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Subject: Re: mp3 cutting and pasting
From: Fred Maxwell (rockbox_at_anti-spam.org)
Date: 2004-08-09


Johan Vromans wrote:

> Very predictably, "Fred Maxwell" <rockbox_at_anti-spam.org> writes:
>
>
>>If it doesn't cost anything, then it is free.
>
>
> As usual, you confuse free (gratis, as in beer) with free (libre, as
> in speech).

No, it is you who confuse the terms. The person asked for "free"
software, not "open-source" software. When someone says "I want a
free...", they mean "I want something with no monetary cost." If they
wanted an open source product, they would say "I want an open source..."

> Besides, do you really believe all those nice gratis tools do not cost
> anything? About once or twice a month I have to reanimate Windows
> systems from relatives and friends because those 'nice gratis tools'
> apparently did something else than was intended.

I note that you assume that the damage was caused by free closed source
programs rather than free open source programs. I've had hosed Linux
installations before without having any closed source apps installed on it.

> I'm not going to say
> they did it on purpose. When several tools try to install themselves
> somewhere deep in the system TCP/IP stack the system quickly becomes
> instable. Other tools just do not want you to uninstall them.

I have found problems with open source and closed source tools. Neither
is error-free.

> When a PC is unusable when you need to write an urgent letter or
> email, there's damage. Real damage.

Agreed -- regardless of whether the problem is caused by open or closed
source software.

>>Are you going to honestly tell me that you read all of that source
>>code prior to running it on your computer?
>
>
> If I were to say "yes", you won't believe me anyway.

Since you admit in the next sentence that you did not read all of the
source code, I probably would not believe you.

> Fact is, I did study substantial parts of it, and I run customized
> versions of OpenOffice.org and Mozilla on my system. And rockbox ;-).

But you still don't know whether there is nefarious or erroneous code
hidden in there somewhere.

> What you seem to overlook is the power of open source communities.
> It's not just me, it's thousands of people all over the planet that
> study (and write) those big pieces of software.

Most big projects only have a handful of coders, most of whom are only
familiar with a small subset of the code. Look at Interbase. It was
open source for a year before it was discovered that there was a
back-door account hard-coded into it. libpcap & tcpdump were released
with malicious code in them.

> Together we have an
> overview, and together we know what's going on. Together we have
> control. That's because we all have the freedom (liberty) to do so.

If I install software on a Windows box, I have many tools at my disposal
to find out what it's doing. ZoneAlarm will tell me if it's trying to
access the local network or the Internet. My anti-virus software will
show whether the file is infected with a known virus. Diskmon, Filemon,
Regmon, and Portmon (www.sysinternals.com) will show me what disk, file,
register, and port activity is going on. I can monitor my network
traffic with Ethereal. How do you think that people identify spyware?
Do you think that the companies producing it provide source code? Do
you think that most viruses put up a splash screen announcing their
activities?

Regards,
   Fred Maxwell

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