Ruby editor

On Wed, Jul 25, 2007 at 03:35:24AM +0900, John J. wrote:

On Jul 24, 2007, at 10:21 AM, Alex Y. wrote:

Uh, by your debased definition matter, like energy is neither created
nor destroyed at the sub atomic level. It just changes form or breaks
into constituent components, so nothing has any true scarcity, just
scarcity of condition and circumstance.

Actually, that’s not strictly true, speaking from a semi-classical
physics standpoint (I say “semi-” because I don’t quite want to go all
the way back to Newton, and “classical” because I’m avoiding some of the
weirder implications of current subatomic physics theory, like
“borrowing” matter from probability). Generally, the matter/energy deal
is thought to be a zero-sum game. There is, in fact, scarcity, but we
haven’t even come close to reaching that limit (yet).

For the moment, however, it looks like there isn’t any scarcity of
matter
and energy per se. There is, however, a market scarcity because of the
fact that matter is not easy (yet) to alter in fundamental ways,
requiring the expenditure of mass quantities of energy, and energy is
even more difficult to eke out of the universe. Market scarcity is
measured more often in cost than in actual physical existence.

If you package something in some way and sell it, and somebody buys
it, then you have something of a business model.
Dirt is not scarce by normal definition, yet people sell it and buy it!
Water as well.
Plants.

See above, re: cost.

Services?
How can they have scarcity?
They don’t exist. So the scarcity is your time?

Bingo. See above, re: cost.

You’re just blindly believing all software should be free. Not all of
it should be free. Stallman is not right about everything. He’s a
convenient nut to have for pushing ideas, but a little to extreme and
absolutist.

The fact that someone takes a position you do not like in no way makes
that position depend on “blind” belief. I tend to guess you include me
in that sweeping statement, rather than targeting only Alex, and judging
by performance thus far I probably am aware of (i.e. can “see”) more of
the economic factors involved in the foundation of the product-based
software industry than you are. That doesn’t mean there isn’t someone
else on this mailing list (or newsgroup or forum) who doesn’t know more
about it than I do – I’m just pointing out that your use of the term
“blind” is probably a substitute for an expression of your distaste
rather than a useful metaphor for anyone’s willingness or ability to
“see” the merits of your argument.

You’re missing the fundamental rule of economics: supply and demand.

There’s a lot more to economics than “supply and demand” but,
ironically,
“supply” is exactly the principle of economics that you’re ignoring when
you ignore the fact that software “product” scarcity must be enforced by
some overarching power structure (in this case, the government) for the
commoditized proprietary software business model to be even tenuously
viable. I’m not 100% sure that implication is your intent, but it’s
the consequence of the arguments you’re using.

By your thinking, all content would be free because it is stored in a
digital medium.
That’s silly.
So if I store things in an analog medium it’s ok to sell it due to
scarcity, since it can’t be exactly easily reproduced?
That’s just not sensible.

I don’t think anyone made that argument specifically.

You still don’t get the fact that some things are public domain and
free and some things are not.
You make it, you decide what to do with it.

Actually, I think Alex gets that – and thinks that in some cases the
“things that are not” should be in the public domain.

I, for one, entirely agree that when you make something you should be
able to decide what to do with it – with the caveat that once you
release something into the wild, you should not expect to have complete
control over what others do with it, especially when they make something
based on it (such as a copy), barring outside influences such as
governmental enforcement of artificial scarcity.

Even then, it’s unrealistic to expect that people will not make (at
least
approximate, in the case of analog) copies.

I can paint a picture. I may decide to hide it from the world. I may
decide to sell it and all reproduction rights with it.
I may just charge you to look at it, even though photons are free and
your ability to perceive variations in wavelengths of photon
vibration is not a product. I can say the painting is ‘relatively
unique’ and difficult to reproduce.

Your argument here fails the “affirming the consequent” test. It
assumes
that your conclusion is true within its premises.

If I create a digital illustration, it is no different. It is still
mark-making, but a different medium. According to your concept, it is
however, digitally stored and so the actual file should be free to
everyone? Of course printing and displaying it will never be exactly
the same twice since neither monitors nor prints are digital. They
are analog.

For my part, my only statement was that something that is digitally
stored and distributed in that form is only subject to limitations on
copying and redistributing because of governmentally enforced artificial
scarcity, and that there are other business models than those that
depend
on such governmental interference in market forces. Whether or not I
believe that one should do so was not specifically stated – and I
think that straying from the factually provable on that subject in this
list is a bad idea.

Your repeated differentiation between digital and analog is a red
herring, by the way. There are two ways to consider that difference:

  1. If your implication that one has a “right” to control over future
    disposition of anything matching the creation in question is true, you
    have no such right to control of analog copies because they do not
    match it.

  2. If we consider analog copies to be a close enough approximation to
    be covered by such a “right”, that in no way changes the fact that
    governmentally enforced artificial scarcity is the only thing
    currently
    making business models based on that idea at all viable in the market.

My take is the opposite – that cases where law contradicts rights are
violations, and the law should be changed. I don’t take legal violation
of rights to be a hint that rights aren’t all that important.

Can you explain what you believe ‘rights’ are in the absence of ‘law’?
I am aware that people have different opinions on this depending on
their background, eg religious affiliation, philosophy or legal
training. My take is that ‘rights’ do not really exist in that there is
no ‘natural law’ to reference to. To believe otherwise gives a false
sense of human importance in the universe. On the other hand ‘wants’ and
desires do exist and are very tangible. I want a car, I want a
girlfriend, I want a new CD, I want to download that software, I want to
sell some software, I want a gun, I want to walk down the street in
safety, I want to be healthy, I want to smoke unfiltered cigarettes etc.

Want’s only get codified to ‘rights’ in reference to the Law so it is
difficult to suggest that the Law somehow contradicts rights which it
self creates. It can only contradict ‘wants’ which is a natural thing
because not all ‘wants’ are compatible or sometimes they are but not all
of the time. The reason the Law is complex is because human wants are
complex and contradictory.

The main thing is to try not to confuse your wants with your rights.

B

On Wed, Jul 25, 2007 at 05:36:41AM +0900, John J. wrote:

should be free.`

intrinsic value, the logic is pretty solid…
part of the chain of creation, distribution, and use. Ultimately,
least
some such value).

‘natural form’?
Software and markets have no ‘natural form’ they are social
constructs period.
The non-human part of the world does not create nor exhibit such things.

Actually, economic principles apply to “the non-human part of the world”
as well. In any case, when I used the phrase “natural form” (obviously
somewhat loosely), I referred to economic markets absent external
influences of authoritarian power structures.

require much of a service sector to them. You simply offer an
interface or features that users want and are willing to pay for.
If people are willing to pay for something, then you have demand.
When you have demand, somebody WILL supply that demand. Drugs!
Software! Massages! Counselling! Manicure! Live Music! etc. ad infitum

The statement that there is no artificial scarcity in “software sales”,
assuming you mean under the current circumstances of per-unit sales of
recorded copies of software with strong copyright law preventing
additional copying and distribution, only betrays a lack of
understanding
(or unwillingness to acknowledge) of the discussion points that have
already been brought up.

You seem unwilling or unable to recognize that the current circumstances
of copyright law are a significant market distortion applied to “what
the
market will accept and pay”. You’re affirming the consequent again,
assuming that your desired conclusion is true within your premises.

I’m not sure whether you’re ignoring the foregoing explanation of the
term “artificial scarcity” or failing to grasp it. In case it wasn’t
clear, I’ll try again:

The term “artificial scarcity”, in the context of economics, refers to
an
imposition of additional costs to the acquisition of something via
conscious choice rather than merely circumstantial facts. One example
would be hoarding a good. Another is using law to prevent others from
creating it. The fact that such a circumstance is at play in the
software industry is undeniable: copyright law is inserted into the
software market to prevent possessors of software from duplicating it,
thus imposing scarcity via a conscious, artificial decision.
Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_scarcity

That there is artificial scarcity in the (legal) US software market is
almost a tautology.

I have no idea where you get the idea that I “seem to think all software
is the same”. That strikes me as a complete non-sequitur.

On Wed, Jul 25, 2007 at 05:48:36PM +0900, Rimantas L. wrote:

any probable problems in the future. If TM gets discontinued - fine.
I still have my
copy, or I can choose from myriads of other editors, free or non-free,
open, closed,
dug-under-the-tree source, whatever.
I am pretty sure I will die one day, should that be the reason not to
use benefits of living today?
Cost of switching your text editor is much less than cost of
switching, say, your webapp infrastructure (some my argue), so
concerns about longevity should be viewed in appropriate context.

The problems of a probably reduced lifespan of closed source software
introduced by TextMate is not limited to the fact that TextMate itself
is
closed source software. It also involves the fact that to use TextMate,
one would also have to choose a substantially closed source operating
system. An OS platform is a significantly greater investment of one’s
resources than a text editor. I prefer to invest in software that is
more likely to survive longer, particularly when doing so applies to the
OS I use.

Nothing exists in a vacuum.

There are other business models than the governmentally enforced
artificial scarcity model where software is treated as physical product
units.

Kinda reminds me of the Roadies’ Creed:

If it’s wet, drink it.
If it’s dry, smoke it.
If it moves, f*#k it.
If it doesn’t move…
…PUT IT ON THE TRUCK.

Abstract thinking is not part of the job description there.

However it always stuns me when software geeks come with arguments as
previously posted because we are meant to be abstract thinkers. However
I keep hearing the same old argument along the lines of if I can't kick it, it has no value and should be free.

BTW I wouldn’t use any other editor than VIM :slight_smile:

On Jul 24, 2007, at 2:09 PM, Chad P. wrote:

I don’t recall anyone saying anything of the sort. Maybe I’m
Which is exactly the kind of half logic that would debunk all

in its
some such value).


CCD CopyWrite Chad P. [ http://ccd.apotheon.org ]
Phillip J. Haack: “Productivity is not about speed. It’s about
velocity.
You can be fast, but if you’re going in the wrong direction, you’re
not
helping anyone.”

‘natural form’?
Software and markets have no ‘natural form’ they are social
constructs period.
The non-human part of the world does not create nor exhibit such things.

What you are describing is a fantasy that you subscribe to. There is
no artificial scarcity in software sales. It is impossible. Most
vendors sell via download anyway. They’re simply charging what the
market will accept and pay. If sales slumped and customers blamed
pricing, you bet they’d have a price drop. The only scarcity in this
is the market for customers. There are a reasonable finite number of
customers for any product. If you happen to produce video editing
software, you charge what you can for it. You seem to think that all
software is the same. It’s not. Many types of software don’t have or
require much of a service sector to them. You simply offer an
interface or features that users want and are willing to pay for.
If people are willing to pay for something, then you have demand.
When you have demand, somebody WILL supply that demand. Drugs!
Software! Massages! Counselling! Manicure! Live Music! etc. ad infitum

On Jul 24, 2007, at 10:21 AM, Alex Y. wrote:

just not thinking abstractly enough to know where you got that.
intrinsic value), then a government-enforced moratorium on copying
interaction at all with the patent system. The fact that some
Only because we haven’t cracked free energy and replicators yet…
Again, working on it :slight_smile:


Alex

Uh, by your debased definition matter, like energy is neither created
nor destroyed at the sub atomic level. It just changes form or breaks
into constituent components, so nothing has any true scarcity, just
scarcity of condition and circumstance.
Big deal!
If you package something in some way and sell it, and somebody buys
it, then you have something of a business model.
Dirt is not scarce by normal definition, yet people sell it and buy it!
Water as well.
Plants.
Services?
How can they have scarcity?
They don’t exist. So the scarcity is your time?

You’re just blindly believing all software should be free. Not all of
it should be free. Stallman is not right about everything. He’s a
convenient nut to have for pushing ideas, but a little to extreme and
absolutist.
You’re missing the fundamental rule of economics: supply and demand.
If people really cared about free software, they would use it.
Ubuntu is now a wonderful consumer-friendly OS. Free. They’ll even
send you it on optical media for free!
It’s gained some traction, but nobody is clamoring for it. Most
everyday people never heard of it and don’t care.

By your thinking, all content would be free because it is stored in a
digital medium.
That’s silly.
So if I store things in an analog medium it’s ok to sell it due to
scarcity, since it can’t be exactly easily reproduced?
That’s just not sensible.

You still don’t get the fact that some things are public domain and
free and some things are not.
You make it, you decide what to do with it.

I can paint a picture. I may decide to hide it from the world. I may
decide to sell it and all reproduction rights with it.
I may just charge you to look at it, even though photons are free and
your ability to perceive variations in wavelengths of photon
vibration is not a product. I can say the painting is ‘relatively
unique’ and difficult to reproduce.
If I create a digital illustration, it is no different. It is still
mark-making, but a different medium. According to your concept, it is
however, digitally stored and so the actual file should be free to
everyone? Of course printing and displaying it will never be exactly
the same twice since neither monitors nor prints are digital. They
are analog.

On Wed, Jul 25, 2007 at 08:33:33AM +0900, John J. wrote:

Seriously, this should go off list or something soon. It’s turned
into a SlashDot thread almost.

Probably. Of course, considering you don’t seem to be arguing against
what was actually said, I’m not sure there’s a real discussion to take
off-list.

I’m not denying you the term ‘artificial scarcity’
what I see is that markets are not necessarily about scarcity.

I didn’t say markets are about scarcity, either. I’m not even sure what
you mean by that.

licensing, but don’t force your license on others. If one company
sells a packaged linux distro and another gives it away and people
choose one or the other, that is where freedom is!

Providing support is one potential business model that leverages open
source software, so the statement that there’s no such thing as support
for open source software isn’t really entirely accurate (or, conversely,
the implication that there is necessarily support for closed source
software isn’t really entirely accurate).

Neither open nor closed source software gaurantees longevity, but the
mechanisms and opportunities for longevity are greater with open source
software, and the mechanisms and opportunities for premature (in terms
of
demand) removal of closed source software are greater than those of open
source software.

In any case, I don’t think anyone said anything in this discussion about
“forcing” a license on anyone. This whole subthread began with the
statements made by a couple of people to the effect that, all else being
equal, open source software is a better bet for their purposes – and
with the fact that some people who appear to like TextMate too umbrage
at
the suggestion that (for the people who prefer open source software, at
least) closed source software suffers some limitations in terms of its
probable longevity. There’s nothing about guarantees in that, nor about
forcing anyone to use a particular license.

John J. wrote:

I don’t recall anyone saying anything of the sort. Maybe I’m
Which is exactly the kind of half logic that would debunk all
‘governmentally enforced’ rights, property or otherwise.
I wouldn’t call it “half logic”. If you accept that value is derived
from scarcity, and that bits can be copied arbitrarily easily (and are
therefore by definition non-scarce and have no intrinsic value), then
a government-enforced moratorium on copying bits under certain
circumstances is required to give those bits themselves scarcity and
therefore value. Unless you have a different model for defining
intrinsic value, the logic is pretty solid…

If your business model doesn’t depend on making bits harder to copy,
then you have no need for a government-enforced system to support it,
and vice versa. It’s exactly the same as businesses that don’t need an
artificial monopoly on a specific way of solving a problem - the vast
majority of businesses don’t have any interaction at all with the
patent system. The fact that some businesses can get by without it
doesn’t mean that it should be “debunked” or even necessarily changed
(although here and now isn’t the place for that particular diversion).

They’re all artifices imposed by social constructs. Some of them work
and some don’t. If they don’t work, they’re ideally changed/fixed.
Working on it :slight_smile:

But the ideal Star Trek world of no money and free and equal access
to everything is not going to happen any time soon.
Only because we haven’t cracked free energy and replicators yet…
Again, working on it :slight_smile:

On Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 07:04:58PM +0900, Brad P. wrote:

‘governmentally enforced artificial scarcity model where software is
treated as physical product units.’

What does this mean other than that software has no inherent
monetary sale value other than that artificially imposed
by government control?

It’s a statement of the economic reality of the circumstances.
Pretending that there’s a limit on how many of something you can
distribute when, in fact, there is not is called “artificial scarcity”.
In this case, the artificial scarcity is achieved through governmental
“management” of market forces, all for the purpose of allowing vendors
to
pretend that software is a physical product that can be shrinkwrapped
and
sold in discrete units. The statement you quoted didn’t even make any
value judgments on that state of affairs – it just identified it
factually.

On Thu, Jul 26, 2007 at 03:35:04PM +0900, Brad P. wrote:

training. My take is that ‘rights’ do not really exist in that there is
no ‘natural law’ to reference to. To believe otherwise gives a false
sense of human importance in the universe. On the other hand ‘wants’ and
desires do exist and are very tangible. I want a car, I want a
girlfriend, I want a new CD, I want to download that software, I want to
sell some software, I want a gun, I want to walk down the street in
safety, I want to be healthy, I want to smoke unfiltered cigarettes etc.

Rights are those limits on how others may interact with one, based on
principles of a consistent system of ethics derived logically from a
minimal set of necessary axioms. In other words, they’re the
individual,
practical manifestation of ethical principles.

I’m subscribe to neither the “natural rights” theory of ethics (in its
traditional form, at least) nor the postmodern assertion that rights are
just social conventions and we’re all subject to whatever the tyrrany of
the majority decrees. Ultimately, the origin of rights as far as I’m
concerned is in the bare minimum of care one should take in:

A) allowing others their own beliefs
B) avoiding irrevocable acts that may prove “evil”, in absence of any
provable certainty of metaphysical morality

In other words, just as one doesn’t go around randomly eating berries in
the woods for no other reason than curiosity, because one is careful
enough to consider that unidentified berries might be poisonous, I
subscribe to a system of ethics that is essentially based on the idea
that imposing my will on others, against their will, runs substantial
risk of being wrong in some manner more substantial than mere social
convention. Comments about how important humans are (or aren’t) are
basically meaningless to me, since it’s not the number of limbs or
chromosomes that makes someone ethically significant.

Want’s only get codified to ‘rights’ in reference to the Law so it is
difficult to suggest that the Law somehow contradicts rights which it
self creates. It can only contradict ‘wants’ which is a natural thing
because not all ‘wants’ are compatible or sometimes they are but not all
of the time. The reason the Law is complex is because human wants are
complex and contradictory.

Laws are attempts to provide a set of social standards of conduct that
are enforced by some centralized power structure. Ethics are an attempt
to provide a set of social standards of conduct based on a reasoned
analysis of right and wrong. In a perfect world, laws would be based on
a consistent system of ethics – but we live in a rather imperfect
world,
where often the law consists of conveniences created to serve those with
the influence to do so, based on majoritarian whim, or based on profound
failures to understand the causal relation between certain policies and
their consequences. In this manner, we end up with laws that, in
practice, materially violate rights rather than protecting them.

One might link law to desire, but doing so is a losing proposition
unless
the law’s only relation to desire is to protect people against the
imposition of desires that directly affect them against their will.

The main thing is to try not to confuse your wants with your rights.

I don’t have any problem with that.

Only because we haven’t cracked free energy and replicators yet…
Again, working on it :slight_smile:

The free energy movement faces the same hurdles as the free software
movement. Locked out by government controlled energy oligarchies,
similar to the government controlled intellectual property robber
barons, they need a Nikolai Tesla to wave the flag … but he died …
a while ago … which makes him kinda useless. However we have Richard
Stallman and Linus Torvalds, surely sympathetic to their ‘free’
brethren.

As a first step Linus needs to add kernel support for ‘free energy’
threads based on the ground breaking work by Mark McCutcheon. It would
be a sure hit at the server farm and as Linux finally breaks onto the
desktop this year it will carry the ‘free’ mantra to it’s final
and inevitable destiny. Free software and free energy together.

There is always the risk of a backlash by entrenched parties, fat with
power and hungry to stay with outdated business models, at the expense
of the greater good. To protect against this the next step would be for
Mr Stallman to quickly trot out GPL v4 with an explicit ‘free energy’
clause. This would effectively sandbox free software on free energy
computers. In lay terms free software would only be able to run on
switched off computers and closed source software would only run on
switched on computers.

There is also a risk that VMWare will rise to the challenge and create
emulation environments for ‘free energy’ computers emulating the energy
required for closed source software to be able to run. Thus GPL v4 must
also be explicit that energy emulation is disallowed.

Once this is done the world will be happy.

On 7/24/07, John J. [email protected] wrote:

I don’t recall anyone saying anything of the sort. Maybe I’m just

Which is exactly the kind of half logic that would debunk all
‘governmentally enforced’ rights, property or otherwise.
They’re all artifices imposed by social constructs. Some of them work
and some don’t. If they don’t work, they’re ideally changed/fixed.
But the ideal Star Trek world of no money and free and equal access
to everything is not going to happen any time soon.
Luckily, just call me Lt. Broccoli :wink:

But changing it, is just what we are trying to do, by small steps, and
saying that slavery is bad but is a reality was true some day too,
right?

Just my 0.02 €

Robert

On Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 06:49:59PM +0900, Brad P. wrote:

However it always stuns me when software geeks come with arguments as
previously posted because we are meant to be abstract thinkers. However
I keep hearing the same old argument along the lines of if I can't kick it, it has no value and should be free.

I don’t recall anyone saying anything of the sort. Maybe I’m just not
thinking abstractly enough to know where you got that.

Do you mean video editor? I personally make use of Joyoshare Media Cutter. It’s a combination of a lossless video trimmer and a full video editor on Windows and Mac.

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