last year was (finally) the long predicted, long awaited year of Linux hitting the mainstream. Except of course it wasn't Linux on the desktop, but Linux on mobile (Android).
Unfortunately, as open as it might be, it seems to me that Android is deeply flawed as far as alignment with the GNU philosophy of openness, what with the carriers doing all kinds of horrible things (some behind the scenes, some brazenly out in public). I hear stories of Microsoft making more money off Android than the do off Windows mobile (or whatever it is called this week), simply by threatening legal action, and patents of dubious parentage. Not to mention some of the openness being more open than others (e.g. Google releasing the code to some partners but not others, and not the public)
Seen through the argument I just made, when you say closed and controlled systems are an unstoppable force of nature and must be accepted, what you're really saying is digital spying/tracking/restriction is an unstoppable force of nature and must be accepted. It really is an all or nothing proposition at this point.
Theoretically, you can have a completely unfree system that is completely open at the same time.
For reference, this was the argument I was replying to:
> … if there's even one proprietary bit of executable code, you can't guarantee your system isn't spying (or capable of spying) on you.
The technological route involves software to enable darknets, and hardware/software to enable ad hoc mesh networking.
The political route involves electing representatives that care about these issues, which the Pirate Party have had success doing, e.g. in Germany and Sweden.
tldr; No one tells you the plane's not coming - they just tell you it's 20m late, perpetually...
What good is your free, open, secure channel if your phone is also a running mandatory rootkit, containing a GPS tracker and keylogger? See also: Carrier IQ.
Okay, it's still possible to have a system without proprietary software. Just much harder, and not worth the frustration to most people.
See the links from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SEED as an example of that scenario in action in South Korea.
Reverse engineering code is pretty hard - but that sounds like a lot of motivation.
There's motivation, but still something missing.
True, but you could require that the device have a little semi-autonomous widget attached that monitors the rest of the device, can't be controlled by software on the main device, and can't be removed or deactivated without seriously reducing functionality of the device.
The government would simply have to say "put this in your phones, and require devices on your network have it enabled, or you don't get FCC approval."
I seriously doubt that.
There are current laws in practice that would have needed martial law declared to be enforced (or even passed) a century of even a few decades ago.
And we're talking about "detain anyone for any period" and such laws, so in comparison the general public could care less about an "only run state-sponsored non Open Source software" law.
Check out the short story, "The Right To Read" by Stallman. People used to think these sorts of warnings were crazy... now they are practically reality.
If it sounded like I was criticizing Stallman, that's unfortunate, because that wasn't my intention. I was criticizing the article, because it invokes Stallman's name but fails to actually deliver any relevant wisdom from Stallman.
Free software, as visioned by Stallman, is just a line of defense for your general freedom rights. And I disagree with you, the article is pretty clear on the matter.
It would make such things easier to spot, but spotting them in itself doesn't seem to be the biggest problem.
The security that open source provides is like installing a camera security system in your business. You don't actually expect to catch people in the act of stealing, since they know it's there too. 95% of what it does is deterrence.
My point more is that if the government felt draconian enough they could easily hijack anything, if it's literally illegal to use a computer without government approved spyware installed then the best meaning license in the world can't help you.
They could also embed this in hardware device firmware instead.
The problems with the DNS system that I assume you're alluding to aren't due to the software or the software's license. It's the data the system runs on, and the people with the power to influence that data.
As bad_user comments above: "to change the world you don't need to change the laws. The alternative is to make them obsolete and technology has a habit of doing that".
Back to Stallman: if anyone could help us imagine an truly democratic DNS system, I'm sure he could point us in the right direction.
> Would you prefer a GPL DNS or proprietary?
Not all government access to private data is bad. After all, it's needed to stop things like child prostitution/pornography rings, and yeah, terrorism. But what I liked so much about this article was putting the slippery slope into perspective. It's easy enough to quote the transparency report, "The number of user data requests we received increased by 29% compared to the previous reporting period." and go "well - just 29%" but that's one year. I'll make the surprising bet it doesn't go down. Compare to three decades ago, and a lot of what's happening now seemed draconian then.
Of course the NDAA funding auth is going to be passed. It must be - thus, they throw on insidious clauses like the detainment, and Obama is the lucky guy who just happens to be in the unfortunate position where he must sign it even though he opposed certain items.
Here is an idea: require all laws to be single subject, single focus. If it is a funding measure, it cannot expand powers/modify any existing laws other than to either increase or decrease funding. If it is a law, such as one that is focused on the detainment of [whomever] then that should be a singular law stating under which circumstances this law shall be applied.
This is the number one source of corruption in the government, the ability to abuse the structure of the legal system.
By doing this one thing, you will cripple lobbying, create transparency and create accountability (you'll be able to understand where each rep is on each issue)
"the authorities granted by the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, including the detention authority, are essential to our ability to protect the American people... Because the authorities codified in this section already exist, the Administration does not believe codification is necessary and poses some risk."
I am aware of their want to ensure their power was protected.
I am saying that most people are being played to think that obmama expressed "concerns" but was painted into a corner where he needed to sign this. The fact is they ADDED / ENSURED the clauses they wanted were in there, then played the perception of the signage to make it look like they were the VICTIM rather than the perp.
There is a very very good reason obama is a constitutional lawyer as potus.
Hint: it is not to ensure your freedoms.
The problem is that this goes against a parliament's ability to make deals. Each party has its own priorities, and is willing to compromise on other issues to advance these priorities.
Putting unrelated laws in one bill is essentially a way of formalizing a compromise so that congress can vote on it (with time a complexifying factor that can serve both sides depending on the situation). Do you really want to take this away?
I'd say he's always been right to a point since what he said years ago was true then and happens to be true now at a larger scale. It's not necessarily prophetic, just keenly observant. Likewise we have more free software options today than we did in the past.
My personal opinion is that it'd be wrong to get rid of either end. Eliminating freedom from software ecosystems would be disastrous. Likewise, I don't think free solves all of our software problems either (one could possibly abstain from many things but that's avoiding not solving the problem). SOPA needs to be stopped but lets not assume that non-free software needs to be limited because of this. Live and let live (and never let your guard down).
...OK, actually I do see the connection. The suggestion is probably that if the technology is not totally open, you don't know how much power you're giving away (the manufacturers could be cooperating secretly with the authorities). But if you really feel like this, all you need to do is refrain from using your iClosedDevice for any type of work or communication that you wouldn't trust in the hands of the manufacturers/authorities.
... And OK, I see the point that we need to support the alternative methods or else their won't be any when we need them. It's just the either/or sentiment that bugs me.
These are only examples: how about when we find that the government has not only been tracking us via our cellphones, but also activating the mic and activly collecting data? It just is not possible to "choose" not to be spied on, unless you know all the ways the spying is done.
They might not be doing it now, but there's no telling if they won't start doing it later, when the government will ask for data or surveillance because of terrorist threat or <insert the hottest fear-words at that moment>.
EDIT: Lesson to self. Don't post while you have a cold, and pounding headache as a result. It'll get you downvoted.
Also, radio firmware isn't the only one missing. I think drivers for video and other hardware are not released for no particular reason.
All this contributes to the fact that one cannot build firmware for any Android device from source. Accompanied by the fact that Google gets to do their mining on your data, Android looks just a little more open, compared to iOS. And it's a shame that there is no alternative in sight.
For a radio module I would say so. It's one of the reasons cited by the openmoko successors from not doing it. Radio devices have to be tested and certified that the device stays within FCC or EC standards. Changing the firmware changes behaviour.
"what prevents manufacturers from releasing the code for examination?"
Patents, security... I'm sure they have their reasons.
"Accompanied by the fact that Google gets to do their mining on your data, Android looks just a little more open, compared to iOS."
Not if you use your own ROM or root your phone and stop all Google applicatons.
(e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be
construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to
the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident
aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are
captured or arrested in the United States.
So, how does this give the president the supposed power to detain US citizens? (The oft quoted 'slippery' line about not requiring detention Americans is from the NEXT section, which is specifically about requiring detentions in some cases.
(A) United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the US, or (any other persons who are caputred or arrested in the US)
B) (United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the US, or any other persons) who are caputred or arrested in the US
If one reads this as B, then once a citizen accused of being a terrorist steps foot outside of the country, they are screwed.
Seems like they already are.
(You're right that this is in the bill, as I just verified here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr1540enr/pdf/BILLS-11...)
Besides which, I somehow doubt that all the relevant microcircuitry is open source.
He doesn't ask for open source hardware either, so firmware directly tied to hardware is considered hardware.
Or better, here: http://blog.reddit.com/2010/07/rms-ama.html search for "microwave".
"Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law."
Less than two months after that statement was made the work on the wall that separated Germany for decades started.
Never should a citizen have to trust a representative. The moment you have to democracy becomes impossible.
Laws last much longer than the administrations under which they are born.
(If you're really lucky, you'll be accused of "flip-flopping"--because Real Men stake out a position of being Pro-X or Anti-Y and never, ever budge.)
There is no such thing as a nuanced opinion in Washington politics today.
Edit: OK I don't really know if he would have. But he did say that.
The problem with Obama is that Congress knows he's, for lack of a better word, a coward. So they know that they can push his hand how much they want, because he won't do anything dramatic to react and fight back. That's why Obama has kept losing all his negotiations or he always "compromised" for the other side's sake.
So bottomline, he should've taken a stand and vetoed it, and let that be a lesson for Congress for next time. But he didn't do that. And if you're going to say "but Congress would've passed it anyway with 2/3 of the vote" - well then, even more of a reason to veto it and show his supporters that at least tried to stop it, but Congress was solely at fault for passing it. Since he didn't, Obama doesn't get to have any excuses in this case.
Skip to about 0:25 where the fun stuff starts.
Then again, I'm extremely angry at him about this, too, so... Yeah, whatever. Heh. Though really I'm angry about the overall civil liberties history of the administration. This is just the proverbial straw.
Maybe. Or they could drop the problematic bit and redo it. Either way, the paychecks would go out.
Yes, the President could veto the bill but then the next few months becomes about him veto-ing a military appropriations bill. He would then need to explain to the American public why the freedoms it eroded were unacceptable and that their loved ones serving this country couldn't buy milk for a month. It would consume a significant amount of time and resources.
Like shadowfiend, I'm not defending the decision to make civil liberties a lower priority than other issues (I am vehemently against that), but if you want to be someone that is more than a whiner then you need to first understand and then work to change it.
No, see, you are the one failing to understand. We understand what you are saying. We still disagree with it. At some point, someone has to stand up and say "No, this is wrong."
Someone has to call out Congress and the President for using the military's pay check to erode our rights. The President could have done this. He didn't. He elected to accept the measure, despite disagreeing with it.
Why is this a bad thing?
Sure, but running against Congress is often a very good thing. Especially when their approval ratings are so low. And much of Obama's putative 'base' would have preferred he veto it.
Obama could probably make the case by going on Fox and asking if he should have the power to send Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity to prison without a trial for an indefinite amount of time. "Stop me before I send Glenn Beck to Gitmo".
From Politifact's extensive discussion:
Politifact consulted 5 experts, 4 of whom (at the time of consultation) felt he has kept his promise. Politifact itself has currently rated the promise as "compromise", meaning partial fulfillment.
It sells music: http://money.cnn.com/2011/12/30/news/kelly_clarkson_ron_paul...
The fact that he signed it and issued that anti-American --- see above -- statement makes the act even more repugnant.
And, since this stupid idea is the law now, consider very carefully who you vote for. Whoever sits in the oval office after your next presidential election will have much more power than usual.
Not sign the fucking document.
Another possibility is that if used, the law could (and likely will) be challenged on constitutional grounds.
"Trust me" is not enough of a safeguard, says Amnesty International, as President Obama signs the NDAA into law
This holds especially true with Obama given how he's almost complete reversed his positions on law-and-order type of issues after he was elected.
He originally promised not to sign it at all.
Obama has no cred.
However, he allows no room for dissent, no transition path, no concessions for the real world. His followers are the same.
For this reason, I will never use the GPL for any of my projects (I prefer wxWidgets and MIT licenses).
So it doesn't come as much of a surprise that there wasn't much there even for the mostly uninitiated, still good(?) press is good press.
Surely, I thought, now that we've declared the imminent death of the Liberty and the Internet and its subsequent rescue by Saint Rick we must have hit bottom.
In the fine tradition of the showman the best had been saved for last. Never fear, he says, because Stallman's had our backs all along - it may have taken a long time but thankss to Richard we have Free and Open platforms like Android* that will protect us in the dark days ahead.
* resist temptation, remember: boot locks, carrier installs, 3rd party spyware, location tracking, cloud storage, baseband, drm everything, few security patches, etc.
It's a mystery why every ten years we have to have this discussion about whether we've entered a new age of ethical business and responsible government, where we somehow think that human nature and human organisations have changed permanently (through technological innovation!) in some egalitarian way.
To be sure the water is warmer this year but
surely it is only 9.943 degrees hotter and not
10 degrees like the author claims.
"If you prefer warm interpersonal dialogs in solving problems, you can dial our hotline. Technical personnel will provide help in the first time."
Now I can understand Mr. Stallman!
On a more serious note, the only question is: How much worse do things have to get, in order to start getting better?
Besides, the Yeeloong thing coming from China, I wouldn't be so sure it doesn't contain a bit of tracking circuitry.
Stallman on Android:
I spent a couple days with him in Hawaii. He most definitely has a cell phone.
Saying Stallman "was right all along", just because he's not completely wrong all the time, is a bit like saying "hitler was right all along". Complete and utter bullcrap.
Stallman is a tit. Being an unwashed dick is his god given right, I won't dispute that. In spite of his undoubtedly good intentions, however, the man has such a poor image that he's done "his" FOSS cause more harm than good. He should go away. Or at least shut up.
I guess that means I was right all along!
Yes, that man.
You can talk of "change" like it's some concrete label you can bend to whatever cares you want, but remember you voted for a President, not a King.
You make several good points, but I'd like to remind you that pulling out of Iraq now is very risky. If Iraq becomes a theocracy (either through a civil war or - gasp - free elections), the US will probably be compelled to invade it again. By now, it seems that the cycle of invasion-rebuild-pullout is more profitable to the political-military-industrial complex than a single continuous invasion.
It's a war that should never have been started. Saddam Hussein was not a complete idiot and I am quite sure a negotiated transition over, say, 20 years, to a democratic society would have been possible.
It will take a cycle or two of elections before Iraqis feel they have their country back. Might as well get that cycle started as early as possible. If the Iraqis go to an Islamic system that will be their political choice.
From a geo-political perspective, if the US wanted a non-Islamic state and, as a bonus, a buffer to Iran, then they seriously miscalculated when they overthrew the previous regime.
I'm fairly sure that Obama himself didn't "get" bin Laden. The army worked to get information on his whereabouts, and the opportunity presented itself to the President. I'm fairly certain that, aside from discussions about tactical moves, all Obama did to "get" him was give the army the go-ahead for the operation.
> the guy who pushed for and signed a law that is as close to healthcare reform as anyone has gotten since Medicare was enacted almost 50 years ago
Which was itself mostly a sleazy compromise like DADT, barely worth celebrating.
Perhaps I was too hard on Obama. But his administration has been a failure on the whole, especially compared to the FDR-like, sweeping political moves promised during his election.
Compare the dominance here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1932prescountymap.PNG to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2008prescountymap.PNG
In short, the circumstances of the times did not allow for the kind of complete shift that the Great Depression triggered.
At the moment, this is the only relevant article that Google is pulling up for me:
(I know how sketchy a news source called "thinkprogress.org" looks--if you care enough to want a more reputable citation, you'll need to dig a little more on your own.)
Or maybe Ron Paul?
Just remember, just a couple months ago, the only viable alternative to run against Obama was a Pizza guy who continuously ran infidelity trains on whatever thing slunk in wearing a skirt. You think "pizza pizza" was going to make everything all better?
He has entrenched for a generation the once-reviled, once-radical Bush/Cheney Terrorism powers of indefinite detention, military commissions, and the state secret privilege as a weapon to immunize political leaders from the rule of law. He has shielded Bush era criminals from every last form of accountability. He has vigorously prosecuted the cruel and supremely racist War on Drugs, including those parts he vowed during the campaign to relinquish — a war which devastates minority communities and encages and converts into felons huge numbers of minority youth for no good reason. He has empowered thieving bankers through the Wall Street bailout, Fed secrecy, efforts to shield mortgage defrauders from prosecution, and the appointment of an endless roster of former Goldman, Sachs executives and lobbyists. He’s brought the nation to a full-on Cold War and a covert hot war with Iran, on the brink of far greater hostilities. He has made the U.S. as subservient as ever to the destructive agenda of the right-wing Israeli government. His support for some of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes is as strong as ever.
Most of all, America’s National Security State, its Surveillance State, and its posture of endless war is more robust than ever before. The nation suffers from what National Journal‘s Michael Hirsh just christened “Obama’s Romance with the CIA.” He has created what The Washington Post just dubbed"a vast drone/killing operation,” all behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy and without a shred of oversight. Obama’s steadfast devotion to what Dana Priest and William Arkin called “Top Secret America” has severe domestic repercussions as well, building up vast debt and deficits in the name of militarism that create the pretext for the “austerity” measures which the Washington class (including Obama) is plotting to impose on America’s middle and lower classes.
If you want these type of changes, you need to vote for the people that represent it in each election - presidential, midterms, local elections, all of them. You can't give up on the entire idea because the first guy you get really excited about and who actually wins fails to implement all of it in the first three years.
"A Nobel Peace Prize winner?"
For doing what exactly? This actually makes me question the entire Nobel Peace Prize program.