...and for the Lamb!

What can I say...I'm not the biggest fan of Microsoft....

Bashing another person (or corporation) does not seem like the most Christian thing in the world to do. Publishing negative information doesn't really seem altogether biblical, either. Now, it should be pretty clear by now that I do claim Christianity as my own, so I'd better behave like one, hmmmmmmmm?

So then, in that light, I will attempt to educate you in the Ways of Open Source. I will publish nothing that is not true, or that I have not experienced personally. (I know what you're thinking- "Uh oh, right there he's got enough to prove his point.)

I am a huge proponent of Open Source software. I have experienced other operating systems, and have found that I don't like what some of them are doing to the people. Given my inability to keep quiet about some things, I feel the need to spread the word about Linux, and the Free and Open Source Software movement. Imagine freedom...

Imagine an atmosphere in which software is developed to help humanity and promote advancement and business, rather than lining the pockets of a corporation.

Does it hinder business? Free software promotes ideas and business. No licensing, fees, strict EULAs, and a positive, helpful community encourage the spread of ideas and increase productivity. Funds are available to pay employees and fuel the economy rather than being wasted on licensing.

I am proud to say that this site has been created and maintained on Open Source Software, on a Linux machine. My family, on the other hand, might not be so happy about it. I don't like doing things the easy way....

------This area is under heavy construction (remember what I said about having a hard time keeping quiet...). At this point I only have the following links for you, but fear not, I will have more!

The Problem with Proprietary

9-12-09

Greetings again. I need to share a story that puts an exclamation point on something that I can't stress enough: do NOT trust the software to do your job for you. I can assure you that, if you pay for something, the goal of the software company is to make money, not care about your well-being. Certain companies have not necessarily become large because their stuff is great, but that they know how to pulverize the competition through various techniques. Great marketing strategies are not necessarily linked to ethics or moral behavior. Saying the two in the same sentence even seems wrong somehow....

Here is the story: someone I know (called "X" from now on) has always been of the opinion that he just wants to point, click, and install. The software should do the work, and take care of security, etc. There has been endless battle over Linux versus Windows because, way back when, it wasn't always as user-friendly, and it has not been point-and-click. I'll tell you what, though: I can count how many bugs I've had, spyware programs I've installed, anti-ad program scans I've performed, and defrags I had to perform since I had Linux on the total number of tentacles growing out of my left armpit.

Yea, I'll admit that I'm a little bitter about that, but you know who gets the phone call for tech support, don't you?

X uses Rhapsody. It is a cool service, but has become unnecessary, so X wants to uninstall it. So the first task becomes locating the location of X's music, which turns out to be 6 or 7 layers under the good ole "C:/" because that is where the software wanted to put it. Fine. What was odd, however, was that all of X's music also existed in a separate folder called "History." This folder was quite large since that is the way the software wanted it. So then, if X has, say, 500 songs, then there are 1000 songs' worth of hard drive space used up. At 5MB per song, that is 2.5 billion bytes of wasted space. Not a big issue, unless you have an older PC with, say, 40GB of space.

Here's where things get really creepy: X chose to allow Rhapsody to store all purchased music as it saw fit. Well, that would happen to be in Rhapsody's format: RAX. Great. Well, certainly X can burn a CD using Rhapsody and then convert the CD back into something anyone else on the planet could listen to.... So for now the only way to use the music is from within Rhapsody. Fine- it's point-and-click, just like the doctor ordered.

(The ultimate icing on my cake starts right around here.) A new version of Rhapsody was out, and I personally downloaded it because it mentioned something about downloading purchased music as MP3. This, too, is another proprietary format, but at least it is little more universal. So, after downloading and installing, X noticed that, for whatever reason, 20 of the 60 purchased songs were no longer "burnable." What?!? Well, that's fine: just download again.

Nope, music can only be downloaded once. OK, this is fine because I don't expect to go to Best Buy and get another copy of a DVD I lost for free.... So now I'm just stuck with trying to find software to transcode my useless RAX files into MP3 (or a better open source format.) Oh, wait, there's more- I found, in the details section of one of the songs, the following: "This track cannot be transferred to non-SDMI device." What does this mean?!? Well, I'm not 100% positive of all of the details of this, but from what I looked up, SDMI stand for Secure Digital Music Initiative, and that spells trouble. This was an initiative that was initiated, I think, when MP3 began to really take off, in an effort to secure music against pirating. Granted, from what I read, this initiative doesn't exist any longer, but DRM does, in its various flavors. If you want to have nightmares for a couple of days, visit Defective by Design. It'll tell you all about how manufacturers would love to be able to tell you how, when, and where you can watch your DVDs and listen to your MP3s. Now, I don't have any special type of MP3 player, but I am a little irked just knowing that I'd need to have a player approved by SDMI, or containing something that makes some other entity happy. If you please, I'd rather let the Bible dictate my morality, thank you.

The bottom line? Well, something magical happened when X updated Rhapsody. Something disallowed X from burning 1/3 of those songs all of a sudden. What? I don't know, but it reeks of DRM and the nastiness of proprietary. The lesson:

...and one more thing, if you're feeling really generous: take it easy on the GNU-loving, Linux-downloading, FreeBSD installing, anti Windows people, OK? They tend to be the watchmen, or even the John the Baptist types if you have a bit of imagination....

Here endeth the lesson.

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