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[aprssig] PSKMail Live CD

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Wed Dec 20 16:01:46 UTC 2006


On Dec 20, 2006, at 9:54 AM, Stephen Brown Jr wrote:

> >To accuse someone of playing God with their own invention is  
> grossly unfair.
>
> How so? I respectfully disagree. That is exactly what they are  
> doing with this system, playing "god" There are no other systems  
> out there than can accomplish what theirs can (not yet anyhow),  
> therefore we are forced to use their proprietary closed system and  
> they decide who becomes a PMBO or not and if you meet their "criteria"

No, you aren't forced to use their system. You can go out and develop  
your own system! (This seems to be exactly what PSKMail did.)  The  
creators of WinLink have an absolute right to decide who can play in  
their sandbox. Perhaps they turned your friend down because there  
were enough PMBO's in his region, perhaps his gear wasn't good  
enough, perhaps they didn't like his attitude, or his name, or  
anything else. Whatever the reason, they created the technology and  
have a right to use it as they choose. Just because something is  
useful or fun or the best doesn't mean anyone can use it.
>
> To make matters worse, they told one of my friends that he could  
> come online as a backup PMBO and that they would need remote access  
> to his radio/computer equipment and can bring it up and down at  
> will. As you can imagine, that went over real well with him as I'm  
> sure it would anyone.  How is that not playing god?

It sounds like they decided his area was adequately covered. In this  
way, it is just like an IGate. You can have too many IGates in a  
region, since each generates traffic on RF when IGating messages from  
the internet to RF. If you have 20 IGates, when an internet message  
is sent to a local RF user, you get 20 copies on 144.39. This is bad,  
and it would handled at the local level, only because there is no way  
to know this is a problem from the internet side. WinLink has a  
limited number of frequencies, and being HF, propagation means the  
frequency cannot be reused in every city the way 144.39 is. They made  
a decision based on what is best for their system.
>
> > When one produces a new technology, one should have the right
> > to develop it any way one wishes. One very valid way as you advocate
> > is to allow anyone to use and modify it. An equally valid way is to
> > maintain control of the technology and strive for the best quality
> > and a high level of service and utility.
>
> I agree with you on that. However, why should we as end users and  
> others that want to create their own systems be at the mercy of  
> those that simply think their system is the best and should become  
> the defacto standard!!??

Their system isn't the defacto standard because they _think_ it is  
the best. If there is something better, people will use it (absent  
superior marketing or some other confounding factor). There certainly  
is the getting there first factor, where the first implementation  
makes it less likely others will compete, but it certain stops no one  
from creating something better.

> My point is that just because someone develops a system doesn't  
> mean that their way is the best way, that is the beauty of open  
> source.

That is also the Achilles Heel of open source. Unless there is a  
strong manager and a shared vision, open source projects often look  
like a bunch of disjointed pieces thrown together. It is the reason  
desktop Linux will never compete with Windows and MacOS. Most people  
don't want a system with a choice of 20 different configurable window  
managers, they want one that just works.

I'm certainly not against open-source, findU relies heavily upon it.  
I've never changed a line of other open source code though. findU  
could be built with commercial tools just as easily, though at  
greater expense. That is the way the vast majority of people act,  
they use the free-as-in-beer aspect a lot more than they use the free- 
as-in-speech aspect of open source.

> People fix and patch things in the open source community all the  
> time and are able to do so because the source code is available to  
> anyone who wants to see it or modify it.

Yet even now, with xastir being out for many years, most people  
prefer one of the closed source implementations. Why is that? It  
certainly isn't marketing, every time someone says "how do I do this  
in UI View?" you can count on one of the xastir developers saying  
"this is how you do it in xastir"! If open source always resulted in  
superior products, you would think the xastir market share would be  
bigger by now...
>
> > Taking away my right to make this choice has a name, communism!
>
> You still have a right to make that choice. No one is debating the  
> ability to do that, thank god we live in America were we are  
> afforded the oppurtunity to do that. The center of debate from my  
> angle lies within a free versus non-free system and I'm not talking  
> about money. I'm talking about freedom of choice and innovation.

You are saying that WinLink developers should not be allowed to make  
decisions based on what the developers think is best for their  
system. You seem to want to take the intellectual property they  
created and own, and turn it over to the people because it is useful.  
How is this different from communism???
>
> I am a very big open source zealot and use FOSS daily, not because  
> it doesn't cost anything, but because of the ideology behind it and  
> the people that support it.

And you have every right to do so. You also have the right to say  
almost anything, including to accuse people of playing God, but I  
stand by my statement that doing so in this case is grossly unfair.

Suppose someone spent $8000 on a server of the caliber findU uses  
(that is really what they cost). Do you really think I should make  
them a www.findu.com server just because they say they want to and  
have spent some money? findU is a defacto standard in large part  
because I spend a LOT of time making sure I provide a high level of  
service. If someone else were running a server, I could not guarantee  
the level of service my users have come to expect. Why should I not  
be free to make decisions based on what I think it best for findU?  
Why should the WinLink creators not have the same freedom?

Steve K4HG





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