Tag Archives | Apple

[OT] Hitler, Apple, Gates and Godwin’s Law

Perhaps there is a corollary (if not, let’s coin Roche’s Rule) to Godwin’s Law — briefly, that any discussion is practically over when it degenerates to metaphors of Naziism — that those who call off Godwin are in turn berated as thread police, censors, infringers on some divine human right to drag threads off topic and, yes, with all the irony involved, Nazis. In this response, I make the foolish mistake of not ignoring the troll bait. I am as guilty of overreacting as the hyperbole used by the original poster to compare Apple with Hitler.

Hitler burned, gassed, tortured, shot seven million Jews in concentration camps. Millions more, of all faiths, died defeating him.

The late Steve Jobs charged premium dollars (and sometimes outrageous fees!) to keep his company out there and competing in the tough markets of computers and software. Apple makes beautiful industrial design, often as impractical as Lamborghinis. They sell DRM-crippled music. They have pushed the envelope of consumer computing, much as Microsoft “innovated” back in the days when they had competition. Apple has sold a billion songs. I admire and respect Jobs, as an empire builder, like Gates and Olsen and Carnegie before him, but I don’t spend the money to buy many of his products, as I’m cheap. I have philosophical differences with Apple, too, but I’d probably buy an iPhone if I hit the lottery. They’re shiny. But, unlike some, I’m not betting my business on them.

Microsoft’s behavior has often been as outrageous as Apples, having been pulled into court a few times, regularly making their large corporate customers buy computers with Windows pre-installed and then pay again and again for licenses to run their OS, access their machines remotely, or run software on them, switching their license fees and terms and dropping products that are near and dear to all of our hearts. I’m not ABM as much as preferring what works best. Windows DirectX is supposed to be a good gaming platform. I hear XBoxes are great for Netflix. I use a Microsoft keyboard and mouse. I happen to think that Microsoft Windows on the desktop is here to stay, even with the incredible drag it puts on businesses with malware problems, poor performance and high cost. I do not, however, think that “the desktop” is here to stay, as a metaphor for people to do their business, and I look forward to Microsoft’s stranglehold on their clients breaking with some Next Big Thing. Off the desktop, I really don’t see Microsoft having contributed that much to the state of computing through their many (many, many) acquisitions. I prefer other brands for networking, server OSes, database servers, programming languages and technologies, not through some blind hatred as much as hard-earned experience. But that’s off-topic…

[The poster who tripped Godwin’s Law…] ‘s post doesn’t have much to do with the topic of the thread, Linux, and is a really offensive comparison to some of us. Hitler and Naziism was one of the most horrific incidents of modern history and to minimize it by comparing it to shiny overpriced phones dehumanizes us all. Gates is not Idi Amin. The cellphone landscape does not resemble Dafur. Let’s get some perspective here, people.

There’s a difference between policing a thread, trying to manage to stay on topic, and censorship. I invoked Godwin’s Law to point out that the thread has likely run its course. You’re free to say what you want. I’m free to point out you’re off-topic.

So, if you want to keep on-topic on the “Linux Desktop Thread” I have some insight and informed opinions on the matter, having run Linux as my desktop for six years now, supporting a half-dozen clients with LAMP boxes in their offices, and developed some dozen or more LAMP applications. If you want to go off-kilter onto iPhones and Google as “liars and thieves,” why don’t you go start your own thread?

(Full disclosure: as I’ve mentioned before [blog.tedroche.com/disclaimers], I purchased a tiny bit of Apple stock a long time ago. It’s now worth a lot more than I paid for it, through no fault nor skill of mine. I also own tiny bits of Red Hat, HP and Microsoft. They’re still tiny. I don’t think this influences my opinion all that much, but I let my possible biases be known.)

ManchLUG, 25-Jan-2011, Marc Nozell and Sheeva Plug, Kenta Koga with Boxee and Kinect

Seventeen people attended last night’s meeting, held at Wings Your Way on Elm Street in Manchester. A good time was had by all. There was no dearth of conversation, whether on-topic or dissing Perl.
Marc Nozell brought a Sheeva Plug to show us the tiny computer. Marc has owned it for a couple of years and uses it as his in-house file sharing server. The Sheeva came with an older Ubuntu installed, he has used a couple of different Debian installations. It’s an ARM-based processor, has 512 Kb Flash and 512 Kb RAM. It has an MMC slot that supports Compact Flash, and that’s typically where Marc keeps his OS. The box also has USB and Ethernet connections, so it can host external drives via a powered USB hub and have a network presence. Marc passed it around and there were a fair number of questions on installation and configuration and file system choices.
Kenta brought his Mac to show Boxee, an application based on XBMC (originally, XBox Media Center, but its evolved to be more hardware-generic). Kenta talked and demonstrated how Boxee could show his social media feeds, NetFlix, Hulu, YouTube and more. It’s a pretty slick application for the next generation of media centers. We talked about some of the hardware available, proprietary and not, and the evolution of the media space.
Kenta also brought a Microsoft Kinect and showed how he had hacked it to work on his Mac. We talked about some of the new immersive and interactive technologies out there.
Thanks to Kenta (and Chip Marshall) for organizing and announcing the meeting, to Wings Your Way for the fine facilities, and to Marc for his presentation, and to all for attending and participating!

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.