Tag Archives: freedom

My search for a “GNU/Linux ‘Shiny’ OS” to be a minimum-cost competitor to Google’s Chrome OS

I think I’ve made it fairly clear that I don’t completely trust Google not to behave like IBM or Microsoft or Apple (in music), if they find themselves in a position of monopoly power in services. I believe there is a significant possibility that the UK government are soon going to jump out of the Microsoft frying pan, into the everlasting fire of Google services, using support for Free and Open Source Software as their excuse. This will delight their Google handlers and perhaps earn them a tickle of their cash-hungry bellies.

As I pointed out in a recent post, use of the Linux kernel and free-to-use services no longer guarantees you any real Freedom. We face a future where cheap Google Boxes in our houses and Google phones in our pockets/handbags will be the portal through which every message we send or receive passes. It seems likely that Google Chrome OS and Android will merge in some way, into an impenetrable fortress, keeping our data safe for us and Google and our government.

We need an alternative. The Free Software movement seems to be blindly following Google towards a destination of its own eventual destruction. What happened to the community’s ideals? Are we so easily bought?

I’m looking for an alternative way forward. I want a simple web and application server constructed and run on FOSS services, available from multiple providers because “The Market is Good” and “Competition Benefits the Consumer”, RIGHT? I only want to use server software that I could take away and have run elsewhere if I was not happy with my service provider and I want a web-based client that uses entirely open Web standards with no proprietary extensions “for greater power” (see: Chrome.) Obviously, as a Real Linux we have the option to also enable local desktop applications, rather than drive consumers to our company shops.

Please tell me if you think there is an obvious alternative FOSS solution to the Google monLOLopoly. If there isn’t then we need to elect one soon because democracy needs choices to stay viable. Our ‘choice of Freedom’ is at risk.

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Freedom from The Press

Sorry, I need to take a slight diversion here to pick up some POLITICS.

I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘The P Word’ is about finding a balance between people’s sense of fairness for all and their sense of self-interest. In the West, we also seem to expect a fair-sized dollop of what we call “freedom” with that, and perhaps a government willing to insist that other countries try it too. “It’s humus. Try it. No, it smells of garlic but it doesn’t taste of it. Bloody try it, will you? No, not that one, we only eat the organic”

I don’t know much about politics but I know what I like. OK, not true but: I know what I DON’T LIKE!
“What?”
This, all of it, it’s rubbish. I hate it. Smash the SYSTEM!
“Some of it’s all right, can’t we keep those bits and vote to decide what to make better?”
Vote? Pah! No, it’s all got to go, so we can move forward to a bright new future, together, following me.
“What’s that going to be like?”
There are still a few niggling details like that to be worked out but, “SMASH THE SYSTEM!”

I paraphrase slightly but this seems to be the gist of Mr. Brand’s argument… What? Yes, Russel Brand – the rock star. I don’t know what band. Yes, the one with the trousers, and the hair and the Guy Fawkes beard. “I am Spartacus.”

The thing is, he seems to have captured the spirit of the moment. He feels our frustration. He was poor once. He knows the well deserved disrespect for our leaders who don’t seem to think we have the brains to see through all the spin; the anger at there not being enough difference between the lot of them to make it worth a walk down to the scout-hut. But ‘revolution’? Really, Russell?

I like Freedom. I like Free software and free Internet and free downloads and free speach and freedom of the press and free energy. What? No that would be silly. Stop being ridiculous, if you want people to take you seriously about politics. Freedom to protest though; that used to be a good one. As long as it was nice. A nice walk, some witty placards, a bit of a sing-song and none of that French malarkey – barricades and burning and being rude to policemen.

So when the Twitters lit up in a bonfire of energy bills, late last night and the tight-trousered-one appeared, surrounded by French mime artists, I didn’t know what to think. The Lefties were soon there to tell me, complaining there was a media black-out, claiming there were thousands of people but putting up photos of 50 of their mates. “Yes, here’s where they beat us senseless”. I exaggerate (slightly.)
“Yeah, sure”, I thought.
“You won’t see this on the BBC”, they said.
I searched the BBC for “million mask”. Up it came. “Hundreds of people” in “peaceful protest”. I went to bed. I’d had enough Revolution for one night.

Morning. The radio alarm wakes before me, tuned to BBC Radio 4. Nothing. An hour passes. Nothing. Pick up phone and search BBC for “million mask”. Same article. Wait, no! 11 arrests. fires. unrest, scuffles… What? Did the pubs shut? I widen the search… Guardian, yes then nothing. Back to Twitter “#MillionMaskMarch”. A few activists in the US. It was as if London hadn’t ever happened, according to the right-wing press and the BBC. Nothing on the Wireless or the front page of the news website.

This morning, I signed up to follow @RustyRockets on Twitter. I threw in @MillionMaskMarch for good measure and asked @BBCNickRobinson what the hell was going on at the BBC. He hasn’t told me. I don’t think he’s allowed to. That’s rather worrying in a democracy, or something that looks very like one.

By the way, it turns out my mate was there. He says there were thousands of others. When you hide the truth or lie to us now, we find out about it. You seem to have made me join the 99% who don’t trust you. No, I won’t wear a stupid mask. Politicians, you shouldn’t either and please take that gag off the BBC. They work for us, not you.