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Old 10-09-2007, 09:57 AM   #121
nekokami
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I don't agree with this at all. In a few words, APACHE, BSD, LINUX. None of these softwares were written as a commercial enterprise. And, they are the best, or among the best, of their types of software.
There's an issue of supply and demand at work here. There are some kinds of code, like OSs, that many, many people need, and a lot of the people who need them are programmers, and willing to work on something that they themselves will use. They share the effort, and they share the results. (They often don't test or document their code very well, though.)

Then there's a category of code that perhaps no one "needs," but people like to have, and the people who want it are often able to write their own, and/or don't mind sharing. A lot of small utilities and games fall into this category. These are projects that don't take a lot of effort, and whoever creates them probably did so for their own interests, and they don't mind sharing their work. These products tend to be poorly tested and undocumented, but because they aren't critical applications, no one cares much.

But there is also a software category of products that are wanted primarily by people who don't have the skills to contribute to them. Much of commercial software falls into this category. Triple-A games involve budgets in the millions and large staffs of programmers, artists, qa testers, etc. The differences between these titles and open-source equivalents shows, and people should be willing to pay for that difference if they want it. HarryT is able to write astronomy software, and I'm guessing that he uses it as well, but most amateur astronomers are not able to write this software. The overlap of critical programming skills and critical astronomy knowledge is smaller, and HarryT's skill set is more valuable. Sure, he could donate his work to the open source community, but why should he? It takes him a lot of time to develop it, he has fewer potential helpers (due to his unusual skill set), and there's evidently a demand for his work, as some people are willing to pay for it.

And as much as I like Linux, how many big financial houses run on it? Does eBay run on it? No, the big operations tend to use Solaris or some other "commercial" Unix, because the quality of the code and service are high and reliability of both code and service are high. Sure, Fidelity or some other big shop could run Linux and maintain their own stable of dedicated support programmers to make sure that bugs that could cost them millions of dollars in down time get fixed and tested and documented instantly, but it costs them less in the long run to buy a service contract with Sun and share the cost of maintaining that cadre of support engineers with other companies in the same business. And honestly, the Red Hat model is pretty much the same these days.

I think it's great when people are willing to give away some of what they've worked on. I admire people who do. But I don't think anyone is ever obliged to give away their work. As long as food, clothing and shelter are not free (and they aren't where I live, anyway), creators will need to be paid for their work.

Getting back to books, I'd really like to see a system where readers pay for the books they want continue. But if that won't work, we may end up with online-only access for paid subscribers, or crippling DRM. I don't want to see these kinds of systems. That's why I'd rather try to raise awareness of the ethics of paying for books. And to be honest, I think most readers would be perfectly happy to pay for the books they read, if the price is reasonable (e.g. Baen pricing) and the formats are open and stable. I think the darknet only carries books because selection is still so low and restrictions are so high through legal channels. I really believe the Baen model can work on a broad scale. We don't need NEA funding, wealthy patrons, in-book advertising, or any of the rest of it.
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:08 AM   #122
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I can understand dislike of piracy when it affects your wallet, BUT-
Piracy only means loss of income when the individuals pirating software/music/whatever would have otherwise BOUGHT that software/music if they could not have pirated it.
Well, why assume that most pirates wouldn't have bought the software otherwise? There must have been a reason they wanted it in the first place... and through their actions, they might give it to someone who would've otherwise bought it legally.

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Software pricing is way out of whack, and many if not most individuals simplyt cannot afford the prices being asked. And if they can't find a pirated copy of certain software, they find a cheaper alternative, or don't use it.
Well, finding a cheaper alternative or not using it is what they should be doing, if they can't afford it. Looking to steal it isn't.

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I think over the next decade that we'll see this model of proprietary, binary-only software disappear for alot of users. We'll see more and more people moving to free OS's and software, which keeps getting better and better. And I have never understood why people would pirate an M$ operating system, when others are available, for free, that are much better.....
Because M$ is what most businesses use, and if you want to work with many businesses, you have to use their SW, whether you like it or not. If you have a choice, then by all means, switch to Linux or something, and be free. I also regret that it can be very expensive to purchase the SW most businesses use (as a graphics/web designer, I cringe every time someone talks to me about the cost of Adobe software), but if it's a business need, you have to consider it a business expense, knuckle down, and pay it. Take a class to learn it. Find someone who has it, and practice on their computer. There are options, but stealing it should never be one of them.
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:13 AM   #123
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I really believe the Baen model can work on a broad scale. We don't need NEA funding, wealthy patrons, in-book advertising, or any of the rest of it.
I agree with you entirely. That's why I always buy Baen's Webscription every month, regardless of whether or not there's anything in it that month that I particularly want. For me, the $15 is more a way of saying "good on you for doing the right thing"; the books are just a "bonus" .

One side-effect, however, of always buying the Webscription is that by doing so I've "discovered" some others who I'd simply never have read otherwise. Getting a "mystery package" of books each month certainly has benefits that way!
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:19 AM   #124
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Take a paper book. As long as the book is in good enough condition to be read, I can always read it. Possibly I'll have it for the rest of my life if I treat it properly. So my investment can last the rest of my life. That a good deal there.

Now take an ebook. Let's use Mobi format. I purchase this ebook. I've given the PID(s). I've downloaded it and I have it. I can read it on the authorized devices. Now lets say the online shop I purchased it from is no longer in business. I have this ebook that when I bought it could be read on my computer & PDA. That's good. ok, I get a new computer and my PID's changed. I get a new PDA and my PID has changed. This ebook contains the PID(s) from the previous devices. How the heck do I then read it? I cannot unless I know how to break the DRM. The DRM makes this book a bad investment. If I want to own a copy of that book, I then have to go out and spend even more money. This is not the same as changing from VHS to DVD or LP to CD. This is the same book in mobi format that should be readable by a copy of the reader software. But DRM is causing it NOT to work.

Now if we make a big enough stink about the DRM issue, we could end up with people not buying readers because they will be afraid that at some point, they won't be able to read the ebooks they bought. I'm sorry, but DRM is possibly what will keep ebooks from being as popular as they should be.

And the tower of ebable does not help at all. When you have a device to read ebooks and find a book you want but then find it cannot be read by your device because it's not available in the format you need, that means you either have to purchase the paper edition or do without.

In terms of software, look at Lotus. When they had that horrible copy protection on 1-2-3, it did more harm to businesses trying to do it legally then it did good. You were even unable to back it up from your computer so that if it crashed, you could restore it.

The way I see it.. if you stick all kinds of restrictions on something and someone figures out how to remove those restrictions, that person is more likely to pirate that content then if it was free of restrictions in the first place. That is what the content providers fail to recognize.
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:26 AM   #125
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The DRM makes this book a bad investment.
That's the difference between us, Jon. I don't consider a $10 novel as an "investment"; I consider it as $10 worth of reading enjoyment - on a par, say, with a $10 takeaway pizza. If I want another pizza next year, I spend another $10. If I can read my book again next year without paying for it again, that's great, but I don't buy an eBook thinking "this is a lifetime investment"; I buy it for the pleasure of reading it once.

Most of the eBooks I buy are in the $5-7 range. Contrast that to nicely produced hardbacks which I'm happy to pay $50+ for (eg my 3-volume illustrated hardback edition of LOTR which I paid £75 - $150 - for). Those I do regard as a lifetime investment.
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:39 AM   #126
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For some people books are an investment no matter then format. And yes, they want them to be readable for a LONG LONG time. DRM may very well screw them over on this. To some people not all books are a throw away commodity. The books is still viable, the text is still text.And as long as I have a program or device that can read these books, then I should be ok for as long as I want. But I'm not, the DRM may very well force me to repurchase or do without.

Now we have DVDs that the consumer who LEGALLY purchased may possibly not play on a LEGALLY purchased DVD player. And it's not just a matter of a firmware update and you are good to go. Some of these DVD players don't have a firmware to update to to play them. Because they did the LEGAL thing and did not download a cracked copy, they are shit of ot luck. Thank you DRM once more.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:07 AM   #127
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Are you talking about DVD region coding, Jon? That's nothing new; you can't buy a region 2 DVD from the UK and play it on your region 1 DVD player, and I can't do the opposite.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:27 AM   #128
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Are you talking about DVD region coding, Jon? That's nothing new; you can't buy a region 2 DVD from the UK and play it on your region 1 DVD player, and I can't do the opposite.
I think he's referring to the HD-DVD fiasco in another thread, about how a recent HD-DVD was released with an updated DRM scheme that many manufacturers had yet to implement (or even start thinking about) just yet.

Regarding region-locked DVD's, I think this is still a throw-back to bygone days that should simply be abandoned. Why bother locking out sales of a DVD from potential buyers, online companies flourish with overseas markets so many region-locked DVD's end up becoming magically available on eBay with such impressive packaging you wouldn't know you were purchasing a bootleg. Yet the other region region-locking should be done away with, the counterfeiters can already remove this, so why bother? They, he powers that be, have vaguely lifted the lock by expanding/merging many regions with the latest iteration; i.e., BD-DVD's, so much of the world fall under the most common region.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:56 AM   #129
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And as much as I like Linux, how many big financial houses run on it? Does eBay run on it? No, the big operations tend to use Solaris or some other "commercial" Unix, because the quality of the code and service are high and reliability of both code and service are high. Sure, Fidelity or some other big shop could run Linux and maintain their own stable of dedicated support programmers to make sure that bugs that could cost them millions of dollars in down time get fixed and tested and documented instantly, but it costs them less in the long run to buy a service contract with Sun and share the cost of maintaining that cadre of support engineers with other companies in the same business. And honestly, the Red Hat model is pretty much the same these days.
You would be surprised at how many commercial organizations run the free *NIXs. yahoo and Google for 2 of them. Most big companies are going to want some sort of support contract- and they have several to choose from in the Liniux world.

This is what the open source visionaries have been saying for a long time- there are ways to make money from open source software. Even Sun offers people the source code for Solaris these days.

And take OpenBSD, which I have used for the basis of several firewalls- I don't think you can find a more secure operating system. Not all software will become open source or free, but the most widely used programs will. Ancd some companies will make a ton of money in the niche software markets. Do you think M$ put anywhere near $200 million in R&D for halo 3? I don't- but this is what they have raked in in less than a month of sales.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:09 PM   #130
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Well, why assume that most pirates wouldn't have bought the software otherwise? There must have been a reason they wanted it in the first place... and through their actions, they might give it to someone who would've otherwise bought it legally..
I have seen this happen many times- people will certainly use a pirate copy of software, but will not buy package. They either do without, or use a lower cost or free alternative.

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Because M$ is what most businesses use, and if you want to work with many businesses, you have to use their SW, whether you like it or not. If you have a choice, then by all means, switch to Linux or something, and be free. I also regret that it can be very expensive to purchase the SW most businesses use (as a graphics/web designer, I cringe every time someone talks to me about the cost of Adobe software), but if it's a business need, you have to consider it a business expense, knuckle down, and pay it. Take a class to learn it. Find someone who has it, and practice on their computer. There are options, but stealing it should never be one of them.
Depends on what you do. The operating system, whether Linux or Windows or BSD, isn't the problem- it's the applications software and the file formats that they use. I have never had much problem exchanging any of the Office file formats, because other, non-MS software will write the same formats. I have worked with many different businesses over the years, and have also slowly been eliminating Windows from my home office environment. I still buy a premium MSDN, but hopefully one of these days I won't have to. And over the past 2 years, with some extracurricular consulting work I do, I have convinced several individuals to switch to the Mac, and they are very happy. And I have convinced a medium-sized business to say no to M$, and using Mac OS and BSD, and virtualization technology, it's not that hard to do. The biggest problem that I see is lack of knowledge on the part of IT staffs, and that can be remedied.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:25 PM   #131
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Regarding region-locked DVD's, I think this is still a throw-back to bygone days that should simply be abandoned. Why bother locking out sales of a DVD from potential buyers, online companies flourish with overseas markets so many region-locked DVD's end up becoming magically available on eBay with such impressive packaging you wouldn't know you were purchasing a bootleg. Yet the other region region-locking should be done away with, the counterfeiters can already remove this, so why bother? They, he powers that be, have vaguely lifted the lock by expanding/merging many regions with the latest iteration; i.e., BD-DVD's, so much of the world fall under the most common region.
Yes, I agree with you.

The original purpose of region codes was, of course, because very often movies would - for example - be released in the US before they were released in the UK, and film studios didn't want US DVDs to be on sale in the UK while the movie was still on cinema release in this country. Now, though, most movies are released world-wide at the same time, and the justification has largely disappeared.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:26 PM   #132
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Well, finding a cheaper alternative or not using it is what they should be doing, if they can't afford it. Looking to steal it isn't.

.
Piracy made Windows the #1 PC Operating System, and M$ the most powerful software company in the world. Now, M$ wants to increase profits, and those awful pirates will have to pay. IMHO, pirating Windows is illogical, because it just isn't very good, but- I sure hope Microsoft's protection schemes become more and more Draconian. Because it will drive users to find better and cheaper solutions.

Software validation schemes and the like hurt legal users, just like DRM. And we always hear the "piracy excuse" given to justify these schemes. I don't buy it.

I purchased an XP license last month for a computer that I had "downgraded" to XP from Vista- it wouldn't activate. Brand new, out of the mailing envelope, and the software wouldn't activate with the numbers provided. Took me 45 minutes on the phone to fix that. yes sir, I feel real sorry for Microsoft- I have had to downgrade most of the Vista machines we have purchased during the past 9 months because Vista is so unstable. So we pay the cost for the Vista license sold with the computer, and then I spend another $130 for an XP license. All of our software is legal, so why are we being punished? I think the "rat out your employer if he uses illegal software" ads on the radio, and other efforts, are pretty effective in making sure businesses pay for their software. But do we have to pay twice? Do we have to deal with crappy "validation" schemes?

You bet we are trying alternatives- I just rolled out our first OS X and Linux desktops last month. In 3 years, most of our desktops and servers will be non-M$(half the servers already do run BSD). And Adobe doesn't cost me any more for the Mac than for Windoze....
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:31 PM   #133
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Piracy made Windows the #1 PC Operating System, and M$ the most powerful software company in the world.
That is not the case. What made MS-DOS and subsequently Windows the #1 PC operating system were the bundling deals that Microsoft signed with IBM and the subsequent "clone" manufacturers.
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Old 10-09-2007, 12:46 PM   #134
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That is not the case. What made MS-DOS and subsequently Windows the #1 PC operating system were the bundling deals that Microsoft signed with IBM and the subsequent "clone" manufacturers.
No, not at all. During MS-DOS days, M$ was one among many operating systems- like DR-DOS, PC-DOS, Concurrent, etc. When Windows 3.1 was released, it quickly became the most-pirated operating system ever. The piracy gave M$ overwhelming market share.

These bundling deals (or "coercions," because that is what they were) didn't exist in Windows 3.1 days. Back then, say you ordered a Dell computer- you could have Windows installed, or you could buy Dell UNIX. A few years later, M$ is all you could buy- and you were forced to buy it. Which is why I stopped buying Dell. It wasn't until the 90s, AFTER M$ had overwhelming market share, that these coercive bundling deals were struck.

Always angered me, and made me construct my own computers, because I wasn't running Windows- I ran BSD, AT&T UNIX, and Coherent. So why should I be forced to throw money at Microsoft? I have ONE Windows machine in my home office- when it goes, I don't think any more M$ products will be bought. They piss me off too much to use in my home computing environment.
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Old 10-09-2007, 01:03 PM   #135
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Originally Posted by wgrimm View Post
The biggest problem that I see is lack of knowledge on the part of IT staffs, and that can be remedied.
True, there is a lack of knowledge about Windows alternatives with most IT staffs. In fairness to them, however, they are often not in a position to pick and choose what hardware or software their company uses. Previous contracts and business arrangements with other partners (which are usually not written by IT staff) often demand Windows compatibility with specific OS and SW requirements.

It is often only the isolated (little or no file swapping outside of their office) or forward-thinking company that manages to buck the MS trend.
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