This again undercuts the idea that payment is the sole, or even most powerful, incentive for effort. Based on this information I imagine Verdi's perspective on wealth to be somewhat similar to my own. I make enough money to live comfortably. As a result of that, the prospect of more money has become a relatively weak motivator for me. In fact, if I were offered a raise at work, I would likely counter-offer and try to get more time off instead so I would have more time to pursue my other interests. If Verdi didn't need to keep cranking out work to pay the bills, I'm sure there are other things he would rather spend his time on.
I don't actively support the FSF, even though they support things I believe in. They just go too far. They seem like they feel like it's more important to keep grinding their axes than it is to give OSS and FS real credibility by being an example of a respectable and rational member of the tech community. It seems like everything they do ends up with them acting like a petulant child at some point. As much as I'd love to, I just can't put my support behind a group that does that sort of thing, I think it ultimately does more harm than good.
I don't think that there's really anything wrong with mass media in and of itself. I also don't think it does much harm to kids who consume it. I think the harm comes in the fact that in consuming mass media, the kids aren't doing _something else_ that would be of benefit. Rather than reading and strengthening their imagination, they passively view images created for them. Rather than running around and climbing trees, they watch shows about other kids building a treehouse. Rather than tinkering with something, they watch a show that explains how something works. I could go on, but the bottom line, to me, is not that consumption mass media is itself harmful, but that it replaces activities which are beneficial. The net result of that is kids are slower, fatter, and less well adjusted socially.
Finally, from a common sense standpoint: you sold the game, you no longer have control over what people do with it. That's how transactions work. Would the folks at Bungie like it if we suddenly started telling them how they could spend the money we gave them for games? No? Then they shouldn't complain about what people do with their games.
That comment points to the core friction that I believe is the root of a lot of this. The publishers have come to see their products as the "IP" in the game, the bits, which are licensed, not sold. Everyone else in the world sees their product as the tangible object which those bits are delivered on. Hence the disconnect between the two sides of this debate. Until publishers let go of the idea that what they are selling is a license and not a tangible good, or they start delivering things intangibly ( like Steam, or the various other download-only delivery methods) the two sides of this will never see eye to eye, and even then it's doubtful.
Of course if that happens on a large scale, then the prices of games will have to come down dramatically, otherwise the audiences will be so small they will be wishing for the "good old days".
I also don't see why they are complaining about game shops making residual money on used games. I mean, these shops are their primary bridge to their customers. Those shops make tiny margins on the new kit, and if it weren't for the money made on used, I'd wager most of them would fold. With fewer shops, there are fewer places for these publishers to get their work out...
I've heard this phenomenon described using drill bits. People who buy a 3/8" drill bit, don't want a drill bit. They want a 3/8" hole...
I think it's easy for one to lose sight of what value they actually provide as their products get more and more complex and ephemeral, I think that's why technology and media are having such hard times lately.
I think you and the original author are mixing apples and oranges here. Linspire could be argued to be a marketing failure. I personally think it was an execution failure more than a marketing failure; their marketing always seemed pretty good to me (given their presumed budgetary restraints), both from the perspective identifying needs and informing consumers.
Chandler on the other hand simply failed to deliver on a technical level. No amount of marketing will save a project if it doesn't even come close to doing what it claims to. Are you pointing to the disconnect between their claims and their abilities as the marketing failure? If so, that makes sense, but that connection is not strongly made. I still doubt that the project failed because of that though. It seems that they were relying on the OSS fairy tale of "announce it and they will come" wherein all you need is a good idea, and suddenly competent developers are banging down your door to help make it real. That just doesn't happen. You have to earn that sort of commitment, and big talk with little to back it up won't do that.
I tend to agree with you, but the idea behind the OLPC and similar projects is to "attack the root of the problem", and by their definition the root of the problem is lack of education. The assumption being that, once better educated, these people will work to improve their situations on their own. I think there are some fundamental flaws in this argument, but hey, what do I know?
Re: Re: Subsidized laptop for developing Countries
If one company's product depends on subsidies (from where??), then that likely would take them out as a candidate for purchase by a government.
They would theoretically be getting subsidized by MS or Intel. MS particularly has a long history of subsidizing PCs sold with Windows on them. That's part of what makes it possible for big manufacturers to sell PCs so inexpensively and still turn a profit. This is particularly true in the low-spec space that the OLPC would occupy. Just try to build a machine using OTS retail (or even OEM) parts and software. If you do a truly apples to apples build, your cost will be higher than buying that machine from a Dell or HP or similar reseller.
This would be unlikely to have an impact on the suitability for a gov't purchase, there's no reason for it to, it's a common practice in the industry. The reason that OLPC had in interest in avoiding it is because it's dishonest; it's causes a difference between the actual and perceived cost of the machine. If I recall correctly, one of the long-term hopes of the OLPC program was to enable other groups to manufacture them, but if they couldn't do it for the same cost as the original because of the subsidies, this would be rather duplicitous.
Granted, the Times article was pretty one-sided and Negroponte comes off as an arrogant ass, but your take on it is pretty off too. On one side you have a non-profit organization that has been working on this for years, on the other you have two of the largest IT corps in the world, both who have a vested interest in seeing the OLPC fail, or at least substantially change how it's built.
If the OLPC as it was originally envisioned is broadly successful, that would represent a major loss of mindshare for both MS and Intel in those developing markets.
Further, how is the Intel or MS approach any less top-down? In the articles I've read, the supposed "needs" that are not being met are being defined largely by governmental bureaucrats, not the citizens and teachers who would actually be using the devices. Additionally, I've read some articles that made the claim that those same officials received some nice contributions from MS just before these needs got defined.
All these accusations of attempting to kill the project or bribe officials aside, true or not, the situation creates the appearance of corporate interests having an undue influence on the technological development of developing nations, and people in positions of power making decisions for the wrong reasons. The whole situation smacks of corruption, even if it really is "fair" competition between an NPO and multi-billion dollar corps. Companies that were perfectly happy to ignore these markets until the OLPC started gaining traction.
While your statement is technically true, someone with the creativity and desire could come up with a number of plausible justifications if needed.
But more to the point, stores don't need a reason. They are private property, and the owners / authorized agents of the owner can decide at any time that someone needs to leave, for no reason at all. That is why you will often see signs posted in stores stating that "This establishment reserves the right to refuse service to anyone". Those signs aren't really necessary legally, but they make court visits go more quickly. Sure it's bad for business, but it's not illegal by any means. As long as you are smart enough to not specify your reasoning, there's nothing that the other person can do, other than drain resources by forcing one to fight unprovable claims in court.
Furthermore, I don't know of any federal anti-discrimination law that applies to commerce. As far I know, those only (and originally) apply to employment, and then were extended to education somewhat. A quick google just now also did not turn up anything to support the idea that refusing to do business with someone because of their race is illegal...