743: Infrastructures

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The heartfelt tune it plays is CC licensed, and you can get it from my seed on JoinDiaspora.net whenever that project gets going.
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.

[edit] Explanation

Cueball has sent an essay to a fellow. While the essay itself was good, his fellow was worried because the essay was in a .doc format, the proprietary format that old versions of Microsoft Word used [compared to the newer .docx format (circa 2007)]. The fellow advises Cueball to use a format based on an open standard (one example being the ODF format (file extensions .odt, .ods, .odp, etc.) used in OpenOffice and LibreOffice, both free software (referring to freedom, not price)). However, Cueball, who does not appreciate the fellow's ideology, argued that the fellow 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 open-source software tend to lack the familiarity, features, support and reach of their proprietary variants, not working with proprietary formats in extreme cases, Cueball has *some* justification for his stance.

The bearded fellow brings up that he is just concerned at the current proprietary software infrastructure that forces users to use software in a specific way, penalizing them for sharing the software or even looking at the source code in order to learn how the program works so nicely or even how to code nicely in the first place. Cueball makes a retort that his fellow 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 fellow clamoring about Facebook's heavy policies about its complete control about the information its users submit. Since both, Microsoft and Facebook, have a lack of transparency about their services and take away a lot of control from the user, the fellow retorts with playing "the world's tiniest open-source violin." While "playing the world's smallest violin" is a sarcastic expression that denotes that the speaker will not give pity to the recipient, the title text reveals that the fellow does have actual violin software available for torrent.

The title text references the following services that are compatible with the "free software" ideology:

Creative Commons licenses use existing copyright law to permit someone to share a work (in this case, a song) anywhere if the sharer attributes credit to the creator of the work. There are also options for allowing modification, derivative works, and commercial usage.
The "seed" to which the fellow mentioned is a reference to Torrenting, an infrastructure that allows users to host the files others download. Essentially, the user packs a( set of) file(s) in a torrent file then "seeds" the torrent file using a program made for torrenting (for example, uTorrent, the "seeder"'s computer essentially turning into a server. People who want to download the files would download the associated torrent file, use a torrenting program, and "leech" the file. After the file(s) inside the torrent file is downloaded, the "leechers" can "seed" the file so that more people can download the file in turn. Since the user is in control of the upload and download, torrenting is an option of choice for those in support of free software.
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 his information is used. (There is a bit of irony here, since Cueball went to the fellow due to his own problems with how Facebook handled his information.)

[edit] Transcript

[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.
Comment.png add a comment!


The link inside "arrogance that crowds out perspective" is merely an example of a situation in which someone with the same ideology that Cueball has can declare that proponents of free software have arrogance instead of perspective. Greyson (talk) 14:23, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

How do we know that professor is going to do anything with the document other than read it? I remember electronic submission back in the Word 6 era (and probably earlier) as a direct replacement to handing over pieces of paper. Doesn't affect the joke, but is rather an unsubstantiated and unnecessary part of the explanation. 00:02, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

This could use some serious style editing. I have a bad habit of using parentheses, and find that forcing myself not to use them can actually improve my writing (kowabunga! - oh shit). Whoever put in the large parenthetical expressions here may need to learn that as well. Or learn LISP, where they'll realize that parentheses are not always your friends. --Quicksilver (talk) 02:13, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

This seems a bit painted to me, sure its a comic in favor of open source but the explanation doesn't have to sound like it was written by a snob. --Lackadaisical (talk) 23:22, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
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