[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [libreplanet-discuss] SaaSS

From: Aaron Wolf
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] SaaSS
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2015 20:52:58 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:38.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/38.3.0

On 10/24/2015 01:48 PM, Alexander Berntsen wrote:
> On 24/10/15 21:44, Mike Gerwitz wrote:
>> So you have still given up your control.  You can only do the type
>>  of computing that others say you can do, and if you try to say, "I
>>  have an idea; let's do it this way!", then unless everyone else 
>> agrees with your changes, then you are told that you can't compute
>>  like that---it's not allowed.  If you get rid of that distributed
>>  nature, then we're back to where we are today: pretty much the 
>> same place, but less dystopian.
> This is how democracy in general works; i.e. tyranny of the majority.

Tyranny of the majority is not fundamental to democracy. Democracy can
and has in cases required consensus procedures or even unanimous support
and all sorts of other structures to avoid tyranny of the majority. The
painfully simplistic majority-rule vote approach to democracy is not at
all the only nor the best way to have democratic systems.

Anyway, I think you're talking about the significance of network
effects, which are tangential to democracy and can even happen in the
absence of democracy.

> I can write my own programming language and insist on using it, but I
> can't force anyone else to use it. I can make my own document format and
> insist on using it, but I can't force anyone else to use it. I can fork
> a free software SaaSS, change it, distribute the changes, but I can't
> force anyone else to use it. I don't see the problem.
> Have I given up control of my email client since I can't modify it while
> it runs? Have I given up control of my LaTeX papers, because I can't
> force everyone else to use LaTeX?
>> You're talking about tricking hackers/programmers/users who read 
>> the code.
> No. I am talking about using a sophisticated type system to eliminate
> ill-doing.

While maliciousness is a serious issue and software freedom relates to
it in various ways, it is not one and the same issue. Software freedom
as a value is about autonomy and independence and creative freedoms and
other values that still *exist* as concerns even in cases without
maliciousness. Regardless of skepticism about the lack of certainty, if
we suppose some proprietary software that is absolutely non-malicious
but otherwise is still proprietary that is *far* better than malicious
proprietary software and even can be said to be better than malicious
free software (but the malicious free software can have the
maliciousness removed!). SaaSS is a problem for these other issues even
if it is non-malicious. I still prefer to see non-malicious SaaSS over
malicious, and especially if the non-maliciousness can be assured
somehow, just as I prefer to see non-malicious proprietary software over
malicious software. I'm just saying, this is not the only issue.

In a fantasy world where everyone were ethical enough to never engage in
malicious abuses of power, the concerns about software freedom would
still exist, they would just be much less important. Similarly the
concerns about SaaSS.

>> Even if all software were written in a system like Coq, and all of 
>> it were formally proven to operate exactly as it was designed, the 
>> above issues would still stand.
> If by "issues" you mean that if I choose to use SaaSS e.g. to
> collaborate with others on a document, I can't suddenly rewrite the
> running instance of the software, and force everyone else to use my
> version, then I agree. I, however, don't see that as a problem. (In
> this specific instance the solution is obviously to fork the software
> and run your own instance that communicates with the others via an API.)

Aaron Wolf
music teacher,

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]