@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 #FOSS, 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...
@LovesTha perhaps, but there might be other ways to structure the data to crowdsource. See Google's CAPTCHA system...
@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: https://openstandards.nz/definition) 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. :)
@LovesTha I believe that creating strong incentives against making software proprietary undesirable would be better for the world and all of us in it.
@lightweight I think requiring all gov (and defence) purchasing to adhere to strong open standards and squashing all monopolies (by limiting large companies to narrowly defined product scopes and open standards) would probably be enough. It should allow competitive markets to emerge, balancing the power dynamic between seller and buyer.
@LovesTha yes, I agree re the open standards requirement - I wrote this to request it: https://openstandards.nz :) Problem is that proprietary software vendors have broken the gov't's efforts to do the because they effectively have the ability to hold gov'ts hostage and therefore have leverage due to their proprietary monopolies.
@lightweight I think their ability to hold gov's hostage is over stated. Australia's silly link to news thing generated lots of press, but Google and Facebook lost in the end.
@LovesTha I think they totally have the ability to hold NZ gov't hostage, i.e. https://davelane.nz/mshostage and https://davelane.nz/explainer-digitech-risks-school-boards (and both NZ & AU have given the US tech giants the stick to beat them with by ratifying the CPTPPA - idiots).
@LovesTha they're largely (entirely) oblivious in my experience, and they quite like the perks of "account management" with the Frightful Five...
@lightweight Which isn't so surprising, they are mostly ignorant of tech issues in general. Australia's only PM who understood tech did move the needle on some tech related things, but there is only so much he could do when none of his colleagues understand anything.
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