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Stallman On the UK Digital Economy Bill 228

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-bits-for-you dept.
superapecommando submitted a blog entry written by Stallman about the UK's bandwidth initiatives. RMS says "When I read about Gordon Brown's plan to give the UK more broadband, I couldn't restrain my laughter. Isn't this the same clown now busy circumventing democracy to take away broadband from Britons who already have it? And what good would broadband do them if they're punished for using it (or even being suspected of using it)? Laying cables would be a waste of resources if people are not allowed to use them. Brown did suggest another possible use for broadband. He said that it would enable MPs to better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want."
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Stallman On the UK Digital Economy Bill

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  • by RMH101 (636144) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:02AM (#31746956)
    ...it's so Peter Mandelson can hand a nice, fat-profit-inducing mess over to Murdoch and the big media companies. Crack down on things they see as threatening their revenue stream, and give people a big fat pipe from which to slurp premium content. In return, maybe there'll be some favourable coverage in the media of Labour in the run up to the election on May 6th.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sznupi (719324)

      Hm, and it might give a nice backbone for massive enlargement of street cameras network?

      • To enable the surveillance telescreens promised us with such fanfare by Orwell in 1984. Cameras on the street really don't do the job.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      or maybe the security cameras need broadband. and the traffic sensors that read the rfid in your tires to track you. When they say it's to keep better track of the voters they're probably telling (part of) the truth.

    • by speculatrix (678524) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:45AM (#31747366)
      when politicians quit or get thrown out, they like to sign up a few well-paid directorships, so "oiling a few door hinges" beforehand pays dividends in the long run when they come to knock on those doors.
      • by AGMW (594303)

        ... "oiling a few door hinges" ...

        Well if there's any oiling to be done then Lord Mandlemort/Voldeson is the man for the job!

    • by jez9999 (618189)

      Also bear in mind that this DEB is one of the half-dozen or so pieces of legislation that the government is going to 'rush through' parliament right at the end of their term, before the general election. Even if somebody agrees with the content of the bill, it's utterly immoral for this government (no surprise there) to ram a bill this comprehensive and game-changing through, towards the end of their tenure, in the full knowledge that they're probably doing it because they'll be kicked the hell out in the

  • He said that it would enable MPs to better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want.

    So, how fat a pipe do you need for that? 100 Mb/s? 1 Gb/s?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Thanshin (1188877)

      He said that it would enable MPs to better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want.

      So, how fat a pipe do you need for that? 100 Mb/s? 1 Gb/s?

      The answer to your question is complex and arduous to obtain, as it depends on many factors.

      The main variable, would clearly be whether, during the communication itself, the constituents would be female and naked.

    • by brindleboar (1154019) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:13AM (#31747064)
      For anything that politicians will actually pay attention to, I should think that a 56Kb dialup would be sufficient.
    • by Draek (916851)

      .50 cal?

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Depends... how fat a pipe do you need to upload a pitchfork or a torch ?
    • by digitig (1056110)

      He said that it would enable MPs to better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want.

      So, how fat a pipe do you need for that? 100 Mb/s? 1 Gb/s?

      The internet would be no use. You need a gas pipe.

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      If everybody can vote from home, we don't need any representatives to do the job for us.
      Then the lobbyists have to grease our palms.

    • And to be a bit serious. I think this is a case of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing.

      Labour and the Conservaties have been exchanging power for so long, that they have become completely entrenched. Pretty much like the bankers. Most bankers don't even get why the public don't think they should get bonusses. They really just can't see that people might be upset about the whole economy. Surely they deserve their bonusses for all their hardwork because without that hardwork... the economy woul

  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:08AM (#31747014) Journal

    If you're in the UK, 38 degrees have made it easy to write to your MP [38degrees.org.uk] about this bill.

    Over 20,000 people have already done so [bbc.co.uk].

  • by headkase (533448) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:10AM (#31747038)
    Stallman does the right things but the way he relates his thoughts don't really map well onto others. He is too rigid when it comes to Free software, ideally all software should be Free but until the transition is over - say another 20 years - then some mixing is pragmatic for the now to enable functionality: like binary blobs in the Linux kernel. I like a lot of what Stallman has to say but I always translate it into less dogmatic terms and take the hard edges off. Free is the ideal Open is the pragmatic, he kicked off Free and that led to Open and Open is not as dogmatic as Free - things evolve. Open also markets better.
    • Well put. Everytime RMS talks and rants he seems like he is playing for the people who will give him donations. Just like right wing religious makes some hard line sayings... Not to convince the general public but to keep their hard liners who will pay them the most money. RMS had some good ideas but he is now just hunting for more and new rants to fight after. If a Rant didn't help with donations he will go onto the next one.

    • by slim (1652) <john AT hartnup DOT net> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:31AM (#31747228) Homepage

      When I was brought up in Wales in the 1980s, I felt that Cymdeithas yr Iaith (the Welsh Language Society) were making unreasonable demands in their campaigning. And I still do to an extent.

      But, in the 1960s and earlier, the right for Welsh people to speak and learn in their mother tongue was a serious civil rights issue. By the 1980s things had improved greatly, largely thanks to the activities of Cymdeithas yr Iaith.

      I think that by continuing to maintain pressure, perhaps for demands that are a step too far, they prevent the pendulum from swinging back to where it was in the 60s.

      I think the same goes for Stallman. Many people benefit from Free Software. Many people would be satisfied for a less pure Free Software world than Stallman demands. But without Stallman's purist stance, the average would shift to a less free position. I wouldn't want that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by headkase (533448)
        Very good point. I'd like to also mix in that Open as a model is firmly on its feet now. It would take an act of law saying it is illegal to share your effort with your neighbor to stop it. Stallman was and is needed as you say: today he has more voices harmonizing with his message in different flavors. He's succeeded, they can't all be silenced now.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          The problem is, Stallman isn't talking here about sharing *your* effort, hes talking about sharing *other peoples* effort, regardless of their wishes.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by headkase (533448)
            And perhaps he's right: maybe we should be basing our economies off of real things instead of building a house of cards to come crashing down at some future date. "Intellectual Property" could be just another bubble when China decides to collect on its trade surplus in real things.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              So my time is worthless if its spent creating something on a computer or with a microphone, as opposed to a hammer?
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by headkase (533448)
                Only in relation to what others are doing. If everyone is cooperating in a communal manner then yes. Real goods on the other hand behave better with money because scarcity applies to them - that makes them must more resilient to being Free.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by sznupi (719324)

                The value of such work time is so arbitrarily determined that there is some qualitative shift happening, yes (one which changes rules fundamentally, even if we haven't adapted to them yet)

                Consider a plausible scenario: you're coding some per project or recording a song with an expectation that it should contribute to sustaining you, or in taking a bit further what you do, and that's fine of course. In 99.99+% of cases that's the best you can hope for.

                But suddenly, some time later, through some fickle whim o

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How does pragmatism get to the endpoint? If you pragmatically go with mixing, then there's no need from those who want propriatory to go any further. So how do you get to the state you SAY (not believe) you want: all software should be Free?

      • by headkase (533448)
        I think it boils down to network effects. As more proprietary vendors open their code - especially in drivers - it will just make sense for others to do so as well feeding back on itself. I don't think closed software is ever going to go away but I do believe we will see an inversion where it becomes that most software is open and some is closed versus todays most closed and some open. For what is in use.
  • On Stallman (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:11AM (#31747040)
    "Sharing is good" - I love how Stallman is once again so open with other peoples creations as well as his own. If you want to share, why not simply stick to sharing those things you are allowed to? But oh no, that's not good enough - the 'people' must be allowed to share *everything*.

    My 1992 proposal for a special tax to be distributed to artists, with the money partly shifted from the most popular ones towards those not quite so successful, is still applicable.

    Yup, I have just read that and its a pile of crap - the whole idea seems to be to reward those who are successful less and less, and reward those who are failing more. Why are those who are popular less deserving of those who are not? This isn't some politically correct playschool, where everyone holds hands to cross the line together at sports day rather than crown a sole winner - no, this is real life.

    Now, I am against this Bill (and have written, faxed and phoned by MP - she will be calling for more discussion and consultation), but Stallman and his stance isn't the answer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kestasjk (933987) *
      Welcome to slashdot, where if you disagree with the majority you are modded troll.

      I've watched Stallman's talks and while he has some good thoughts he has some completely absurd ones, and his government allocation for artists idea is one of them.
      He proposed giving artists an income according to the cube root of their popularity, so smaller artists are better supported and larger ones much less supported. Do people really think this is a realistic idea? How could it be implemented? If it's done by taxes
      • by nomadic (141991)
        He proposed giving artists an income according to the cube root of their popularity, so smaller artists are better supported and larger ones much less supported.

        If his plan goes through I shall be the richest violinist in the world! And I don't even have to learn to play.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by selven (1556643)

      "Sharing is good" - I love how Stallman is once again so open with other peoples creations as well as his own. If you want to share, why not simply stick to sharing those things you are allowed to? But oh no, that's not good enough - the 'people' must be allowed to share *everything*

      Stallman doesn't recognize the idea that other people's (digital) creations belong to their creators. They belong to the people.

      Yup, I have just read that and its a pile of crap - the whole idea seems to be to reward those who are successful less and less, and reward those who are failing more. Why are those who are popular less deserving of those who are not?

      So you would prefer the current system, where 0.1% of the artists are driving around in million dollar cars to their fifty million dollar mansions and getting one or two DUIs on the way while the other 99.9% are barely making a living and thus have to get a day job and only have 3-5 hours every day to actually be creating stuff? Less social inequality is good.

      • Yup, I have just read that and its a pile of crap - the whole idea seems to be to reward those who are successful less and less, and reward those who are failing more. Why are those who are popular less deserving of those who are not?

        So you would prefer the current system, where 0.1% of the artists are driving around in million dollar cars to their fifty million dollar mansions and getting one or two DUIs on the way while the other 99.9% are barely making a living and thus have to get a day job and only have 3-5 hours every day to actually be creating stuff? Less social inequality is good.

        How is that any different to any other profession? Why are artists entitled to unequal and enforced support from their industry, and welders or seamstresses are not? What makes an unsuccessful artist more worthy than an unsuccessful teacher?

        • by slim (1652)

          How is that any different to any other profession? Why are artists entitled to unequal and enforced support from their industry, and welders or seamstresses are not? What makes an unsuccessful artist more worthy than an unsuccessful teacher?

          Just to add to the confusion, how do you define success?

          A highly successful teacher (the children they teach grow up to be valuable members of society) might be poorly rewarded financially. A poor teacher might get a great salary (by gaming the system, for example).

          An artist might be highly successful at what they set out to do. They might even by acclaimed by the critics, yet not earn very much in the marketplace.

          It doesn't answer your question. But it adds nuance to it (and makes it harder to answer).

      • by sznupi (719324)

        I do prefer something where artists have to earn their living comparably to the rest of population, yes. As was the case almost always and, as you noticed, is the case for vast majority of artists today.

        That includes a system where ridiculous rewards and excesses of the few are restrained too, of course.

        • by selven (1556643)

          I never said comparably to the main population. I said a choice between near poverty and relegating art to being a side hobby rather than your main job. The reality is, that's how many authors, musicians and open source programmers work, and our society is suffering because of it.

          • by sznupi (719324)

            And can say with certainity that it's suffering...how? It seems to me you would agree that many of what we consider the greatest works of art came from "struggling idealists".

    • "the whole idea seems to be to reward those who are successful less and less, and reward those who are failing more. "

      One of the main tenets of communism is that everyone is equal no matter what their actual abilities. Unfortunately
      denying reality didn't work for a lot of nations but you still get plenty of tax payer funded examples of this
      species of thinker in the academic world where they're sheltered from the nasty facts of reality outside the thick
      walls of their ivory towers.

      (I'll get modded down for th

      • by slim (1652)

        I don't believe RMS is a communist.

        His belief in free software is pragmatic. He wanted to hack a printer driver to make it email him when his job had printed. He was shocked when he was told that the source code wasn't his to mess with. His message is, don't buy software that doesn't come with source you can modify.

        I do believe he undervalues programmers' skill, including his own. I don't think he realises how few people could create GCC, glibc etc. Partly, he gives it to the community because it came relat

        • by Viol8 (599362)

          "His belief in free software is pragmatic."

          Theres a big difference between "I want a driver , I'll write one myself" to "software should be given away free no matter now much work went into it". If someone wants to spend time writing their own code and give it away thats their democratic choice. But they should NOT stand on some dubious moral high ground and dictate to everyone else that they should do the same.

          • by slim (1652)

            "software should be given away free no matter now much work went into it"

            Nothing in RMS's credo says that.

            Don't give anyone the software until you're paid for it. When you're paid for it, give them the software, the source, and the right to redistribute both.

            Yes, you might need to charge more because there are fewer sales. Yes, it probably prevents you from getting wildly rich off a few months of coding. Tough. But look around, people are making an honest living on those terms.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sznupi (719324)

        And can you point out any place where some people actually honestly tried to implement communism on a national level? (as contrasted with small, informal communities or modern-day communes, which can and do work sensibly)

        Look, "communism" was just a dream, a different kind of religion if you will, that some people tried to sold here and there at few point in time; without actually any intent of implementing it (apparently it was partially succesfull, seems you bought it). Similar to, say, "Land of Opportuni

        • by Viol8 (599362)

          "And can you point out any place where some people actually honestly tried to implement communism on a national level?"

          Is this a trick question? The bolsheviks were true communists and they've been followed by Mao, kim Jong Il and various other tin pot african, asian and south/central american dictatorships.

          "Look, "communism" was just a dream,"

          It may just be a dream but some people want to make it a reality.

          "I take it you are againt socialist funding of highways"

          Why would I be? Taxation to fund necessary st

          • by sznupi (719324)

            As is my rule in many other areas - don't look at what bolsheviks (and those after them, also in other places) claimed they are, look at what they actually were. Oligarchies, not communist states. The point is that they didn't treat all people as identical, not even close. I should know very well, I live in place which was beyond the Iron Courtain...

            And for that matter, I do think that communism on national level is outright unworkable (even if it can work on smaller scales), similarly to any other pure ide

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by slim (1652)

            "And can you point out any place where some people actually honestly tried to implement communism on a national level?"

            Is this a trick question? The bolsheviks were true communists and they've been followed by Mao, kim Jong Il and various other tin pot african, asian and south/central american dictatorships.

            In fact the Bolsheviks never achieved the communist state they dreamt of.

            Lenin replaced Tsarism with "the dictatorship of the proletariat" described as "An immense expansion of democracy, which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor, democracy for the people, and not democracy for the rich: . . . and suppression by force, i.e. exclusion from democracy, for the exploiters and oppressors of the people — this is the change which democracy undergoes during the transition from capitalism to comm

      • So what? Marx also said:

        The product of mental labor - science - always stands far below its value, because the labor-time necessary to reproduce it has no relation at all to the labor-time required for its original production.

        With which I believe IP supporters agree :)

        -----------

        Personally, I don't have a problem with people being paid according to their effort, but that's not what happens today. We're all in a race, but some start many miles ahead of the others.

  • by obnoxio (160712) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:15AM (#31747078)

    "He said that it would enable MPs to better communicate with their constituents and keep track of what they want."

    I want them all to fuck off and die.

    Painfully, if possible.

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:27AM (#31747178)

    Governmental types simply can not stand the idea of free and open communications. I have always maintained that there would be a point where all governments would seek to stifle the net. I am not an anarchist but I do believe that even when one is lucky enough to have a good government that that same government will seek to expand and control more territory as well as to have more and more control over all people within its domain.
                        If I were to predict a tipping point where the iron hand becomes really visible it would be when we have easy, ultra secure, encryption. At that point the assumption will be that every communication just might be terrorist or treasonous in nature.

  • It can also be used to add LOTS more monitoring. With narrow pipes, it is easy for all to see the monitoring. With fat pipes, it will be become difficult for the regular ppl to know.
  • when I hear Stallman wittering on about politics in a country he has no clue about
    • by redhog (15207)
      Sorry, but he seems to have this time.

      He generally seems to have a clue about random stuff. Like he has actually read, and commented on, the political platform of the Swedish political party Piratpartiet. I have, as a direct concequence of his comments, made a motion about sourcecode escrow for our annual meeting this month.
  • Isn't this the same clown now busy circumventing democracy to take away broadband from Britons who already have it? And what good would broadband do them if they're punished for using it (or even being suspected of using it?

    Ah, I see what the problem is; the right honourable mr Stallman is American and therefore speaks about politics the American way. This is what I believe he meant to say:

    "Mr Speaker, does the Prime Minister really think that ..." and so on ...

    Apart from that - it is all very well to bash Gordon Brown; the problem is that there are no real alternatives - the Tories are going to do exactly the same, the LibDems sound very nice and sensible but won't come anywhere near government, and most of the rest are the l

    • My Plaid Cymru MEP is an active member of the FFII and they seem like a fairly safe bet for the next election. Because they only run candidates in Wales, there's no chance of their gaining a majority over the whole UK - and I wouldn't want them to - but they can hopefully inject some sanity into the proceedings. When the Welsh Nationalists look like the most sane party, there's something badly wrong with the system...

      I was recently sent a link to a site that lets you compare policies for the major partie [voteforpolicies.org.uk]

  • Give me access to broadband, and then I'll worry about censorship, packet-sniffing/filtering and denial of service for abusive torrenting.
    Granted, there are very worrying trends worldwide about monitoring and controlling people's internet access, and the UK Gov. has a poor record on respect for human rights.
    But if I cannot even get onto the damn internet, then the point is moot.

  • by ikoleverhate (607286) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:51AM (#31747418)
    So I sent a link to article to my mum and girlfriend, both of who are with the ISP Tiscali. It came back with "Unnacceptable Mail Content". Tinfoil hat engaged, I sent a few more variations to see exactly what they're blocking. As far as I can tell, it's any link to a guardian.co.uk url. Interesting, given there's an election coming up... Try it for yourself if you know anyone on tiscali - send a mail with a guardian.co.uk URL in the body.
  • The way this will be seen and abused by others will be a bit like the following:
    Stallman is somebody who is for Open Source. Stallman also said that downloads are mainly illegal. Ergo: Open Source is illegal.

    And this means that not only must the governement outlaw Open Source. Also there must be greater punishment to the people who do this and give the money to those who are affected.

    So in the end everybody will be happy. Well, at least the music companies. As a middle way, why not tax the extra broadband d

  • by daemonenwind (178848) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:45AM (#31748090)

    The government in the UK is running out of public camera bandwidth. There are a lot of those cameras around, you know!

    How can you keep an electronic eye on everyone if public bandwidth is clogged by bothersome subjects pirating American mass media?
    A massive roll-out of British Broadband means Her Majesty's Peepers (aka HeMP) will be able to see all, and know all.

    HeMP for all Britain!

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