I hadn’t listened to the show in ages, and was very please to load up this episode in my headphones last night!
My two Taiwan dollars on these topics:
More and more, I tend to drift towards a pure free/libre approach to the problem. Companies who use open source (always using a permissive license, of course) to get a good aura, then have to start responding to the pressure of investors… meh.
I follow a bit the 3D/graphics industry, and recently Ton Roosendaal, creator and founder of Blender, posted an interesting article on the Blender blog to explain why Blender was free software (GPL) and what it meant. I believe he wrote that post because of the numerous add-ons for Blender that don’t provide their source code. It actually sparkled a very interesting debate in the comments, for those interested.
A few days later, I read a summary (in French, sorry!) about the Annecy Animation Festival round table between different actors of this domain: Autodesk, Sony, as well as smaller animation studios. It is obviously clear that the big actors want to squeeze out as much cash as possible using open source technologies, but they do not want to share anything themselves, merely participate in open source projects that would ease the animation studios workflow. Basically, they understand that if they refuse to be part of the open source initiative, the ship will sail without them and soon enough their proprietary “bricks” (as they define it themselves in the round table discussion) will not fit anywhere in the animation studios’ workflow.
I digress, but I feel like if you release your project under a permissive license, it might be good in the beginning to attract bigger actors or companies (cause apparently they are afraid of the GPL), but in the mid-to-long term this decision will bite you in the ass.
Canonical / Valve thing
I still don’t understand Valve’s communication on what happened. There was that Pierre-Loup’s tweet, and, a few days later, a message by him on the Valve forums. Doesn’t Valve have a PR department? It felt extremely amateurish to do that, especially since message that sparked all the controversy mentioned that Canonical had been discussing with Valve before announcing this (so Valve was aware of what was going on).
From what I understand, Valve recently launched Proton, a technology that allows you to run non-Linux games on Linux, and some famous Youtubers started to talk about gaming on Linux. For a lot of gamers who were like “Argh, Windows SUCKS! but I need it to run my games”, this was the last straw and shortly after the video was released, the Linux and Gaming on Linux subreddits started to be flooded with questions on what Linux distro was best for gaming. Oddly enough, it’s not Ubuntu that was mentioned, but either Mint (based on Ubuntu) or Manjaro (based on Arch) because they included newer graphics drivers and/or mechanisms to enable video drivers easily, which apparently Ubuntu is not so good at.
The thing is, most of these gamers are not really Linux users. They left Windows because they dislike Windows, not because they wanted to embrace free and open source softwares. I don’t know how this will pay off in the long term… I am not a gamer, but I actually left Windows (back in 2004!) because of a growing discomfort with the lack of customization that Windows was back then. I end up, 15 years later, being very attached to the philosophy of free software, so I guess there is hope!
Libra / Facebook / Cashless payments
You guys seem to think Facebook is hard at work to remove fake news and stuff like that, I’m much more pessimistic on that stance. Not only because I think it’s technically extremely difficult, but also because I think Facebook has too much money tied up to having their user base captive (dopamine shots, attractive headlines, emotional reactions, etc.)
A good example that happened where I live was the election, in November last year, of a pro-Beijing politician as the mayor of a city in the South of Taiwan. Taiwan, and especially the South of Taiwan, is very wary of the Authoritarian Communist Party of China, and yet they elected this populist guy… There is a good article on Foreign Policy that shows how Facebook (which is massively used here) influenced people into voting for a populist moron, more than 2 years after the US populist moron In essence, some Chinese groups related to the Communist Party of China set up a lot of Facebook groups in support for this guy as soon as one day after he said he would run for the mayor office, and started pushing very questionnable content that was then massively shared not only on Facebook but also on Line (the Japanese version of WeChat/Whatsapp, massively used in Taiwan).
The irony of all this is that Facebook is not officially available in China…
As for WeChat, as @jonobacon mentioned, it’s ubiquitous in China. Even street food stalls start refusing cash and only accept WeChat payments… It allows a tight control of the population, since the company behind WeChat is hands in hands with the CCP. But that’s another story