Tech Insider					     Technology and Trends

From mike at halcrow.us  Thu Sep  4 20:20:59 2003
From: mike at halcrow.us (Michael Halcrow)
Date: Thu Sep  4 18:26:48 2003
Subject: [uug] Daily Universe Editorial
Message-ID: <20030905002059.GB31397@halcrow.us>

Howdy folks,

Yet another mind-numbing article from our friends at the Daily
Universe:

http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/45400

Here is my response.  Let's see if it gets accepted.  :-)

---
Free Software

In her recent article, ``Students choose between PCs and Macs,''
Sylvie Alvarez perpetuated the false impression that Microsoft
products pose an unavoidable obstacle to those choosing a computing
platform.  As a member of the BYU Unix User Group and a longtime user
of the GNU/Linux operating system, I must express my objection and
offer an alternative.

The Open Source Software movement has gained significant momentum as
volunteer programmers from around the world have teamed up with large
corporations to produce high-quality Free Software.  Companies such as
SuSE and Red Hat have produced easy-to-use software packages that
include an operating system, a Microsoft-compatible office suite, a
state-of-the-art web browser and mail reader, and a myriad of other
academic and business software packages.  These distributions of
GNU/Linux are made available over the Internet at absolutely no cost.

The BYU Unix Users Group has almost 300 members strong and hosts
periodic Install Fests on campus to help students install GNU/Linux on
their computers.  We form a strong support community, offer advice to
one another, and help each other out wherever we can.  By using Free
Software, students can save hundreds of dollars in computer costs.

The Unix Users Group has booths reserved for the 11th and the 12th in
the Talmage Building and in the Clyde Building, where members will be
waiting to talk to anyone who is interested.  Feel free to drop by and
find out more about GNU/Linux and Free Software, or visit
<http://uug.byu.edu>.

Michael Halcrow
Austin, TX
512-257-7491
daiuni@halcrow.us

-- 
------------------------------------------- | ---------------------
Michael Halcrow                             | mike@halcrow.us     
Developer, IBM Linux Technology Center      |                      
                                            |
What's another word for synonym?            |
------------------------------------------- | ---------------------
GnuPG Keyprint:  05B5 08A8 713A 64C1 D35D  2371 2D3C FDDA 3EB6 601D

From torriem at chem.byu.edu  Fri Sep  5 00:33:14 2003
From: torriem at chem.byu.edu (Michael Torrie)
Date: Thu Sep  4 23:34:27 2003
Subject: [uug] Daily Universe Editorial
In-Reply-To: <20030905002059.GB31397@halcrow.us>
References: <20030905002059.GB31397@halcrow.us>
Message-ID: <1062739994.5255.28.camel@enterprise.local.lan>

On Thu, 2003-09-04 at 18:20, Michael Halcrow wrote:
> Howdy folks,
> 
> Yet another mind-numbing article from our friends at the Daily
> Universe:
> 
> http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/45400
> 
> Here is my response.  Let's see if it gets accepted.  :-)
> <snip>

What bothered me most about the article was the implication that all
software for windows was free, whereas you had to pay for it on
Macintosh.  To me this indicates that students think that if you can
download it on Kazaa then it must be legal and right.  This whole idea
really bothered me.  Linux further complicates things for this ignorant
people as the OS itself and most apps are legally freely available. 
Anyay, I think piracy awareness might be a good thing to push to our
friends and neighbors.  I may hate MS, but I cannot condone downloading
packages off of kazaa.

Michael
-- 
Michael Torrie <torriem@chem.byu.edu>

From brent_thomson at byu.edu  Fri Sep  5 14:04:45 2003
From: brent_thomson at byu.edu (Brent Thomson)
Date: Fri Sep  5 13:05:21 2003
Subject: [uug] Daily Universe Editorial
In-Reply-To: <3F588CAC.1070600@jorgensenfamily.us>
References: <20030905002059.GB31397@halcrow.us>
	<1062739994.5255.28.camel@enterprise.local.lan>
	<3F588CAC.1070600@jorgensenfamily.us>
Message-ID: <1062788684.13378.7.camel@laptop.brentthomson.com>

It was stated:

> > What bothered me most about the article was the implication that all
> > software for windows was free, whereas you had to pay for it on
> > Macintosh.  To me this indicates that students think that if you can
> > download it on Kazaa then it must be legal and right.  This whole idea
> > really bothered me.  Linux further complicates things for this ignorant
> > people as the OS itself and most apps are legally freely available. 
> > Anyay, I think piracy awareness might be a good thing to push to our
> > friends and neighbors.  I may hate MS, but I cannot condone downloading
> > packages off of kazaa.

I don't think the person that made the free Windows software was
necessarily refering to downloading illegal copies of software. Anyone
that has ever visited download.com can testify that there are thousands
of software titles for Windows that are free. Most of these are just
little helper-type applications that are free because they aren't really
marketable, but, nonetheless, they _are_ free and legit.

Another reason I don't think they were referring to downloading
commercial software is that you can find tons of Mac titles in the same
places you can find illegitimate apps for your PC. If the person quoted
in the Universe was into downloading stuff, and had tried it on both a
Mac and PC, he would have had success either way and wouldn't have made
the statement that showed up in the paper--at least not in reference to
swashbuckling, anyway.

Just my two cents.

-Brent

From ross at agilestudios.com  Fri Sep  5 17:16:40 2003
From: ross at agilestudios.com (Ross Werner)
Date: Fri Sep  5 16:11:37 2003
Subject: [uug] Daily Universe Editorial
In-Reply-To: <1062788684.13378.7.camel@laptop.brentthomson.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.33.0309051610360.15545-100000@isaiah.agilevr.com>

On 5 Sep 2003, Brent Thomson wrote:

[Piracy in re Mac software being more expensive]

> I don't think the person that made the free Windows software was
> necessarily refering to downloading illegal copies of software. Anyone
> that has ever visited download.com can testify that there are thousands
> of software titles for Windows that are free. Most of these are just
> little helper-type applications that are free because they aren't really
> marketable, but, nonetheless, they _are_ free and legit.

I don't know--I kind of lean towards the "piracy" interpretation. You can
also get tons of helper-type applications for Macs which are free (just
look at VersionTracker.com) not to mention all the sources you have to
turn to with a Unix-based OS X. Also, it's _way_ easier to find Windows
software on Kazaa or whatever than it is to get Mac stuff.


Actually, more than the "piracy" interpretation, I lean towards the "He
just didn't know what the heck he was talking about" interpretation. ;-)

	~ ross

From bryan.murdock at hp.com  Fri Sep  5 17:11:19 2003
From: bryan.murdock at hp.com (Bryan Murdock)
Date: Fri Sep  5 17:11:54 2003
Subject: [uug] Daily Universe Editorial
In-Reply-To: <Pine.LNX.4.33.0309051610360.15545-100000@isaiah.agilevr.com>
References: <Pine.LNX.4.33.0309051610360.15545-100000@isaiah.agilevr.com>
Message-ID: <1062803479.15074.8.camel@tomislav.vcd.hp.com>

On Fri, 2003-09-05 at 15:16, Ross Werner wrote:
> On 5 Sep 2003, Brent Thomson wrote:
> 
> [Piracy in re Mac software being more expensive]
> 
> > I don't think the person that made the free Windows software was
> > necessarily refering to downloading illegal copies of software. Anyone
> > that has ever visited download.com can testify that there are thousands
> > of software titles for Windows that are free. Most of these are just
> > little helper-type applications that are free because they aren't really
> > marketable, but, nonetheless, they _are_ free and legit.
> 
> I don't know--I kind of lean towards the "piracy" interpretation. You can
> also get tons of helper-type applications for Macs which are free (just
> look at VersionTracker.com) not to mention all the sources you have to
> turn to with a Unix-based OS X. Also, it's _way_ easier to find Windows
> software on Kazaa or whatever than it is to get Mac stuff.

Not to mention all your friends and family who are willing to "lend you
a cd" with some Windows software on it.  I gave someone Open Office to
use for the semester and when I later asked if this person had tried it,
they were like, "Oh, my sister put MS-Office on there for me, so no, I
haven't."  Well, I tried.  I suppose I should have laid on the guilt
trip right there, but I'm not very good at that.

> Actually, more than the "piracy" interpretation, I lean towards the "He
> just didn't know what the heck he was talking about" interpretation. ;-)

This was my general impression from the whole article.  Did any of them
know that much about what they were talking about?

Bryan

From mike at halcrow.us  Fri Sep  5 21:50:53 2003
From: mike at halcrow.us (Michael Halcrow)
Date: Fri Sep  5 19:51:53 2003
Subject: [uug] Daily Universe Editorial
In-Reply-To: <1062803479.15074.8.camel@tomislav.vcd.hp.com>
References: <Pine.LNX.4.33.0309051610360.15545-100000@isaiah.agilevr.com>
	<1062803479.15074.8.camel@tomislav.vcd.hp.com>
Message-ID: <20030906015053.GA4688@halcrow.us>

On Fri, Sep 05, 2003 at 04:11:19PM -0700, Bryan Murdock wrote:
> Not to mention all your friends and family who are willing to "lend you
> a cd" with some Windows software on it.  I gave someone Open Office to
> use for the semester and when I later asked if this person had tried it,
> they were like, "Oh, my sister put MS-Office on there for me, so no, I
> haven't."  Well, I tried.  I suppose I should have laid on the guilt
> trip right there, but I'm not very good at that.

There is something seriously wrong with our current paradigm of
computer software.  It is fundamentally antagonistic and damaging to
our social cohesion and to our altruistic tendencies.  Someone's
sister cares for a family member, and she wants to help the family
member.  Her natural impulse is to share her software with that
person.  After all, it only costs her the time and effort to lend her
copy out.  She just doesn't see anything wrong with doing that.  In
her mind, she's being helpful; she's being a good person.

Those ``in the know'' immediately start talking about laying a guilt
trip on this poor young lady (or her brother), because if she copies
her software for the person she cares about, she's a thief and a dirty
pirate!  ``Bad, bad bad!!''  What kind of damage is this causing to
our culture and to our sense of community?

Now I'm not condoning copyright violations.  After all, the Free
Software movement depends on copyright protection; it is what allows
software to continue to be free.  What I am doing is condemning
proprietary, malicious licenses that prohibit you from making copies
of your software for your friends and family members.

Rather than make them feel guilty, we should simply be encouraging
them to accept Free Software licenses rather than proprietary
licenses.  Something along these lines might be appropriate:

``So you got a copy of MS Office from your friend?  Did you know that
that was probably a copyright violation, and that the owners of that
software can audit you and press charges against you?  That's okay;
you didn't really know about all this, but let's make it right.  There
is lots of really good software out there written by people who
encourage you to share it freely.  Why don't you use this copy of
OpenOffice instead?  You don't have to worry about breaking any
copyright laws or getting sued if you use it, and you can share it
with your friends without being afraid of what the software authors
might do to you.''

This is probably the best approach.  Don't tell them that it was
``bad'' or ``wrong'' to do what they did.  I would hate to be
responsible for making someone feel bad and guilty for reaching out
and doing what they instinctively thought was a good and altruistic
thing to do.  They should be rewarded for their willingness to be
helpful, and then they should be steered toward using software that
has a license that allows them to express these desires without any
inhibitions.

> > Actually, more than the "piracy" interpretation, I lean towards the "He
> > just didn't know what the heck he was talking about" interpretation. ;-)
> 
> This was my general impression from the whole article.  Did any of them
> know that much about what they were talking about?

Well, this Sylvie Alvarez girl seems to be on a techno trip:

http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/45402

Something tells me that she is going to be BYU's greatest source of
misinformation for the next little while with regards to computer
technology.  :-)

Mike

-- 
------------------------------------------- | ---------------------
Michael Halcrow                             | mike@halcrow.us     
Developer, IBM Linux Technology Center      |                      
                                            |
What's another word for synonym?            |
------------------------------------------- | ---------------------
GnuPG Keyprint:  05B5 08A8 713A 64C1 D35D  2371 2D3C FDDA 3EB6 601D

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