Friday, February 21, 2020
The Road To Serfdom, And The Train To Freedom
SiG's got a great post on how software licensing is creeping into everything, including high-end items (cars, tractors, and all "your" stuff), and making slaves of nominal "owners".
Like much of the march of progress (and chaos) this is going to take lawsuits to fix.
People are going to have to sue to force hardware manufacturers to assume the cost of upgrading, for example, a PC, when it is no longer capable of handling the operating updates.
It's going to have to be turned back around on them.
When Ma Bell owned the phone system, the phones were built like brick sh*thouses, to last 100 years of heavy-duty use. The onus to upgrade them was on Ma Bell, not you.
Alternatively, people will have to revolt: if my PC/car/gadget can be turned on and off, downgraded, etc., then the maker is going to have to eat 90% of the costs for it up front, as it's no longer "mine".
I'll happily pay $20/year to rent their machine, and they can do what they like with it.
If they're not willing to do that, and take the hit on not collecting revenue up front, someone else will build machines that will run actual open-source software, and run existing computer and software companies out of business, exactly as happened to music companies, as is happening to movie and television production studios.
Boilerplate "licensing" agreements aren't worth the signatures they're not signed with, and it's going to take some nuclear lawsuits to make that point in court, but it's inevitable. And it's happened before.
Precedent: how Thomas Edison killed the NJ movie industry, and cut his own throat
Back in the day, Edison & Co. tried to shake down everyone making a movie as someone who owed him a cut of the action, since he'd invented the camera and the manufacturing rights for the projector, and NY/NJ courts and judges, in Edison's pocket, upheld that idea. I should point out that typical "Joisy" tactics were employed to enforce this racket. (Click the link and watch the video, it's a great short explanation of what really historically happened.)
So half a dozen young gentleman of primarily Ashkenazi heritage realized that if they were going to make movies, they'd have to get out from under Edison's thumb, and they hopped the train westward. They arrived in Phoenix the one day it was raining in months, so they continued on to Union Station, in Los Angeles, and decided that was the perfect place to make movies.
Edison's stranglehold on the technology was eventually broken, and the rest is history. Literally.
The next train hopped will be metaphorical, but somebody (or a lot of them) are going to do with software and the internet of my things, what guys named Laemmle, Fox, Zucker, Mayer, Thalberg, etc. did with motion pictures: break them out of serfdom.
Mark my words.
People will be free, and they will own their possessions outright. You can't stop the signal.