Glyn Moody writes: Here's a problem for free software: most social networks are built using it, yet through their constant monitoring of users they do little to promote freedom. Eben Moglen, General Counsel of the Free Software Foundation for 13 years, and the legal brains behind several versions of the GNU GPL, thinks that the free software world needs to fix this with a major new hardware+software project. "The most attractive hardware is the ultra-small, ARM-based, plug it into the wall, wall-wart server. An object can be sold to people at a very low one-time price, and brought home and plugged into an electrical outlet and plugged into a wall jack for the Ethernet, and you're done. It comes up, it gets configured through your Web browser on whatever machine you want to have in the apartment with it, and it goes and fetches all your social networking data from all the social networking applications, closing all your accounts. It backs itself up in an encrypted way to your friends' plugs, so that everybody is secure in the way that would be best for them, by having their friends holding the secure version of their data." Could such a plan work, or is it simply too late to get people to give up their Facebook accounts, even for something that gives them more freedom?
We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a
clever but highly unmotivated trick.
-- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"