Tag Archives: forum

Email Definitions: Feedback Loops

Post Syndicated from Nick Hristov original http://sesblog.amazon.com/post/Tx1YN50R0UPM2YP/Email-Definitions-Feedback-Loops

What goes around… Comes around! Does this proverb apply to your email-sending program? Probably not as much as you’d like. Ideally, you’d have a direct window into each interaction a recipient has with your message:  Did they actually open it? If so, did they scroll through it? Did they forward, delete, print, or file it? That feedback is not available to us yet, so let’s focus on the information we do have, and how it finds its way back to us. 
Currently, the only insight you have into the mailbox interactions between recipients and your email is when recipients click a "This is Spam" button in their mailbox interface. This process is known as abuse complaint. The mechanism through which complaints are directed back to you, the sender, is referred to as a feedback loop (FBL). You need to subscribe to a FBL in order to receive the feedback.
To subscribe to a FBL, you must verify that you own the sending domains and/or IP addresses. Although the process is relatively streamlined, it’s not standardized and it can get tedious due to the variety of means by which different ISPs (mailbox providers) ask you to subscribe. Luckily for you, Amazon SES handles all FBL subscriptions on your behalf. For SES customers, the process is as follows:
1) The recipient clicks "This is Spam" in their mailbox interface.
2) The ISP records and forwards this request in Abuse Reporting Format (ARF) to Amazon SES.
3) SES then sends the notification to you via email or an Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) topic, depending on your account configuration.
Here is a great graphic to help you visualize a sample FBL:
FBL
© Alessandro Vesely.  This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. Information about it is available from its description page there
Do all ISPs support feedback loops? Unfortunately, no. If you are curious, review the Word to the Wise Delivery Wiki for a relatively up-to-date list.
All right, at this point you should be able to track the recipients that complain about your email. Best email practices dictate that you shouldn’t continue messaging to those folks (or at least don’t send the same type of content). For example, although I may be unhappy with daily emails, I always expect my order confirmations and wouldn’t mind receiving a monthly newsletter. So consider what type of content your recipients object to (e.g. promotions) but keep in mind that transactional mail tends to be well-received.
The ultimate technique to avoid complaints is to focus on delivering high-quality content to your recipients. After all, they signed up for your email program for a reason — anything you can do to improve that value proposition should drive spam complaints down.
What goes around comes around, right? Comments, questions, thoughts, please take advantage of our "feedback loops" — post here on our blog, use the customer forum, or find us on Twitter. Happy emailing! 

FaiFCast Release, and Submit to FOSDEM Legal & Policy Issues DevRoom

Post Syndicated from Bradley M. Kuhn original http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2011/12/16/faif-fosdem.html

Today Karen Sandler and I
released Episode 0x1E of
the Free as in Freedom oggcast
(available
in ogg
and mp3
formats). There are two important things discussed on that oggcast that
I want to draw your attention to:

Submit a proposal for the Legal & Policy Issues DevRoom
CFP

Tom
Marble
, Richard
Fontana
, Karen Sandler, and I are coordinating
the Legal
and Policy Issues DevRoom

at FOSDEM 2012.
The Call
for Participation for the DevRoom is now available
. I’d like to
ask anyone reading this blog post who has an interest in policy and/or
legal issues related to software freedom to submit a talk by Friday 30
December 2011, by
emailing <[email protected]>.

We only have about six slots for speakers (it’s a one-day DevRoom), so
we won’t be able to accept all proposals. I just wanted to let everyone
know that so you don’t flame me if you submit and get rejected.
Meanwhile, note that our goal is to avoid the “this is what
copyrights, trademarks and patents are” introductory talks. Our
focus is on complex issues for those already informed about the basics.
We really felt that the level of discourse about legal and policy issues
at software freedom conferences needs to rise.

There are, of course, plenty of secret membership
clubs 0, even some with their own
private conferences, where these sorts of important issues are discussed.
I personally seek to move high-level policy discussion and debate out of
the secret “old-boys” club backrooms and into a public space
where the entire software freedom community can discuss openly important
legal and policy questions in the community. I hope this DevRoom is a
first step in that direction!

Issues & Questions List for the Software Freedom Non-Profits Debate

I’ve made
reference
recently
to debates about the value of non-profit organizations for software
freedom projects.
In FaiFCast 0x1E,
Karen and I discuss the debate in depth. As part of that, as you’ll see
in the show notes, I’ve made a list of issues that I think were fully
conflated during the recent debates. I can’t spare the time to opine in
detail on them right now (although Karen and I do a bit of that in the
oggcast itself), but I did want to copy the list over here in my blog,
mainly to list them out as issues worth thinking about in a software
freedom non-profit:

Should a non-profit home decide what technical infrastructure is
used for a software freedom project? And if so, what should it be?

If the non-profit doesn’t provide technological services, should
non-profits allow their projects to rely on for-profits for
technological or other services?

Should a non-profit home set political and social positions that
must be followed by the projects? If so, how strictly should they be
enforced?

Should copyrights be held by the non-profit home of the project, or
with the developers, or a mix of the two?

Should the non-profit dictate licensing requirements on the
project? If so, how many licenses and which licenses are
acceptable?

Should a non-profit dictate strict copyright provenance
requirements on their projects? If not, should the non-profit at least
provide guidelines and recommendations?

This list of questions is far from exhaustive, but I
think it’s a pretty good start.

0 Admittedly, I’ve got a
proverbial axe to grind about these secretive membership-only groups,
since, for nearly all of them, I’m persona non grata. My frustration
level in this reached a crescendo when, during a session at LinuxCon
Europe recently, I asked for the criteria to join one such private legal
issues discussions group, and I was told the criteria themselves were
secret. I pointed out to the coordinators of the forum that this wasn’t a
particularly Free Software friendly way to run a discussion group, and
they simply changed the subject. My hope is that this FOSDEM DevRoom can
be a catalyst to start a new discussion forum for legal and policy issues
related to software freedom that doesn’t have this problem.

BTW, just to clarify: I’m not talking
about FLOSS Foundations as
one of these secretive, members-only clubs. While the FLOSS Foundations
main mailing list is indeed invite-only, it’s very easy to join and the
only requirement is: “if you repost emails from this list
publicly, you’ll probably be taken off the mailing list”. There
is
no “Chatham
House Rule”
or other silly, unenforceable, and
spend-inordinate-amount-of-times-remembering-how-to-follow rules in
place for FLOSS Foundations, but such silly rulesets are now common with
these other secretive legal issues meeting groups.

Finally, I know I haven’t named publicly the members-only clubs I’m
talking about here, and that’s by design. This is the first time I’ve
mentioned them at all in my blog, and my hope is that they’ll change
their behaviors soon. I don’t want to publicly shame them by name until
I give them a bit more time to change their behaviors. Also, I don’t
want to inadvertently promote these fora either, since IMO their very
structure is flawed and community-unfriendly.

Update: Some
have claimed incorrectly
that the text in the footnote above somehow indicates my unwillingness to
follow the Chatham House Rule (CHR).
I refuted that
on identi.ca, noting that the text above doesn’t say that, and those who
think it does have simply misunderstood. My primary point (which I’ll now
state even more explicitly) is that CHR is difficult to follow,
particularly when it is mis-applied to a mailing list. CHR is designed
for meetings, which have a clear start time and a finish time. Mailing
lists aren’t meetings, so the behavior of CHR when applied to a mailing
list is often undefined.

I should furthermore note that people who have lived under CHR for a
series of meetings also have similar concerns as mine. For
example, Allison
Randal, who worked under CHR
on Project
Harmony
noted:

The group decided to adopt Chatham House Rule for our
discussions. … At first glance it seems
quite sensible: encourage open participation by being careful about what
you share publicly. But, after almost a year of working under it, I have
to say I’m not a big fan. It’s really quite awkward sometimes figuring out
what you can and can’t say publicly. I’m trying to follow it in this post,
but I’ve probably missed in spots. The simple rule is tricky to apply.

I agree with Allison.

Desktop Summit 2011

Post Syndicated from Bradley M. Kuhn original http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2011/08/21/desktop-summit.html

I realize nearly ten days after the end of a conference is a bit late
to blog about it. However, I needed some time to recover my usual
workflow, having attended two conferences almost
back-to-back, OSCON 2011
and Desktop Summit. (The
strain of the back-to-back conferences, BTW, made it impossible for me
to
attend Linux
Con North America
2011, although I’ll be
at Linux
Con Europe
. I hope next year’s summer conference schedule is not so
tight.)

This was my first Desktop Summit, as I was unable to attend
the first one in
Grand Canaria two years ago
. I must admit, while it might be a bit
controversial to say so, that I felt the conference was still like two
co-located conferences rather than one conference. I got a chance to
speak to my KDE colleagues about various things, but I ended up mostly
attending GNOME talks and therefore felt more like I was at GUADEC than
at a Desktop Summit for most of the time.

The big exception to that, however, was in fact the primary reason I
was at Desktop Summit this year: to participate in a panel discussion
with Mark Shuttleworth and Michael Meeks
(who
gave the panel a quick one-sentence summary on his blog
). That was
plenary session and the room was filled with KDE and GNOME developers
alike, all of whom seemed very interested in the issue.

Photo of The CAA/CLA panel discussion at Desktop Summit 2011.

The panel format was slightly frustrating — primarily due to
Mark’s insistence that we all make very long open statements —
although Karen Sandler
nevertheless did a good job moderating it and framing the
discussion.

I get the impression most of the audience was already pretty well
informed about all of our positions, although I think I shocked some by
finally saying clearly in a public forum (other than identi.ca) that I
have been lobbying FSF to make copyright assignment for FSF-assigned
projects optional rather than mandatory. Nevertheless, we were cast
well into our three roles: Mark, who wants broad licensing control over
projects his company sponsors so he can control the assets (and possibly
sell them); Michael, who has faced so many troubles in the
OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice debacle that he believes inbound=outbound can
be The Only Way; and me, who believes that copyright assignment is
useful for non-profits willing to promise to do the public good to
enforce the GPL, but otherwise is a Bad Thing.

Lydia
tells me that the videos will be available eventually from Desktop
Summit
, and I’ll update this blog post when they are so folks can
watch the panel. I encourage everyone concerned about the issue of
rights transfers from individual developers to entities (be they via
copyright assignment or other broad CLA means) to watch the video once
it’s available. For the
moment, Jake Edge’s LWN
article about the panel
is a pretty good summary.

My favorite moment of the panel, though, was when Shuttleworth claimed
he was but a distant observer of Project Harmony. Karen, as moderator,
quickly pointed out that he was billed as Project Harmony’s originator
in the panel materials. It’s disturbing that Shuttleworth thinks he can
get away with such a claim: it’s a matter of public record,
that Amanda
Brock
(Canonical, Ltd.’s General Counsel) initiated Project Harmony,
led it for most of its early drafts, and then Canonical Ltd. paid Mark
Radcliffe (a
lawyer who
represents companies that violate the GPL
) to finish the drafting.
I suppose Shuttleworth’s claim is narrowly true (if misleading) since
his personal involvement as an individual was only
tangential, but his money and his staff were clearly central: even now,
it’s led by his employee, Allison Randal. If you run the company that
runs a project, it’s your project: after all, doesn’t that fit clearly
with Shuttleworth’s suppositions about why he should be entitled to be
the recipient of copyright assignments and broad CLAs in the first
place?

The rest of my time at Desktop Summit was more as an attendee than a
speaker. Since I’m not desktop or GUI developer by any means, I mostly
went to talks and learned what others had to teach. I was delighted,
however, that no less than six people came up to me and said they really
liked this blog. It’s always good to be told that something you put a
lot of volunteer work into is valuable to at least a few people, and
fortunately everyone on the Internet is famous to at least six
people. 🙂

Sponsored by the GNOME Foundation!

Meanwhile, I want to thank the GNOME Foundation for sponsoring my trip to
Desktop Summit 2011, as
they did last
year for GUADEC 2010
. Given my own work and background, I’m very
appreciative of a non-profit with limited resources providing travel
funding for conferences. It’s a big expense, and I’m thankful that the
GNOME Foundation has funded my trips to their annual conference.

BTW, while we await the videos from Desktop Summit, there’s some
“proof” you can see that I attended Desktop Summit, as
I appear
in the group photo
, although you’ll need
to view
the hi-res version and scroll to the lower right of the image, and find
me
. I’m in the second/third (depending on how you count) row back,
2-3 from the right, and two to the left
from Lydia Pintscher.

Finally, I did my best
to live dent from the
Desktop Summit 2011
. That might be of interest to some as well, for
example, if you want to dig back and see what folks said in some of the
talks I attended. There was also
a two threads
after the panel that may be of interest.

Plumbers Conference 2011

Post Syndicated from Lennart Poettering original http://0pointer.net/blog/projects/lpc2011.html

The Linux Plumbers
Conference 2011 in Santa Rosa, CA, USA
is coming nearer (Sep. 7-9).
Together with Kay Sievers I am running the Boot&Init track, and together with
Mark Brown the Audio track.

For both tracks we still need proposals. So if you haven’t submitted
anything yet, please consider doing so. And that quickly. i.e. if you can
arrange for it, last sunday would be best, since that was actually the final
deadline. However, the submission form is still open, so if you submit
something really, really quickly we’ll ignore the absence of time travel and the calendar for a bit. So, go,
submit something. Now.

What are we looking for? Well, here’s what I just posted on the audio
related mailing lists
:

So, please consider submitting something if you haven’t done so yet. We
are looking for all kinds of technical talks covering everything audio
plumbing related: audio drivers, audio APIs, sound servers, pro audio,
consumer audio. If you can propose something audio related — like talks
on media controller routing, on audio for ASOC/Embedded, submit
something! If you care for low-latency audio, submit something. If you
care about the Linux audio stack in general, submit something.

LPC is probably the most relevant technical conference on the general
Linux platform, so be sure that if you want your project, your work,
your ideas to be heard then this is the right forum for everything
related to the Linux stack. And the Audio track covers everything in our
Audio Stack, regardless whether it is pro or consumer audio.

And here’s what I posted to the init
related lists
:

So, please consider submitting something if you haven’t done so yet. We
are looking for all kinds of technical talks covering everything from
the BIOS (i.e. CoreBoot and friends), over boot loaders (i.e. GRUB and
friends), to initramfs (i.e. Dracut and friends) and init systems
(i.e. systemd and friends). If you have something smart to say about any
of these areas or maybe about related tools (i.e. you wrote a fancy new
tool to measure boot performance) or fancy boot schemes in your
favourite Linux based OS (i.e. the new Meego zero second boot ;-)) then
don’t hesitate to submit something on the LPC web site, in the Boot&Init
track!

And now, quickly, go to the
LPC website
and post your session proposal in the Audio resp. Boot&Init; track! Thank you!

Plumbers Conference 2011

Post Syndicated from Lennart Poettering original http://0pointer.net/blog/projects/lpc2011.html

The Linux Plumbers
Conference 2011 in Santa Rosa, CA, USA
is coming nearer (Sep. 7-9).
Together with Kay Sievers I am running the Boot&Init track, and together with
Mark Brown the Audio track.

For both tracks we still need proposals. So if you haven’t submitted
anything yet, please consider doing so. And that quickly. i.e. if you can
arrange for it, last sunday would be best, since that was actually the final
deadline. However, the submission form is still open, so if you submit
something really, really quickly we’ll ignore the absence of time travel and the calendar for a bit. So, go,
submit something. Now.

What are we looking for? Well, here’s what I just posted on the audio
related mailing lists
:

So, please consider submitting something if you haven't done so yet. We
are looking for all kinds of technical talks covering everything audio
plumbing related: audio drivers, audio APIs, sound servers, pro audio,
consumer audio. If you can propose something audio related -- like talks
on media controller routing, on audio for ASOC/Embedded, submit
something! If you care for low-latency audio, submit something. If you
care about the Linux audio stack in general, submit something.

LPC is probably the most relevant technical conference on the general
Linux platform, so be sure that if you want your project, your work,
your ideas to be heard then this is the right forum for everything
related to the Linux stack. And the Audio track covers everything in our
Audio Stack, regardless whether it is pro or consumer audio.

And here’s what I posted to the init
related lists
:

So, please consider submitting something if you haven't done so yet. We
are looking for all kinds of technical talks covering everything from
the BIOS (i.e. CoreBoot and friends), over boot loaders (i.e. GRUB and
friends), to initramfs (i.e. Dracut and friends) and init systems
(i.e. systemd and friends). If you have something smart to say about any
of these areas or maybe about related tools (i.e. you wrote a fancy new
tool to measure boot performance) or fancy boot schemes in your
favourite Linux based OS (i.e. the new Meego zero second boot ;-)) then
don't hesitate to submit something on the LPC web site, in the Boot&Init
track!

And now, quickly, go to the
LPC website
and post your session proposal in the Audio resp. Boot&Init; track! Thank you!

Plumbers Conference 2011

Post Syndicated from Lennart Poettering original http://0pointer.net/blog/projects/lpc2011.html

The Linux Plumbers
Conference 2011 in Santa Rosa, CA, USA
is coming nearer (Sep. 7-9).
Together with Kay Sievers I am running the Boot&Init track, and together with
Mark Brown the Audio track.

For both tracks we still need proposals. So if you haven’t submitted
anything yet, please consider doing so. And that quickly. i.e. if you can
arrange for it, last sunday would be best, since that was actually the final
deadline. However, the submission form is still open, so if you submit
something really, really quickly we’ll ignore the absence of time travel and the calendar for a bit. So, go,
submit something. Now.

What are we looking for? Well, here’s what I just posted on the audio
related mailing lists
:

So, please consider submitting something if you haven't done so yet. We
are looking for all kinds of technical talks covering everything audio
plumbing related: audio drivers, audio APIs, sound servers, pro audio,
consumer audio. If you can propose something audio related -- like talks
on media controller routing, on audio for ASOC/Embedded, submit
something! If you care for low-latency audio, submit something. If you
care about the Linux audio stack in general, submit something.

LPC is probably the most relevant technical conference on the general
Linux platform, so be sure that if you want your project, your work,
your ideas to be heard then this is the right forum for everything
related to the Linux stack. And the Audio track covers everything in our
Audio Stack, regardless whether it is pro or consumer audio.

And here’s what I posted to the init
related lists
:

So, please consider submitting something if you haven't done so yet. We
are looking for all kinds of technical talks covering everything from
the BIOS (i.e. CoreBoot and friends), over boot loaders (i.e. GRUB and
friends), to initramfs (i.e. Dracut and friends) and init systems
(i.e. systemd and friends). If you have something smart to say about any
of these areas or maybe about related tools (i.e. you wrote a fancy new
tool to measure boot performance) or fancy boot schemes in your
favourite Linux based OS (i.e. the new Meego zero second boot ;-)) then
don't hesitate to submit something on the LPC web site, in the Boot&Init
track!

And now, quickly, go to the
LPC website
and post your session proposal in the Audio resp. Boot&Init; track! Thank you!

Proprietary Software Licensing Produces No New Value In Society

Post Syndicated from Bradley M. Kuhn original http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2010/07/07/producing-nothing.html

I sought out the quote below when Chris Dodd paraphrased it on Meet
The Press on 25 April 2010. (I’ve been, BTW, slowly but surely
working on this blog post since that date.) Dodd
was quoting Frank
Rich, who wrote the following, referring to the USA economic
system
(and its recent collapse):

As many have said — though not many politicians in either party
— something is fundamentally amiss in a financial culture that
thrives on “products” that create nothing and produce nothing
except new ways to make bigger bets and stack the deck in favor of the
house. “At least in an actual casino, the damage is contained to
gamblers,” wrote the financial journalist Roger Lowenstein in The
Times Magazine last month. This catastrophe cost the economy eight million
jobs.

I was drawn to this quote for a few reasons. First, as a poker player,
I’ve spend some time thinking about how “empty” the gambling
industry is. Nothing is produced; no value for humans is created; it’s
just exchanging of money for things that don’t actually exist. I’ve
been considering that issue regularly since around 2001 (when I started
playing poker seriously). I ultimately came to a conclusion not too
different from Frank Rich’s point: since there is a certain
“entertainment value”, and since the damage is contained to
those who chose to enter the casino, I’m not categorically against poker
nor gambling in general, nor do I think they are immoral. However, I
also don’t believe gambling has any particular important value in
society, either. In other words, I don’t think people have an
inalienable right to gamble, but I also don’t think there is any moral
reason to prohibit casinos.

Meanwhile, I’ve also spent some time applying this idea of creating
nothing and producing nothing to the proprietary software
industry. Proprietary licenses, in many ways, are actually not all
that different from these valueless financial transactions.
Initially, there’s no problem: someone writes software and is paid for
it; that’s the way it should be. Creation of new software is an
activity that should absolutely be funded: it creates something new
and valuable for others. However, proprietary licenses are designed
specifically to allow a single act of programming generate new revenue
over and over again. In this aspect, proprietary licensing is akin to
selling financial derivatives: the actual valuable transaction is
buried well below the non-existent financial construction above
it.

I admit that I’m not a student of economics. In fact, I rarely think
of software in terms of economics, because, generally, I don’t want
economic decisions to drive my morality nor that of our society at
large. As such, I don’t approach this question with an academic
economic slant, but rather, from personal economic experience.
Specifically, I learned a simple concept about work when I was young:
workers in our society get paid only for the hours that they
work. To get paid, you have to do something new. You just can’t sit
around and have money magically appear in your bank account for hours
you didn’t work.

I always approached software with this philosophy. I’ve often been
paid for programming, but I’ve been paid directly for the hours I spent
programming. I never even considered it reasonable to be paid again for
programming I did in the past. How is that fair, just, or quite
frankly, even necessary? If I get a job building a house, I can’t get
paid every day someone uses that house. Indeed, even if I built the
house, I shouldn’t get a royalty paid every time the house is resold to
a new owner0. Why
should software work any differently? Indeed, there’s even an argument
that software, since it’s so much more trivial to copy than a
house, should be available gratis to everyone once it’s written the
first time.

I recently heard (for the first time) an old story about a well-known
Open Source company (which no longer exists, in case you’re wondering).
As the company grew larger, the company’s owners were annoyed that
the company could
only bill the clients for the hour they worked. The business
was going well, and they even had more work than they could handle
because of the unique expertise of their developers. The billable rates
covered the cost of the developers’ salaries plus a reasonable
profit margin. Yet, the company executives wanted more; they wanted
to make new money even when everyone was on vacation. In
essence, having all the new, well-paid programming work in the world
wasn’t enough; they wanted the kinds of obscene profits that can only be
made from proprietary licensing. Having learned this story, I’m pretty
glad the company ceased to exist before they could implement
their make money while everyone’s on the beach plan. Indeed, the
first order of business in implementing the company’s new plan was, not
surprisingly, developing some new from-scratch code not covered by GPL
that could be proprietarized. I’m glad they never had time to execute
on that plan.

I’ll just never be fully comfortable with the idea that workers should
get money for work they already did. Work is only valuable if it
produces something new that didn’t exist in the world before the work
started, or solves a problem that had yet to be solved. Proprietary
licensing and financial bets on market derivatives have something
troubling in common: they can make a profit for someone without
requiring that someone to do any new work. Any time a business moves
away from actually producing something new of value for a real human
being, I’ll always question whether the business remains legitimate.

I’ve thus far ignored one key point in the quote that began this post:
“At least in an actual casino, the damage is contained to
gamblers”. Thus, for this “valueless work” idea to
apply to proprietary licensing, I had to consider (a) whether or not the
problem is sufficiently contained, and (b) whether software or not is
akin to the mere entertainment activity, as gambling is.

I’ve pointed out that I’m not opposed to the gambling industry, because
the entertainment value exists and the damage is contained to people who
want that particular entertainment. To avoid the stigma associated with
gambling, I can also make a less politically charged example such as the
local Chuck E. Cheese, a place I quite enjoyed as a child. One’s parent
or guardian goes to Chuck E. Cheese to pay for a child’s entertainment,
and there is some value in that. If someone had issue with Chuck
E. Cheese’s operation, it’d be easy to just ignore it and not take your
children there, finding some other entertainment. So, the question is,
does proprietary software work the same way, and is it therefore not too
damaging?

I think the excuse doesn’t apply to proprietary software for two
reasons. First, the damage is not sufficiently contained, particularly
for widely used software. It is, for example, roughly impossible to get
a job that doesn’t require the employee to use some proprietary
software. Imagine if we lived in a society where you weren’t allowed to
work for a living if you didn’t agree to play Blackjack with a certain
part of your weekly salary? Of course, this situation is not fully
analogous, but the fundamental principle applies: software is ubiquitous
enough in industrialized society that it’s roughly impossible to avoid
encountering it in daily life. Therefore, the proprietary software
situation is not adequately contained, and is difficult for individuals
to avoid.

Second, software is not merely a diversion. Our society has changed
enough that people cannot work effectively in the society without at
least sometimes using software. Therefore, the
“entertainment” part of the containment theory does not
properly
apply1,
either. If citizens are de-facto required to use something to live
productively, it must have different rules and control structures around
it than wholly optional diversions.

Thus, this line of reasoning gives me yet another reason to oppose
proprietary software: proprietary licensing is simply a valueless
transaction. It creates a burden on society and gives no benefit, other
than a financial one to those granted the monopoly over that particular
software program. Unfortunately, there nevertheless remain many who
want that level of control, because one fact cannot be denied: the
profits are larger.

For
example, Mårten
Mikos recently argued in favor of these sorts of large profits
. He
claims that to benefit massively from Open Source (i.e., to get
really
rich), business
models like “Open Core”
are necessary. Mårten’s
argument, and indeed most pro-Open-Core arguments, rely on this
following fundamental assumption: for FLOSS to be legitimate, it must
allow for the same level of profits as proprietary software. This
assumption, in my view, is faulty. It’s always true that you can make
bigger profits by ignoring morality. Factories can easily make more
money by completely ignoring environmental issues; strip mining is
always very profitable, after all. However, as a society, we’ve decided
that the environment is worth protecting, so we have rules that do limit
profit maximization because a more important goal is served.

Software freedom is another principle of this type. While
you can make a profit with community-respecting FLOSS business
models (such as service, support and freely licensed custom
modifications on contract), it’s admittedly a smaller profit than can be
made with Open Core and proprietary licensing. But that greater profit
potential doesn’t legitimatize such business models, just as it doesn’t
legitimize strip mining or gambling on financial derivatives.

Update: Based on some feedback that I got, I felt it
was important to make clear that I don’t believe this argument alone can
create a unified theory that shows why software freedom should be an
inalienable right for all software users. This factor of lack of value
that proprietary licensing brings to society is just another to consider
in a more complete discussion about software freedom.

Update: Glynn
Moody
wrote
a blog
post that quoted from this post extensively and made some interesting
comments
on it. There’s some interesting discussion in the blog
comments there on his site; perhaps because so many people hate that I
only do blog comments on identi.ca (which I do, BTW, because it’s the
only online forum I’m assured that I’ll actually read and respond
to.)

0I
realize that some argue that you can buy a house, then rent it to others,
and evict them if they fail to pay. Some might argue further that owners
of software should get this same rental power. The key difference,
though, is that the house owner can’t really make full use of the house
when it’s being rented. The owner’s right to rent it to others,
therefore, is centered around the idea that the owner loses some of their
personal ability to use the house while the renters are present. This
loss of use never happens with software.

1You
might be wondering, Ok, so if it’s pure entertainment software, is it
acceptable for it to be proprietary?. I have often said: if all
published and deployed software in the world were guaranteed Free
Software except for video games, I wouldn’t work on the
cause of software freedom anymore. Ultimately, I am not particularly
concerned about the control structures in our culture that exist for pure
entertainment. I suppose there’s some line to be drawn between
art/culture and pure entertainment/diversion, but considerations on
differentiating control structures on that issue are beyond the scope of
this blog post.

Responses to my Audio API Guide

Post Syndicated from Lennart Poettering original http://0pointer.net/blog/projects/guide-to-sound-apis-followup.html

My Audio API guide got quite a few responses.

The Good

Takashi
likes it.
And so
does David.
Which is great because both are key people in the Linux
multimedia community.

It made it to LWN. I sincerely
and humbly hope this is not going to stay the only news site picking this up.
😉

The safe ALSA part of the recommendations will most likely be added to the ALSA documentation soon. The GNOME-relevent part I will be adding to the GNOME platform overview.

The Bad

Aaron
basically likes it
, although he appears disappointed that KDE’s and Qt’s
Phonon wasn’t mentioned more positively. Aaron is very fair in his criticism.
Nonetheless I don’t think it is valid. My guide is not a list of alternatives.
It’s a list of recommendations. My recommendations. I do believe that my
recommendations very much match the mainstream of the opinions of the key
people in Linux multimedia and desktop audio. Of course I don’t nearly know
everyone of the key hackers in Linux multimedia. But I do know most of those
who are actively interested in collaboration, whose projects have a lot
mindshare and who attend the conferences that matter for Linux desktop audio.

Also see Christian’s comments on Aaron’s post.

The Ugly

It wasn’t my intention to start another GNOME-vs.-KDE flamefest.
Unfortunately a lot of people took this as great opportunity to troll at the
various blog comment forums. I guess it is inevitable that some of those whose
favourite software is not listed on a recommendation guide like this start to
clamour about that. It’s a pity not everyone who thinks I am treating KDE
unfairly criticises that as fairly and reasonable as Aaron. Anyway, I humbly take this as a sign that
people do consider this guide to be relevant and much needed. 😉

Responses to my Audio API Guide

Post Syndicated from Lennart Poettering original http://0pointer.net/blog/projects/guide-to-sound-apis-followup.html

My Audio API guide got quite a few responses.

The Good

Takashi
likes it.
And so
does David.
Which is great because both are key people in the Linux
multimedia community.

It made it to LWN. I sincerely
and humbly hope this is not going to stay the only news site picking this up.
😉

The safe ALSA part of the recommendations will most likely be added to the ALSA documentation soon. The GNOME-relevent part I will be adding to the GNOME platform overview.

The Bad

Aaron
basically likes it
, although he appears disappointed that KDE’s and Qt’s
Phonon wasn’t mentioned more positively. Aaron is very fair in his criticism.
Nonetheless I don’t think it is valid. My guide is not a list of alternatives.
It’s a list of recommendations. My recommendations. I do believe that my
recommendations very much match the mainstream of the opinions of the key
people in Linux multimedia and desktop audio. Of course I don’t nearly know
everyone of the key hackers in Linux multimedia. But I do know most of those
who are actively interested in collaboration, whose projects have a lot
mindshare and who attend the conferences that matter for Linux desktop audio.

Also see Christian’s comments on Aaron’s post.

The Ugly

It wasn’t my intention to start another GNOME-vs.-KDE flamefest.
Unfortunately a lot of people took this as great opportunity to troll at the
various blog comment forums. I guess it is inevitable that some of those whose
favourite software is not listed on a recommendation guide like this start to
clamour about that. It’s a pity not everyone who thinks I am treating KDE
unfairly criticises that as fairly and reasonable as Aaron. Anyway, I humbly take this as a sign that
people do consider this guide to be relevant and much needed. 😉