FSM newsletter - 18th of September 2006

Mon, 2006-09-18 14:55 -- admin

Greetings, readers and subscribers, and welcome to Free Software Magazine’s new and improved fortnightly newsletter.

In the past, our newsletters have consisted of article-style content that we here at FSM thought would be of interest to you. Don’t worry, these articles haven’t disappeared - they will appear as online articles on our site. Our new newsletters are designed to keep you up-to-date about recent articles, competitions and issues, new site features, and keeps you informed about what’s going on at FSM.

General announcements

The pull of the fruit

I tried my hardest to help my wife love Unix. When we were still dating, I built a little Debian machine for her so we could chat on ICQ while I was at work (and gave it to her on Valentine’s Day; aren’t I romantic?). That lasted for a while, but I eventually switched it to FreeBSD for reasons I no longer remember. Her computers always worked pretty well, but she was never happy with her inability to install software on her own, or to run games and applications from the local non-geek stores.

DRM, guardrails, and the right to be stupid

I’m a big believer in rights. I believe in the right to speak your mind, the right to act however you want, as long as you aren’t interfering with others’ rights; I even believe in more controversial rights like “the right to die”, and one of my favorites is the right to be stupid.

What do I mean by that? Well, I think that if people want to jump out of airplanes, down cliffs, or free-climb El Capitan, like Captain Kirk, they should be allowed to do that—even though it’s very clear that they may be stupid things to do that are likely to get them killed. One of the more powerful and hard to refute arguments for Digital Rights/Restrictions Management (DRM), though, is that it can be used in life-critical systems to prevent failures due to users’ own modifications—and it seems to me that this is a sticky case of balancing the right to be stupid with the right to be ignorant.


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