One thing the article does get right: overage charages (i.e. paying ridiculous amounts of money if you go over quota) *are* evil and genuinely upset people. That's why almost no Australian ISPs use overage charges any more.
Instead, they all use throttling. If you remain within your quota, you get the full speed of your connection. If you go over, your connection speed gets gutted (usually to less than 10% of your normal speed). That means you can still get online, check your email, use social media, look things up on Google, etc, but more bandwidth intensive activities like streaming video and playing online games isn't going to be an option until your quota resets at the end of the month (or you buy some additional quota for the current month, assuming your ISP offers that option).
Of course, this only played out like that because we have some genuine competition in our broadband sector, due to the regulations that force Telstra to play nice with others when it comes to offering ADSL connections over Telstra's copper lines. The incumbents originally used overage charges, then were eventually forced to switch to throttling when all their subscribers were deserting them for other providers.
Without those regulations to ensure effective competition we would have been completely screwed. Since the US seems closer to an unregulated Telstra than they are to what actually exists in Australia, maybe you *are* right to be terrified of data caps in your system.
There are countries in the world that get by OK with data caps on broadband, and Australia is one of them.
The caps are annoying and mess with market dynamics in various ways, sure, but they're not necessarily "OMG, the sky is falling!" the way you make out here.
Of course, one big problem with the US is that your issues with (a lack of) consumer protection laws in the telecommunications sector may mean that allowing data caps *will* cause the sky to fall, but that's a case of confusing the symptom (egregiously abusive data caps) with the root cause (lack of competition between broadband providers).
The way this actually plays out in practice when there's reasonably healthy competition in place:
- broadband companies provide usage meters and people learn how to access and read them. False advertising laws and competition authorities ensure the usage meters are at least vaguely accurate.
- caps get classified in terms of what you can do with them without running into quota concerns (i.e. "suitable for email, social media and general web browsing", "suitable for online gaming", "suitable for video streaming" etc). It isn't hard for people to do the math to convert "typical bits per second" and "typical daily usage" into "suitable data quota"
- different ISPs offer different pricing models that suit different audiences (up to and including uncapped plans, but also carving out their own "free zones" that don't count against quota limits)
Data caps cut through a lot of the bollocks with "reasonable use" policies and put hard numbers on what "reasonable" means for various tiers. As much as we might wish it was, bandwidth isn't free: networking hardware, local cache and other services cost money to keep running, undersea cable operators want their cut, as to do peer network operators, etc, etc.
Data caps let end users give clear price signals to the providers as to what their upstream provisioning should be - without the caps, the providers are forced to guess based on past usage.
If Australia *already had* a regime where no caps was the norm, would I be happy if ISPs were proposing to bring them in so they could charge more to remove them again? No, I wouldn't, so I can understand US users getting upset by the idea.
But making demonstrably false claims about metered connections destroying the internet as we know it isn't the way to make your case.
Anyone can go to bugzilla.redhat.com right now and see the bug lists for all of Red Hat's products.
Where's the source code for Windows? The issue tracker? The development discussions? All locked behind the digital walls of Redmond.
Mac OS X? Mostly locked up in Cupertino.
Android? Lobbed over the wall every now and then, but if you really want to contribute, you better be in Mountain View.
Red Hat set out to prove you can still make money even when collaborating in the open for almost all of your software development. That plan is succeeding admirably, and that's a great data point for those that want to push back against the ratcheting up of draconian copyright laws.
Defining your market and selling the natural scarcities
(Disclosure: I do work for Red Hat, but the below is just my opinion, not that of my employer)
Part of this is just marketing 101, Mike: define your market such that you can say impressive things about your place within it. However, there's also the question of whether or not that market definition is useful for any other purpose.
"Uses open source software to achieve their business ends" is not a useful market definition, because it's *everyone*. Windows includes OSS (or OSS-derived) components, so even pure Windows shops are using OSS. Anyone using email relies on OSS to achieve their business ends. Anyone running applications on any of the cloud services is using OSS to achieve their business ends. Anyone that relies on DNS is using OSS to achieve their business ends. And yes, large consulting shops (including IBM) and the big web service providers use a ton of open source software. However, they use (and create) a ton of closed source software, too, and protect it fiercely.
The difference that makes Red Hat a "pure play open source" provider is that the company genuinely thinks that *open source is a better development model for software*, and that any use of closed source software is something that should require explicit justification. The company has *deliberately* eschewed the simpler business model of making the software itself proprietary, instead telling people that they're free to grab the source and build everything from scratch themselves. You don't get the same certifications from hardware and software vendors if you go that route, but "rolling your own" is *legal*. Heck, even if you decide you aren't getting value for money from Red Hat and cancel your subscription, you get to keep running *all* the software you have previously installed.
What Red Hat proves, and what makes it an interesting story, is that you can make a billion dollars a year as a company without forcing people to pay for freely copyable bits and without treating the source code to create those bits as a trade secret. The internet is a giant copying machine, and instead of fighting that (through proprietary licensing) or avoiding it (through closed source hosted services), Red Hat has set out to show you can *embrace* it and still make money.
You say that like there's a lick of difference between Labour and the Coalition when it comes to this aspect of government policy.
Why are the Greens the only ones kicking and screaming about this in Parliament? *Because the Opposition agree with the way the government is handling this*
You seriously think a party that can't even admit the NBN is a valuable nation-building activity on par with the main roads network will see a problem with doing backroom deals with legacy content players?
Technologist votes are lying there for the taking, but the Federal Opposition refuse to pick them up because of what they would have to do to retain them.
OK: Twitter obeying a request from a legal authority to take down content in accordance with the *current* laws under which they operate. Especially when they attempt to limit the impact to specific geographical areas subject to the relevant laws and report the takedown requests via Chilling Effects.
Not OK: Governments seeking to further expand their existing legal authority in ways that allow to assume defendants are guilty until proven innocent and remove content without any form of due process, adversarial hearings or legal redress in the event of inevitably mistaken allegations. Especially when they do so on behalf of private business interests rather than the citizens they are *supposed* to be representing.
See the difference? (Probably not, but I live in hope)
So, here's an interesting little concept: software is subject to copyright restrictions. Dell, Microsoft, Nokia, HTC, Apple, etc all offer software for download.
Some of that software may infringe copyrights.
So doesn't SOPA mean that any app store could be shut down over a single piece of allegedly copyright infringing software? A hardware manufacturer's ability to accept direct purchases blocked to accusations of copyright violations in their firmware or one of their drivers?
One of the things missing from the mass legal extortion strategy here in Australia is the threat of massive statutory damages, so the costs of going to court aren't as prohibitive for the prospective defendants (nor are the results as profitable for the plaintiffs).
Of course, a legal battle isn't going to be fun for any reason, so they may still get some folks to pony up the cash to make them go away.
Unrelated to the article, but TD just got its AdBlock whitelisting privileges on my browser revoked again.
The offender was one that took over the entire screen due to a misclick while moving over to the scrollbar (the ad hadn't even fully loaded yet when it did it). Reloading the page, it was a large banner ad where if you left the mouse pointer over it for 3 seconds, it took that as permission to take over the entire tab. Any click anywhere on the ad would also immediately do the same thing. Not cool.
There's a strong case to be made that an insect hive is more analagous to the human body than it is to human society.
Each cell in a body is expendable and will be instantly sacrificed for the 'greater good' of the body without hesitation, and all cells in the body are essentially mindless drones in subservience to the path dependent emergent behaviour of the body as a whole.
Currently, our primary mechanism for managing resource distribution is money. At the most basic level, the preferred mechanisms to gain money as an individual are:
1. Labour (you are given money for your time - employees and self-employed individuals rely on this mechanism)
2. Investment (you are given money now in return for providing money and/or labour in the past - investors and business owners rely on this mechanism)
The fallback mechanism, which has strong associated social stigma, at least for now, is relying on government benefits and charitable institutions. It is this fallback mechanism that I'm referring to as a social safety net. It supports those who do not gain sufficient income from labour and investment to provide for themselves and their families.
In a culture of abundance, the viability of many forms of labour as a means for gaining access to resources begins to fail, as more and more essential tasks are handled by robots.
Thus, the idea that people are entitled to a certain share of the available resources just for being alive will likely need to lose its social stigma and become part of the normal fabric of society. That's a fairly radical prospect when you contrast it with the abuse directed at "dole bludgers" and those on any kind of welfare benefits these days.
Personally, I *don't* think society will collapse. I figure we'll muddle through, just as we muddled through the transition from barter-based economies to currency-based ones. But it's going to be an interesting ride, and some closely held preconceptions aren't going to survive the trip.
Yeah, I saw that reference, but the story still skips the specific point I mentioned: nowhere does it actually say that the printer refused to print the images.
We can *assume* it (since otherwise the rest of the story makes no sense), but why leave that part out? As it stands, the story goes:
1. Rose asked a printer to print some documents for her
3. The documents were public domain (why does this matter?)
4. The printer had never heard of fair use (why does this matter?)
3 & 4 are only interesting if the printer refused to print the documents at step 2 due to copyright concerns. Hence why I suspected an editing error, with the context of the original quote being lost somewhere along the way.
I was going to say the same thing - a key part of the story seems to be missing from the quoted section. It jumps straight from emailing the documents, to an explanation of what was in them and why they were public domain, without stating exactly what happened after the email was sent...