Title text: The heartfelt tune it plays is CC licensed, and you can get it from my seed on JoinDiaspora.net whenever that project gets going.
Cueball has sent an essay to a friend. While the essay itself was good, his friend was worried because the essay was in the .doc format, the proprietary format that old versions of Microsoft Word used. The friend advises Cueball to use a format based on an open standard. He may thinking of the ODF format (file extensions
.odp, etc.) used in OpenOffice and LibreOffice, which are both free software. ODF was not standardised until 2005, but was based on OpenOffice XML which has existed since about 2000, and there were other open markup languages such as Docbook, LaTeX and HTML.
Cueball, who does not appreciate his friend's contradicting him, argued that the friend is making petty fights about the details of software instead of simply bothering that the software works (which is, in essence, a primordial purpose of software). Given that it can be a challenge to move from a familiar proprietary application to an open-source rival which may lack compatibility, features, support and popularity, Cueball has *some* justification for his stance.
The bearded fellow brings up that he is just concerned about the current proprietary software infrastructure that forces users to use software in a specific way, penalizing them for sharing the software or even preventing looking at the source code in order to learn what the program actually does or how it works. Cueball makes a retort that his friend has an arrogance that crowds out his perspective while claiming that he is autistic. (Autistic people do have a tendency to have intense fixations to things, even things that other people would find mundane or even odd. They also tend to have trouble knowing the problems of the world outside of themselves, having them lack perspective of things at times. Even so, Cueball's remark suggests that he thinks that "autistic" is just another word for "retarded" which is another word for "stupid", a double-fallacy.)
Seven years later, Cueball runs to the friend, alarmed about Facebook's heavy policies about its complete control about the information its users submit. Since Facebook is like Microsoft in its lack of transparency about their services and taking away a lot of control from the user, the fellow retorts with playing "the world's tiniest open-source violin." This is dubious since "playing the world's smallest violin" is a sarcastic expression that denotes that the speaker will not give pity to the recipient.
In response to this comic people released 3d printer specifications for tiny violins, as open source files. This one was designed by Allan Ecker.
The title text references the following pieces of infrastructure that are compatible with the "free software" ideology:
- Creative Commons licenses (CC licensed) use existing copyright law to permit someone to share a creative work anywhere so long as the sharer attributes credit to the creator of the work. The particular CC license chosen may also allow for modification, derivative works, and/or commercial usage. The fellow's phrase "you can get it" in the title text is ambiguous: is he offering to share the code for the violin, or the tune that the violin plays? But since CC licenses are not used for software, we can assume "it" refers to the tune: either an audio recording of it, or perhaps source material from which to make modified versions.
- joindiaspora.com (formerly joindiaspora.net) is the central host of Diaspora*, an open-source alternative to Facebook which puts the user in control of how their information is used. Of course this sort of use of Diaspora would eliminate Cueball's concern over how Facebook handled his information.
- a Diaspora "seed" is a personal web server that interacts in a Diaspora "pod" of servers. It stores all of your information (such as the tune in this case) and shares it with your friends, in a way that respects your preferences around privacy, etc.
The problem with the lack of open source and Facebook is also the subject of 1390: Research Ethics.
- [Cueball approaches a bearded fellow.]
- Cueball: Did you get my essay?
- Bearded Fellow: Yeah, it was good! But it was a .doc; You should really use a more open-
- Cueball: Give it a rest already. Maybe we just want to live our lives and use software that works, not get wrapped up in your stupid nerd turf wars.
- Bearded Fellow: I just want people to care about the infrastructures we're building and who-
- Cueball: No, you just want to feel smugly superior. You have no sense of perspective and are probably autistic.
- Cueball: Oh my God! We handed control of our social world to Facebook and they're DOING EVIL STUFF!
- Bearded Fellow: Do you see this?
- [Inset, the bearded fellow rubs his index and middle fingers against his thumb.]
- Bearded Fellow: It's the world's tiniest open-source violin.
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