Windows 11 continues #Microsoft's long trend of mistreating users. Read why you're better off avoiding it:

@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.


@LovesTha also, I'd argue that the pervasiveness existence of extremely high quality , 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...

@lightweight It would require phalanxes of experts, not random crowds.

@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 Yeah. But I'm still not convinced that all closed source code is inherently antisocial

@LovesTha here's my rationale for feeling it is: Let me know if/where you disagree...


@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?

@lightweight And by breaking up big companies I mean really break them up.

MS Office shouldn't be by one company if they have as much market share as they do.

@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: code, where software from different vendors is interchangable.

@lightweight I think requiring open standard complaint code was what I was saying.

I don't think closed source could be illegal.

@LovesTha no, you're right. Proprietary code shouldn't be illegal. It should merely be shunned by all users of software. :)

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@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.

it may indeed cost a lot. but that doesn't imply it's impossible to cover those costs, even with a profit, while respecting your customers. the only reason this appears to be the case is that there are so many examples of companies that invest in development then attempt to recoup those costs (and then profit) by selling copies. it doesn't have to be that way. a slight change to that logic that is perfectly compatible with respecting freedoms involves selling the development services to crowds of customers upfront, and then releasing the feature. whether it's implemented first or after funding is secured is up to the developers, but that's two ways to develop complex free software commercially. consortia are often formed to develop software in similar arrangements, but with feature requirements driven by the participants rather than by the developer
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