743: Infrastructures

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(add diaspora seed description to replace torrent seed description (which I moved to the talk section) clarify sw vs tune; copyedit, avoid overstatement of what this comic is about)
(add reference for .doc and avoid impression that docx (ooxml) is much better than .doc - too complicated an argument to have here....)
 
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==Explanation==
 
==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 {{w|Proprietary Software|proprietary format}} that old versions of {{w|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 much cleaner, internationally standardized ODF format (file extensions <code>.odt</code>, <code>.ods</code>, <code>.odp</code>, etc.) used in {{w|OpenOffice}} and {{w|LibreOffice}}, both {{w|free software}} ([http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html/ 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 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.
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[[Cueball]] has sent an essay to a fellow. While the essay itself was good, his fellow was worried because the essay was in the {{w|Doc (computing)|.doc}} format, the {{w|Proprietary Software|proprietary format}} that old versions of {{w|Microsoft Word}} used. The fellow advises Cueball to use a format based on an open standard.  He presumably is thinking of the much cleaner, internationally standardized ODF format (file extensions <code>.odt</code>, <code>.ods</code>, <code>.odp</code>, etc.) used in {{w|OpenOffice}} and {{w|LibreOffice}}, which are both {{w|free software}} ([http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html/ 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 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 fellow has [http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html an arrogance that crowds out his perspective] while claiming that he is {{w|Autism|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.)
 
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 fellow has [http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html an arrogance that crowds out his perspective] while claiming that he is {{w|Autism|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.)

Latest revision as of 17:31, 5 July 2014

Infrastructures
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 the .doc format, the proprietary format that old versions of Microsoft Word used. The fellow advises Cueball to use a format based on an open standard. He presumably is thinking of the much cleaner, internationally standardized ODF format (file extensions .odt, .ods, .odp, etc.) used in OpenOffice and LibreOffice, which are 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 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 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, 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.

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.

[edit] Transcript

2003:
[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.
2010:
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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Discussion

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. 178.98.192.132 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)

Diaspora seed
a personal web server that stores all of your information and shares it with your friends

"Seed" is not used in the torrent sense (of a running client, seeding a file to other clients), but as a "personal web server that stores all of your information and shares it with your friends" via the http protocol. See [1] and [2]. Here is the text I replaced:

The "seed" to which the fellow mentioned is a reference to the BitTorrent protocol, an infrastructure that allows users to share files for others to download directly from them (rather than from a server). Essentially, the user packs a description of the files in a torrent file, then "seeds" the torrent file using a program made for torrenting (for example, μTorrent). People who want to download the files would first download the corresponding torrent file, and open it in a torrenting program to "leech" (download) the original files. After the files referred by the torrent file are downloaded, the "leechers" can "seed" them too, so that more people can download the files from them 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.
Nealmcb (talk) 16:46, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
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