One of the things which you often hear reading tech blogs, and particularly the comments, is that such-and-such a company is “evil”. What this usually means isn’t that they’re deliberately employing children or forcing workers to work in polluted factories which damage their health.
Instead, the cry of “evil” is used to describe companies that are trying to maximise their profits. That could be by destroying a market by giving away products to undercut competitors. It could mean locking customers in to platform so they face barriers if they want to switch to something else. Or it could mean trying to take a slice of income off every transaction made on their products.
“But given that company law obliges company directors to give greatest weight to the interests of their shareholders, criticising company boards for striving to minimise tax is a bit like attacking gravity for making the rain fall down rather than rise up.”
“The reason the JV is happening is that the assets being brought to the table are not so much incredible but non-credible. The two companies have completeley dropped the ball in mobile over the last 5 years, from positions of strength, due to a combination of world class arrogance, incompetence and intransigence. The question is, can they remove the cultures that made this happen?”
My short answer: No.
My longer answer: You can see that Nokia doesn’t comprehend what went wrong by the fact that it’s got the right to customise everything on Windows Phone, something no other licensee has. That Microsoft has allowed Nokia to insert this clause shows that it doesn’t understand the success of iPhone (and the failings of Android).
“For example, the default Debian distributions won’t include any proprietary firmware binary files… If, as is likely if you’re using a laptop or a PC with high-end graphics and you find you’re running into hardware problems, the Debian installation program should alert you the problem. That’s fine as far as it goes, but the installation routine won’t automatically download the missing firmware from the Web. Instead, you’ll need to pause the installation while you fetch the missing in action firmware from either the Debian non-free firmware ftp site or the vendor’s site.
The theory is that by doing this outraged users will demand that hardware vendors will open-source their device drivers, or, at the least, let Linux developers write open-source drivers for proprietary hardware. In practice, it doesn’t work that way.”
While the commitment to free software inconveniences users who want to mix-and-match how much they use it, it will remain a niche choice.
“What I’m seeing in my nerd brethren is an increasing combativeness, a loss of empathy, and creepiness,” said Jaron Lanier, a critic of digital culture and a pioneering computer scientist who helped develop virtual reality. “It’s just another supremacy movement, ultimately. It just happens to be nerd supremacy.”
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and the company behind it, Canonical, surprised the hundreds of Ubuntu programmers at the Ubuntu Developers Summit when he announced that in the next release of the popular Linux operating system, Ubuntu 11.04, Unity would become the default desktop interface.
Unity is Ubuntu’s new netbook interface. While based on GNOME, it is own take on what an interface should look and act like. Shuttleworth explained that Canonical was doing this because “users want Unity as their primary desktop.”
What’s interesting is that this parallels what Apple is attempting to do with Mac OS 10.8 (“Lion”) – move the the default desktop metaphor away from the windowed environment that we’ve had for years in favour of something else.
I’m not surprised that this is coming from Canonical, though. If any company has pushed Linux away from being something that’s only suitable to hobbyists to a genuinely user-friendly OS, it’s Shuttleworth and his team.
“At the time of his public posturing, however, Denton was conceiving a comprehensive redesign of his blog network that signalled his steady march toward mainstream respectability. Gawker recently published a series of Fall Previews of books, music, television, and movies, such as you might find in your weekend Arts & Leisure section. The redesign, he told me, would “probably be seen as the end of the blog.” It was, in a way, the inevitable result of his original insight about transparency and objectivity. The problem with publishing some stories that are two thousand times as important as others is that it no longer makes sense to display them in reverse chronological order. His sites will soon abandon the scrolling layout in favor of a more conventional front page that is dominated by images and headlines. The only difference is that his story placement will be determined by algorithm—and that his standards are defiantly low-brow.”
Reverse-chronological. River of news. Call it what you will. It’s dying.
I don’t have enough time to do a long post on Google and Verizon, but I will say this: claiming you’re preserving network neutrality on the Internet by redefining what “Internet” means isn’t going to wash. If “Internet” can be defined as “wired-only” and “not including any random ‘Premium’ services we might think of”, then it’s meaningless.