[conspire] No more GNU HP Minis

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Feb 14 20:34:59 PST 2010

Quoting Ruben Safir (ruben at mrbrklyn.com):

[In response to my point that I was always taught that it's a prime
secular sin to use ineffective techniques when trying to advance a moral

> My experience in this regard is that if you ignore or concede to
> social forces that produce moral dilemas, that the result is that you
> walk out the door one morning and disenfranced youth puts a tek-9
> automated submachine gun in your temple and beats the crap out of you.

Your fundamental assumption that I favour "ignoring or conceding social
forces" is near as I can estimate, not correct -- though one would have
to look at specifics.  Such a very abstract statement is rather
difficult to evaluate, as I'm sure you realise.

> And that's not a hypothetical, but a real world experience.  People
> need education, positive goals, and feeling of reasonable empowerment
> for a healthy Democratic society.

Again, a bit vague and abstract.  But here, in the next sentence, you
return to specifics:

> They need this more than food.  Hence, Slaveware, and DRM really ticks
> me off.

Those same things annoy me too, _but_ that's not under discussion.  And
that's a key point:  What was under discussion is what works and is an
efficient and productive use of time, versus what simply doesn't work
and is a noisy _waste_ of time.  Every one of us is obliged to decide,
each and every day, what's the best use of limited time and energy, the
most benefit, the most-fruitful approach.

Upthread, you complained that I don't spend time doing particular
things.  But I see many of those things as tending towards ineffective,
inefficient, and counterproductive.  Not liking proprietary code and
DRM, or even hating it with every fibre of your being, doesn't make
particular activities in opposition a good idea if they _don't work_, or
if they're horrendously inefficient and if much greater good can be done
working on something else entirely.

> In any event, I think a lot of the difference here is whether or not
> we need to save/change the world or not.

No, honestly, that's really not it.  Not at all.  The difference, here,
is over what works and is an effective, efficient, and productive use of
limited resources including human existence.

> I've been fighting losing battles my whole life.

Some losing battles are worth fighting, but some are not.  And some
fighting _tactics_ just plain suck, viz., the charge of the Light
Brigade at Balaclava.

So, getting back to the specific point, coming onto Linux mailing lists
and yelling at Linux users about how they have a moral obligation to be
more angry at OEMs about shortage of Linux preloads _sucks_, as a means of
supporting free software:  It does nothing to advance your supposed
objective, it needless pisses people off, it chews up your energy, it
makes a lot of noise, and it accomplishes basically nothing at all.

> Rick Moen wrote:
> > Quoting Ruben Safir (ruben at mrbrklyn.com):
> >   
> >> Frankly, it is a fool's errand to try to detach moral issues from  
> >> technology.
> >
> > A lot of people, reading a posting like that, would immediately fly
> > off the handle at the completely unjustified foundational assumption
> > that one's stance lacks a moral footing.  
> (This is way off topic and well into thread drift, but worth discussing)
> I think that is too strong of a negative context to frame that statement
> in. It's not a statement of personal judgment, it is a statement of
> historical fact. 

Frankly you really cannot imply that someone has "detached moral issues
from technology" without creating the impression of personal judgement.
One of two things is true about that, it seems to me:  Either you were
saying *I* have in some sense detached moral issues from technology --
which _is_ a statement of personal judgement -- or that sentence so
badly reflected your intention that I really can't tell the intended
meaning was.  ;->

FWIW, I _didn't_ fly off the handle at reading that, and just went on
attempt to analyse what followed on its merits in fair-minded context.

> It's been said, and I don't recall the author, that a man always
> perceives the end of his field of vision as the ultimate limits of the
> universe.

I appreciate that interesting set of links, by the way.  Much obliged;
will be having a look at them, as I have time.

More information about the conspire mailing list