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09/23/2008

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Gareth Nelson

Squid, perl, apache.... looks like some form of *nix box hosting this blog:
[gareth@lovely ~]$ curl -I http://secondthoughts.typepad.com
HTTP/1.0 200 OK
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2008 09:49:56 GMT
Server: Apache
X-Perlbal: oak-tp-squid007
X-PhApp: oak-tp-web046
X-Webserver: oak-tp-web046
Vary: cookie
Content-Length: 61877
Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
X-Cache: MISS from oak-tp-squid007.sixapart.net
X-Cache-Lookup: MISS from oak-tp-squid007.sixapart.net:3129
Via: 1.0 oak-tp-squid007.sixapart.net:3129 (squid/2.6.STABLE18)
Connection: close

And look at this:
TCP/IP fingerprint:
SInfo(V=4.11%P=i686-redhat-linux-gnu%D=9/23%Tm=48D8BC6D%O=80%C=-1)
nmap confirms it - your blog runs linux.

So..... do you find your own blog valuable or not?

Prokofy Neva

My own blog does not depend on "Linux" or "Apache", it depends on my thinking and writing, and it depends on the Six Apart people making templates for dummies and tech support for $14.95 on top of this opensource stuff. Bigger companies always snarf up opensource stuff either out of lefty ideology, like the Six Apart people, or, out of pragmatism because it's, uh, free for the grabbing.

I'm not grateful to Linux or Apache, neither of which has proved its worth like Microsoft or Apple. Instead, I'm grateful to:

o Mom and her basement
o big IT companies with money to burn on large salaries for programmers
o bit IT companies with money to burn on high-priced consultants
o Domino's Pizza
o the Jolt Cola people
o various schools with too much free Internet and laptop access
o big companies like Six Apart that can use the freetard's wares in some sort of coherent way that they can't, or they'd be making viable for-pay blog services.

Yes, I'm grateful to all of those entities for their sustaining the life of the freetards whose "volunteer labour" makes "it all possible". I don't look at the byproduct of this, which is the actual opensource dreck, which usually needs a lot of tweaking to be made to work properly for business use.

Of course, looking at the entire ecological picture this way, you can see which elements might be usefully removed, and which elements might integrate and manage among themselves better. Hint: it's not the Jolt cola people.

Prokofy Neva

*big IT companies that burn that money on salary or consultants *enabling them to have all kinds of discretionary time to noodle around in OS sandboxes and IRC channels.

Prokofy Neva

For example, if Gareth were to ever produce anything of value, we'd thank not Gareth, but his incredibly long-suffering Ma who must have had a hell of a time raising him, God bless her enduring soul.

Dirk Talamasca

I like Jolt Cola better than Flickr.

Gareth Nelson

"My own blog does not depend on "Linux" or "Apache""

Except that it does - since it's linux and apache (And perl and squid) running it. That's like saying "My car doesn't depend on an engine, instead I thank the spark plugs".

Darien Caldwell

I do have to say, Thanks to LL and SL for making me aware of all this craziness going on in the Internet.

Up until this point I thought all this Internet and Software stuff was just people people trying to do some good, not people trying to topple the government and radically change society.

Society has evolved to what it is over thousands of years of trial and error, wars, famine, pestilence, injustices, genocide, and war. It didn't happen because some rich guy decided it to be that way. And it's not the place of any single person or group to say it's wrong or unfair.

I do have to say that once I realized LL cares less about being a company and providing service to their customers,and cares more about proving a precious point that Libertarianism works in the most extreme case, All of LL's actions (and Inactions) made perfect sense. And that brought me a lot of inner peace. I just wonder yet if they have realized they failed.

Clubside Granville

Gareth, what's so hard to understand? While Prok may currently use TypePad which is built on Apache and instanced on Linux, the content is what makes this site. That content could be exported and hosted on countless systems including all-Microsoft solutions. Ultimately this site is driven by its content, and that content is platform-agnostic.

Your car analogy is ludicrous, ultimately the car is the site and it requires fuel, content, to run, but this still doesn't take into account the need for a road, the Internet itself. But I digress, the car analogy is specious at best.

Gareth Nelson

"That content could be exported and hosted on countless systems including all-Microsoft solutions"

Yet that would make it rather more expensive :)

Maggie Darwin

Rather more expensive and less reliable.

While I may not be overly impressed with the Picnic crowd, calling them "fatuous" and then sneering at the likes of Flickr, del.icio.us, Linux, Apache (including, presumably, Tomcat, Ant, Jakarta and about a hundred other open-source projects *used* in Real Business Computing every day) looks....well, it looks bad, what can I say.

Prok's stereotypes of open-source contributors were wrong long before they were outdated...and they've been outdated a long time too.

"open source dreck needs a lot of tweaking before it's ready for business use" *giggle* Obviously Prok's never seen MSFT domain controllers or DBMS servers.

If this blogging app is so platform-agnostic, and MSFT code is so much easier to use and generally ready for Prime Time...

Why is it running on Linux?

Prokofy Neva

Why? I'm happy to question and expose things that are fatuous and stupid. That's not "sneering," but it really is questioning the value. Delicious has always been particularly stupid for me. Ever since how I saw it was used to show SL websites in a completely manipulative manner, I've found it useless. No one ever goes back to look.

Flickr seems to me to be a) restrictive and b) not promoting the payment of people for their work. It can't last forever. I wonder when it will fall. Like "Zing: unlimited storage for life."

Linux? Surely you jest. I don't even have to have that argument. That's self-evident to everyone outside your little magic circle.

Apache? Uh, yeah, we owe the entire Internet just to Apache *cough*.

My observations about the opensource gang around SL are spot on, the truth hurts.

I stand by my statement:

"open source dreck needs a lot of tweaking before it's ready for business use"

Re: *giggle* Obviously Prok's never seen MSFT domain controllers or DBMS servers.

And what would it matter? Proprietary code doesn't make the false claims of wonderfulness that magical opensource does.

As I noted, Linux is absolutely immaterial to this blog. I neither know nor care what this proprietary site that charges $14.95 a month runs underneath its template. I'm only here to post my content. Perhaps you'd like to concede, then, that while Linux is used for some things like this blog service, no normal individual consumer can find it useful on their desktop.

That would be progress, and yet, you never admit that. And that's why you're all so untrustworthy.

Gareth Nelson

"Linux? Surely you jest."
Show me 3 large sites with huge clusters behind them running something other than linux or BSD.

""open source dreck needs a lot of tweaking before it's ready for business use"

Re: *giggle* Obviously Prok's never seen MSFT domain controllers or DBMS servers.

And what would it matter?"

Because it proves that open-source stuff does not require as much tweaking. Have you ever tried to get a windows box configured in a secure enough manner that you can plug it into the public internet safely? I remember doing so once, it was painful and required 2 reinstalls (the first install resulted in it being owned within a few minutes of plugging in the network cable).

" Perhaps you'd like to concede, then, that while Linux is used for some things"

Likewise prok

"no normal individual consumer can find it useful on their desktop."

Servers are another issue, as for desktop use, check out the following:

PC-BSD
Ubuntu Linux
Mandrake Linux
Linspire

I'd actually heavily recommend PC-BSD to first time UNIX users.

Yumi Murakami

This is kind of a point to both Prok and Darien - the problem is that the society model, that did indeed evolve over years, has started to show cracks.

The thing to bear in mind is that the free sources, themselves, expose the same flaw they want to correct. Flickr doesn't pay for photos, but nobody is forced to put their pictures there - so why are there any photos of value there?

The reasons why, are the cracks that appeared in the system. The huge overhead costs associated with marketing (which definately is there because "a rich man said it should be" - the reason it's expensive is because you're bidding against him, and he has an incentive to make it as difficult as possible), the stagnation of local trade, the poor moral perception of business (an SL newbie commented that she might "be evil and charge" for something she had built), and the tax system and general bureaucracy which leave at least some people afraid to cash out from SL, let alone start a real business.

Linux is a case in point - whatever the people who developed it think, the reason for its success was that no operating system with a commercial model could compete with Windows, because no commercial company could stay in business long enough to develop a competitive application base for their new OS. Whatever you think of the philosophy, that shows a flaw, because Linux is valuable and useful to many people and websites, and thus in a capitalism that was doing its job, should have been allocated resources.

Prokofy Neva

Yumi, here you are with your tired socialist nostrums, and they're no more persuasive for hearing them the 100th time than the 10th time.

SO you admit that the opensource mantras are in fact a shill and a ruse? That they claim you can make money from putting stuff out for free, that it will drive business to you? Guess that's not working out.

As for this notion of "big overhead," that seems rather fake as well. Running a free or cheap website with your photos or works involves negligible overhead.

Local trade stagnates because of kleptocratic government bureacrats throwing up obstacles. This notion of the "evil rich man" is merely ideological and fanciful in nature. Overhead costs, if they do exist, aren't somehow "deliberately bid up", they are what they are.

The poor moral perception of business is *directly caused* by people like you, Yumi, as your constant hand-wringing, agitating about evil rich people, wailing about supposed heavy costs and risks, creates that climate of fear. No newbie should feel they are evil if they charge something; that could only be a newbie who found herself in some brow-beating opensource cult atmosphere, such as Mentors maintain around WAs and OIs and HIs and on forums; in fact many many newbies do charge and make a buck and ignore all of your silliness.

If people face too-heavy taxes in real life, then they need to review their notions of socialism and capitalism and work politically as a consequence. Complainers about EU VAT want all the social goods of socialism from VAT's heavy taxation, yet want also not to have to pay VAT on the Internet. Change your socialist mind, the rest will follow.

I'm not buying the idea that opensource "has" to come into existence because the monopoly of Microsoft discourages competition from competitors. If someone could come up with something without Window's annoyances, it could possibly be a success. And frankly, we'll never know, because Linux has interposed itself and would do so even if there were 3 types of competitors, not just MSFT.

Dale Innis

Vaguely on this subject, I suspect that if you haven't seen it you might enjoy:

http://realdanlyons.com/blog/2008/09/24/emtech-inanity/

:)

Darien Caldwell

Yes, there are cracks. Any society can start showing some age after a couple hundred years. Doesn't mean it's a failure and should be scrapped.

Over the thousands of years many forms of government have been tried, some worked, some limped by, some failed. I would like to think as time went on, people used past examples as guides for what works and what doesn't. Keep the good parts, rework the bad parts, and try to make something better.

I think LL's experiment shows a few things, first that the Libertarian Model of goverment can work, but it can't scale (how ironic). And it only worked because there was someone in absolute power to gain compliance with the rules through either respect or intimidation. As soon as SL grew enough to where Lindens and residents weren't on a name-to-name basis, it began to fall apart. The respect/fear necessary to make people follow the rules evaporated.

As for Microsoft vs Linux, There have been other O/Ss, like OS/2, put forward by Microsoft. The plain fact is, end users don't care about the OS. Its like the Pipe Prokofy talks about. End users dont' care about the pipes, they care about the content. And Windows works well enough to do what it is meant to do, run the programs that access their content. Other OSs failed because nobody wanted to do over what was already done, there was little to no gain from all the effort.

Linux was powered by the same people who want to remake the government in their own image. They want to remake everything, so why not the OS, too? I can only imagine how much time and effort was put into Linux development, and then development of applications that do all the same things Windows does. After all these years, Linux is finally starting to measure up to Windows... No sane company would put that time and money and effort into something that is 'as good'. There's no market incentive to make a competing OS.

Darien Caldwell

Oops, I meant to say OS/2 was put forward by IBM. bleh :p

Gareth Nelson

"After all these years, Linux is finally starting to measure up to Windows"

Of course, one should look at "what for?".

*nix in general has always been superior to windows on the server side.

Robert Bloomfield

So where does Philip's plan to bring SL to the developing world fit in?

Philip Rosedale says (here http://metanomics.net/19-sep-2008/philip-rosedale-bringing-second-life-developing-nations):

"...,if, as human beings, we create value in a society – I mean we each as individuals create value in a society in some manner – historically that value has often been created by physical production of one type or another. Lifting. Mining. Local resources. We are definitely moving toward a future, in which we are in an age of creativity, in which the majority of production is intellectual work of some kind or another. Well, I’m just struck by the vast inequity between that imagined future and the fact that today there are so many people around the world, who have the ability to deliver that kind of intellectual production, but do not have the access to do it or are restricted by their local community or conditions in such a way that they can’t participate in that information economy. And I think that Second Life is a really compelling way to bridge that gap because all you’ve got to do – what we’ve already seen is that the value of Second Life to an individual who’s educating themselves, getting a job, is thousands and thousands of dollars – which is greatly in excess of the cost of a computer.

So what that means is that, if you can come up with the right bootstrap model. You should be able to get computers to people in developing environments where they didn’t have access to them, and then there should be a good profitable model where they’re easily able to kind of earn back and provide for themselves and buy those computers or whatever.

If you look at microfinance in general, which Dr. Yunus just won the Nobel Prize for – was something I was following and getting Second Life more closely – you see that these models where small investments in people, made in the right way, with the right trust model, do cause people to rapidly move forward. And I think that Second Life is just a phenomenal example of how you could take somebody, and you could put them on a level playing field, let them participate in what is today a milliondollaraday economy, and I believe that what we’ll see is that somebody from a developing nation performs absolutely no differently from somebody in a developed nation when it comes down many of the different kinds of jobs that you can do in Second Life.

Prokofy Neva

Desperate to peddle that less-than-thrilling long interview of yours, aren't you Beyers!

I explained where it fit in, Robert, you weren't paying attention because it didn't sound fabulous enough: start by helping Wal-mart moms, not by casting about for do-gooding in the Third World. Yet the Lindens care little about inworld business, and go chasing after real-world corporations that in fact help disenfranchise small business inworld.

It's Philip's infatuation with "creativity" -- which is the foundation for creator-fascism in SL because only the most skilled with PSP, graphic design, computer programming, etc. are certified and raved about by the Lindens -- that prevents him from seeing that amateur creations, small personal businesses, real estate services, events, etc. are where most people can enter the economy and succeed.

Creativity in fact still involves physical production. Just because the item is copyable doesn't mean that someone doesn't labour and make 'a thing'.

What's *absolutely appalling* is Philip's blindness that his own machine is part of creating that huge gap between "the people with talent" and "the people with no talent", by setting "creativity" as the elite type of production for the most elite skilled persons. A person isn't failing to access "information" when they can't get a good job or any job at all in SL; they are failing to access "graphics art and computer programming skills" and also the "divas" and "code kiddies" who rule the roost and control the connections and the attention.

I'm not impressed by Grameen because I've read the criticism of it, and I see what it's all about: leveraging international donor funding to redistribute it to poor women, then brow-beat them through a collectivist ideology to give back their loans. That's merely socialist banking, not even really truly micro-finance because of the international socialism backing it. Yunus takes international loans and loans them out himself to collect the interest on them. It's not a model for promoting innovation and real small business.

I don't understand Philip's point about the "thousands and thousands of dollars". Let him stop making a world that requires such costly high-end graphic cards, let him roll back Windlight, which is blocked thousands of people who could be doing more, including myself.

I don't believe in dumping laptops on children or computers on adults out of the sky. I think they should be assisted in having living wages and steady salaries especially in key sectors that can lift their whole societies, so that they can buy computers as they would buy anything needed. Computers can be made cheaper to sell in such markets, but dropping these iconic toys of the Western affluent world into a non-filled matrix is stupid.

Second Life is not a level playing field. Far from it. It is a difficult platform to master, and while many people from developing countries eagerly do master it, what it demands of them is the rapid and competitive aquisition of graphics and programming skills that not everybody is suited to acquire or really shine at. So sure, a pole dancer from Brazil can perform just as well as a pole dancer from Kyrgyzstan but Philip didn't mean that.

If you look at the actual businesses in SL, and come out of the fog of this Thirdworld infatuation that Philip displays, you'll see that the roles play out exactly as they do in real life, because values and possibilities didn't in fact that magically change in Second Life. The top designers and programmers are North Americans, West Europeans, Japanese, facing competition from Brazilians and Spanish.

I'd like to believe in the endless possibilities of SL, too. But I believe in them truly for everybody, not for some idealized third-world recipient who is far from the U.S. When the Lindens can make it work for their own people in America, they will help the rest of the world.

Desmond Shang

Quoting Robert Bloomfield:

>>"And I think that Second Life is just a phenomenal example of how you could take somebody, and you could put them on a level playing field, let them participate in what is today a milliondollaraday economy, and I believe that what we’ll see is that somebody from a developing nation performs absolutely no differently from somebody in a developed nation when it comes down many of the different kinds of jobs that you can do in Second Life."

That would be kind of cool, but it really depends what success means. I've noticed that the people who do okay on the grid are generally those who are college educated, have had a career in a computer related specialty, business and management experience (including marketing) and also are fluent in western culture. That's kind of restrictive.

So let's just for a moment assume that someone in the third world gets a high end graphics computer and a broadband connexion. Not impossible; there are internet cafe's. The first barrier will be language. It's going to be kind of hard to do business on the grid without English or Spanish.

One of the big myths, especially in the United States is that immigrants come, and make small businesses and succeed. Well, they sure do, but they don't nearly come out with businesses at the rate that US citizens do, and furthermore don't have easy access to cheap shortcuts. Try learning about SLExchange if you speak only Urdu, for instance. It's going to be that much harder - if you can even find out such markets exist.

The playing field is anything but level. In fact, it's probably more competitively harsh on the grid than anywhere the theoretical third world resident might encounter otherwise. Imagine entering a world where you face off with established residents in their own native western culture. Who have already dominated every inworld industry. For instance, they may have 20 years of professional Silicon Valley software experience before they even start learning LSL scripting - you aren't going to easily go up against that kind of competition from an impoverished village.

Even with subjective things like art it would be very tough to beat anyone with access to professional tools and years of familiarity with them.

True, maybe you only need to make $L 250 a day to improve your life. But how are you going to get access to it? You'll need a US bank, or someone in your country that will accept Paypal. Mailed check? Heh, not exactly the way you want to get funds into the third world. And believe it or not, huge swaths of the earth have never even heard of Paypal; their banks are operating with centuries old practises. You could have $L 10 million in your SL account, but that wouldn't do you any good whatsoever in a great deal of the world.

Prokofy Neva

You're right, in one way, Desmond, that people come into a setting even more fiercely competitive than real life if they run up against Silicon Valley designers with 20 years of programming experience. However, in their own language cohort, they might be more successful.

I think it's ironic that this platform that is supposed to be a Better World in Philip's vision isn't that precisely because of this "creativity" concept that he himself promotes. He can't seem to wrap his mind around the idea of a diverse society where not everyone is a creative, and not everybody else is at a Ren Faire, but that there are granular levels of all kinds of participation, from amateur to professional, in all kins of things.

What I dislike is when the Lindens, confronted with a) the non-level playing field and b) the actual level playing field try to stop both.

That is, the non-level playing field means that people will organize camping and traffic infusion; they will organize the sex trade and gambling; and they will monopolize real estate. They take their RL wealth or skills or determination and prevail. This is the sort of the thing the Lindens hate. Philip himself told us in this famous meeting of September 2005 that "wealth was not a stake in this world". When he says it's only creativity, he's really serious. Nothing else matters. If you're not creative, get out.

So the Lindens and their favourites campaign against and thwart everything that comes out of the easy-entry more free economy, whether the gaming of search with camping, gambling, gaming, etc.

So that brings them to the actual level playing field, which is that everyone comes in with the same tools, and they heartily go about making things creatively even if they have no talent and reproduce cliches of RL. That sort of levelling appalls the Lindens culturally, so they have to reach in to unlevel it, and privilege those who are really top creators to make sure the platform looks good. ("You dont' look good, we don't look good.)

The last thing the Lindens seem to want is an egalitarian society with easy access to the economy where a Wal-mart mom can become a famous dress designer and make a real income. She's not interesting to them culturally or politically. What they would rather have is either some idealized Third World person or one of their own Silicon Valley kind who succeeds fabulsouly to the level of RL media attention. And they try to make sure that happens with the Solutions Provider feting.

ichabod Antfarm

It's tangential to the main point of this thread but still historically interesting (imho) that OS/2 began life as a joint effort between IBM and Microsoft. Microsoft broke the partnership primarily due to the commercial success of Windows 3.1. They saw no need to bring out a competitor to something that already was gaining huge market share. Nevertheless, both parties retained rights to the existing codebase. Microsoft developed it into what became NT and IBM continued with OS/2. Insofar as today's Vista is a child of NT (under the hood) then one could argue that OS/2, in fact, did go on to market success, even if it did fail under that name.

Software is a funny business. I agree most people don't care about the tubes but let's not forget that Winsock (Windows's TCP/IP implementation) was originally based on Berkeley Sockets (aka BSD Sockets, aka an OSI-compliant "open source" licensed technology.) Does this have any grand meaning in the context of Linux vs. Microsoft. I doubt it. Well, maybe, except to say that to some degree it is a false dichotomy. No OS is an island entire unto itself. Something to bear in mind while we are drowning our enemies in their own blood.

Prokofy Neva

So you're proving my point, ichabod. Opensource is merely what big companies promote in order to get free slave labour -- it's also a staging ground for them to have their reconciliations and temporary alliances in -- then they abandon it.

It all relies on a wellspring of free labour that in fact is paid for elsewhere -- in IT companies, by these big companies themselves, by Mom's Basement, by University, whatever.

If opensource would merely rename itself "The Sandbox," so that everyone could see that it is the area merely for fooling around, sharing ideas, sometimes striking rich on something innovative, etc. but that it was merely the scratchpad, it could know its place more.

But instead, it has this adversarial position against the big companies that in fact fuel it, as you've just explained.

It's like Linden Lab and IBM in Second Life sponsoring the "open architecture" stuff and celebrating "opensourceness" and "interoperability" when it is merely a kind of paste that holds the two together to cooperate until one gets what it wants and casts off the other or something else happens.

ichabod Antfarm

Prokofy, I agree; however, in fairness, the BSD license was retroactively declared "Open Source". It was open source before that term really existed. The gory details of Unix's early years are available but unimportant. The gist is that the University of California at Berkeley held a license for a working Unix OS and, being a university, licensed it in such a way that others could view, modify, and use the code however they wished. Ideologically motivated by hippie leftism, perhaps, but also, one hopes, by the scholarly notion that knowledge by definition is universal and therefore ought to be universally available.

On the whole, as a working programmer, I prefer dealing with other corporate entities. All they want is my money; the Open Source movement wants my soul.

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