2x27: Much Furdo About Nothing

Jeremy Garcia, Jono Bacon, and Stuart Langridge present Bad Voltage, in which brick-and-mortar shops go under, brick-and-mortar shops go from strength to strength, things are a bit delayed after a very tough week, and:

  • [00:01:18] News: Blast from the past UK electronics store Maplinare in talks to sell the business, along with rueful speculations on how Radio Shack are doing too... In an unoracular move, beneath the market's din, Oracle open sources DTrace under the GPL... Google removes "view image" from the Google Image Search after a settlement with Getty Images, inspiring a whole bunch of rage and/or plaudits... Snapchat updates UI, 1.2 million people sign a change.org petition complaining about it, Snapchat responds and says things will get easier, honest... FreeBSD release their new code of conduct, which takes a much more detailed approach to listing acceptable and unacceptable behaviour than most projects do... some thoughts on Amazon's real-world bookshops...
  • [00:32:20] In the last show, Jeremy asked this question: "if success on the Linux desktop ends up meaning that we have to move to a paid app ecosystem, with a mixture of closed and open source apps, would you prefer that we have that success, or stay with what we have now?" We said, "this is a big enough discussion to deserve a whole section of the show to itself", and... this is exactly that discussion.

Come chat with us and the community in our Slack channel via https://badvoltage-slack.herokuapp.com/!

Download from https://badvoltage.org/2x27


Picking up on @sil I agree that we want to encourage real World boo stores and I love Waterstones. I don’t believe a book store or music shop, by which I mean records or CDs - not musical instruments, can be too big.

This is always an issue and some industries have a barrier to entry.

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I agree that copyright is an important issue here and we need people to consider intellectual property but I also take the line that what I publish in in the public domain.

There are for example several photographs of mine on line. I’m not going to point to them as it is not the point but anyone who wants to use them I have no problem provided they recognise they are mine.

Open/Closed source-- Obviously I prefer open source but developers need to be paid. To pick up on photo editing Gimp is a marvellous package but it does suffer in its documentation because while I may be interested in building new tools in my spare, for fun, documentation is not the fun part so I don’t want to write it. I suspect this is true of most of us.

Office Tools: Libre/Open office is OK for many of us. Excel is better than Calc but I prefer Writer to \word.

@jonobacon I don’t like Windows and I really don’l like Apple. I use Windows for work, I need CAD and would would much rather be able to run it on Linux even if I have to pay for it.

re: Code of conduct.

Since socializing is so ad-hock, a code-of-conduct needs to be something I can keep in my head (even if not every detail, at least the general gist).
So I don’t see why it’s necessary to enumerate lists of protected attributes. As far as I can see this could be simplified to “don’t make personal attacks/insults”, it’s not as if it’s totally fine if someone starts being an arse to others in the community for something not on the list. Why be spesific?

As for the hugs stuff, at first I couldn’t take it seriously, although I guess someone could be creepy online, to people that might be meeting up at conferences later.

For that case it could be covered by: “physical contact (including virtual) should be stopped if the person asks.”

More details I think are knit-picking and people aren’t going to seriously remember the details, it might instead have a chilling effect, where people aren’t so relaxed because they could by accident (technically) break the rules in some subtle way.

Edit, realize as part of a full code of conduct my examples are not complete, or could be clarified a little. Even so - something to this effect.

Re: 1.2 million people sign a change.org petition

i also signed an online petition very recently and it felt nice(ly?).
Now i got an email suggesting that i also send a real postcard to the petion’s addressee the more creative the better. And i was like eeehhh…that’ll cost me 15-45 minutes…pheww…
So i guess i won’t do it, out of pure lazyness, which means that besides having signed the petition, I don’t really care.
And I would bet that it’s the same with most of the people who singed the snapchat-petition.
Still i wonder if snapchat has the means to turn this petition into something actionable.

Since it was mentioned at 50:40, I thought Maya has had a linux version for quite some time. Admittedly it’s officially Red Hat or CentOS so maybe not what most basic users would want.

@ideasman42, I miss your voice on Blender podcast. I donated my 2 bits for Blender Code Quest and I see you are on list to be there. Good luck and hope you have a good time.

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Blimey. I did not know that; thank you!

That’s not public domain. You’re describing something like CC BY. “Public domain” means no rights are reserved, and people can do whatever they like with your work, including not bothering to recognise your authorship.

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Regarding codes of conduct, there are great advantages to stating principles than listing rules. The BV code has worked well.

Very well in fact it is a pleasure to use this site and I have had to very little moderating. I think we are friendly, welcoming online community.

I’ve only listened to the end of the news so far and although it’s utterly inconsequential I can’t get this bit out of my head:

1.2 million bricks (standard UK size) is 4200 tonnes. I can picture the new guy starting at snapchat “What are all these bricks here for?” “We don’t think it means anything, just ignore them”.


Honestly I was using open office 8 years ago. I don’t really think it is. Honestly I found the ribbon hard and did not like it.

Honestly has anyone tried to use windows explorer it seems unusable. Windows 7 kind of sucked and took forever to start up and shut down.

I honestly care I can report bugs and get them fixed. I really have not found that easy to do in proprietary systems.

Honestly I can run baldur’s gate on linux. Then again I don’t know if any the three have understand I pay for copyleft game mechanics in Pathfinder RPG books. I think this might be a

I am particularly sensitive to the brick&mortar situation, because it dramatically affects the UK high street in ways that are ominous: in the 90s and 00s, big chains rooted out every single mom&pop store out there, and now they’re dying out because Amazon can play the economy-of-scale game better than they do. This is leaving some towns looking like La Habana: no shops, all boarded out, the only signs of life being “entertainment” establishments built for people who only occasionally swarm there from other places. This is not sustainable.

On the other hand, I keep saying that there are some very obvious wins that big chains seem unable to grasp. If you start from a position where the brick&mortar is a showroom, not a shop, I think there are a lot of options that you can explore. I keep saying I’d love if Waterstones had an app that 1) detected I’m in a W store, 2) allowed me to quickly lookup a book from a barcode and buy it on the spot, to be delivered to my house later, if I wanted to save a few pennies on the cover price. Because I love browsing for books IRL more than I’ll ever love clicking-waiting-clicking my way through Amazon, but I don’t like paying more just because they can’t manage inventory in Bumfuck, Midshitshire, well enough to match the Seattle boys. And 3) again in store, give me an excuse to come over. Give me a discount on (now absurdly-priced) ebooks if I download them in-store, as a loss-leader to get my ass there so I end up buying other stuff (which might be a coffee rather than a book, by the way - so make that possible).

On the rest of the show: I agree that “selling out” is long overdue; but I’d argue that it has to be done in a honest manner, not with bait & switch tricks like “pay for updates” (a tactic spearheaded by a certain Linux distribution from a certain controversial database vendor…). And tbh, maybe, in the end, there is simply no market in a segment largely built by and for people who would rather build their own mountains of Rude-Goldberg contraptions rather than pay for professional-grade software. On the code of conduct: I’m white and male, but I’m also in an ethnic minority where I live, so I get all the casual racism and none of the outrage-fuelled affirmative action; basically I am screwed any way you look at it, I just built a thicker skin and moved on. Hence, I really don’t care for this sort of stuff, personally, and I think it often borders on the thoughtcrime - but if it keeps the ESR types at bay, by all means let’s have more.

If the only area Gimp suffered in were documentation, it would have 1000x users more than it has now.

This seems like a thing that might be buildable without actual Waterstones cooperation, perhaps?

Yeah but then I get the Amazon referral money, not WS… and WS would soon cotton up and kick smartphone-waving customers out - they already throw quite a bit of shade if you seem to be taking pics of wares.

My thought was that once it gets a little bit popular you then ring up Waterstones HQ and say, you ought to buy this app from me.

However, the impression I get is not that you want to buy a book from Waterstones Online by scanning a barcode in their bookshop, but that you want to go into a Waterstones bookshop and scan a book which buys it from Amazon but gives Waterstones the Amazon referral money? If that’s the case then I think Waterstones would pour an infinite amount of cold water on that idea, and rightly so :slight_smile:

No, I mean - the slice of profit that lies in a given Amazon referral operation, is more or less what Waterstone would earn from someone doing the operation in their stores with their app pointing to their own website. If they build the app themselves, pointed to their own webstore/api, they are capturing that level of profit for themselves; if a third party does it, it will inevitably point somewhere else or expect WS to pay referral money, so the WS slice of the pie is reduced.

I agree that someone else could try to do it, but WS does not have an API - they seem to have only basic referral links, so then users would have to go through the traditional web-checkout operation on waterstones.com - very far from painless. In general, they don’t seem very web-oriented, which would explain why their app sucked so much last time I checked (it might have been one or two years ago, in fairness).

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I’m curious here if I am in a big book store like Waterstones and I see a book I want why shouldI not buy it now?

I go to a book store for one of two reasons

  • I value the opinion of the staff and I want to hear their recommendations.

  • I want to read a section of the book first to find out if it covers what I am interested in.

Neither of these services should be free. I am happy to buy on-line when I already know what I want but when asking for guidance, or looking to try before I buy happy to pay extra.

An example I am sure @jonobacon would agree with,but please correct if I am wrong,

Scenario 1:

I want new guitar strings, I know the brands I like and the gauge I want: online no problem.

Scenario 2:

I want a new guitar, I go to a shop, play several and insist the one I take home is the one I have played and not the same model from the warehouse.

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.