Skip to content
Welcome guest. | Register | Login | Add
About | Wiki | Legacy

CNR.com

12 replies [Last post]
memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 2 days 7 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12

It looks like Linspire is putting the plan of "World Domination 201" document in motion with CNR.com.

Press release
FAQ
Screenshots

So they will soon offer a central place for the most popular GNU/Linux distribution users to download, install and update their software from. Everything will be synced to distro's official RPM and DEB repositories and apparently work like a charm. Technically speaking I can't say I'm not excited about the whole thing.

I mean, even my sisters will be able to dead easily install software on their Ubuntu system with this. All I have to do is tell them to go to CNR.com, surf around looking at screenshots, descriptions and click "install now" when they want to get it. It simply cannot get any easier than this.

Why do I see it as WD201 put in motion? Well, at the end of the document Linspire is specifically named as the company that has a position to play a role of legally bringing to GNU/Linux the stuff that it needs to dominate, stuff not available as Free Software (codecs, drivers mostly). CNR will be the channel through which this stuff will be delivered and it will be available not on one distro, but all major RPM and DEB distros. To me it seems quite clear the direction this is taking.

Now, of course, there is that old and important controversial question of whether including this proprietary software is good. I'm sure that many will reject to use CNR (even if their distro supports it) simply not to show support for a system which, among Free Software, installs non-free. I also don't yet know what to think about the fact that Linspire will obviously advertise proprietary software that they will also sell through CNR. They call it "commercial" and promote it by saying that this is what will be paying for this free CNR service. See a problem?

As much as I can agree with WD201 strategy of a *temporary compromise* to gain world changing power of world domination I don't necessarily agree with it being implemented in a way that will so prominently promote even proprietary software that is *not so essential* for World Domination.

I can only hope that while Linspire is helping GNU/Linux reach World Domination through CNR delivery service it will also work on and actively support development of Free Software for things for which proprietary software is needed today. But damn, they are to sell proprietary DVD players through CNR, something we've been having as Free Software for a long time. They're not providing only legal codecs.

That makes me wish to have a word with ESR like "this is NOT what the WD201 deal was about". :\

What are your opinions?

__________________

Daniel Memenode signature

User offline. Last seen 7 years 17 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-09-18
Nice, but ...

/me takes out his agreefest hat

Now, seriously, authors of WD201 also wrote about the need for organization that will help free software in this way to step down when it does its job, because such company could easily become one point of control of GNU/Linux and because the plan is to ultimately replace all those proprietary formats that we need CNR to provide codecs for and all those proprietary apps with open formats and free software.

In the scenario of GNU/Linux reaching world domination with the help of CNR, CNR could become one of the most profitable software services on the net. I imagine it being pretty hard to step down from that position in the name of freedom, and if Linspire doesn't step down to make room for free software then this temporary compromise might not be so temporary after all. We could end up with the biggest piece of the cake, but it might not taste so sweet for some of us.

As you see, I am pretty sceptical about the whole thing, because Linspire is a commercial entity that could find itself practically in a position of monopoly, and we know how that looks.

User offline. Last seen 5 years 4 weeks ago. Offline
Moderator
Joined: 2005-05-29
Linspire is not trustworthy.

Linspire is just another nonfree software buisness. You can't share Linspire with everyone; it has an EULA that you have to agree to when you install it; it includes nonfree software which there are perfectly fine free replacements for, like Adobe PDF Reader; the default user on Linspire is root (Wtf? Do they hope Linspire becomes insecure so they can sell a nonfree antivirus program or something?); and worst of all, they make their crap look good by boasting it supports nonfree software, when it owes its existence to free software.

__________________

idontknowctmwhatsthepointofcapitallettersorspacesorpunctuation

User offline. Last seen 6 years 1 week ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-08-23
libervisco wrote: But damn,
libervisco wrote:

But damn, they are to sell proprietary DVD players through CNR, something we've been having as Free Software for a long time. They're not providing only legal codecs.

DVDs have a braindead DRM thing called CSS, which is supposed to make sure you can't play DVDs you bought in your vacation on another continent. Free software DVD players use a library called deCSS to break this DRM, which makes them "illegal". Unfortunately, Linspire is 100% right to sell proprietary DVD players through CNR.

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 2 days 7 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
stojic wrote: In the
stojic wrote:

In the scenario of GNU/Linux reaching world domination with the help of CNR, CNR could become one of the most profitable software services on the net. I imagine it being pretty hard to step down from that position in the name of freedom, and if Linspire doesn't step down to make room for free software then this temporary compromise might not be so temporary after all. We could end up with the biggest piece of the cake, but it might not taste so sweet for some of us.

I can well imagine such a scenario. Even though CNR is completely optional and no-one is forced to use it instead of synaptic or whatever other package management tool you have on your distro the problem is that it looks like CNR.com will be used by the masses who switch to GNU/Linux. So even if some of us refuse to use CNR.com, our by-standing would do little good in the whole situation. We'd simply be ignored.

The problem is how to create a non-profit corporation to get the legal stuff. How to fund it and put it in a position in which it can make such deals to legalize these things we temporarily need? If non-profit can't do it, then only a for-profit can, which brings us back to the problem of stepping down. Probably the best thing Linspire could do is to make CNR.com a non-profit foundation dedicated to the cause presented in WD201, but something tells me that wont be the case.

stojic wrote:

As you see, I am pretty sceptical about the whole thing, because Linspire is a commercial entity that could find itself practically in a position of monopoly, and we know how that looks.

Their position may become dominant in GNU/Linux software distribution services market and due to them promoting proprietary software that is bad. Still, I don't think it would be akin to a monopoly since there is little chance for the kind of lock in that Microsoft has for its users. So not exactly a monopoly, but a bit problematic still. It is problematic in that it could stir a new kind of proprietary software market where some portions of the new GNU/Linux userbase content with the idea of proprietary software could decide to make new proprietary programs in order to sell it through CNR and get some profit.

So in a way, we'd get an increase of the amount of proprietary software on GNU/Linux rather than a decrease.

tbuitenh wrote:

DVDs have a braindead DRM thing called CSS, which is supposed to make sure you can't play DVDs you bought in your vacation on another continent. Free software DVD players use a library called deCSS to break this DRM, which makes them "illegal". Unfortunately, Linspire is 100% right to sell proprietary DVD players through CNR.

Alright about DVDs.. but, as a_thing said:

a_thing wrote:

it includes nonfree software which there are perfectly fine free replacements for, like Adobe PDF Reader; the default user on Linspire is root (Wtf? Do they hope Linspire becomes insecure so they can sell a nonfree antivirus program or something?); and worst of all, they make their crap look good by boasting it supports nonfree software, when it owes its existence to free software.

And they'll be including such non-essential stuff in CNR.com for sale as well.

__________________

Daniel Memenode signature

Anonymous
> So in a way, we'd get an

> So in a way, we'd get an increase of the amount of proprietary software on
> GNU/Linux rather than a decrease.

Is that the real problem? Because somebody offering Turbo Tax or World of Warcraft for Linux really doesn't strike me as a _bad_ thing, and you're not going to see free versions of either of those any time soon. (In the case of WoW it's a montly for-profit subscription service with a multi-million dollar monthly bandwidth bill, and in the case of Turbo Tax you have to have a large legal and accounting staff to come out with each year's version because they keep changing tax law. Neither of these lends itself to open source.)

Are you saying that people who want to subscribe to an online game or do their taxes shouldn't use Linux? Keep a second computer around for that stuff? Because then occam's razor kicks in and people try to do everything on one machine, and if there's stuff we can't do, we aren't that machine.

We shouldn't REQUIRE anything proprietary to make Linux work. But how is taking away the _option_ increasing freedom?

If you back up and think about it, what pisses people off is when we create derived works that are partially owned by somebody else. If I write a word proessing document using a proprietary word processor, and it can only be updated or viewed or printed using that word processor, then somebody else owns the document I wrote. They an charge a toll for myself and others to access my document. That's annoying. I shouldn't require anybody's permission to use my own files on my own computer. And I should be able to OWN things rather than eternally renting them. Richard Stallman's ego aside, sneaky nebulous ownership claims are fundamentally annoying.

Leaf nodes, people don't mind so much. If there's no derived work (most games) and use of the thing is optional, the proprietary nature of the thing isn't really that annoying. You can take it or leave it. Some things are a packaged one-time-use service (ala tax software, which is an alternative to going to an accountant and is fire and forget anyway, you file using it exactly once, and what you keep for your records is probably a printout, not the disks). It would be nice if accountant/lawyer/ninja Tax Monks made good free software to do this, re-certified by the IRS every year. And it would be nice to have a pony. Not holding my breath.

World of Warcraft is a game, and the characters only exist on their servers so everybody's clear what the relationship is. There's nothing sneaky or nebulous about it. Stop paying the WoW bill, the characters go poof. Who CARES about the software you use for this? (I admit it'd be nice to run it on an arm processor, but it's not exactly a priority in my life at this time.)

In the case of proprietary drivers: I bought some hardware and the OS is a free download. The driver cost is essentially part of the hardware, but needing PERMISSION to upgrade my os (oh, we don't have a new version of that driver yet) is obnoxious.

With decss: I bought a DVD player and I bought (or rented) a DVD and I should not need any other permission to play the damn thing, and building "region coding" into the process should be ILLEGAL and the fact it isn't means our congress is screwed up and we need to recruit a lot of warm bodies to vote to unscrew it and Stallman's "temper tantrum your way to victory" approach ain't gonna do that for us within my lifetime.

The open source guys aren't telling anyone they have to earn the right to use our stuff. We're not saying the benefits of this are enlightenment in a monastery, or that if you don't agree with us you're a bad person. We're saying "there is a better way" and then demonstrating the "better". This doesn't mean that the next step is the BEST way, it means we know how to get there from here.

It's not that "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" is annoying, it's the people who bitch that if your foot touches the ground between here and your destination, A) it's now dirty, B) it must mean you're stopping here. The people who hold these views are seldom the ones making any actual progress towards our shared goals.

Rob

Anonymous
P.S. I still haven't got an

P.S. I still haven't got an account here. Smiling

Rob Landley

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 2 days 7 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
Quote: > So in a way, we'd
Quote:

> So in a way, we'd get an increase of the amount of proprietary software on
> GNU/Linux rather than a decrease.

Is that the real problem?

Yes it is a problem if this new proprietary software is actually redundant since free equivalents exist and work very well. It may not be considered a problem by someone who believes proprietary software are not an ethical problem, but that's not me.

Quote:

Because somebody offering Turbo Tax or World of Warcraft for Linux really doesn't strike me as a _bad_ thing, and you're not going to see free versions of either of those any time soon.

Exactly, there are no free versions, which is why using Turbo Tax or WoW as examples of why would more proprietary software on GNU/Linux be a good thing is besides the point. I am mainly concerned about proprietary software for which there *are* alternatives, being increasingly pushed to the GNU/Linux crowd, which may be an effect of the CNR.com.

Quote:

(In the case of WoW it's a montly for-profit subscription service with a multi-million dollar monthly bandwidth bill, and in the case of Turbo Tax you have to have a large legal and accounting staff to come out with each year's version because they keep changing tax law. Neither of these lends itself to open source.)

You seem to be saying that in order to justify those programs being non-free, but I'm not so sure about that. Does selling restrictive licenses have to be the *only* way these firms can cover their costs?

Btw, I don't have a problem with WoW selling monthly subscription services for access to their official servers. I do have a problem with proprietary WoW clients though.

Quote:

Are you saying that people who want to subscribe to an online game or do their taxes shouldn't use Linux? Keep a second computer around for that stuff?

Of course not. You are describing a problem, a lack of these kinds of programs on GNU/Linux, and suggesting porting existing proprietary applications to GNU/Linux to solve this problem. However, I think that this is just a temporary patch (in order to get people to stick with GNU/Linux), not a whole solution, because the whole solution is to have Free Software which allows for accounting and playing a massive multiplayer game like WoW (not that I think WoW is absolutely mandatory).

Quote:

We shouldn't REQUIRE anything proprietary to make Linux work. But how is taking away the _option_ increasing freedom?

We can't take away options which do not exist yet anyway. If you are, by that sentence, arguing in favor of making these proprietary applications available for GNU/Linux then you are arguing for the *introduction* of these options, not their *preservation* as you seem to imply.

Now how is not introducing this option increasing freedom? It doesn't. But it doesn't solve the whole problem either.

What I am most afraid of is that we start taking these proprietary compromises as final solutions, which they are not. This reflects on my main point as well; is world domination the final goal or is the goal freedom for *everybody*? If the goal is the latter, then if you have to make compromises to reach it, you can't settle for these compromises as if they fixed the problem. A compromise is a compromise to your final goal (that's why it is a "compromise") and hence has to be removed if you want your achievement to be complete and your goal reached.

Quote:

Leaf nodes, people don't mind so much. If there's no derived work (most games) and use of the thing is optional, the proprietary nature of the thing isn't really that annoying. You can take it or leave it. Some things are a packaged one-time-use service (ala tax software, which is an alternative to going to an accountant and is fire and forget anyway, you file using it exactly once, and what you keep for your records is probably a printout, not the disks). It would be nice if accountant/lawyer/ninja Tax Monks made good free software to do this, re-certified by the IRS every year. And it would be nice to have a pony. Not holding my breath.

I don't think the annoyance scale is the best way to judge everything. Smiling

I also don't think you can, in one paragraph there, with absolute plausibility claim that no-one will have any other uses for these types of software than what you describe, that they really wont benefit from the four freedoms and the availability of the source code. What about innovation, for example? Making a better accounting program without having to reinvent the mundane "wheels" of the old one? How about making a better game without having to rewrite the code that's already been written in the other one?

Free Software is not just about removing every day annoyances.

Quote:

The open source guys aren't telling anyone they have to earn the right to use our stuff. We're not saying the benefits of this are enlightenment in a monastery, or that if you don't agree with us you're a bad person. We're saying "there is a better way" and then demonstrating the "better". This doesn't mean that the next step is the BEST way, it means we know how to get there from here.

You know, I agree with you here. I smell some weird implications though, which I believe are actually coming from misunderstanding. I might be wrong, but you seem to imply that the FS guys (maybe like me Eye ) are the ones telling people they have to earn the right to use our stuff or that benefits are "enlightenment in a monastery". If you really think that this is what FSF is doing then you're simply confused. But.. let's suppose that's not what you meant. Smiling

Quote:

It's not that "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" is annoying, it's the people who bitch that if your foot touches the ground between here and your destination, A) it's now dirty, B) it must mean you're stopping here. The people who hold these views are seldom the ones making any actual progress towards our shared goals.

That's a good point. Making sure that we really don't stop at these first steps is the hard part though. Sure you can make some compromises and sure GNU/Linux as an OS platform may end up being a dominant system for it, but is that the end of the road?

That is the question everyone should be asking themselves when thinking about this whole "world domination" scheme. Just what is your goal, prevalence of freedom or prevalence of a yet another OS. If it is the former then you will not settle for a 97% Free OS and a market tainted by proprietary software.

The true goal is the world domination of freedom, not the world domination of an OS, at least as far as I'm concerned.

And btw, you can easily create an account on Libervis.com here: http://www.libervis.com/user/register

Cheers
Danijel

__________________

Daniel Memenode signature

User offline. Last seen 6 years 1 week ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-08-23
bad examples
Rob wrote:

offering Turbo Tax or World of Warcraft for Linux really doesn't strike me as a _bad_ thing, and you're not going to see free versions of either of those any time soon. (In the case of WoW it's a montly for-profit subscription service with a multi-million dollar monthly bandwidth bill, and in the case of Turbo Tax you have to have a large legal and accounting staff to come out with each year's version because they keep changing tax law. Neither of these lends itself to open source.)

If the source of income is users paying for access to a server (rather than paying for licenses to the client software), there is no reason at all to make the client software proprietary. If some cracker really wants to cheat (and then sell the results of the cheat for lots of real world money), they're going to create a modified client anyway, source or no source. Security by obscurity doesn't work.
On the other hand the person with an unsupported OS or video card who likes to work on games isn't going to bother trying to adapt the client if there is no source.

As for Turbo Tax, one could let users pay for certified versions: "If you use one of these versions, we guarantee you won't get trouble with the IRS if the data you entered was correct. If you use a modified version, you're on your own."

Over here we have different problem: the tax software is created by our equivalent of the IRS, and creates a floppy you can mail to them, or sends the data to them through a direct modem connection, or (I'm not sure about that one) through the internet. I think there is a Linux version now, it would be a problem if there wasn't and filing taxes on paper wouldn't be allowed anymore at some point in the future.

User offline. Last seen 6 years 36 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-03-07
CNR.com - A Perversion of WD 201
libervisco wrote:

I also don't yet know what to think about the fact that Linspire will obviously advertise proprietary software that they will also sell through CNR. They call it "commercial" and promote it by saying that this is what will be paying for this free CNR service. See a problem?

Are you kidding? :-) The problem is that CNR.com depends on selling proprietary software - it's just a proprietary software business model with FOSS used to entice potential customers.

The impression I get is that Linspire saw WD 201 as an opportunity to sell proprietary software to Linux users at the same time as attracting more potential customers into that market. It's a perversion of WD 201, and I think ESR's being rather naive if he doesn't see that. As a thing said, "Linspire is not trustworthy."

__________________

Live Free Or Die

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 2 days 7 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
Well I'm glad we agree. It

Well I'm glad we agree. Smiling

It is a perversion of WD 201 indeed. The doubt I expressed in another thread is does ESR even care? He doesn't seem to worried about proliferation of proprietary software on GNU/Linux. Also don't forget (what we've been unaware off through this particular thread) that Rob Landley wrote most of WD201 and he seems a bit more level headed than ESR.

__________________

Daniel Memenode signature

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.